Thursday, 22 September 2011

Great balls of fire..............

My Great North weekend....

It`s the Great North weekend - which is something I have planned since early January - flights, accommodation, day plan, car parking etc etc. Normally I fly up from Heathrow T5 on the Saturday afternoon after racing around Bedfont parkrun in the morning but this year I booked up a Friday afternoon flight - meaning I could give the Newcastle parkrun a bit of a go (so the `different event / location` rule of a sub 23 mins run applied).

When I arrived in Newcastle it was so different to the sunny & warm conditions I have just left down South - raining & with skies of solid dark clouds - but as the metro station is linked to the airport it wasn`t much of a problem. I had already booked the Travelodge for the Saturday & Sunday night (an amazing deal - read a mammoth error on their side - of £1.00 per night) & thought is was best I didn`t disturb that deal. So I booked in a hotel in Osbourne Road (1.2M away from the parkrun), which despite getting soaked in the evening (forgotten a brolly) was OK - had amazing fish & chips from Jesmond Hotel & Brassiere & had a fairly early night.

Jesmond Hotel

Up and about early on Saturday & breakfast came in the form of a pot `Oats So Simple` & black coffee and checked out before 7.30 am. I had left my main bag there so I only had my small rucksack with me - I found the underpass, a quick scoot around the band stand & the old museum and out unto the Town Moor where I met the famous Town Moor cows in my warm up (2.7M in 27 mins). A quick chat with Kelly & 154 Rob, Pestomum & 2 Flat Feet we made our way to the start. Newcastle parkrun is a flat course, mainly on solid path with a small section of hard trail & a couple of gate (which are nicely held open) - so my goal of sub 23 mins.

I didn`t want to look at the mile bleeps so I thought if I looked at the Km markers I`ll be able to work out if I was slowing down too much....good plan eh.... 1st Km = 4:14....... 2nd Km = 8:33.......3rd Km = 13:16 (I had slowed down - what are the chances of that)....... 4th Km = thank goodness I had only 1 more Km to go - lets give it some - come on I can see the finish flag & no runner is getting past me......... 5 Km = finished & why am I not on the floor being sick???

An incredible time of 22:14 - my fastest 5 Km since I think April 2010 & only 21 seconds away from my PB (& I still managed to say hello to the kind marshals out on the course). Afterwards I managed a quick word with Tom Williams (of Marathon Talk) & out for a cool down (i.e. run to the coffee shop with Kelly - who managed a super time of 19:49). Had coffee & grabbed my bag from the hotel & made my way to Newcastle...

Race data;

Split Summary
1) - 1m - 6:53(6:53/m) - 126cal
2) - 1m - 7:28(7:28/m) - 131cal
3) - 1m - 7:33(7:33/m) - 130cal
4) - 0.06m - 21(5:37/m) - 7cal

Pace Zone Summary

Pace Zone: 6:00-6:19/mile: 2.7%
Pace Zone: 6:20-6:39/mile: 7.6%
Pace Zone: 6:40-6:59/mile: 24.6%
Pace Zone: 7:00-7:19/mile: 25.4%
Pace Zone: 7:20-7:39/mile: 18.8%
Pace Zone: 7:40-7:59/mile: 10.3%
Pace Zone: 8:00-8:19/mile: 3.6%
Pace Zone: 8:20-8:39/mile: 1.8%

I got to the hotel early & managed to check without fuss & after a quick shower & change I made my way (basically opposite the hotel) to the Quayside to watch the City Games - Mo is super quick - then a quick wander over to the Expo. Dinner was not as exciting as the previous night but I did have a walk down by the Tyne.

Morning of the race day I was up quite early (4.00am) - opps - but at least I wasn`t rushed. Again breakfast was oh so simple with coffee. I do like running through the streets before everyone else at a big race - time to enjoy the peace and quiet. I made my way to the starting area and looked back up the dual carriageway - it was so empty.

I grabbed a drink started to people watch - some of their faces were real pictures - talk about shock and awe. I made my way down to our footbridge & met up with MrSJ for a pre-race chat. As time moved on other arrived too - Mandie, Steve, RLTW, Stringy, James & Emily, Dasher Dart & GP (I`m sure others were there too). Just after the start of the wheel chair race I made my excuses and made my way though to my pen (B - same as last year). I must of started a bit more towards the back of the pen this year - as I crossed the line in just over two minutes. (I did also high five Mo).

My race plan wasn`t too clear in my head - I just wanted to have a good feeling afterwards knowing I had run well - no PB or not even a course PB (if there such a thing) or even close but just a good run would do. I had gone down the left (apparently the fun side) - Mile 1 = steady I resisted the fast first mile routine, 2nd, 3rd & the 4th Mile I steadied the ship. Now at this point I had a plan - I tried to run 8.00/m at the New Forest 10 in July & failed at mile 8 so I thought "right let`s try again.....but without taking gels or water" Mile 5 I seemed to get boxed in a lot (what a rookie !!). Mile 6, 7 & 8 I put my foot down a bit - looking at the profile it is the downhill section. Mile 9 & 10 - I slowed down as I knew all about the uphill part. Just after John Reid Road I saw MrSj - he was doing really well (he too had move over to the `fun side`) - he said he was dying - I just said `"die at the end as there`s more medics around". I`m sure he said something I cannot type but did say Jovi Runner was just ahead. At this stage the rain which was quite gently before came pouring down - which I must say was quite nice. I saw Jovi Runner in front and just after after the last roundabout I said "Come on" and pushed on.

I wanted to re-live that thought I has a couple of weeks ago - running down the last mile in a great mood, high five`s all round & sprinted towards & through the finish.

Now as I came past the 200 sign & towards the line the finishing area marshals decided to open up the far hand lane - and so it was just me and this other runner to go through first. As we got closer we sped up, closer & closer, faster & faster - as we got unto the grass we were shoulder to shoulder - I was living that dream. Side by side we neared the finishing line...despite it not getting any closer.

The finish line did of course come but I think the other guy was half a shoe in front. We crossed the line & shook hands - see photos & more importantly the video - I met with Jovi Runner & MrSJ (ok I was too knackered to move after that finish) & after 6 attempt in different buses I found my bag & made my way to the pub.

Marathon Photos Link

Was I pleased with my run - then yes I was and as it happened my pace was 7:59/m (13.19M @ 1:45:19) Fastest Half for 12 months

Race Data;

Split Summary
1) - 1m - 7:51(7:51/m) - 126cal
2) - 1m - 8:05(8:05/m) - 133cal
3) - 1m - 8:05(8:05/m) - 130cal
4) - 1m - 8:04(8:04/m) - 130cal
5) - 1m - 8:12(8:12/m) - 129cal
6) - 1m - 7:43(7:43/m) - 131cal
7) - 1m - 7:42(7:42/m) - 132cal
8) - 1m - 7:50(7:50/m) - 129cal
9) - 1m - 8:12(8:12/m) - 130cal
10) - 1m - 8:06(8:06/m) - 130cal
11) - 1m - 8:18(8:18/m) - 129cal
12) - 1m - 8:12(8:12/m) - 129cal
13) - 1m - 7:37(7:37/m) - 131cal
14) - 0.19m - 1:23(7:07/m) - 24cal

Pace Zone Summary
Pace Zone: 6:40-6:59/mile: 1.3%
Pace Zone: 7:00-7:19/mile: 4.5%
Pace Zone: 7:20-7:39/mile: 17.5%
Pace Zone: 7:40-7:59/mile: 24.6%
Pace Zone: 8:00-8:19/mile: 23.9%
Pace Zone: 8:20-8:39/mile: 13.7%
Pace Zone: 8:40-8:59/mile: 5.7%
Pace Zone: 9:00-9:19/mile: 2.6%
Pace Zone: 9:20-9:39/mile: 1.5%

In the evening had a cracking night spent new & old friends catching up with their day..

Now it seems I cannot go through an airport in a straight forward way.....I am pleased to say that Newcastle didn`t disappoint. I booked the early flight (11:50) so not to waste the whole day travelling back, I made check in plenty of time (so I thought). When I checked in the nice people at BA said I was on `Stand by` but I could qualify for £200 compensation if I wanted to. They said the next flight was 13:40 ish so I said yes - I`ll move to the later flight....Now I am totally lost by the next bit as I didn`t get on my stand by flight nor did I get the £200 but when I went to the Information desk to ensure I was booked on that next flight I was flagged & got compensation of £216 (time on ground delay ???!!!??? ) !! I caught that later flight - the world went mad for 5 minutes I seemed to be in the middle of it (again).

BTW - I have put the money to good use - by entering a couple of races.

Next up - After this week`s recovery week (including a sports massage) the JW Ultra. A nice 30 mile trip along a Canal counting Ducks, Swans, Bridges, Barges, Fetchies & Pirates....

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