Having dropped out of my last marathon at 21 miles, 3 year ago, I did not want to finish running marathons on a DNF. So the aim for this race was just to finish.
And as we progressed into the third of five laps and I tried to pick the pace up and race, I could tell that the training I had done, although good enough to get around , it wasn't going to let me do much more. As a result I was forced to ease back as we moved into lap 4.
The race, which incorporated both the BMAF and VAANEE championships started under bright blue skies and although there was a light breeze blowing across the moor, it wasn't going to cause too much trouble. Starting conservatively I was content to just take in the scenery and let anyone who wanted to pass me, do so. After 2 laps I was lying in 30th place and thanks to championship runners wearing the age group on their backs, I knew I was 2nd M55. This latter fact worried me a little, as from looking at he start list, I knew there were at least two other M55's who were faster than me.
Then as we moved into the third lap two runners about a yard apart with 55 age group numbers came past. The interesting thing, though, was although the first of the two was moving easily, the second seemed to be working hard to maintain his pace. However, there was no way I could hang onto them.
Moving into lap 4 I was starting to struggle and since the aim was to just finish I decided to ease back. As we climbed the incline towards the switchback on Grandstand Road I realised that Morpeth's Gavin Baines had moved back up to second M55 ahead of the guy I had noticed earlier was having to work to maintain his pace. In fact as we passed each other going in opposite directions I noticed that he was now going no faster and if anything slower than I was. Instinctively I started working out the distance between us and how long it might take me to catch him.
As we headed down the Great North Road on the fifth and final lap, however he seemed to be a little to far ahead. But then as we turned back onto the moor and doubled back upon ourselves I realised that he was slowing again and that I could catch him. Which I did at around 25 miles. As we cut across the moor, the wind which had been picking up throughout the race was now pretty strong and the rain started to fall. However, I hung on to cross the line in 3.27.36 for 35th place and 3rd place in the BMAF championships and 2nd in the VAANNE championships.
So with the aim of finishing achieved, will this have been my last marathon?
Well, possibly not...
Results can be found at North East Races.
As usual, photographs by Francesca, more photos can be seen here.
Wednesday, 16 October 2013
Monday, 14 October 2013
Having turned out for the Parkrun on Newcastle Town Moor on Saturday morning to use the 5km run as a time trial, things didn't go quite to plan.
The weather was chilly and damp and I had not warmed up properly prior to the start. With the result that about three quarters of a mile into the run I felt a sharp pain across the top of my right leg and into my groin. Easing back a little I kept things going to finish in 19.44. A little slower than I had expected but still a solid run I suppose. So once finished it was straight home to spend some quality time with the ice pack. Not really what you want 2 weeks before the marathon and the day before your last long run.
Sunday, I had planned to do 20+ miles and setting off on a chilly, grey and drizzly morning my groin and upper right leg felt stiff and tender from the previous day. However, as I eased myself through the miles I gradually loosened up, eventually completing 21 miles, albeit, at a slower pace than I had originally wanted. But still the miles are in the bank. I will be tapering down over the next two weeks.
I now find myself in a slightly strange situation, having completed only (deliberately) about 2/3 of the training I would have done in the past and trying to remind myself that my aim is only to complete the race and not go for a particular time.
Although I feel fit and strong I am now having doubts over what I perceive to be the lack of miles. Also I am now finding it difficult to think in terms of just finishing rather than aiming for a particular time.
Ah well - we will just have to see how things go! After all it's to late to change anything now.
Photos of Parkrun, as usual thanks to Francesca