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Wednesday, 11 April 2012

3 Days of De-Pain

Manchester Marathon training update - 11th April 2012

Training has been pretty good for this years marathon attempt, which takes place in Manchester on 29th April. No injuries of note (just a bit of runners knee, even the shins have held up and my non clicking ankle has finally clicked and so no more grumbling tendon pain there either!), but the weekly plodding away has become a tad monotonous of late, especially as last years training partner Dan Burgess had decided not to partake in this years festivities.
He has taken on a whole new challenge this year, namely the Aberystwyth Triathlon despite not being a swimmer. He recently told me that he's forewarned the RSPCA not to call out their whale distress response unit on the 10th of June as his out of the water transition technique still needs a bit of work....

The lunchtime gatherings have been pretty frequent, with Steve King, a rapidly improving Ian Evans and an even faster Sion Meredith all helping me to pack the miles in, and Steve to be fair has even kept me company on some of the two hour affairs.

Weekly mileage has been between 25-45 miles depending on the week and I've even managed a 3 hour run with no gels or food, and that was a killer let me tell you, but hopefully all for a good cause.

Despite all this, I was missing out on racing. I was simply too knackered to race, and apart from the Tregaron half in early Feb, I hadn't raced in 2012.

Something had to give, and after an easy week due to a short break, I saw that the Newtown Chocoholics 5k and Teifi 10 mile were on the schedule for Easter weekend, and I had nothing else planned. I'd missed that weeks speed session and so I could not find an excuse not to go along to Newtown and give it a whirl.

With bail sorted, I set off from home and arrived in Newtown with around 30 minutes to spare, and instantly regretted my lack of notice to the others when Ian Evans informed me that he'd had to catch the train up to Newtown that morning. I immediately offered him a lift home, on the  understanding that he was at no point allowed to overtake me in the race.

Other faces appeared, Helen & Jos, although Helen was present in a supporter / judging assistants role due to her stormtrooper leg unit still being attached, John Evans and Helen Stretch.
I had no plan for the race. I'm not in 5k pb form, all I had missing from the week was a speed session and so (with hindsight stupidly) took off at a frantic pace - 3.19 for the first 1k and even then i wasn't near the front. There were some seriously fast and young runners out there, and I was experimenting to see how quick I could go and for how long...
The answer came soon enough, after approximately 1.5k! The legs slowed, the lumbar muscles gave out and I started to get 'untidy'.
I quick look at the watch and I was still doing a great pace but it was hurting and wouldn't last. My Clwb Meirionydd ally ran ahead, and would later record a 17 minute time. I saw a hill coming, didn't know the course and crumbled slightly inside. The pace slowed further and I wished to collapse in the nearest hedge. This was harder than the three hour run, and I was only 8 minutes in!!!

Next up, a turn. This was good news as it meant we'd be running back down the longish hill. This didn't really help as I was on the ropes and Maldwyn Harrier after Maldwyn Harrier passed me by. Even their 12 year old youth runner got in on the act on his way to a mid 18!

I knew that Jos, on his way back from injury and an ever improving Ian would be hot on my heels. To be honest this was the only thing stopping me from keeling over, and as it was I managed to hold them off by around 5 seconds on the line. Moral of the story - do not have delusions of granduer in a 5k running race - it hurts.

Next up after one days rest was the Teifi 10 miler in Lampeter, a favourite race of mine and a definate chance at a pb for the distance.
The conditions were ideal for me, very cool but still, and the 5k was already out of my legs.

I set off at target pace and spent the first two miles trying not to turn around and give the two guys behind me a piece of my mind. They were talking as if out for a Sunday stroll at 6 minute miling pace. It later transpired (when they past me) that they were none other than Carwyn and Andrew Abbot of Sarn Helen, obviously not taking the race at their regular pace and so they continued to chew the fat whilst the rest of us struggled to maintain pace.

The first 5 miles saw me battle hard to keep on target as it seemed to be more uphill then down but at 5 miles the watch said 32 minutes dead, which was great but it had hurt. As the towel was about to be thrown in I was passed by a TROTS guy and found the strength to tag along with him. The pace was good and with the slight downhill, the chance of a sub 64 was back on.

Mile after mile through Cellan, we continued until another TROTS guy came past and my colleague jumped on his train, leaving me to battle on alone. Nevetheless, my pace was still good and I cleaned up a few stragglers on the run-in, including a flagging Mr Abbot to take a 63.30 odd time on the line and a PB by over a minute and a half. Mission accomplished.

Day 3 of the racing weekend was the club league 5 miler. Pretty much everyone had run alot over the weekend and so were all in for a toughie. The pace started steadily and Mark Smith took up the reins, albiet at a slower than usual pace as he himself had raced three times on the Saturday and Sunday.

Ian Evans didn't seem to be feeling it too badly and he soon took command of second place. My legs started giving me grief at two miles and despite this I battled on, as the clock was being kind.

Burgess came past at about 3.5 miles en-route to an attempted Evans hunt-down, but I couldn't respond and plugged on at around 6.50 (marathon pace). As we approached the Bandstand, a sub 32 was still achievable, and with a bit of a flourish, this was achieved just behind Mr B.

All in all, the 5 mile times were good, and everyone deserves a pat on the back for their efforts.

That's enough racing for now, I will now enjoy a two week taper before the big one on April 29th!