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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 !!!!






Wednesday, 29 April 2015

London Marathon (Week 12 of 12) - Race Week

London Marathon Race Week


The final week of the 2015 London Marathon build up started with us still 15,000km away in Perth enjoying 30c temperatures. Since most London Marathons are a bit of a struggle due to a sudden unexpected heatwave on marathon weekend then we might just be at an advantage this time around, already being acclimatised to such conditions. Or then again .......



Week 12

Mon 20/4: 3.1 miles @ 8:50/mile Joondalup parkrun
Mon 20/4: 3.1 miles @ 8:51/mile Carine Glades parkrun
Tues 21/4: Rest Day - Flight from Oz
Weds 22/4: 6.6 miles @ 8:59/mile Bingley
Thurs 23/4: 3.1 miles @ 9:07/mile Bngley
Fri 24/4: 6.21 miles @ 9:06/mile Leeds Liverpool Canal
Sat 25/4: 4.0 miles incl. Market Harborough parkrun 20:42 (3.1 miles @ 6:41/mile)
Sun 26/4: 26.21 miles London Marathon 2:50:55 (26.21 miles @ 6:32/mile)

Total Mileage - 52.3 miles




Mon 20th April - Joondalup parkrun, Neil Hawkins Park

As the flights home were on Monday evening there was still time for another couple of new parkrun courses (making a total of 24 Australian parkrun courses visited over the 5 weeks).

About 12 miles north of Perth, Joondalup was first up. By this stage of the holiday it had become almost an expectation that the next venue would be set in breathtaking scenery, and sure enough Joondalup also delivered the goods:








After a second Freedom parkrun at Carine Glades it was time to set off for home.

Following a stop over in Doha, the final leg took a surprising route up the Arabian Gulf and into Iraq, flying over Baghdad and Mosul. Apparently Virgin, Air France and Emirates, amongst others, view flying over Iraq as too dangerous.

Apparently this is due a belief that ISIS militants in Iraq have possession of Syrian supplied weapons capable of reaching planes at 30,000ft+, so it was an interesting choice of route to say the least!



Saturday 25th April - Market Harborough inaugural parkrun (20:42)

The choice of pre-marathon parkrun venue wasn't made until we were nearly there but it turned out to be a very good choice. Wellands Park is quite small but works really well as a parkrun venue.

Unfortunately events were overshadowed by a medical emergency shortly into the run but the response of the new team at Market Harborough, the parkrun ambassadors Julie and Mark Thompson and the emergency services was exemplary. 




Saturday 25th April  - Carb Time

For the pre-race meal we met up with the remarkably calm Kerri French about to tackle her first marathon, Dean Allaway and  Stu Wallace fresh from his 3:05:04 PB at Manchester last week. 

Just to put that in context, since 2010 Stu's marathon times have progressed as follows : 

6:01:30, 5:05:48, 3:57:39, 3:17:02, 3:10:25 and now 3:05:04.





VMLM 2015 - The Race

As can be seen from below, our preparations for warm weather conditions were not fully utilised:




VMLM 2015 - The Race

The first priority as the race got under way was to get warmed up. It wasn't clear whether it was just down to being a shock to the system after the last 5 weeks or simply that it was actually bloody freezing but in the minutes before the start uncontrolled teeth clattering set in!

0-10k (39:59) (Hannah 40:48)

Anyway, after getting some initial warmth going it was a case of just relaxing into the early stages and ignoring the ridiculous frantic barging and jostling at unsustainable speeds that goes on at VMLM. 

The roll out down to Cutty Sark at 10K is an easy start to a marathon and is a chance to get everything warmed up without straining anything.

By now the 'tick over' speed had been established and gave an indication of how well recovered the legs were from Canberra 14 days ago.

Anything around 4:00/km was fine as that is 2:48:xx pace and would provide a solid base for launching a PB attempt later in proceedings. 39:59 couldn't be much closer to 4:00/km.


10k-20k (39:58) (Hannah 40:08)

20k is in the middle of Tower Bridge. Constant effort through this section will generally lead to going backwards a good few places as the Tower Bridge Surge takes effect.

This is where the overwhelming wall of noise and encouragement on the bridge can easily lead runners, especially first timers, into subconsciously lifting the tempo and getting carried away with the atmosphere.

It is still relatively early days so keeping it all nice and calm was the aim. Again, 4:00/km seemed to be bang on the default pace.



20k-30k (39:49) (Hannah 39:53)

The next 10k section loops around Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs.

It was feeling a good bit more relaxed than previous years through this section with emptier roads. It made sense once that I had realised that, although the pace was in line with the last few marathons, it was actually a good bit quicker than any of the previous runs around London.

Being about 10 mins ahead of previous London efforts makes a very big difference to the density of runners and so I was really enjoying being able to flow through this section relatively unobstructed compared to previous years.


30k-40k (41:19) (Hannah 40:20)

30k is usually the point where an initial sense of some kind of finishing time is established. 

Based on the very stable 2:48:xx pace up to this point there seemed like a good chance of pushing that into 2:47 or possibly 2:46 territory. Obviously, things can still change dramatically but those were the general thoughts going into the last 12k.

Through the next 5k, ie 18.6-21.7 miles, it was good to feel how strong the legs were feeling as this was likely to be where any lingering effects from Canberra were going to show up.

All was well until between 23-24 miles a general feeling of queasiness started to appear. It wasn't that bad and felt like something which would just pass but it needed a bit of easing back to help it sort itself out.

By 25 miles it hadn't got any worse but nor had it sorted itself out. This meant that even if it did now clear up, the chances of pushing on to a time in PB territory had now gone. Nonetheless, a controlled run down Birdcage Walk and into the Mall was still going to give a pretty decent time for the 3rd marathon in 7 weeks.

The picture below is at about 25 miles (in black to the right of the pic) and shows a face concentrating on trying to stop things getting messy :p

Over to the left of the picture in the red, white and blue Hannah is just about to come up alongside. A quick calculation suggested that even though I had slowed a bit over the last couple of miles, it was only by a minute or so and as such Hannah was probably going well into PB territory, 2:52:10 being the target.




40k-42.2k (9:50) (Hannah 8:58)

Hannah was able to push on well over the final 2.2k to land a 2:50:07 PB and 26th place. Not bad at all :)

Meanwhile, 2:50:55 for myself represented a triumph over the queasiness. However, when a finish line marshall immediately came over and squeezed around my stomach he got quite a frosty reception. Luckily Hannah was on hand to apologise on my behalf as I skulked off to recover in a corner.


Finish (2:50:55) (Hannah 2:50:07)



The Splits:






Other selected performances:

Julia Belyavin had a superb run to crack 2:50 for the first time with 2:49:39. After spending what seemed like an eternity doing battle with, before finally conquering, the 3 hour barrier she has now leapt forward a further 10 minutes with confidence:



This was Julia and Hannah in the same picture at about 25 miles:



Possibly the performance of the day goes to Lee Smith. After being hit by a car midweek he must have been doubtful even to make the start line.

However, after being rebuilt in true Steve Austen style he went on to smash his PB from Abingdon last year by 4 minutes with 2:43:39.


Here he is in the orange of Barnsley Harriers almost looking like an athlete ;)



And how did Kerri French get on with her first attempt at conquering the marathon? I'll let her tell you herself:

https://kezzabumpkinscanrun.wordpress.com/2015/04/28/well-i-only-went-and-did-it/




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)



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



Discussion Points:

Jumping back to the start of the 12 week blog, this was 'The Plan':


The Plan

As with previous build ups the plan is to keep things simple and relaxed. This means a good volume of slow mileage with no particular interest in what the actual pace is, just that it is relaxed. In practice this usually means that the bulk of mileage will be somewhere in the range 8:00-9:00/mile.

The other main ingredient is to race regularly with the emphasis on varying the distances from 5k - Marathon. So, even though this is a 12 week build up to London there will be another marathon, and possibly two, in the meantime along with races at 20 miles, 30k, 2 x HMs, 2 x 10 miles and plenty shorter races/parkruns.

The basic principle of 'run plenty miles and run a few of them a bit quicker' is complicated enough for me and has provided some brilliantly enjoyable experiences over the last couple of years.

Some people may think that this is very unscientific and probably sub optimal. They may well be correct but it really doesn't matter, what does matter is that it is a thoroughly enjoyable way to get a lot of varied and memorable experiences from this running lark :)



The Results:

'We are all an experiment of one' is an oft quoted, and very true, maxim.

However, as Hannah and myself are usually pretty closely matched and have the same training inputs that old maxim can justifiably be changed to 'an experiment of two'.

So, the last 12 weeks have produced the following marathons:

Hannah- 2:52:40 (1st), 2:54:26 (2nd), 2:50:07

Me- 2:48:10 (5th), 2:52:10 (15th), 2:50:55

The fascinating thing is that I couldn't have dreamt of running three marathons at those sort of times within a 7 week period training as per conventional training plans.




The Training

To summarise the last 12 weeks:

1. LSRs - 0
2. Interval Sessions - 0
3. Midweek runs faster than 8:00/mile - 0

The simple approach of slow, shortish runs midweek coupled with lots of racing at all distances has produced much more controlled marathon performances. 

Also, racing marathons more regularly has been a revelation in terms of how the body recovers. Twelve successive sub 3s in the last 18 months is way beyond what I thought was possible in such a short period. Going into a marathon now two weeks after the previous one feels more comfortable than previously when it may have been 6 months since the last one.

50 or so marathons gone and still lots to learn :)

Next

The next marathon lined up is in 5 weeks time, The Kent Roadrunner Marathon ........ that is unless something else comes up in the meantime!





Monday, 20 April 2015

London Marathon 2015 (Week 11 of 12)

Week 11

Week 11 was the penultimate week before the London Marathon but it was also, of course, a marathon recovery week after Canberra last Sunday. 

This actually made things quite straightforward with the emphasis on getting as much protein into the diet as was practicable whilst at the same time keeping runs short and slow to give the muscles and connective tissues a fighting chance of recovering full strength relatively quickly.

This was also our last full week in Australia so there was still plenty exploring still to do, especially after flying over to Perth on Monday, providing a whole new playground to run amok in :)

After 8 relatively short and easy mid week runs, the weekend consisted of a parkrun at Dawesville, about 40-50 miles south of Perth, on Saturday and a Gallipoli Remembrance 10k at King's Park in the centre of Perth on Sunday. The combination of the two would give a good idea how the muscles were coming along.




Mon 13/4: 3.1 miles @ 9:02/mile 28:01 Bowral parkrun Freedom (Bong Bong Common)
Tues 14/4: 6.21 miles @ 9:13/mile incl Claisbroke Cove parkrun Freedom
Weds 15/4: 4.0 miles @ 8:16/mile Heirrison Island parkrun Freedom
Weds 15/4 7.0 miles @ 8:30/mile Kings Park, Perth
Thurs 16/4 4.0 miles @ 8:47/mile incl Claisbroke Cove parkrun Freedom
Thurs 16/4 12.0 miles @ 9:00/mile Caversham to Perth
Fri 17/4 3.1 miles @ 8:57/mile Bibra Lakes parkrun Freedom
Fri 17/4 3.1 miles @ 8:40/mile Rockingham parkrun Freedom
Sat 18/4 4.0 miles incl Dawesville parkrun 17:39 (3.1 miles @5:40/mile)
Sat 18/4 3.1 miles @ 8:18/mile Canning River parkrun Freedom
Sun 19/4 7.0 incl Bankwest Gallipoli 10k 35:15 (5.8 miles @6:04/mile)
Sun 19/4 3.1 miles @ 8:32/mile Cottisloe parkrun Freedom 


Total Mileage - 59.7 miles


Monday 13th April - Bowral parkrun Freedom (Bong Bong Common)

The first post marathon run was a visit to Bong Bong Common on the trip up from Canberra to Sydney to have a look at the Bowral parkrun course. To be fair, even if there hadn't been a parkrun course there we would probably have been unable to resist running around a place with a name like that:






Wednesday 15th April - Heirrison Island parkrun Freedom

Wednesday morning involved a short run out to Heirrison Island, a parkrun venue with a difference.

Just across the road from the famous WACA cricket ground, Heirrison Island offers a chance to run  a parkrun with an audience of kangaroos. There's not much chance of them joining in though, 5k is far too energetic for their liking:










Wednesday 15th April - King's Park, Perth

Later in the day a 7 mile run around King's Park next to the city centre convinced us that we wanted to enter the 10k Gallipoli run that was due to be held here on Sunday. The phrase 'stunning setting' has been much used in the last few weeks but it would be difficult for anyone to argue that this wasn't one:




Thursday 16th April - Caversham to Perth

Thursday involved a bus trip out to Caversham Nature Reserve and then running the 12 miles back into Perth. 

The main discovery of the day was that kangaroos and Labradors have plenty in common. 'Please tickle my chest, Mr Human ........'



Friday 17th April - Rockingham parkrun Freedom

Rockingham must provide the ultimate in parkrun PB potential!

A flat, fast out and back course with the added bonus of snakes loitering on either side of the path. What more incentive could you need to get a shift on? :p







Saturday 18th April - Dawesville parkrun (17:39)

So, 6 days after the Canberra Marathon and the first opportunity to give the legs a bit of a test.

Surprise, surprise .... out pops the fastest parkrun of the year with a 5:40/mile 17:39 clocking. Then again, it may not be as much of a surprise as it first appears since the previous fastest parkrun of the year was a 17:54 at Melton Mowbray, which was 6 days after Wrexham Marathon.

This tends to suggest that upping the frequency of marathons has dramatically improved the recovery rate, especially of fast twitch fibres. In years gone by the next parkrun following a marathon tended to be a real struggle and a good minute or more slower than usual.....

In terms of unique features, Dawesville had dolphins in the bay next to the start/finish line breakfasting on the local fish stocks. Where else do you get that?




Sunday 18th April - Bank West Gallipoli 10K Run, King's Park, Perth (35:14 (13th))

ANZAC day is the biggest national day of the year in Australia, a day with commemorates the landings at Gallipoli in the WW1 and this year it is going to be bigger than ever due to being the 100th anniversary.

There will be no parkruns in Australia next Saturday (25th) to make way for all the early morning events taking place.

The 10k run in King's Park on Sunday was also part of the ANZAC remembrance events. It turned out to be a tough hilly course and was undoubtedly short, being about 5.8 miles, but that was of little interest once we started to learn of the background of the young man in the picture below with Hannah.

This is John Gilmour, a 96 year old ex POW, held by the Japanese for three years before returning to Fremantle after the war severely malnourished, blind and weighing about 40kg.

Despite the punishment his body had been through he became a legendary distance runner in Australia. He currently holds numerous age group world records including running a 1:17 half marathon as a V65. A bit of Googling and his story keeps getting more fascinating ....



Sunday 18th April - Cottisloe parkrun Freedom

As the Gallipoli 10k event kicked off at 7am, it was all over by 8am.

So another spot of Freedom parkrunning down the coast at Cottisloe, which held it's inaugural the day before, before an afternoon soaking up the sun down on the beach and then a spot of Mancester Marathon tracking down in Fremantle. At least that was the plan but the tracker seemed to get all it's bits and bytes in a bit of a knot and spewed out a pile of nonsense for most of the race.

Nonetheless, big congratulations go to stand out performances for:

Kelvin Dickinson 2:43:08
Steve Middleton 2:42:54
Ben Hartley 2:58:06
Keith Littlewood 2:50:02
Tony Aimon 2:52:27
Mark Ramsey 3:45:43
Chris Singleton 2:33:15
Christina Singleton 2:58:46

PBs all round except Kelvin who was a mere minute or so off :)




London Marathon next week ..........

So, how are things shaping up for London? With a near enough 24 hour flight between now and then it is difficult to tell. 

On the plus side, the marathon building blocks below look solid enough and the recovery from Canberra seems to have been pretty swift from the evidence so far but it won't really become too clear how well recovered until somewhere around the Isle Of Dogs next Sunday.

The Red Lion awaits .........


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