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Monday, 7 September 2015

Yorkshire Marathon 2015 (Week 7 of 12)

Week 7

Mon 31/8: (am) 4.0 miles @ 8:56/mile
Mon 31/8: (pm) 8.0 miles @ 8:36/mile
Tues 1/9: (am) 4.0 miles @ 9:02/mile
Tues 1/9: (pm) 4.0 miles @ 8:46/mile
Weds 2/9: (am) 4.0 miles @ 8:27/mile
Weds 2/9: (pm) 4.0 miles @ 8:15/mile
Thurs 3/9: (am) 4.0 miles @ 8:09/mile
Thurs 3/9: (pm) 4.0 miles @ 7:57/mile
Fri 4/9: (am) 4.0 miles @ 8:31/mile
Sat 5/9: 48.0 miles  St Albans Stampede 12 Hours - 96.0 miles 11:28:53 (7:11/mile) 1st Pair
Sun 6/9: 4.0 miles @ 9:47/mile

Total Weekly Mileage:  92.0 miles

The simple principle employed in our marathon build ups is to race lots and to ensure that racing covers a wide range of distances.

With that in mind, the last couple of weeks have involved going from one end of the scale, last Saturday's Leeds Golden Mile, to the complete opposite end this week with the inaugural St Albans Stampede 12 Hours Enduro.

We had never entered a 12 hour event before but did at least have the experience of the Adidas Thunder Run six weeks ago to call upon.

Saturday 5th Sept 2015 (9am) - St Albans Stampede Enduro

This was an inaugural event hosted by St Albans Striders and was therefore a relatively small event to get the fixture established. Nick Bradley and the team got the arrangements spot on with the race HQ, and camping space, being no more than a minute's walk from the Start/Finish area.

The course was a 4 mile loop set in the picturesque surroundings of Heartwood Forest, a Woodlands Trust site.This was coming up to the mile point on the course:

........ and this was in the woods at about the half way mark:

It was an undulating course split roughly 50/50 between grass and firm paths but for an off road course seemed to flow really well:

The changeover point which would be seen many times during the day:

The Approach

From our experience at Thunder Run we felt that when competing as a pair a course of only 4 miles was too short to employ a single lap strategy for too much of the event.

It is a trade off between not wanting the individual stints to be too long but, at the same time, not wanting the breaks to be too short when trying to refuel.

So we had an outline plan to complete a single lap each at the start to familiarise ourselves with the course and thereafter switch to doubles (8 miles) for the bulk of the event. We would then probably switch back to singles right at the end to round the event off.

Expectations were that lap times of 31-32 minutes would be doable and that we should be able to complete 22 laps with a possible bonus one at the end if things went well.

The Race

The first 6 Hours:

At Thunder Run we covered 14 x 10k laps (86.8 miles) in 11:46 in the first half of the event so there was at least some  basis to set expectations against. The pace at Thunder Run had been consistent at around 8:00/mile and didn't fall away as the hours ticked by so it seemed reasonable to expect that something around that pace was where we needed to be here at St Albans too.

The first and last half mile sections of each lap were uphill, which of course meant that on a double lap there would be a continuous 1 mile uphill climb, but nonetheless the course was more free flowing than that at Thunder Run.

At the end of the first lap the clock showed 26:27! 

6:38/mile, or 2:53 marathon pace, certainly wasn't going to be sustainable for 12 hours but we settled into a sustainable rhythm pretty quickly once the double laps started. 

After a few laps our average lap was being displayed on the race laptop at about 28:30-28:40 and although it looked a bit quick we were feeling in control through the first few hours. Interestingly, every double lap had a quicker 2nd lap than 1st as muscles warmed back up which confirmed the double lap strategy.

After 2 laps in 56:21 the leaderboard was showing us with a 7 minute lead which could of course mean one of two things, we could be doing well or we could have overcooked it in the early stages. The chances are that it was the latter considering it was still below 3:10 marathon pace.

On we went though ignoring the leaderboard and completed the first 12 laps in 5:43:16 (7:09/mile).

A check on the leaderboard now showed that the lead had grown a bit to 17 minutes. That sounds like a lot but can disintegrate so quickly if the going gets tough.

Apparently I was quite enjoying myself :)

The second 6 hours:

It is surprising how quickly the hours pass by once settled into a routine.

There were ebbs and flows for both of us in terms of energy levels but the pace remained consistent in the same narrow band of lap times as the next 3-4 hours ticked away.

There was a friendly face (and waggy tail) waiting to greet us on the completion of each lap:

Because the laps were mostly below 30 minutes our target was slowly moving upwards from the initial 22 laps to more like 24 laps. It even seemed like 25 laps was possible if we needed to add another one on the end.

However, once we had completed 22 laps the lead had grown enough to be comfortable to set the stall out for one final single lap each (to keep things nice and even) and then enjoy a celebratory Guinness on the Finish line regardless of whether there was plenty time left.

My final lap, the 23rd, was still in daylight but by the time Hannah started the final 24th lap it was pitch black and unfortunately the headtorch malfunctioned. How she still ran a similar time is a mystery!

By 11 hours, 28 minutes and 53 seconds we were done with 96 miles in the bag and quite surprised at how well it had all gone.

The 2nd batch of 12 laps had taken 5:45:37 compared to 5:43:16 for the first 12 laps and it would have been even closer if it hadn't been for that headtorch issue on the final lap.

The overall pace for the 96 miles was around 3:07 marathon pace give or take, which is a good bit swifter than the 3:30 ish pace that we were expecting.

A good day all round :)

If anyone fancies it for next year we would highly recommend it. 

The Stats

The raw stats were as follows:

1. 26:27 Steve
2. 28:54 Hannah
3. 28:57 Steve
4. 28:04 Steve
5. 29:35 Hannah
6. 28:26 Hannah
7. 28:52 Steve
8. 27:42 Steve
9. 29:58 Hannah
10. 28:39 Hannah
11. 29:03 Steve
12. 27:39 Steve
13. 28:56 Hannah
14. 27:40 Hannah
15. 29:13 Steve
16. 28:27 Steve
17. 28:29 Hannah
18. 27:36 Hannah
19. 30:17 Steve
20. 28:53 Steve
21. 28:48 Hannah
22. 28:28 Hannah
23. 28:06 Steve
24. 30:44 Hannah

1st 48 miles (12 laps) - 5:43:16 (7:09/mile)
2nd 48 miles (12 laps) - 5:45:37 (7:12/mile)

The Run Report

This was the run report by Race Director, Nick Bradley, a very complimentary chap :)

The very appropriate bottle opener presented on the Finish line:

The race HQ:

Marathon Building Blocks (getting a bit long now but this is the year in a nutshell once all the slow short runs are removed) :

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)
4th April: 3.1 miles @ 6:00/mile
12th April: 26.21 miles @ 6:35/mile
18th April: 3.1 miles @ 5:40/mile
19th April: 5.8 miles @ 6:04/mile
26th April: 26.21 miles @ 6:32/mile
4th May: 26.21 miles @ 6:40/mile
6th May: 3.1 miles @ 5:36/mile
10th May: 13.1 miles @ 6:15/mile
13th May: 3.1 miles @ 5:36/mile
16th May: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
17th May: 13.1 miles @ 6:03/mile
20th May: 3.1 miles @ 5:37/mile
23rd May: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
24th May: 1.0 mile @ 5:07/mile
30th May: 26.21 miles @ 6:37/mile
6th Jun: 3.1 miles @ 5:58/mile
7th Jun: 13.1 miles @ 6:05/mile
10th Jun: 10.0 miles @ 6:20/mile
13th Jun: 3.1 miles @ 5:50/mile
14th Jun: 13.1 miles @ 6:02/mile
20th Jun: 3.1 miles @ 5:54/mile
20th Jun: 3.1 miles @ 5:40/mile
21st Jun: 6.21 miles @ 6:31/mile
25th Jun: 10.0 miles @ 5:57/mile
26th Jun: 13.1 miles @ 6:11/mile
27th Jun: 3.1 miles @ 5:57/mile
27th Jun: 6.21 miles @ 6:15/mile
28th Jun: 6.21 miles @ 6:42/mile
1st Jul: 1.0 miles @ 5:11/mile
5th Jul: 26.21 miles @ 6:35/mile
9th Jul: 3.1 miles @ 5:50/mile
11th Jul: 3.1 miles @ 5:54/mile
12th Jul: 3.1 miles @ 5:50/mile
18th Jul: 3.1 miles @ 5:57/mile
18th Jul: 6.21 miles @ 5:43/mile
19th Jul: 13.1 miles @ 6:15/mile
22nd Jul: 2.75 miles @ 5:50/mile
25th/26th Jul: 62.1 miles @ 8:00/mile
1st Aug: 3.1 miles @ 5:54/mile
1st Aug: 3.1 miles @ 6:47/mile
1st Aug: 6.21 miles @ 6:24/mile
2nd Aug: 13.1 miles @ 6:34/mile
6th Aug: 3.1 miles @ 5:49/mile
8th Aug: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
9th Aug: 5.0 miles @ 5:57/mile
15th Aug: 3.1 miles @ 5:40/mile
16th Aug: 10.0 miles @ 6:00/mile
22nd Aug: 3.1 miles @ 5:52/mile
22nd Aug: 10.0 miles @ 6:15/mile
23rd Aug: 6.5 miles @ 6:19/mile
29th Aug: 1.0 miles @ 5:05/mile
30th Aug: 6.21 miles @ 5:58/mile
5th Sept: 48.0 miles @ 7:11/mile

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 - Canberra ACT Marathon 2:52:10 (Age 48) (15th)
2015 April - London Marathon 2:50:55 (Age 48)
2015 May - Belfast City Marathon 2:54:54 (Age 48) 
2015 May - Kent Roadrunner Marathon 2:53:34 (Age 49) (4th)
2015 July - Potteries Marathon 2:52:40 (Age 49) (6th)

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