Monday, 28 October 2013

Great South Run 2013

Well, yesterday was the Great South Run.

For those of you not living in the UK we were also forecast to have one of the worst storms in this area since 1987 so I think it is fair to say that I was watching the forecast with interest !

The Great South Run is 10 miles and is meant to be the flattest 10 mile race of its kind and yes, it certainly was flat !

I have to say the organisation was brilliant from start to finish. With winds gusting up to 40mph along the seafront I knew that the last two miles would be hard work and I'm not sure if it was comforting or not to hear it announced over the tannoy system that this was a race of 3 parts.... the first part would be in to wind, the middle part would be quite sheltered but from mile 8 it would be hard work !

This only confirmed what I already knew having looked at the weather and race route before I started so rather than running a steady pace for the whole 10 miles I thought I needed to have some "spare" time that I could use if I slowed down in the last two miles..... I know from training runs that I have down that running straight in to wind like this can slow me down my up to 1 minute a mile. This may not sound like much but when I was planning on running 9 min/miles this is actually over a 10% difference.... So, somewhere along the line I needed to make up 2 minutes or about 15 seconds a mile for the first 8 miles. If you don't run this doesn't sound much.... but it can feel harder than you think !

I also met a lovely chap from Pompey Joggers at the start who was acting as the 1:30 pace maker... I didn't realise there would be pacers until this point ! I had a chat with him and his plan was to start a bit slow to let the crowd spread out, increase the pace over the middle section to allow for the wind at the end so I decided to start with that I would stick with him. I still wasn't sure that I would be able to maintain the pace though....

As we got going you have the dreaded walk to the start line... the bit when you know the race has started but the sheer volume of people means that you aren't going anywhere !

As always before the start of a race I can never decide what to wear. I always get cold at the start and I always get really hot when I'm running ! On the walk from the car park I had been wearing a t-shirt-hoodie and jacket and that felt about right but I knew running I wouldn't need this amount so I opted for my club running vest and capri bottoms.... with  a very stylish black bin liner to wear over the top to try and keep me a bit warmer before the start !

I'm glad I didn't wear any more and to be honest I was wishing I had worn shorts. Despite the wind the temperature was actually quite warm for the time of year !

About mile 3 or 4 I over took the 1:30 pacer and kept in front of him until the last mile. when he caught up with me he did chat to see how I was getting on and reassure me that I would be in my target time. It is surprising how much a few words from a stranger can spur you on in a difficult stretch of a race.

So, I crossed the line in 1:28:36 well within the 1:30 target that I had been aiming for. My garmin data is shown below. I was surprised I didn't slow down more in the last two miles in to wind and I could see where the water stops were on the way round because drinking does cost me a few more seconds.

All in all a good day :)

Monday, 21 October 2013

Last League Race.....

Well, Sunday was the last Fun Run League race of the year.... I decided to run the 5 miles over the Downs to the race, run the race.... and then run home again to make sure that I get a good long run in.

I did have the option of a lift home lined up just in case the weather turned particularly bad or I just felt too tired but I didn't race flat out and felt good for the run home. One of the other members of our Tuesday night running group also ran home with us and it is surprising how quickly the time and miles go when you chat !

I'm not sure how much running I will do this week, I have the Great South Run on Sunday so I should be taking it a bit easy...... But I also know I haven't done the training I had planned (man-flu) so I may very well not achieve my target time so I may train a bit harder this week so I am in a better place for my next half marathon.

Anyway, this is a photo of me at the finish of Sundays race, I did have enough left for a sprint finish !


Thursday, 17 October 2013

West Sussex Fun Run League....

Last weekend saw me running around Hickstead Racecourse in the pouring rain..... This was all in aid of helping the club gain some points in the West Sussex Fun Run League.

As well as gaining points for the club Steyning AC also runs it's own handicap system for these races and in the ones I have managed to get to this year I have come first in all but one of them and in the last race I beat my predicted handicap time by four and a half minutes ! The slightly worrying thing is that to keep this going I just have to get faster and faster.....

I know every runner says this but I just haven't done as much training as I wanted to over the last few weeks. I've had a bout of "man-flu" ( or a bad cold to most women ;) ) so my mileage has slipped a bit but it does seem as though the training I have done has paid off.

At last weekends race we had some of our Tuesday night runners; at each race we are persuading 4 or 5 of the new runners to take part and the feedback so far has been great. There is something about the feeling you get when you cross a finish line that just can't be beaten !

This weekend is the last race of the leagues season. A very hilly 5 miles across the South Downs from Lancing. The plan at the moment is that I'm going to run there and back adding another 5 miles each way to make up the distance I need to be doing for my long run. It does depend a bit on the weather and quite how knackered I feel after the race (I can always hitch a lift home with someone) but I really want to try and improve on my 1:59 half marathon PB in November...... time will tell all I can do is my best on the day :)

Anyway, I can't add a post without a photo; this is one of the sunsets we have been having recently..... this is why I run.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

All change !

Well, the nights are getting darker so I'm back road running. I have
hardly done any road running all summer and it did feel a bit

This blog is also going to be changing and moving... I want to use it
for some of my landscape photography as well as my running because the
two are quite closely linked; so watch this space ! This should also
mean a few more regular updates...

Sent from my iPhone
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