Race Date: 23/03/13
Race Type: Half Marathon
Result: 1:36:38 (PB)
Performance: Pretty Pretty Pretty good 9/10
Luckily the weather held out for us at the Wilmslow Half Marathon, despite the unpredictable reports in the week leading up to it. Some hail at mile 3 was the worst we went through and that didn’t last too long.
I did Wilmslow Half Marathon 4 years when I ran the furthest I ever had at the time, going round in 1:48:48 as a pretty inexperienced runner. I had 4 pints of cider and a 3 course dinner for a friends 30th the night before. This year I was a very different runner, managing to pace my race perfectly in 1:36:38 with a better than expected performance.
In training, I have 3 paces – Hard 7min mile / Steady 7:45-8min mile / Easy – 9min mile. Along with my coach Paul Savage we agreed a target pace of 7:30 per mile for the half marathon, after I picked up a rogue ITB niggle two weeks out from the race. I managed to clear this up in time to get a little build of steady miles before the race and put the apprehension of the ITB out of mind.
In the words of Larry David ‘Pretty Pretty Pretty happy’ with 1hr 36min, equating to a pace of 7:22min miles which held consistent throughout the race. An even split, passing through 10k in 45min. I had to dodge a few of the slower runners who positioned themselves up front at the start, so there was some pavement hopping going on and manoeuvring around these guys in the first mile, but I eventually found a rhythm and never deviated from that pace.
Wilmslow route is lovely, taking in the Cheshire country roads and relatively undulating run, but still a fast course. Not hilly, just a few ups and downs to keep you working. The only issue with the course is the finish. A work road, with puddles, mud and a lot of people. There is not much room for spectators accord to my folks who couldn’t see me. Spectators were dotted around the course in their gravel driveways and Wembley styled lawns – this is Cheshire like I say.
For breakfast, I had 2 slices of white toast with peanut butter and then a banana about an hour away from start time. I had a large latte from my new favourite coffee shop in Didsbury – The Deli – and spent a good 30 minutes on the foam roller and going through my usual stretching routine.
Overall a very satisfying performance and very pleased with my pacing. I felt good at 7:20min miles so just stuck with it. A PB by 12 minutes and a good sign that my running is coming along nicely. Strava upload here.
Another shout out to coach Paul Savage who nailed the event in 74mins. Very impressive run in what is shaping up to be a good season so far for Paul.
2013 was a massive year for me and I only did one race – Ironman UK. A lot of people talk about their ‘A’ race but this was my only race. I trained 10 months solid for it, aiming to complete the challenge and end the year an Ironman before I turned 30.
Before then, I’d done a sprint triathlon in Wilmslow & Erewash. Not much of a triathlon CV, and actually quite rich of me to refer to myself as a ‘triathlete’. I trained as a triathlete but my lack of competition made me a full time wannabe. I’ve done 3 tri’s in 3 years of taking up the sport in 2011 – 2 sprint & 1 Ironman.
I put so much emphasis on the project of Ironman 2013 I couldn’t focus on anything else, I was besotted with the idea, it consumed me and my entire year. I am by no means saying I didn’t enjoy last year, I loved it. I was racing against myself every session, competing with my last performance, comparing myself to myself on a weekly basis.
2014 is going to be slightly different. I’ve already entered some races and I want to do well in them. This year is much more about competing than just completing. I want to be a ‘triathlete’. When people at work ask ‘when is your next race?’ I don’t want to say an event that is 9, 8, 7 months away. I think racing keeps you sharp, it’s social, you see how you stack up against other people. I was just a novice and scared of doing anything that deviated from my IMUK plan.
So my big news is that my time at Ironman UK fell at 119% of the winner of my age group. This meant that I had a qualifying time for the ETU Long Distance European Championship 2014. I’ll be representing Great Britain at Age Group level at Challenge Almere on September 13th 2014. A complete accident if I’m honest.
If I had slowed down to high five my family on the finishing shoot I probably wouldn’t be going to this event. I didn’t have this goal in mind at any single moment of the build up or the event itself. I blew away my predicted finishing time at IMUK which was enough for me, so be selected in the first qualifying stage for the ETU Champs is a proud moment. It also an outstanding testament to my coach Paul Savage who took me from that Sprint Triathlon in 2012 to GB Age Grouper in less than a year.
So Challenge Almere is my ‘A’ race and I wanted to try and pencil in a race at least once a month this year, so my 2014 calendar currently stacks up like this:
February – MTB Winter Classic Race at Cannock Chase (Bit of fun in the mud)
March – Wilmslow Half Marathon (Spring running focus)
April – Newby Hall Duathlon (English National Champs)
May – Wilmslow Trithlon (Returning to where it began)
June – A few ideas but nothing booked in – Nottingham Triathlon, Bala, Grafam, Pentrith
July – Holidaying in France following the Tour De France
August – Liverpool Triathlon (British Champs)
September – Challenge Almere (European Long Distance Champs)