Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Not bad for a marker......

Hook 6 (& if you are big enough - Hook 10) race report.

As `village fete` events goes this is one of the best - set in school grounds in the nice Hampshire village of Hook with BBQ going and all. I do enjoy this event – for the last two years I`ve favoured the 10 Mile race but this year I was back to the 6 mile and see if I could beat my 6M PB set in 2008 of...............51:12 (ok I was fairly confident of a PB)......

A bit of a late start (11.12) & I didn`t want to repeat the disaster of Maidenhead and warming up too close to the start so I got there early. I set off basically for one lap of the village as a warm up (just over 2M @ 9.20/m pace). Back to the car and after a bit of flaffing around I met up with Jock, Claire, Richard, Debby, Marie, Ray & not forgetting Luke from the club (who had the cheek to win the 6M race last year – yes a Cove Jogger winner)...and you wonder where the time goes before kick-off?? Dropped my bag in - nearly forgetting to change into my club vest...another warm up with Claire (0.5M @ 9.30/m) and made my way into start area. The 10 Milers went off 10 minutes or so before us. With a last minute chat to Luke on who he should look for we were off.

My race brief was simple - `Do not blow up` - I need to run these shorter distance event much better - Pacing is the key. I had written my 7:50 on my number to act as a guide. Plus this is the first of many short races for me. Also I wanted to make sure I kept a fairly short stride as I was wearing my racers. As we ran out of the school and onto the surrounding roads I was surprised on how many runners I was passing. My just after the mile I had sneaked up behind Claire. I gained a few places by not slowing down at the 1st water station – I had tried something new – basically I had a soaked sweatband on my wrist and used that to cool down esp. my lips as I was running – it seemed to work as it was quite refreshing. Anyway I try to pull Claire with my as we ran up the rise around 1.5M. I found the wind quite strong as we heading out of Hook & along the A30 (around the 2.5M point) – passed another water station – again gained a few places. Still taking it fairly steady – I was trying to shorten my stride and not land on my heels as I wearing my racers.

Just after mile 3 marker I was behind the 2nd lady & a fella, one of the many marshals said we were looking strong. The guy almost panted “Don`t feel like it” – I thought well I do, in fact I feel like a lion (!!!) and with that I kicked past them both looking for my next target in front. As we turned the corner I couldn`t understand why all of the runners in front ran along the left side of the road – I didn`t and I`m sure gained a few easy yards on the guy in front. I guess I could get him but I couldn`t see who was in front of him – I pushed the pace. Just after the 4M marker the lead car of the 10M went past (clock was showing 41.XX) – impressive. Back to my race we passed the water station – I grabbed out a hand – I wanted to throw it down the back of neck. I wanted to push hard up the rise at 5M – I was neck and neck with this guy....then I hit `traffic` – the back fun runners of 2.5M event. Through the narrow pavements of Hook – Matt King (10M) went past - another top 3 finish. Turned left and back towards the school – the guy in front had pulled away despite my going as fast as I could !!! Round the corner and into the finish straight and across the line. Hearing your name crossing the line is always good.

As I grabbed water I saw Luke and after I caught my breath back (after 5 mins) I told him that`s why I don`t these short races..however I was pleased with this one and as they say in darts – Good marker – bring on the BUPA 10,000 at the end of the month.

Yes near on a 5 minute PB & certainly a race of two halves (or halfs).

Caught up with Jock – who had won the 6M & claimed his 1st career win with an impressive time & course record (but I`m sure he will not have mentioned it) and Debby & Marie who both by admission didn`t have good 10M races – maybe this shorter stuff is the way to go................nah who am I kidding :)

Next up – well no surprise is the BUPA 10,000 on Bank Holiday Monday & the trip to the Lord Moon of the Mail .

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

The Good, Bad & the Beautiful.....

It`s been a while - so hello.

What have I been up to...well first I must mention the London marathon (the GOOD part).

My club is lucky enough to be asked to help out in the primary finishing area of London marathon - it`s the 2nd time I`ve helped out but it seemed more of an honour this time. There are a number of jobs within the primary area - Approach marshals, Hustler * (my job this time), 1st Aiders, Chip snippers, Medal Hangers, Chip cleaners, lost chip helpers....etc etc (I`m sure you do but please do thank these guys in your next race). Anyway we get there early (07:30) to get briefed up on any last minute changes & start to unpack & hang all the medals..... Shortly afterwards the different waves of mini-marathons runners (kids) come through. Then time for lunch (10.30 am), then comes the wheelchair athletes - there`s a right battle to come first - amazing to watch.

Then the elites - ladies first - we watch from just a few feet way just behind the press & applaud them in. Amazing how `fresh` they look - good to see Jo Pavey & Louise Damen - real shame about Liz. Then it`s the turn of men - it`s jaw dropping how quick these guys are.....then it`s mad panic as we have about 10 minutes to turn the barriers around & back in place, get into position if you are on the ramps, hang medals unto your arms as the fastest club runners come all the way through. It`s quite quiet and I manage to snap a few shots off & say hello to Ben, Andy & Chris. Around the 3.10 - 3.15 it`s getting busier and busier & by about 3.30 it`s forgot your friends just make sure the runners are filing through to the ramps making sure they are alright (you know what it`s like just after the line) - some are fine & need help big style - one lady politely said to me she was going to faint & gave me a time scale - she duly did and was helped by St John`s - bless her.

I did manage to see a couple of friends who were lucky enough to come through the same lane as I was hustling which was nice. Some amazing performances - it just underlines to me that anyone can do a marathon it just what time you want. I can write a novel about my day but let`s just round off by saying it`s amazing to be part of such an event.


Now the `BAD` part - my 10 mile race a week later - Maidenhead 10. A favourite of mine (ran it twice before), not only my favourite distance but it`s on Good Friday too. I get there a little bit late (for me) and go for a `warm up` - 3 miles but finish with about 15 mins to spare. My target time is 01:19 - I felt good (maybe too good) but by mile 5 I was blowing - at the 7 mile marker I was walking. I decided to save the legs for another day and let runners pass by & effectively jogged back - I did help & pull a few runners down the home straight & the numbers of Fetch there was good but it was a BAD day but popping down to see my sister in Yate helped out.


While I was down that way I went along to the first Bristol parkrun at Ashton Court - just have a look at the profile & mile split times - I would have cried if I`d seen the 1st mile split as I was running as fast as I could......


Yes a final mile split of 06:39 - my mile PB is 06:28 and I`m very happy with that - I do not need to go that fast....I was apologising to runners as I went past saying "sorry I cannot help it" - unreal & very odd going that fast but not working that hard - that was my 98th parkrun...

My 100th parkrun came round very quickly - only because of the Royal Wedding it meant I attended my 99th on the Friday at Frimley & 100th at my home park - Basingstoke - which was nice. I would say I`ve got an e-mail to prove it but that`s not actually the case :-/ anyway job done let`s look ahead for the 250th.....

The next day I was at the North Dorset Village Marathon - this was the BEAUTY part (yeah got them all in). Since the Lightning Run I had only done a couple of 15 milers - not enough to grab a time, nor was it the course as it was a bit lumpy.....all good for the Dartmoor Discovery (which I`ve since pulled out of). Anyway I looked at a target time of 04:22 (10 minute/ m). This event is in a beautiful part of the country - with some breath taking views - well I`m sure the hill that you run up gets you out of breath first but the views are just stunning & it`s good to run around the countryside. I loved the feeling of running long - a couple of hills in the last part of the course were not really necessary! I walked up the crest at 21 and slowed down towards the end but I guess that was the lack of the longer runs showing through. I did have the pleasure of running with Brian Mills at 18 miles - he was running his 777th marathon and was looking for a sub 04:30 (2nd marathon in 3 days) - even with me speeding up a bit I just managed to finish ahead of him.

All in all a great day out running at a great event with a bit of camping thrown in too.


Next up is the Hook 6 - an event I`m really looking forward too. My last 6 mile was this one back in 2008 - I need to beat a time of..........00:51:12 - yes I am quietly confident.

As for pulling out of the Dartmoor Discovery - I`m not too bad with that decision as I`m missing my long runs & my hill work so no regrets. It does clear the way for the 10Kms - BUPA 10,000, Yateley 10Km, Sam Run. I`ll still fit in a few long slow runs so I`m in shape for the Thunder Run - Come on you "Willy Wonkas" (full team name is "Willy Wonka is Dead") and maybe an ultra in July......