Wolverine – is that you?

I think I am becoming Wolverine from X-men! I haven’t grown a funky hair cut, our got massive side burns or metal spikes growing out of my hands. But I do seem to have developed an incredible power of recovery. Having raced the 10K two weeks ago and 6 days later doing the Half marathon and hitting PB’s in both races I thought I would be shagged this week. But having just (literally) completed an 8 and a half hour week, including 1 hrs 45 mins of running and 2 hrs 45 mins on the turbo I feel on top of the world.

I am not going to do the SRS sportive next weekend. One it’s too cold, two with the TCR show on and some other stuff going on it’s a busy weekend and third I want to put in a good block of training and not have to taper down and miss out on some solid training.

I also had a sports massage in the week, which was (overall) a pleasant experience. It was a sports massage so wasn’t completely pleasurable but I am sure it helped me a great deal in getting me back to training this week.

I don’t have any more events booked for the next few months – I have my eye on the Ful on Tri duathlon on the 28th April 6K, 23.5K, 6K around the Top Gear test track. I will speak to Mark about it and see if he thinks it’s a good idea or not.

Weight wise is OK. I am still on 11 st 9 1/2 lbs which I have been on for two weeks. I seem to lose 1-2 lbs one week and then nothing the next week. So I have not lost any weight this week but I am hoping Tuesday might show another 1 lb or 2 off.

I am really pleased at the moment. Since the New Year I have trained consistently, lost weight, achieved two PB’s and training is very pleasurable and not a chore. Although today – 1 hrs 50 mins on the turbo down in the shed was a challenge.

Thanks for reading.

Half Marathon 2013

Been thinking a lot about the half marathon today. Last week’s 10K knocked my confidence a bit. Going off too fast last week and the impact that had on my finishing time meant the pacing today was crucial.

The race is 4 and a bit (a little bit) around Dorney Lakes.

Preparation was perfect – one thing I can do is prepare. Having a slight case of OCD helps as I tend to do everything in the same way for each event.

The start was miles away from the car park as usual, the start was delayed by 15 minutes, as it was last year due to people taking so long to get from the car park to the start. Do they not read the instructions?

It was an absolutely beautiful day as well. The lake was like a mirror, not one bit of wind at all. The sun was even out for some of the race.

The race is called ‘race your pace’. Therefore there were runners with ‘flags’ on their back with pacing times and finish times. I tucked in with the 1hr 58mins finish time flag man. IS THAT CHEATING? The key for this race was for me to get the pacing right and there I was being paced by someone else. But maybe that is what I needed?

The horn went and off we went, eventually. Lots of slow walking and then very slow jogging while the runners spread out. I crossed the start line and hit the start button on the Garmin. We were off for real.

I started off and after 100 or so metres realised I was ahead of the flag man, not massively ahead but ahead. I slowed, he caught up and went past me, I did the first lap with him  in my sights. And what an easy lap it was. I felt comfortable, it felt easy, like a Saturday morning jog not a race. Lap one was nice – just over 5k and I did it in 28 mins 39 secs. a pace of 5.34, speed of 10.7 kmph.

Loads of runners had flooded past me – which if it wasn’t for the flag man I probably would have got sucked into keeping up with them. Lap 2 was just as easy, nice and … well … slow. But I lost the flag man half way around lap 2. He stopped at the drinks tables and I carried on. I was sure he was just behind me as I was still running at the same ‘easy’ pace.

Half way around lap 3 flag man came past me. It really hit me hard. I didn’t think I was miles ahead of him, I had forgotten all about him. But him coming past meant I was slowing. That’s fine though. As long as I stay with him I was on for a sub 2 hour finish, well actually a 1 hr 58 mins finish.

Lap 3 was harder. I needed more effort to do the same speed. I was sweating a lot, so needed to take on fluid at the feed stations, the drinks were water in plastic cups. You know the score, half is lost giving you the cup, more is lost sloshing the cup around and the rest is lost over your face as you try to drink and run. So I did what flag man had done before. I walked through the feed station drinking a full cup of water. Then carried on running after. I did this for the last two laps, at both feed stations at each end of the lake.

Lap 3 was slower (not surprising as flag man caught me and was now in the distance) 29 mins and 14 secs pace of 6.08 and an average speed of 10.5 kmph.

Just lap 4 to go. I felt OK, not great. Not run this distance for ages. Have only run this distance twice before so it was still quite unknown territory. Running away from the club house was hard. People were passing me, the flag man was not in sight, it was tough going. Just got to get to the feed station. A little rest while taking on more fluid. I must confess I needed a little breather before the feed station. A lady passed me and said ‘ah no don’t stop, you are my pacer’. I started to run again but struggled to keep up with her. I took on water for the last time and said to myself ‘right Webby 2.5K or so to go, you ain’t stopping no more’. And off I went.

I felt good, surprisingly good. I was focussed on getting the to the finish as fast as I could. I saw the women who had shouted at  me in the distance and decided she was my target – to catch her and pass her by the end.

I caught her at the end of the fourth lap so just the half a K run to the finish. Lap 4 was a time of 31 mins and 25 secs – slower then the other three. An average speed of 9.7 kmph. But I was going great guns to the finish. I said to the lady ‘common then, I’m back, let’s get to the finish’. She picked up her pace to match mine and we run towards the finish side by side.

I did the last 500 metres at a speed of 11.6 kmph (pace of 5.11) and crossed the line at 2 hours and 2 mins, but due to the delay of going over the start, my race time was 2 hours and 58 seconds.

Pleased with that – not under 2 hours, but based on the 10K the week before being 54 mins this was a good result. It was also 7 mins faster than last year which I did in 2 hrs 8 mins and involved a lot of walking on the last lap last year. And I did 2 hrs 20 mins at the Marlow half iron man – but that time was blamed on the mud.

I had an energy drink, a banana and an energy bar. Got changed into some dry clothes and grabbed a coffee.

As I was leaving the massage people had a spare table. I hadn’t had the chance to stretch but was going to after the walk to the car, so I handed over the £10 and hopped on the massage table. Nice rub down on the legs and lower back.

The last two races have taught me so much about pacing. I think I could have gone under 2 hours if I hadn’t kept up with and gone in front of 1 hr 58 flag man, even thought I thought the first two laps were very easy they obviously weren’t.

But I am happy with that result.

Thanks for reading.

The Kenley 10K

The Kenley 10K is always the first ‘race’ of the year. I say ‘race’ but for me it’s more an event rather than a race. The race is always against the target result that is in my head rather than any other runners.

Today that target was a sub 50 minute time.

The strategy was there (see previous blog) – three and a bit laps at 12 kmph = 50 mins – easy. I raced the Kenley 10K last year and hit a PB of 53 mins 41 seconds. So I was looking at taking off 3 mins and 41 secs based on, effectively, 6 weeks of quality training.

I run comfortably at 10.5 kmph, I can push this and sustain it, to 11.5. But to push it to 12 kmph and keep that going for 10K was a big ask.

As it turned out too big an ask.

The course is an initial 1K, then 3 laps of 3K each. I set off way too fast, but realised and dialled back to 12 kmph and by the start of the first lap I had hit the target pace. I did the first 1K and the first lap in 19 mins and 56 secs. Bang on target – 4K in 20 mins. But (and it’s a big but) I was knackered. There was no way I could have sustained that pace at all yet alone for another 6K. I had to back off the pace, so I did. I gave up on the sub 50 mins and if anything it was now about survival and finishing.

The next lap I just did at a comfortable pace, it was hard, very hard. It was raining and very windy at some parts of the course. It was a struggle. To be honest I wasn’t sure I could do another lap as the second lap came to an end. I looked at the Garmin and it said 36 mins. My mate Steve Groom was just finishing having won the race!

I quickly worked out that lap had taken 16 mins as the initial 4K was 20 mins. I realised if I ran at the same pace for lap 3 as lap 2 I would hit 52 or 53 mins. I could achieve a PB still. So lap 3 I pushed on. I don’t think I went any faster on the last lap even though I was pushing, but I did need to push to sustain the same pace.

I was impressed at how much ‘easier’ the 3rd lap was versus the 2nd lap. I had recovered a lot whilst doing the second lap at an easier pace.

So a finish time of 52 mins and 42 secs. A new PB but no sub 50 mins.

Now the question I am asking myself is whether a sub 50 mins was realistic.

Six weeks ago I was 12st 2lbs, coming off of a cold over Christmas, had done little training in December. I took 1 minute off of my previous PB in my first 10K of the year, in wet and windy conditions. Steve, my mate who won, finished in a time 1 minute longer than he wanted and blamed it on the conditions.

There is a sub 50 mins in me, I am sure of it. But whether it was realistic to achieve it after just 6 weeks training and in my first race of the year might have been a bit of an ask.

The positives of today were:

I realised I was not going to sustain the 12 kmph pace and backed off.

I recovered quickly on the second lap so was able to have a ‘better’ third lap

I dug in deep, feeling bad, soaking wet, wind blowing etc and I focussed and carried on – believe me that was hard.

Only 6 days until the half marathon at Dorney Lakes. Straight away I was saying ‘I want a sub 2 hours’ but in my head I was after a 1hr 55 mins. But I think, at this stage, I want a good steady run, where I can push at the end and see where I am. Rather than go for a time and maybe blow it trying to achieve a fictitious target I just made up one day.

Thanks for reading.


Not the perfect week, but 10K here I come

A relatively OK week, and all in all I am happy.

Good recovery session on the turbo Monday evening and a good swim session Tuesday evening.

Wednesday morning’s pump class I bailed out of. I woke up at 6am but was very tired and within 5 minutes I had come up with 20 – 30 reasons why I should stay in bed rather then get up and go to do the pump class.

Wednesday night was a run session. It went OK but I was blowing at the end of it, I think I went too hard on the interval splits, was planning to do some core work after the run but just wasn’t in the mood.

Thursday went …. well ….. tits up. An issue at work that needed sorting meant I left the office at almost 1 am Friday morning! I did contemplate leaving the office at 5.30pm travelling home, going to to the pool to do the swim set, then going back to work for 9pm. But I decided that was mental!

So I didn’t get to bed until 2am this morning. I slept until 9am and got to work for 11am. Now home, bit of food and an early night. Pump in the morning and a short run and then that’s it until the 10K on Sunday.

10K is all planned in my head:

a very thorough warm up pre race

start off at 12 kpmh and see how I feel, if good sustain it and try to push on in the last lap (this will give me a sub 50 mins)

if I don’t feel like I can sustain the 12 kmph then back off to 11 kmph or so and just go for a PB (53 mins is my PB).

anything lower than 11 kmph I might as well stay in bed. Noting like putting pressure on yourself Webby.

So now it’s just waiting for the race and seeing how it goes.

Post race blog on Sunday.

Thanks for reading.

Another week done

Another good week this week.

9 hours of training consisting of; 2 pump classes, 2 swims, 2 turbo sessions and 3 runs – including a brick session today (run, bike, run).

Nutrition going well, health is all good, getting plenty of sleep etc – the only issue this week was the Garmin watch didn’t save the run I did yesterday. This is very annoying as I was keen to see how my pacing was yesterday. I have always tended to run at one default speed (which by the way is slow). Mark has got me doing runs at different paces which is good as it gets me concentrating on my pace when running and not day dreaming. I now know my speed and pace for a 10K run, a half marathon – I know a pace I can run at for 20 mins or a pace I can only sustain for 5 mins and a pace I can run at for an hour or so.

I guess I will find out about the real progress on pacing next week at the 10K race at Kenley. I also got my race number and timing chip for the half marathon in the post yesterday which is the week after. So two big weekends coming up.

Weight is still at 11st 12 lbs, for the second week, but that is OK as I am losing weight slowly and keeping healthy and training consistently while losing weight.

So here’s to another week and the first competition of 2013 in 7 days time.

Thanks for reading.