London marathon blog – month 4
Week 13: Monday was a complete right off as I far to hungover to function so it was straight in to Champagne League on Tuesday night, having missed last year due to injury I’m hoping to do all 10 races this year along with the Summer league as I really enjoy Tuesday night racing. First CL race is at the Humber Bridge country park for an out & back which is just short of 4 miles. As I warmed up the legs still felt heavy from the 20 but thought a quick blast would sort them out. It was looking like a strong head wind on the way out but it seemed to die down a little as we started, the first mile was pretty rapid & I was unsure whether I could maintain this having not done a lot of speed work lately, with CoH legend Steve Rennie just in front of me I tried to cling on to him as best I could, a slight back wind after the turnaround point made maintaining the pace a little easier. I finished in a time of 25.23 not my best time on that route but definitely something to build on. Wednesday morning I did a 5k recovery run which going forward will be the plan after Tuesday night races. Hill race – one of my favourites in the racing calendar, conditions were a lot better than when I had ran the route a couple of weeks ago however after the rain it was going to be boggy in parts. Whilst I don’t do all the work for the winter league it was really pleasing to get a record turnout for this. As for the race I was I keen to the beat the handicap time I had set for myself 🙂 one thing I noticed from this race I was really struggling on the hills & was having a yo-yo battle with Mark from Barton & unattached runner Frances Harrison they were both killing on the hills but I was making time back up on the downhill & flat section. Approaching the bottom of devils staircase in good time I knew a good run was on, the staircase never gets any easier but it’s always a good recovery after you reach the top before the final three climbs of the race. Making my way to the top of spout hill Angela Alsop told me not to get ‘chicked’ so I took Frances in the woods….. The last section is mostly downhill so I powered on hoping to get a course PB, really pleased to take over a minute off my best time recording a time of 56.38. Saturday morning 5k loosener was a struggle but felt better for doing it. I was conscious of keeping my miles to pretty similar to the previous week so decided on doing 13 miles around Sproatley, Swine & back down the track. The plan was to aim around 6.55 to 7.00 minute miles which is somewhere around what I want for the opening 15/16 miles at London, I felt good all the way around & ended up averaging 6.57’s
Total miles – 33.4 miles
Week 14: Crapping hell only three weeks to go!!!!!!! Relatively happy my mileage over the last two weeks & just hoping I’ve done enough, the races have been coming thick & fast lately & this week is no exception with champagne league, winter league finale & a late entry in to the Baildon Boundary Way Half Marathon courtesy of Rich Alsop. This weeks champagne league took us to North Cave & after a deluge of rain before the start the choice of trainers was the big issue of the day been the idiot I am I chose road trainers & after quarter of a mile I went arse over tit thankfully nothing serious other than a grazed knee. Having tried to catch everyone up in the first mile the last three were a struggle but still ended up with a similar time to previous years. Thursday night brought this years winter league campaign to an end, another really good turnout at Paull with all those in contention turning up. I felt a little sluggish all the way round & finished around a minute off my predicted time, having missed most of last years races it was good to complete 5 only missing 2 due to been in Amsterdam & Barcelona. With not having much in the legs at Paull, I made Friday a rest day & waking up on Saturday feeling much better I decided to go to Hull parkrun to join in with the birthday celebrations. First mile felt good so I tagged along with Lee Alcock, we’ve had some good battles over the years so was great to be going toe to toe again. Once the marathon is out the way the plan is operation speed for the summer 10k’s & so was happy to get 19 minutes which is something to build on. Baildon Boundary Way Half Marathon – As I mentioned above I took Rich Alsop’s number for this race, not knowing much about it apart from it been off road & hilly however my plan was to do between 13 & 15 miles so this fitted in good. The race started at 9.30am so it meant an early set off to to get West Yorkshire, I’ve arrived to early but not Tony Cross early….. Anyway I collected number & made the short walk to the start & at 9.30am we were off, not wanting any mishaps this close to London I chose to enjoy it rather than race it however after the first mile I knew it was going to hard race anyway as the first hill kicked in, conditions were very boggy in parts & lots of standing water along the tracks. I settled in to a comfortable pace as we weaved along either side of the Leeds to Liverpool canal paths along the route there was some stunning views. At around 10 miles the big hill kicked & I found myself very fatigued so started walking / running to recover, the ground at this point was very rocky so was extra careful where I was landing my feet. A nice downhill section followed once I’d made my way out of the woods so it was more good recovery time before the last hill of the day. I had no real expectations of time so to finish in 1 hour 46 minutes I was fairly happy & came 37th out of 337, it’s a tough course but a great route, the toughness is explained by the fact only two runners went sub 90 minutes.
Total miles – 28.2 miles
Week 15: With less than 2 weeks to go it was time to taper off a little, I’m still a little worried I haven’t done enough long runs however a few niggling issues have at times prevented this. Tuesday night brought the third race in this years Champagne League at Beverley Westwood & a favourite of mine…. Not !!!!! For some reason I’ve never enjoyed this race but it’s only a short one so over fairly quick. Arriving at the Westwood conditions didn’t look brilliant coupled with the fog that has descended, having got some bonus points at the last race in North Cave I was hungry for more points. A foggy evening greeted us & ground conditions a little moist & muddy. Warming up the legs felt a sluggish after Sunday’s race so wasn’t sure how I was going to fair, at 7pm we were off the first mile was tough going up the hill to start off with but I settled in to comfortable pace trying to keep my yellow jerseys rivals in sight, finished with a time 23.38 which I was fairly happy with. Thursday night I went out the squad for the last long / paced run before the marathon, managed to hang on for about 8 miles just couldn’t stick with the pace for the last 2 miles. Sunday morning I ran the East Park 4 route just to get the weekly miles above 20 for the week.
Total miles – 20.2 miles
Week 16: London Marathon week….. The last 15 weeks seemed to have flown by but marathon week is here. Tuesday night was the start of the summer league & I was in two minds whether to run or not but decided on running without getting sucked in to a race battle, however the first mile I went off too fast as per usual so I reigned it in hoping to average around 6.30’s for the 5 mile route. I finished with a time of 32.34 which I was happy with only 5 days to go before the big one. Thursday, the plan was a steady 5k in the morning however i opted to go out with the lads in the evening running the Boxing Day 10k route to get use to running in the heat as it was going to be scorchio on Sunday in London, that’s all the training done the only thing left is the 26.2 ish miles around London – London Marathon 2018 – waking up early on Saturday the thoughts were have I done enough, are my toe nails short enough, have I packed everything & most importantly could I look after Vinny for the weekend… arriving in London just after lunchtime we headed to the hotel to drop our bags off before heading to the expo to collect our numbers & timing chip. The expo was rammed & we nearly lost Vinny a couple of times so we told him to stay close by…. A bit of carb loading with my fellow Harriers in the evening followed by a couple of drinks to settle the nerves before getting an early night. A good nights sleep was had despite been woken up by Vinny at around midnight as he had forgotten our room number. I made my way to kings cross to meet the lads & we headed to blackheath station, we arrived at blackheath around 8am so had a couple of hours to kill before the race started, even at this time I could tell it was going to be a warm one so applied plenty of sun lotion, me & TC chilled out for a bit before putting our bags in the lorry & we headed to our start zones. I was zone 2 & could see the start line from where I was so thought I be able to get a decent start. At 10am we was off, this is it, this is where the last 16 weeks have brought me. I hadn’t pressurised myself that much about a time but was aiming around 3.10. I crossed the timing mat & was under way I managed to get a decent start with just a bit of weaving around the first mile came in at 6.50 which was a touch sharp but I wanted to bank a bit of time for later much like I did in the 20 race. I got to the 5k point in 21.23 & felt good, settling down a little I tried to keep the miles at around 7.10 to give me a chance of getting 3.10. The next 20k I managed to maintain pretty consistent pacing averaging around 4.25 per kilometre. By this time though the heat was starting to take its toll on people & plenty were walking this is something I didn’t want to do. The atmosphere around the course was electric especially around Cutty Sark & Tower Bridge, reaching 30k in 2 hours 18 minutes I was started to flag a little myself & for the last 12.5k my pace started to drop, by this point I realised 3.10 wasn’t on so just needed to dig deep & limit the losses. Seeing my friend at 2 points towards the end was a massive boost, then as I reached the final mile I could hear my name shouted out by the awesome foursome – Katie, Jen, Neil & Shaun I tried to whip the crowd up & make it look like my running form was good & not in a world of pain!!!! Making my way past Buckingham Palace the end was in sight, I crossed the line 3:20.38 which was slightly disappointing but given the heat it wasn’t that shabby at all & was 20 minutes quicker than I did at Yorkshire 4 years ago. Some much needed rehydration was had afterwards & great night with the Harriers as always. I am very grateful & also honoured to receive the club place to run London, some cracking performances in tough conditions but most notably from Mike Hargreaves who ran 2:29, an amazing time & a good advert for the club. It’s been a tough last 18 months or so but this year has started good with PB’s in 10k, 10 miles, half marathon & marathon. I still have issues with my back as I write this but it’s managing them as best I can so I can compete.
Total miles: 38.6 miles