Total Pageviews

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Kent Roadrunner Marathon - Race Week (Week 4 of 4)

Week 4 - Race Week



Mon 25/5: 6.21 miles @ 8:53/mile
Tues 26/5: 3.1 miles @ 9:42/mile
Weds 27/5: 6.21 miles @ 8:43/mile
Thurs 28/5: 4.0 miles @ 9:00/mile
Fri 29/5: 4.0 miles @ 9:00/mile
Sat 30/5: 27.0 miles incl Kent Roadrunner Marathon (4th) 2:53:34 (26.21 miles @ 6:37/mile)
Sun 31/5: 4.5 miles @ 9:01/mile

Total Mileage - 55.02 miles




So race day arrived for what promised to be a race with an abundance of eccentricity - cow themed, mid race showboating arena, free beer, the hugest medals in history and a record field of 400+, half of whom were wearing the eye catching Roadrunner vests.


Sat 30th May - Kent Roadrunner Marathon 2:53:34 - 4th (Hannah 2:53:44 - 5th )

The scene was set - 17 laps (minus a little bit) of the 2.49km Gravesend Cyclopark was the mission:




All tense and nervous awaiting the start :



At 9am on Saturday morning, otherwise known as parkrun time, off we went:



The early pacesetters included Simon Newton in about 4th resplendent in his Union Jack Roadrunner vest:


The Race

In terms of pacing this marathon the benchmark was that 10 minute laps (9:30 for the slightly shorter first lap) would lead to an overall time of 2:49:30. The idea was to use the clock at the end of each lap primarily as a lap counter but also to compare against the benchmark of 9:30, 19:30, 29:30, 39:30 etc to get a rough idea of likely finishing time.

This was Radio 2/Radio 5Live's Vassos Alexandra who was very complimentary about my cow head :)



The course is a game of two halves, one side of the Cyclopark being downhill and the other, yep you've guessed it, all uphill. It is probably an 800 metre or so climb on each lap and is not an insignificant climb at that. For some reason though it seems to flow quite well.

The laps ticked away at just over 10 minutes for the first ten laps and then drifted a little towards 10:25-10:30 as the heat noticeably increased in the later laps, giving a finishing time of 2:53:34.

The unique nature of this event though is that there is always something of interest going on around you, from Elaine Brassngton's attempt to complete her first marathon to Simon Newton attempting to win his first marathon (both of whom were successful by the way).

Meanwhile I spent the race being chased by a fast cow:




Simon bringing it home for the sweet taste of marathon victory in 2:40:42 and setting a new course record into the bargain:




The unusual nature of this event meant that you had no idea of what position you were in and it really didn't matter. As many said on the day, it is just one big social outing with a bit of a mad professor type Race Director :)

From lap 2 onwards the 400 or so runners are spread all the way round the 2.49km circuit and it is very difficult to know who is on which lap. This probably is the feature that goes a long way to giving this event it's 'inclusive' tag. It doesn't matter what your aim/target you will feel just as much an integral part of the race as anyone else.


My own gut feeling was that my finishing position was maybe 7th or 8th but it turned out to be a pleasantly surprising 4th. Because of the sea of Union Jack Roadrunner vests and the equally ubiquitous cow themed silliness/nonsense I had no idea where Hannah was on the course.

But yet again it couldn't have been closer, a mere 10 seconds in it as she crossed the line in a new course record of 2:53:45 - and that is despite her doing a cartwheel in the showboating zone mid race.

I'm not sure that she quite gets the concepts of 'efficient running form' and 'racing line' :p

(Evidence supplied by Ian Berry):



A cartwheel in the 2nd half of a marathon? I ask you! If only she'd take this game seriously ;) :p

Class photobombing of the Ladies' Winner :)





Hannah and Simon with their huuuuge trophies and heavy bling:




Here we are with Race Director Ian Berry who couldn't take the smile of his face all day long, even when grovelling around on the course picking up discarded rubber bands :p

Two interesting things about this pic -

1. By far the most interesting of course is the amazing randomly generated numbers ;)

2. In the first 5 months of this year the 3 bods in the pic below have already completed a combined 16 marathons, all of which have been sub 3 - 

Hannah (5) 2:50-2:57
Ian (6) 2:44-2:52
Steve (5) 2:48-2:54

There may just be something in this regular marathons idea, something I would have dismissed out of hand a couple of years ago!





Is this an event to be recommended?

Absolutely not! It's rubbish from start to finish and the race director is a miserable sod into the bargain.

More to the point, all the discounted first 100 entries have already been snapped up for 2016 ..... and I haven't entered yet! So if you're half tempted to enter next year's event - don't! Well, not just yet anyway ;)



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)
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




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)


Next:

The next marathon will be the Potteries Marathon in 5 weeks, followed by the Yorkshire Marathon in 19 weeks. There will probably be another one in the meantime but they will be a bit more spaced out than the recent ones.

As the next build up will be pretty much a re-run of this build up to Roadrunner it probably won't be blogged but will resume for Yorkshire.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Kent Roadrunner Marathon (Week 3 of 4)

Week 3


Week 3 of 4

Mon 18/5: 4.0 Miles @ 8:46/mile
Mon 18/5: 6.21 Miles @ 8:44/mile
Tues 19/5: 4.0 Miles @ 9:21/mile
Tues 19/5: 8.0 Miles @ 8:54/mile
Weds 20/5: 4.0 Miles @ 9:32/mile
Weds 20/5: 4.0 Miles incl John Carr 5k 17:31 (3.1 Miles @ 5:37/mile)
Thurs 21/5: 6.21 Miles @ 8:57/mile
Fri 22/5: 4.0 Miles @ 9:08/mile
Fri 22/5: 6.21 Miles @ 8:44/mile
Sat 23/5: 4.0 Miles incl Market Harborough parkrun 17:54 (3.1 Miles @ 5:45/mile)
Sat 23/5: 3.5 Miles @ 8:38/mile
Sun 24/5: 2.0 Miles incl Bupa Westminster Mile 5:07

Total Mileage - 56.13 Miles




The penultimate week before Kent Roadrunner was very much about getting stuck into some slightly quicker stuff.

With 2 half marathons and 3 marathons in the previous 6 weeks a bit of leg sharpening wasn't going to be any bad thing, that is as long as nothing broke or fell off in the process of course!

First up was the final race in the 3-part John Carr 5k series:



Wednesday 20th June - John Carr 5k Race 3 17:31 (Hannah 18:04)


As can be seen from the start line below, a pair of well sharpened elbows don't go amiss in the frantic early stages of the John Carr races.

Standing on the start line this week it didn't  feel as though there was much chance of getting anywhere near the 17:27 clockings of the first two races, so to see 17:31 at the end was a pleasant surprise.

Hannah's 18:04 took the overall series win but the First Lady on the night was none other than Susan Partridge, the UK's No.1 marathon runner in both 2013 and 2014.




The best thing about the John Carr races is that Guinness is served at very competitive rates no more than 20 metres from the finishing line :)

But just to ensure that full rehydration is achieved speedily the nice people at Saltaire Striders also give you one of these :






Saturday 23rd June - Market Harborough parkrun 17:54 (Hannah 18:33)


Saturday saw a return to Market Harborough parkrun, last visited on the way down to the London Marathon 4 weeks ago.

17:54 on what is a tight, twisty course felt like a good effort.



And here was Hannah pulling out all the stops in an effort to win the least coordinated outfit award:








Sunday 24th June - Bupa Westminster Mile 5:07 and a bit (Hannah 5:07 and an ever so slightly smaller bit)


The big event of the week this week was the Bupa Westminster Mile, which starts in The Mall, roughly at the same point as the London Marathon finishing line, and finishes in front of Buckingham Palace.

The start line:



..... and an eager bunch of parkrunners waiting to get under way:



We haven't done anything shorter than 5k for months but past experience has often led to very, very close finishes between Hannah and myself over a mile. 

Of course it could be considered that she blatantly cheats by the very fact of being younger, oh and quicker, but I'd hate to be accused of making excuses ;)


The Race -

600 metres to go:

Up until this point I had no idea who was sitting right behind me but it soon became clear when Hannah made her first kick for home.

So the gauntlet was thrown down. 

The best tactics now must surely be to sit and wait and go for a mad surge at the end, right? Erm, but I'm sure I had promised myself some time ago never to get into a closing stages battle against the Oldroyd kick again! Oh well, in for a penny and all that ............





50 metres to go:

Here we were after turning the final corner and not an inch was being given :



..... and with 25m to go:



........ and across the line not having a clue who had got there first!

But looking a bit more closely one numpty made the schoolboy error of putting the chip on the wrong shoe ...... and therein the seeds of my defeat were sown :p

Just look at those shorts:



What is amazing is that some bloke in another heat managed to get a time that that placed him between the two of us!

Anyway, times of 5:07 and 5:07 represented road mile PBs for both of us, so the battle to the finish line delivered the goods :)

And considering the fact that the Female British Championship Mile was won in 4:39 by Rachel Bamford on the same course a few minutes later, 5:07 for a Guinness Swilling, marathon running, Alfette Tupperware is not too shabby at all :)


All happy, smiling faces after the finish (pic courtesy of James Lampert) - James Lampert, Hannah Oldroyd, Steve Darby, Paul Sinton-Hewitt, Danny Norman, Matt Lambourne





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)
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



Next Week:

With such a short build up for this one, we are already into the taper week, and with Kent Roadrunner being at 9am on Saturday morning quite a short taper week it is too.

It will simply be a week of alternating 5ks and 10ks at the usual 8:00/mile +, a very relaxed week and then 17 laps of the Gravesend Cyclopark, which is not at all flat. In fact, it is decidedly lumpy so getting the pacing right will be as important as ever.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Kent Roadrunner Marathon 2015 (Week 2 of 4)





Week 2 of 4

Mon 11/5: 4.0 Miles @ 8:46/mile
Mon 11/5: 4.0 Miles @ 8:38/mile
Tues 12/5: 4.0 Miles @ 8:39/mile
Tues 12/5: 6.21 Miles @ 8:27/mile
Weds 13/5: 4.0 Miles @ 8:57/mile
Weds 13/5: 4.0 Miles incl John Carr 5k 17:27 (3.1 miles @ 5:36/mile)
Thurs 14/5: 4.0 Miles @ 8:53/mile
Thurs 14/5: 10.0 Miles @ 8:32/mile
Fri 15/5: 4.0 Miles @ 9:00/mile
Fri 15/5: 6.21 Miles @ 8:25/mile
Sat 16/5: 4.0 Miles incl Perry Hall parkrun 17:53 (3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile)
Sun 17/5: 14.0 Miles incl Chester Half Marathon 1:19:21 (13.1 miles @ 6:03/mile)
Sun 17/5: 3.1 Miles @ 8:31/mile


Total Mileage - 71.52 Miles



With this week being only the second week post Belfast marathon it was going to be interesting to see how things would hold together during what would be the nearest thing to a 'normal' week, ie 70+ miles with 3 decent efforts in the mix.



Weds 13th May - John Carr 5K Race 2 17:27 (Hannah 17:46)

It was good to see another 17:27 clocking in race 2, exactly the same time as race 1. 

The Race 1 effort has since been declared invalid due to a short course, so this represented a bit of an improvement on the week before and certainly felt better, so good news all round on the marathon recovery front.

As it is only a couple of weeks to the Kent Roadrunner marathon, Hannah took the opportunity to give the rather noticeable Roadrunner marathon vest an airing:




The Roadrunner supremo, Ian Berry, saw this and commented that the vest made Hannah look taller than usual so someone decided that it may be a good idea for me to have one too to elongate my appearance.

All well and good but how was I to know that this package was for me when it arrived? :





Sat 16th May - Perry Hall parkrun 17:53 (Hannah 18:10)


Another encouraging effort came out of the visit to Perry Hall parkrun on Saturday, the venue for this year's parkrun ambassadors get together:







Sunday 17th May - Chester Half Marathon 1:19:21 (Hannah 1:20:20)


As usual with the ambassador's event, Saturday evening rolls into Sunday morning. On this occasion the last Guinness was being consumed close to 2am.

As a result, there were no great expectations for the Chester Half Marathon starting at 9am.




0-10 miles 1:00:34 (Hannah 1:01:55)

It took a little bit of effort to get going in the early stages due to the previous evening's shenanigans but slowly but surely the race started to flow quite nicely.

1:00:34 at 10 miles compared to 1:02:01 a week earlier in the Leeds HM. Even taking into account the easier terrain this still felt a lot stronger reflecting the difference between being 13 days post-marathon to being just 6 days post-marathon at Leeds.

But how would the final 5k hold up? 


10-13.1 Miles 1:19:21 (Hannah 1:20:20)

At Leeds the final 5K took 19:52 and felt like wearing lead boots.

One week on and the legs were happy to get stuck into this last section with a fair degree of enthusiasm. The result was 18:47 despite a stiff climb in the final mile and an improvement in placing from 43rd to 33rd.

This meant that the first 10 miles had averaged 6:03/mile and the final 5K had also averaged 6:03/mile.

First thoughts were that there couldn't be much, if any, residual marathon effect left if the legs could bounce along like that for 13 miles. Happy days :)

Further confirmation of those thoughts came very swiftly!



Hannah's Race

Hannah went through 5 miles and 10 miles (1:01:55) quicker than her previous PBs for those distances, an average of 6:11/mile for those first 10 miles.

It would have been no surprise if the last 5K had been something of a struggle after that. However, there was now a race on and an attempt to chase down Rachel Cave in 2nd.


The Checkpoint Standings:

10K:
Hannah 38:09 (81st/4th female)
Rachel 37:00 (52nd/2nd female)

10 Miles: 
Hannah 1:01:55 (71st/3rd female)
Rachel 1:01:21 (59th/2nd female)

Finish:
Hannah 1:20:20 (52nd/2nd female) 
Rachel 1:20:35 (57th/3rd female)



Rachel had a strong finish to cover the last 5k in 19:14 (6:11/mile). 

But Hannah had a target in front of her and somehow pulled out an uphill final 5k of 18:25! In other words she had accelerated to 5:56/mile or 1:17:xx half marathon pace.


Where was the marathon fatigue?



Tracking Data:





1Teresiah OmosaUnattached1:15:37
2Hannah OldroydUKnetrunner.co.UK1:20:23
3Rachel CaveHigham Harriers AC1:20:35


The ladies podium - Rachel Cave, Teresiah Omosa, Hannah Oldroyd:







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)
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




Next Week :

As the penultimate week before Kent Roadrunner Marathon the aim will be to get another 70+ mile week in with 3 shorter efforts - 

1. John Carr 5k Race 3

2. A parkrun

3. The Westminster Mile on Sunday.

It is always an interesting experience to shock the body with a flat out mile. Hopefully it will be marginally quicker than when running much of the same route at the end of this year's London Marathon!








Monday, 11 May 2015

Kent Roadrunner Marathon 2015 (Week 1 of 4)


The intention was to blog for the 12 weeks up to London and then give it a rest for a while on the basis that you can only post 'more of the same' type stuff for so long before eye lids start to droop.


However, with the next marathon build up being a very short one, it might provide a bit of interest to see how well things can bounce back, or otherwise, after the 3 marathons in 4 weeks.

So this is what the next one is all about, the Kent Roadrunner medal. This was the medal on display at the London Marathon Expo, it is large and chunky so a few neck strengthening exercises may have to be built into this next 4 weeks.





Week 1 of 4

Mon 4/5: 27.0 Miles incl  Belfast City Marathon 2:54:54 (28th) (26.21 miles @ 6:40/mile)
Tues 5/5: 4.0 Miles @ 9:31/mile
Weds 6/5: 4.0 Miles incl John Carr 5k 17:27 (3.1 miles @ 5:36/mile)
Thurs 7/5: 8.0 Miles @ 9:01/mile
Fri 8/5: 8.0 Miles @ 9:04/mile
Sat 9/5: 4.0 Miles incl Bradford parkrun 18:29 (3.1 miles @ 5:57/mile)
Sat 9/5: 4.0 Miles @ 9:31/mile
Sun 10/5: 14.0 Miles incl. Leeds Half Marathon 1:21:53 (13.1 miles @ 6:15/mile)

Total Mileage - 73.0 Miles



Monday 4th April - Belfast City Marathon 2:54:54 (28th)

This event was covered in the last post so the question now turns to how hard is it going to be to recover from the combination of Canberra, London and Belfast marathons in the last 4 weeks?

(Thanks to Terry Lonergan for the photographic artwork)




Wednesday 6th May - John Carr 5k Race 1 (17:27)

The John Carr 5k races are a series of 3 events in successive weeks organised by Saltaire Striders at Esholt (where the original Emmerdale Farm was filmed).

With the first race falling just 2 days after Belfast Marathon it promised to be quite an ouchey affair. It had to be approached cautiously, at least early on, just in case.

But, surprisingly, it felt pretty much untroubled from the start and resulted in an equalling of the road 5k PB of 17:27, exactly the same as the time at Podium 5k a few weeks ago.

Was this a fluke of some sort? Well, Hannah also had the same experience and clocked a new PB of 17:34.

Clearly if you were actually targeting a 5k PB you wouldn't plan to run a marathon 2 days before, or 3 in the 4 weeks before, so what happened here? It isn't as if 5k is a rarely run distance, we race loads of them. Maybe, just maybe, it is actually the perfect build up for attempting a 5k PB but not many people are daft enough to try racing a 5k just two days after a marathon to find out?

Who knows? 

It was a pleasant surprise anyway so a celebratory pint of Guinness was had with Tony Streams of Reading Road Runners:



Sunday 10th May - Leeds Half Marathon (1:21:53)

There was no intention to run this race until Wednesday, ie after we had seen how the legs had coped with the John Carr 5k. 

As entries were still open we joined the other 9,000 or so entrants for this challenging course:


From the elevation profile, the approach had to be similar to Belfast six days earlier, ie a very cautious first half followed by a push in the second half. However, even with a cautious start there was no expectation of much of a push being available towards the end.

0-10 miles (1:02:01)

All the main lumpiness was in the first 10 miles so to see a time of 62 minutes was good. A time like that for a flat 10 miler in perfect conditions in the same week as a marathon would have been pleasing enough, so this was a good sign that marathon recovery was progressing pretty well.

10-13.1 miles (1:21:53)

It was always going to be this last 5k that was likely to be a struggle and, sure enough, that is how it turned out. There wasn't too much in the way of falling apart but there was just no ability to push on, a case of letting the remaining distance pass by rather than attacking it.

It felt heavy legged, so to see that the time for the last 5k was 19:52 was not bad at all.


Turning around after finishing, I first saw this (a rather exuberant John Robson enjoying his day :) ) :


..... and then this:




So, not only had Hannah held together ok after a very unconventional week, she had actually won the 2015 Leeds Half Marathon in a time of 1:23:13 :)



This was Roslyn Holmes (Eadie), Hannah, Lord Mayor David Congreve and Nicola Gleadall:



As Hannah credits the fact that she is running at all to Chris and Tracey Healey and the Airedale Dodgers, a hospital based running group at Airedale General, it was good to see the vest getting plenty publicity on Sunday.

And here they were post race leading us astray again ;)





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)
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




Next Week:

As things stand at the moment the week is likely to include the 2nd race in the John Carr 5k series on Wednesday, Perry Hall parkrun on Saturday and Chester Half Marathon on Sunday. 

Hopefully a total of 70+ miles with the rest being made up of the usual lazy stuff :)






Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Belfast City Marathon 2015

After completing London it seemed like a nice time gap to the next marathon, ie 5 weeks before Kent Roadrunner. That sort of gap gives time to recover, get another 2-3 weeks of good mileage in and regain full strength again before lining up to face 26.2 miles once more.

Great in theory. The fly in the ointment came when at some point on Monday it was mentioned that Belfast City Marathon was only 7 days away and it was on a Bank Holiday. Hmmmm. The usual sense check of 'if it still seems like a good idea in the morning then ...... ' was put in place.

It still seemed like a really bad idea the next morning so I have no idea how we ended up entered and on our way to Belfast.


Week 1 of 1

Mon 27/4: 3.1 miles (no time) Dulwich parkun Freedom
Tues 28/4: 3.1 miles @ 9:43/mile
Tues 28/4: 6.21 miles @ 8:23/mile
Weds 29/4: 6.21 miles @ 9:33/mile
Thurs 30/4: 3.1 miles @ 9:25/mile
Fri 1/5: 5.6 miles @ 8:31/mile
Sat 2/5: 4.0 miles incl Wilmslow parkrun (3.1 miles @ 6:45/mile)
Sun 3/5: 3.1 miles @ 8:52/mile Bangor parkrun Freedom

Total Mileage - 30.42 miles

Mon 4/5: 26.21 miles @ 6:40/mile Belfast City Marathon 2:54:54 (28th/2nd V45)



Mon 27th April:

First things first and a trip to Dulwich Park to start working the London Marathon out of the legs.

We were joined by Dean Allaway and Kerri French, still basking in the afterglow of her first marathon completion.



The rest of the week was the usual running at whatever pace felt comfortable. 

The only aim was to get some blood flow going to promote any repair work without straining too much. By consuming plenty of protein as well, hopefully a week would be enough to get the majority of any lost muscle strength back. Time would tell ......



Sat 2nd May - Wilmslow parkrun (20:58)

Even though the parkrun was two days before Belfast rather than the usual day before situation it was still important to keep the effort level to no higher than the equivalent of what the first 5k at Belfast was going to be.

This was a lesson learnt last October when putting a full effort in at Castlebar parkrun two days before Dublin Marathon, the price was paid in the closing stages of the marathon.





Mon 4th May - Belfast City Marathon (2:54:54)

On the Saturday evening we had stayed in Cushendall, which is about 35 miles north of Belfast. That evening in Cushendall had winds reaching 40mph so it is was great to wake up on marathon morning and see that the forecasts had been correct, sunny with just a mild breeze.


The scene around City Hall in the centre of Belfast a few minutes before the 9am start:




As can be seen from the route map, the course has been designed to take in most areas around Belfast. Previous years have seen the route changed to something flatter but apparently this hillier version was reinstated by popular request as it was deemed to give the race more character.

Roughly speaking it was going to be generally uphill to 15 miles and then any headwinds would be encountered on the way back into the city after 17 miles. We had a rough idea of the area already but decided to have a drive around the course on Sunday evening. This turned out to be a very good move.




The Race:

0-10 miles (1:07:06)

There was going to be no heroics trying to push the pace along in the first 10 miles knowing the course layout.

An undulating 5 mile loop took us out to the City Airport and then back into the city centre before heading up the Falls Road and around the various residential areas.

Around the Crumlin Road area at 8.5 miles the course goes through what is now referred to as the Peace Line. A large explosive device was discovered around this point on Friday night but such is the resolve of the Belfast people that you would never know, it was strictly business as usual.

A sign of just how welcoming people were was summed up by a sign outside one house saying 'Marathon Runners - You are most welcome to come in and use our bathroom facilities'. Nice touch.

This picture was just after running through the Peace Line taken by Mark Ramsey. I was really enjoying myself here but mindful that there was probably 6 miles of climbing still to do:


And this was Hannah smiling along at the same point:




10 Miles - Halfway (1:27:47)

20:40 for the 5k between 10 miles and halfway felt like a real confidence booster.

Usually a good solid mid marathon 5k is around the 20:00 mark but this section had been mostly up the incline of Antrim Road while trying to be cautious so 20:40 while regularly gaining places seemed pretty good.


Halfway - 20 Miles (2:13:13)

The second 10 miles had been roughly 4 miles uphill, 1.5 miles downhill and then 4.5 miles flat along the banks of the River Lagan into a variable headwind.

The first 10 had taken 1:07:06, followed by the second 10 in 1:06:07.

Considering that all the tough stuff (terrain wise) was now out of the way and the legs and energy levels were feeling pretty perky, I was quite looking forward to tackling the last 10k to see if it was all going to hold together better than last week.

20 Miles - The Finish (2:54:54)

With the way things were feeling at 20 miles it felt reasonable to have a go at running the last 10k in 40:00 (ie 2:48 marathon pace).

This may have been on the cards if, as expected, the final section was flat. However, a mile long uphill drag up to 25 miles took the edge off the finishing pace. It didn't matter though, feeling strong and still gaining places was quite a surprise 7 days after London. And it was sunny so there was a real feel good factor to the closing stages.

A negative split of 1:27:47, 1:27:07 was definitely a direct result of the drive around the course on Sunday evening and turned 52nd place at halfway into 28th place by the finish line.

It was an unexpected pleasure to be immediately greeted, and be presented with the finisher's medal, by the lovely Mags Mathieson:




And ever the multi tasker, Mags also doubled up as finish line photographer:



For the first time in several marathons the course had no switchback points and therefore I had no idea how Hannah had been getting on.

Three elite women had already finished and shortly after crossing the line it looked like there were several women in the the short finishing straight all together. This could be very entertaining as each place was worth quite a bit of prize money.

First in was Sharon Barlow competing in her first marathon to record 2:56:57 for 4th place:



Then, just 17 seconds behind Sharon there was an eyeballs out sprint taking place between Hannah and Teresa McCluskey-Duffy, a battle that Hannah finally won by 2 seconds to take 5th place.

Little did we know at the time but Teresa was the former Northern Ireland record holder and Commonwealth Games marathoner, narrowly missing out on a medal at the Manchester Commonwealth Games :



The 7th place lady was just a mere 8 seconds further back, followed shortly afterwards by the 2014 Yorkshire Marathon Winner Shona Fletcher.

This image of Shona and Hannah was captured by the BBC and used as one of their selected images in their news coverage of the event: 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-32573187






The amazing thing about the outcome of this race, considering it hadn't even been on the radar 6 days earlier, is that it looks like both of us have ended up with the biggest prizes ever won from running. For my part that is more a reflection that I've never won 'owt .... but still welcome :)




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) 



Next .............

The next marathon will be Kent Roadrunner in 4 weeks time. There is Zero, zilch, 0% chance of any other marathon just happening to get squeezed in in the meantime !!!!