Posts Tagged ‘Wokingham Half Marathon

21
Feb
11

a kick in the rear

The more I had time to reflect on the personal performance debacle that was the Wokingham Half Marathon, the more unhappy I became. How could I have been so stupid as to forget to eat enough prior to the race, couldn’t I have just kept pushing instead of admitting defeat etcetera, etcetera…
By midweek, I could take no more of my constant internal nagging, so pulled on my running shoes and headed out of the door for a quick 10k. I was angry and I had something to prove to myself. I followed my familiar riverside 10k route. I wanted it to be fast enough to erase my doubts that still lurked from the weekend. I tried not to look at my watch too much. At around 5k, I did glance at the time and the imaginary deadline that I had secretly set myself seemed acheivable, so with a new lease of life pushed on. It turned out to be one of the fastest 10k training runs I have done in a long time. Faster than my pb from the BUPA 10,000 2 years ago.
So it was with these thoughts in my head that I set off for 16kms on Sunday morning… this wasn’t planned to be fast, simply steady and about the same distance as I managed to run before spectacularly hitting the wall the previous weekend. It was steady and I finished still feeling relatively fresh.
Both of which were exactly what I needed both physically and psychologically. I have a bit of my drive back so have signed up for this years BUPA 10k… if I got a pb there 2 years ago, I think it’s about time I got another.

Soundtrack to this post: Coil – Who By Fire

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14
Feb
11

wokingham half marathon race report 2011 – only myself to blame

It was overcast, wet and windy and 10 minutes before the race was due to start I was still in the slow moving queue for the toilets whilst the the stern voice on the tannoy asked “runners to make their way to the start… NOW!”. Even as the race started, I was busy handing my hoodie over to Mrs Hauling My Carcass, whilst a cheer went up as the front runners set off behind us. Not the dream start to the race I had hoped for but, as Hauling My Carcass and I are never going to appear in the “Elite” section of the starting pen, we were at least able to loiter at the sidelines before merging into the steady stream of runners at what we felt was the appropriate point for a 2 hour expected finish.
I’d planned to run the race with music but ran alongside Hauling My Carcass for the first mile, albeit in my own little world complete with specially compliled soundtrack, and then let him drift ahead as we settled into our respective paces. I was completely focussed on the ground 3-4 metres in front of me, content to let my mind wander. I hardly noticed my surroundings as we zigzagged our way through the Berkshire countryside past fields and across bridges over motorways. The first few miles drifted past quite easily and I was pleased to note that I was a little under 56mins as I passed the 6 mile mark. I fell into step with a fellow runner at this point and we (subliminally) kept each other company for the next couple of miles, running in time, taking turns to pick our way past other competitors before settling back and again running alongside each other. Then at around 8 miles, I just began to flag. I felt it happen and knew exactly what it was. I had eaten breakfast at 7a.m…. a little espresso and some toast, knowing that I would eat again about an hour before the race. Except somewhere between arriving in Wokingham that morning and hurriedly ditching my clothes and bag and joining the already in progress race, I forgot. So with 5 miles to go and 4 and a half hours since I’d last eaten, I felt I’d used up what little sustenance I had and was going to have to complete the rest of the race, effectively on empty. Reluctantly, I decided to take it easy, taking on water at the water stations and to slow to a walk if I felt like I was fading. Marshalls, spectators and fellow runners were very supportive and willed me on with shouts of encouragement and pats on the back whenever I stopped to walk. The last couple of miles were a push and I was relieved when I crossed the line in 2:12:42. (Oddly, earlier today when checking my official time on the website, there is a 25 sec differential between my watch time and the chip time. I know my watch time is correct so I’m sticking with that even though it makes me appear even slower). I reckon with a little training, there’s 10 minutes to be had off that time. And I’ve got 4 weeks until City-Pier-City in The Hague… Hmmmm…
I met with a (very cold and wet) Hauling My Carcass and was grateful for the free coffee supplied by the race organisers. A few minutes later when Mrs HMC appeared, I devoured my banana, ate half of Mrs HMC’s carob and seed bar and suddenly began to feel human again.
The weather was rotten and my SNAFU with food took some of the shine off, but, timing strangeness aside, I cannot fault the organisation, marshalling and support.

Soundtrack to this post: Little Richard – Long Tall Sally

07
Feb
11

black sunday

Everyone has their off-days. Days where, for whatever reason, it just doesn’t happen. Sunday was mine. I was supposed to run approximately 10 miles as my final long training run for next week’s Wokingham Half Marathon. But didn’t.

I won’t bore you with the details of how I set off in a different direction to my usual routes and how, after about 4kms, I was a little bit lost so stopped to get my bearings. It wouldn’t be very interesting for you to hear how that one brief stop was the beginning of a lack of enthusiasm about the entire run and how the next few kilometres were begrudgingly ground out. You probably don’t want to hear of how, once I knew where I was again, I punished myself for not giving it my all by including into my route a short but very steep lung-busting hill and then reluctantly looped back round towards home to find that I had come up about 3kms short of my intended distance. No-one would be interested to know that I was so disillusioned (not to mention cold and wind-swept) by this point that I couldn’t summon the will to add on a final loop to bring it up to 16kms. So I won’t mention any of it.

Instead I’ll point you in the direction of this – Christopher McDougall, author of Born To Run, giving a great, inspiring talk

According to his blog, he will be speaking at the TEDGlobal in Edinburgh in July. I don’t think it matters whether you agree with the Barefoot Running movement, I hope that whilst he is over, he is able to schedule a few more dates around the UK as he seems a very eloquent and interesting speaker. I’m sure it would be great to get along and see him.

Soundtrack to this post: Horace Andy – Just Say Who

31
Jan
11

up and up

Midweek, I dug out the VFF’s and set off for a little early morning 5k run. No problem, I hear you mutter but, as I haven’t used the VFF’s for a number of months (too cold/slippery for something so minimal), my calves and right ankle were complaining after a couple of km and I decided to forego Fridays planned 10k evening plod as the calves were still tender. Which left only my Sunday Long Run… and the last big run before the Wokingham Half Marathon.
A few runners I know think it is weird that I have the desire to “run the distance before I run the distance” – but basically I will run an equal distance to that of the upcoming event as a training run a few weeks before I actually attempt the race. I have never seen this in any training regime and it is probably medically and biomechanically foolish but I find it helps boost confidence. In my mind, I know that I can complete the distance and can use that as a stick to beat myself with motivation on race day. Adding insult to injury, I had in my head a route – a route that I had cycled last year with Hauling My Carcass as part of our “preparation” for the London To Brighton Cycle Ride. I remember this portion of the route being approximately 12-15 miles with a couple of hills so I thought it over Saturday evening and decided that I would get up on Sunday and tackle it.
The first few kms were hard but familiar as I followed my normal routes and begun to warm up. At little over 5k, rather than begin the loop back home, I veered off and so began the succession of long, slow hills. And suddenly the footpaths disappeared leaving me to run in the road with cars racing past just inches from my elbows.
The hills went on for so long that they began to feel normal, like it had always been this much of a slog to run. The upside to this was that as soon as the ground levelled out, I felt like it was taking no effort at all to propel myself. Running downhill felt like I was positively flying. The last few kilometres, although flat, were mentally hard and made harder by coming up half a kilometre short of my intended Half Marathon Distance so an annoying little loop was tagged on the end. It wasn’t fast (2:14:13) but there were some impromptu stops to dive out of the way of oncoming traffic or work out where I was in relation to the route I should have been taking and the length of the inclines (some were 2-3kms long) meant that I arrived home tired but reasonably pleased with what I acheived.

Fortunately, that afternoon was SonNumberOnes birthday party so the rest of the day was spent “refuelling” on fruit juice and birthday cake.

Soundtrack to this post: The Jim Jones Revue – Elemental




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