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Sunday, 29 March 2015

London Marathon 2015 (Week 8 of 12)

Week 8

Just 4 weeks left before this year's London Marathon now and yet it still seems so far away.

Week 8 didn't disappoint in terms of being eventful, that's for sure, but more of that later. After flying from Melbourne to Adelaide on Monday a good chunk of this week has involved becoming acquainted with the various non human inhabitants of South Australia, including kangarois, koalas, Tasmanian Devils, pelicans, camels but thankfully no snakes.

All the various routes used around Adelaide have been very picturesque and with the weather generally being sunny in the 22-28c range running a 70 mile week couldn't have been more pleasurable :)

Saturday saw a visit to Mount Barker parkrun approx 25 miles east of Adelaide and then Sunday involved a trip to the Murray Bridge Half Marathon, which promised to be flattish but challenging nonetheless due to various changing off road surfaces.

Week 8 of 12 (Mon 23/3 - Sun 29/3)

Mon 23/3 : 2.5 miles @ 9:01/mile (Melbourne)
Tues 24/3 : 9.0 miles @ 8:45/mile (Bel Air National Park, Adelaide)
Weds 25/3 (am) : 10.0 miles @ 9:12/mile (Sturt River Linear Park, Adelaide)
Weds 25/3 (pm) : 3.6 miles @ 9:01/mile (Mt Barker Freedom parkrun)
Thurs 26/3 : 6.21 miles @ 9:12/mile (Coast to Vines Trail, Adelaide)
Fri 27/3 : 9.0 miles @ 9:01/mile (River Torrens Trail)
Fri 27/3 : 9.0 miles @ 8:45/mile (River Torrens Trail)
Sat 28/3 : 4.0 incl Mt Barker parkrun 17:54 (3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile)
Sat 28/3 : 3.6 @ 9:01/mile (Christies Beach)
Sun 29/3 12.0 incl Murray Bridge HM 1:09:35 (11.2 miles @ 6:08/mile) (1st but DQd)

Total Mileage - 68.9 Miles

Thurs 26th March

Not strictly running related but Thursday involved the promised pre-run kangaroo cuddling. Despite the fact that I had eaten one of their relatives the previous evening they still seemed friendly enough, thankfully resisting the urge to kick or punch as severe bruising at this stage might not be particularly optimal preparation .....

The koalas were sleeping off whatever they had been up to the previous evening :

Fri 27th March - Torrens Trail Run

Friday contained two 9 mile runs along the River Torrens Trail, a path which runs for 37km from the coast through the city of Adelaide and out the other side. We ran the coast to city section and then the same in reverse later in the day. Very relaxing :)

Sat 28th March - Mount Barker parkrun (17:54)

It is becoming apparent that in Australia they like to keep their parkrun courses simple and site them in breathtaking locations. This one was no exception being a flat out and back course to the Laratynga Wetlands.

As for the run itself it was a bit surprising how good the legs felt after the 18 miles the previous day. It could have been a bit quicker too had it not been for an over exhuberant first half of 8:41. Encouraging signs.

Hannah also overcooked the first half a little but still recorded 18:29 or 5:57/mile.

Sun 29th March - Murray Bridge Trail Half Marathon (1:09:35 (1st - Or maybe not!)

Sunday was the main event of the week and a chance to see what a few sustained hard miles would feel like just 3 weeks after the Wrexham Marathon.

Knowledge of the course was limited but we knew that a good chunk of it from miles 2-8 would be on a levee bank, which sounded like compacted soil. The rest was to be a mixture of gravel, Tarmac and a few short rocky sections. One way or another it should give a reasonable feel for current fitness.

And what a gorgeous setting:

The race was new this year, being an addition to the regular 10k and 5k events, and as such had a small field of about 60 runners or so.

As we got under way I was hoping that the course would be nice and gentle for a mile or two so as to give the legs a chance to loosen up a bit. The idea was to ease into it for the first third, get a strong rhythm turning over during the second third and then see what response there was for a big push in the final third.

It was a bit wiggly to start with as we crossed the Murray Bridge but once on the levee bank it was time for a 6-7 miles of straight flat running. As I had the race lead it was just a case of switching off and trying to click into a sustainable rhythm. 

The first 5k was laboured but the second 5k seemed more flowing to get to 10k in 38:24. It was feeling better the further it went so I was quite happy with events, just being careful to check with each marshall re route directions. I have been known to take wrong turns every once in a while after all ;)

After coming off the levee bank it then became quite twisty and technical but there seemed to be plenty fluorescent coats about. My only concern was that there were 10k runners on the course as well and the mixture of the two races may cause confusion, so there was a deliberate question to each marshall asking 'is this the half marathon course?'.

At one particular junction (at about 10 miles) it looked logical to turn left past a drinks station but the Marshall insisted that the Half Marathon was straight on and reiterated the point when I queried it.

Anyway, at this point the time was looking on target for 80:00-80:30 so it was going to be interesting to see if a lifting of the tempo over the last 5k could bring the time in under 80 minutes. This would be quite a result considering the running surfaces involved.

So time to get stuck in .......

The only problem was that as soon as the effort had been lifted, this appeared around the corner ....... The Finish! And it was barely past 11 miles. The clock was showing 1:09:35. Had it really been that badly under measured?


Without any delay the race organiser came over and said that the marshall had radioed him to advise that she had made a mistake and sent me the wrong way but had realised in time to send the second and subsequent runners on the correct course.

So I was disqualified there and then!

It was a bit of a struggle to comprehend how I could be leading a race by three minutes, obey all marshalling instructions and then end up disqualified for a marshalling misdirection.

It was even odder watching the prize giving as the 'official winner' picked up the trophy.

On the other hand, I'm not entirely sure what else the organiser could have done in the circumstances? The mistake was acknowledged after all and referred to as a 'mishap' in dispatches:

This was Hannah winning the ladies race, and little beknown to her at the time, 2nd overall a mere 37 seconds from winning outright in 1:24:59.

As we often say though, as long as there's a story the chances are that you'll end up remembering an event for a very long time.

And on that basis our trip to Murray Bridge is likely to linger on in the old memory cells for some time to come.

So 8 weeks now complete. The 9th week will be in Adelaide until Friday and then a flight up to Sydney to see what trouble we can get into there :)

Marathon Building Blocks:

15th Feb: 18.6 miles @ 6:16/mile
22nd Feb: 10.0 miles @ 6:04/mile
28th Feb: 3.1 miles @ 5:48/mile
28th Feb: 3.1 miles @ 5:50/mile
1st March: 13.1 miles @ 6:24/mile
8th March: 26.21 miles @ 6:23/mile
14th March: 3.1 miles @ 5:46/mile
14th March: 3.1 miles @ 5:36/mile
15th March: 20.0 miles @ 6:25/mile
21st March: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
22nd March: 9.65 miles @ 6:18/mile
28th March: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
29th March:  11.2 miles @ 6:08/mile)

Sunday, 22 March 2015

London Marathon 2015 (Week 7 of 12)

Week 7

Week 7 started quite normally with an early morning 5k along the canal in Bingley to loosen the legs after Sunday's Locke Park 20.

There was then a disappearing day as we took a flight to here:

and then to here:

With a 21 hour flight and 11 hour time difference Tuesday vanished from a running point of view.

So we're now down under and this is where the rest of the London build up will take place, arriving back in the UK early in London week.

After arriving in Melbourne the rest of the week has been nothing short of stunning in terms of running venues, expectations were pretty high but nevertheless they have been well and truly surpassed :)

The week's running endeavours have just been coincidental to to experiencing 'the sporting capital' that is Melbourne. On Wednesday, starting from our digs it was a case of straight onto the F1 course in Albert Park, which had just seen Lewis Hamilton's victory a couple of days before.

Thursday saw a visit to the ICC Cricket World Cup quarter final between India and Bangladesh at the MCG.This was the quarter final that England would have been playing in but the less said about that the better.

Saturday saw a visit to the IAAF Athletics meeting in Albert Park, featuring David Rudisha, and then Sunday had the Asia Pacific Ironman Championship around the corner on St Kilda's beach.

As can be seen below the midweek running about was as steady as usual. Then on Saturday the chosen parkrun was Maribyrnong, about 6-7 miles north west of Melbourne. Fantastic venue and course, out and back on the river Yarra. 

Week 7 of 12 (Mon 16/3 - Sun 22/3)

Mon 16/3 : 3.1 miles @ 9:44/mile (Bingley, UK)
Weds 17/3 (am) : 3.1 miles @ 9:01/mile (Melbourne)
Weds 17/3 (pm) : 7.0 miles @ 8:53/mile (Albert Park, Melbourne)
Thurs 18/3 : 7.0 miles @ 8:49/mile (Albert Park, Melbourne)
Fri 19/3 : 8.5 miles @ 9:05/mile 
Sat 20/3 : 9.0 miles (incl Maribyrnong parkrun 17:53 (3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile))
Sat 21/3 : 13.0 miles (incl Herald Sun 15.5K 1:01:01 (9.65 miles @ 6:18/mile))

Total Mileage - 50.7 Miles

Wednesday 17th March

Accommodation on the edge of Albert Park meant that for our stay here this was our 'step out of the door' running venue:

Thursday 18th March

Enjoying the ICC Cricket World Cup quarter final between India and Bangladesh:

Friday 19th March

Friday's running took in a trip up the 900ft Eureka Skydeck, even for someone like me who is scared of heights this was an impressive experience:

Followed by a loop out of the city taking in these mildly pleasant beach areas :)

Saturday 20th March - Maribyrnong parkrun (17:53)

After the previous few days of long flights and loads of walking a time of 17:53 seemed better than could have been expected but you couldn't help but get an extra spring in your step from the surroundings:

And what a post parkrun coffee/breakfast venue:

This was the route back to Melbourne post breakfast, taking in Flemington Racecourse (home of the Melbourne Cup) on the left:

Just by chance we were told that there was an IAAF athletics meeting scheduled in Albert Park for about the time we were likely to get back. A certain David Rudisha was down to appear fresh from his win in Sydney last week. And what a smiley, accommodating chap he was:

Sunday 21 St March - Herald Sun 15.5K, Melbourne (1:01:01)

Sunday's race was an unusual distance being 509m short of 10 miles but promised to be a bit of an iconic event with 32,000 competitors.

As late entries we were put in the last wave, which meant that we would probably get 15-20 minutes of free running and then ......

............ Meet up with this little lot:

It was a case of experiencing the event rather than racing as such, especially with some of the views on offer. This was crossing the Bolte Bridge at about halfway:

All in all, Hannah and myself were both surprised that we managed to clock times of 1:01 considering that we had just been there to enjoy the experience. What a brilliantly organised and remarkably relaxed event for the numbers taking part.

After a short walk back to the digs for a shower, it was then just 10 minutes around the corner to watch the Asia Pacific Ironman Championship on St Kilda's beach. This was Yvonne Van Vlerden, who was 3rd in this picture with about 400m to go after 9 hours of effort. She did, however, finish 2nd.

In summary, it was an action packed week all round. From a marathon training point of view it looks like quite a low mileage week but there were miles upon miles of walking to add to the exercise tally and that can't do any harm, right?

Marathon Building Blocks:

15th Feb: 18.6 miles @ 6:16/mile
22nd Feb: 10.0 miles @ 6:04/mile
28th Feb: 3.1 miles @ 5:48/mile
28th Feb: 3.1 miles @ 5:50/mile
1st March: 13.1 miles @ 6:24/mile
8th March: 26.21 miles @ 6:23/mile
14th March: 3.1 miles @ 5:46/mile
14th March: 3.1 miles @ 5:36/mile
15th March: 20.0 miles @ 6:25/mile
21st March: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
22nd March: 9.65 miles @ 6:18/mile

Next week sees a flight to Adelaide and apparently some kangaroo cuddling :)

Saturday, 14 March 2015

London Marathon 2015 (Week 6 of 12)

Week 6

6 weeks down, 6 to go .....

So what did this post marathon week look like then?

In a nutshell, it looked just like all the others really - very steady 8:00-9:00+/miles throughout the week, 70+ miles overall and then a few playing out opportunities at the weekend.

The interest was going to be centred around how the legs had recovered from the 26.2 miler when they were asked to put a bit of effort in again come the weekend.

Firstly, with it being international Pi day, what better location for a parkrun than the internationally famous home of the pork pie, Melton Mowbray.

Then in the evening it was time for another excellent episode in The Podium 5K series at Colne in Lancashire. Chris Barnes, the eminent race director, managed to maintain his 100% record of delivering windy conditions despite pre-race doubts when weather forecasts started predicting mild and calm. He wasn't to be thwarted though, he found the wind from somewhere!

On to Sunday and a very sunny Locke Park in Redcar was the venue for New Marske Harrier's Locke Park 20. Graham Hall should take a bow for getting this off the ground last year.

Week 6 of 12 (Mon 9/3 - Sun 15/3)

Mon 9/3 : 6.21 miles @ 8:52/mile
Tues 10/3 : 4.0 miles @ 9:17/mile
Tues 10/3: 6.21 miles @ 9:13/mile
Weds 11/3 : 8.0 miles @ 8:30/mile
Thurs 12/3 : 4.0 miles @ 8:50/mile
Thurs 12/3: 8.0 miles @ 8:59/mile
Fri 13/3 : 6.21 miles @ 8:54/mile
Sat 14/3 : 4.0 miles (incl Melton Mowbray parkrun 17:57 (3.1 miles @ 5:46/mile))
Sat 14/3: 4.0 miles (incl Podium 5K 17:27 (3.1 miles @ 5:36/mile))
Sun 15/3 : 21.0 miles (incl Locke Park 20 2:08:23 (20.0 miles @ 6:25/mile))

Total Mileage - 71.63 Miles

Sat 14th March - Melton Mowbray parkrun (17:57)

International pi day was a bit of an obtuse reason for visiting the new parkrun venue at Melton Mowbray, home of the famous pork pie, but we're delighted that we did. It is an excellent venue that simply works perfectly for a parkrun, a nice flowing route with no sharp corners, just a stiff little hill at the start of each lap.

Shane Sharkey and the team are doing a great job, a parkrun to be very much recommended if you're passing by that way.

As for the run itself, this was the first time that the legs had been asked to do anything quicker than a plod since the marathon, so a bit of creakiness was expected. I'd already decided not to do the Podium 5K on Saturday evening as that would just be silly the night before a 20 miler and 6 days after a marathon.

That left the way to just go with the flow at Melton to get some idea of how the recovery was going. A 17:57 was a big surprise as going back 12 months a parkrun after a marathon would have been at least a minute slower than usual. Good news! I could now rest until the Locke Park 20.

Of course, while in Melton Mowbray it would be amiss not to sample the local fare:

These Dickinson and Morris pies must do something to rearrange brainwaves or something as after consuming two of these on Saturday afternoon the Podium 5K somehow came back onto the agenda!

Saturday 14th March - Podium 5K (17:27)

So off to Colne we went. This was the early stages of the A race which Chris Livesey went on to win in 14:46:

The floodlights were powered up in readiness for the main event of the evening, the B race :)

Chris Barnes displayed utmost race director professionalism in doing his pre race checks - timers ready?, track clear, Hannah - have you remembered your bra? ........ all the standard stuff ;)

I couldn't afford to make this hurt as I would only end up paying the penalty in the second half of the 20 miler on Sunday.

Or at least that was the sensible head approach which lasted until seeing that the first km had taken 3:25 on surprisingly fresh legs. With one lap to go it was looking like something around 17:30 was on, so it became an opportunity to get a decent time on the board.

By the finish 17:27 and a new comeback PB, ie fastest for 20 years, had somehow appeared out of the blue. No idea where that came from but boy it was fun :)

Hannah was close in behind recording her best Podium by far in 17:42. As a result of no females turning out in the A race she now has to suffer the embarrassment of being the next chocolate wrapper girl alongside Chris Livesey :)

Sunday 15th March - Locke Park 20 Miles, Redcar (2:08:23 7th)

What a glorious morning for the Locke Park 20.

Expectations were for a reasonable first half at maybe 6:30/mile and then a gradual slowing followed by a fairly uncomfortable hanging on in the closing stages.

After seeing the likes of Aly Dixon (Commonwealth Games marathoner), Michael Joyeux and Steve Middleton ease off into the distance the early pace was feeling quite slow.

However, such is the set up of this event that each time you cross the timing mats, ie every mile, an announcement tells you your last lap time and average lap time so far. As can be seen from the table below the information coming back was that the Laps were metronomically around 2:48 marathon pace, not bad I thought 7 days after a 2:48 marathon. But it was still going to tail away quite painfully surely?

Surprisingly, it just became a bit laboured but not too bad at all. Happy days :)

Hannah clocked exactly the same time as last year despite last year not having a 2:52 marathon in the previous week, so we both finished the race wondering how it had held up quite so well.

Marathon Building Blocks:

15th Feb: 18.6 miles @ 6:16/mile
22nd Feb: 10.0 miles @ 6:04/mile
28th Feb: 3.1 miles @ 5:48/mile
28th Feb: 3.1 miles @ 5:50/mile
1st March: 13.1 miles @ 6:24/mile
8th March: 26.21 miles @ 6:23/mile
14th March: 3.1 miles @ 5:46/mile
14th March: 3.1 miles @ 5:36/mile
15th March: 20.0 miles @ 6:25/mile

Next week things are expected to hot up a little :)

Monday, 9 March 2015

London Marathon 2015 (Week 5 of 12)

Week 5 of 12

This week was used as a staging post to see what sort of marathon endurance was in the tank. And what better way to find out than ....... to run a marathon :)

Conveniently, the excellent set up that is RunWales chose this week to host their inaugural Wrexham Marathon and Half Marathon event, so that fitted the bill very nicely.

Midweek just saw the usual steady running, the only difference being that it was restricted to just 5k and 10ks to at least give the legs a bit of a chance of tackling a marathon after 3 big efforts last weekend.

First though it was off to Fountains Abbey parkrun on Saturday to join Adam Prentis and the team to celebrate the event's first birthday. We also met up with Kerri French and Dean Allaway, who were to be our partners in crime on this first marathon weekend of the year.

Week 5 (Mon 2nd Mar - Sun 8th Mar)

Mon 2/3: 6.21 miles @ 8:57/mile
Tues 3/3: 3.10 miles @ 9:06/mile
Weds 4/3: 3.10 miles @ 9:00/mile
Thurs 5/3: 6.00 miles @ 8:14/mile
Fri 6/3: 3.10 miles @ 9:02/mile
Sat 7/3: 4.0 Miles (incl. Fountains Abbey parkrun 19:53 (3.1 miles @ 6:25/mile)
Sun 8/3: 27.0 Miles (incl. Wrexham Marathon 5th 2:48:12 (26.21 miles @ 6:23/mile)

Total Mileage - 52.51 miles

Saturday 7th March - Fountains Abbey parkrun (19:53)

For the last few marathons the approach to a parkrun the day before a marathon has been to treat it as a dress rehearsal for the first 5k of the marathon itself keeping everything nice and relaxed.

19:53 is about 6:25/mile so that was just about right for the purpose intended.

The picture below is the abbey from the far side of the course. If you detect a little blurriness that is due to Hannah taking the picture while on the run, she can trip over her own feet at the best of times so this was one highly dangerous activity :p

Sunday 8th March - Wrexham Marathon (5th 2:48:12)

From the provided course information a couple of things were pretty clear -

1. It was wiggly.
2. The second half was going to be more challenging than the first.

The idea was to run to feel as usual and then see what the situation was at around 18 miles. If the legs were struggling at that stage it would be no big surprise and would then be a case of nursing them over the last few miles trying to create minimum ongoing soreness. 26.2 miles is a good chunk of training at any speed but only on the proviso that the legs aren't wrecked in the process.

On the other hand, if feeling ok at 18 miles it would be a real confidence booster to feel strong over the closing miles.

The Race 

Miles 0-10

As always, the key with the opening miles is to gently ease the muscles and tendons into their task. We're going to be out there for the best part of three hours so there is no rush to be getting on with anything. It is far easier to push the pace along later when everything is warmed up and body weight has dropped a bit.

After twisting though a bit of a residential area, the course consisted of country lanes and industrial estates in equal measure.

10 miles was reached in 1:02:40 in 7th position. There were no feelings of concern about the remaining 16 miles at this stage, just a case of happily carrying on with more of the same until another review in another 5 miles.

Miles 10-20

During the next 10 miles there was an increase in headwinds and the stuff falling out of the sky had changed from a mild drizzle to more of a downpour. A little sympathy for the marshals was felt at this point.

15 miles was passed without any deterioration in how the run was feeling. The 5 miles from 10-15 had taken a little longer, about 32 minutes, but that was just a reflection of the course. Then the next 5 from 15-20 were significantly tougher due to both the course profile and soaked feet so took more like 33 minutes.

The 20 mile time was about 2:07:38.

This was interesting because with the PB from Yorkshire being 2:47:34 it meant that if the final 10k could be covered in a smidgen under 40 minutes then a PB was there to be had. A couple of back to back sub 20 5ks seemed very doable based on how the legs were feeling but there were a lot of unknowns left, a significant hill in the last mile, a lot of twistiness through a housing area and how would the soaking feet affect things?

Final 10K

The conditions had deteriorated quite a lot by the 20 mile point with quite heavy rain. This in itself was refreshing but the course was getting quite puddly in places, especially when twisting through a park area with a few mud sections. This resulted in soaking shoes, it felt like wearing wellies with a couple of gallons of water poured into each one as sploshy became the most accurate description of conditions.

The combination of the hills, twistiness and wet shoes meant that the time drifted slowly away from a PB performance (by 38 seconds) but taking all that into account I have not felt as strong as that in the closing stages of a marathon before. After working up to 5th place the focus of the last two miles was trying to close a 200m gap to 4th. In the end the chase fell short by 2 seconds but it still provided an entertaing, and encouraging, end to the marathon.

Hannah was flying towards the end as she too was close to PB territory and felt the same sense of encouraging strength over the closing stages. She ended up with 2:52:40, around 30 seconds off her PB at Yorkshire (sound familiar?), and that was enough to take the inaugural Wrexham Marathon title. With it being so early in the year that is actually the 2nd  fastest UK female marathon performance of 2015 so far. By 31st December things may have changed slightly ;)

So, what snippets of interesting info has this race thrown up?

As this was probably the best ever marathon performance, being just 30 seconds or so slower than the Yorkshire Marathon (2:47:34)  last October but on a tougher course in less favourable conditions, it is worth noting that both Wrexham and Yorkshire had an almost complete absence of LSRs in their respective build ups.

Leading up to Wrexham, we have only done one solitary training run in 2015 longer than 10 miles, and that was only 12.3 miles. This isn't a recommendation, just an interesting observation!

All runs longer than that are in the marathon building blocks list below.

So that's the 19th marathon on the comeback trail, which started with the aim of 'possibly' managing one final sub 3 timing. It's not turning out too badly so far :)

Recent Marathon Record

2009 April - Blackpool Marathon 3:24:17 (Age 42)
2009 September - Fleetwood Marathon DNF (Age 43)
2010 October - Amsterdam Marathon 3:04:27 (Age 44)
2010 November - Milton Keynes Track Marathon DNF (Age 44)
2011 April - London Marathon 3:18:30 (Age 44)
2012 April - London Marathon 2:57:04 (Age 45)
2012 October - Chester 2:55:36 (Age 46)
2013 April - London Marathon 3:11:29 (Age 46)
2013 June - Cork Marathon 3:06:19 (Age 47)
2013 October - Budapest Marathon 2:58:53 (Age 47)
2013 December - Lancaster Marathon 2:54:17 (Age 47) (1st)
2013 December - Pisa Marathon 2:54:09 (Age 47)
2014 April - Manchester Marathon 2:51:52 (Age 47)
2014 April - London Marathon 2:57:52 (Age 47)
2014 June - Rhyl Marathon 2:58:24 (Age 48)
2014 October - Yorkshire Marathon 2:47:34 (Age 48)
2014 October - Dublin Marathon 2:58:53 (Age 48)
2014 November - Town Moor Marathon 2:54:56 (Age 48) (1st)
2015 March - Wrexham Marathon 2:48:12 (Age 48) (5th)

2015 April - London Marathon ??:??:?? (Age 48)

Marathon Building Blocks:

15th Feb: 18.6 miles @ 6:16/mile
22nd Feb: 10.0 miles @ 6:04/mile
28th Feb: 3.1 miles @ 5:48/mile
28th Feb: 3.1 miles @ 5:50/mile
1st March: 13.1 miles @ 6:24/mile
8th March: 26.21 miles @ 6:23/mile

Next week will see a couple more efforts at the weekend, the Podium 5k on Saturday evening followed by the Locke Park 20 miler in Redcar on Sunday. The latter is a 20 x 1 mile lap event using the same course as the Redcar parkrun, it should be an enjoyable event subject to the legs bouncing back from the marathon OK.

Monday, 2 March 2015

London Marathon 2015 (Week 4 of 12)

Week 4 of 12

Just a couple of months to go now to this year's London Marathon, the point when most people will be reaching peak mileage in their build ups. 

That wasn't quite the case for me this week as long working days resulted in overall mileage taking a bit of a dip but there will always be ebbs and flows in time available, a subject which is much more starkly highlighted in Helen Williams's blog this week .

So what did this week contain? As with previous weeks, a bunch of solid miles in the 8:00-9:00/mile range filled up the midweek runs and then the more testing stuff was tackled at the weekend.

The idea was to have a gentle parkrun and then have a good bash at the brilliantly organised Podium 5K on Saturday evening, hopefully with something around 17:20-17:30. However, this idea seemed a bit pointless with weather warnings of 30mph winds on Saturday evening, so York parkrun became a bit more of an effort than was originally intended.

The Podium venue at Colne in Lancashire was certainly windy on Saturday evening but not as bad as had been expected so in the end there were two good solid 5K efforts on Saturday as opposed to concentrating all efforts on one.

Sunday then saw a trip to the very enjoyable, but again very windy, Anglesey Half Marathon.

Week 4 (Mon 23rd Feb - Sun 1st March)

Mon 23/2: 10.0 Miles @ 8:55/mile
Tues 24/2:  8.0 Miles @ 8:36/mile
Weds 25/2:  10.0 Miles @ 8:54/mile
Thurs 26/2: 8.0 Miles @ 8:57/mile
Fri 27/2: 6.21 Miles @ 8:45/mile
Sat 28/2: 4.0 Miles (incl York parkrun 18:02 (3.1 miles @ 5:48/mile))
Sat 28/2: 4.0 Miles (incl Podium 5K 18:07 (3.1 miles @ 5:50/mile)
Sun 1/3: 14.0 Miles (incl Anglesey Half Marathon (28th) 1:23:51 @ 6:24/mile)

Total Mileage : 64.21 Miles

Sat 28th Feb - York parkrun (18:02)

As the York course consists of one and a half laps of the service road inside the Knavesmire racecourse it very much came down to judging your efforts against the wind. Hannah ran it much differently to how I tackled it but somehow we ended up crossing the line almost in synch. My dipping for the line techniques came up short once more :p 18:02 on a windy morning will do though :)

Sat 28th Feb - Podium 5k, Colne (18:08)

This is a new event which has been set up with no other aim than to provide an opportunity for everyone to have a crack at their 5K PBs in highly competitive racing conditions.

The course consists of 5 laps of an almost pan flat, smooth purpose built cycle track. Entry fees are minimal at £4 and to encourage some great racing at the front end entry is free for any sub 16 males or sub 18 females. 

It all makes for a great atmosphere for Saturday evening floodlit racing. Much credit I believe goes to Chris Barnes for getting this off the ground, along with Terry Lonergan's sponsorship.

My legs were feeling a bit weary for this one but 5K at 5:50 miling is still another good training input. The pic below was just after the start in the B race with Christina Singleton (189) in the middle, the photogenic Ian Ogden (149) in the red and gold and myself on the far side (195).

As an aside it is worth noting that as all the participants were lined up on the start line for this race, Hannah was nowhere to be seen. Apparently, a last minute realisation that she had forgotten to put on her sports bra resulted in some frenzied fumbling behind the shipping container followed by a breathless 200m sprint to join the rest of us at the start. She was ever so grateful that Chris had a few announcements before we got going :p

Sun 1st March - Anglesey Half Marathon (1:23:51)

Predicted winds of 25-30 mph seemed to be reality as we heard the wind whistling outside the hotel on Sunday morning. Battling the headwind to get to the car only served to confirm that this was not going to be a race to pay any attention to the resulting time, it was just going to be a morning to toughen up and get on with it.

Despite knowing that it was not going to be the most pleasant of conditions we couldn't help but be impressed by the scenic nature of the course as it followed an out and back course along the Holyhead coast, starting on the Menai Bridge.

The now customary Sue Gregson pre-race hug :)

The race itself was a game of two halves - getting to 6 miles in 36:36 (6:06/mile) was a good bit better than expected, especially after Saturday's efforts and the hilly nature of the course, but turning around to make the return journey presented a tougher challenge.

The remaining 7.1 miles took 47:15 (6:39/mile) but turned out to be a real confidence builder as the way the legs responded to both the strong winds and tough climbs was pretty good. Hannah made very similar comments at the end despite having real doubts about her fitness on hills beforehand.

An overall 13.1 miles at sub 2:48 marathon pace given the conditions was another good building block. Hannah took a more cautious approach to the first half and then spent the second half whittling away the gap between us. By the finish 1:24:22 was good enough to secure 2nd place and a place on the podium, a situation she finds embarrassing to say the least ;)

The Anglesey Half Marathon Ladies' 3-1-2, Jenny Clague (3rd 1:25:09 ), Lauren Jeska (1st 1:22:58), Hannah Oldroyd (1:24:22):

Marathon Building Blocks:

15th Feb: 18.6 miles @ 6:16/mile
22nd Feb: 10.0 miles @ 6:04/mile
28th Feb: 3.1 miles @ 5:48/mile
28th Feb: 3.1 miles @ 5:50/mile
1st March: 13.1 miles @ 6:24/mile

Week 5 will be interesting but for the time being remains fluid in nature!