Saturday, 15 January 2011

Running at the Mercy of Time

I am very busy with moving house at the moment so haven't had very much time to do the blog thingy recently. It also explains the tardiness of this race report. When things have settled down a bit I am going to make a conscious effort to update this more often and with a little more care and attention. I promise, it's in the New Years Resolutions. Which reminds me, Happy New Year to all. Now, I am going to be really lazy and just include the notes from my training diary as a race report. I know, I know, it's not on but it will have to do.

"... 02/01/11 - Central Lancashire New Years Half Marathon

Although it is a new year, this half marks the end of my first YEAR (!!) of running. Whilst I say goodbye to the old era I am truly excited about the new one. My training hasn't been going particularly well. My biggest shortfall is the lack of consistency in my training. This has been amplified by the Christmas holidays. Together with my lack of a healthy diet, this is something that I wish (and need) to rectify throughout this new year. I was very aware of this lack of training as I lined up on the start. I had no hopes of a good finishing time and just decided to try and enjoy the experience.

As I was unsure of my level of fitness I had to run by feel. I started off quite quickly: first 10k covered in 53 minutes. By mile seven I was struggling to keep pace and made a conscious decision to slow down. This lost me a lot of places but was necessary not to blow up. I am pleased about this. When I ran the Newark half I ran myself into the ground over the first half and had a horrible time in the second. This time I thought "take a few miles off then finish strong". It was a good decision.

From mile seven to ten I slowed down and the miles slipped by quite amiably. After this respite I concentrated on slowly increasing my pace. I pushed as hard as I could and felt proud that I managed to finish strongly. It wasn't the best race strategy (the second 10k was 4 minutes slower) but I adapted and pulled through.

Surprisingly, my legs held up pretty well. There was a slight tightness in my right hamstring and my right foot hurt a bit towards the end. In terms of how my legs felt, it was the easiest half marathon I have run. I just ran out of puff half way round. My finishing time of 1 hour and 55 minutes make it the fastest I have ever run over that distance and a resounding PB. Not a bad way to finish my year of running = I AM HAPPY.

At the end I suffered slight cramps all over my legs and was very stiff after the drive home. Over the next few days I suffered delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) in my legs and shoulders but I will be fine when that goes.

NOTE ON NUTRITION AND FLUIDS. I drank water every 2.5 miles and took a gel at the start, mile 5 and mile 9. I DON'T LIKE THE GELS: they are sticky and awkward to eat and the wrappers are annoying to dispose of on the run. In future, I will try to use sweets (Jelly Babies?) and an electrolyte drink on longer runs and races. I will experiment with DIY, homemade electrolyte drinks. Spending the extortionate amounts of money required to buy the Lucozade sport drinks gives me the distinct impression that I am being ripped off (this applies to pretty much all the other brands as well). Investigate!

Whilst I am pleased with my race, my biggest shortfall is, not surprisingly, my fitness. It is nice to get a PB but I shouldn't get carried away. The course was flat and fast and I finished way down in the field. Of course, I am only competing against myself but I do need to start afresh now with new goals and dreams; and with a new sense of determination. I need to get better! I need to be consistent! ..."

I think it only polite to thank the race organisers and marshalls for the efforts that they put into the race. It was a very good event, flat and fast and well marshalled. Personally, I would have liked a couple more water stations (there were only two) but that's because I am slow and sweat rivers. I took a bottle around with me so it was not the end of the world. I am looking forward to 2011 which hopefully will include lots of fell races and an ultra marathon. I will post an in depth blog about my running plans for the year in the next couple of weeks. Until then, I leave you with a couple of well meaning quotes.

"There's no such thing as bad weather, just soft people" - Bill Bowerman.

"I ran. I ran until my muscles burned and my veins pumped battery acid. Then I ran some more" - Fight Club.


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