The long surge

18 05 2009

The day of the race came after a late night watching the Eurovision song contest (yes I know). Typically we had to drag the boys out of bed and the most stressful part of racing began. Getting to the start is far more stressful to me than actually running the race itself.

We arrived with very little time to spare and I barely had time to warm up before we were off.

My race plan for Chester was to take it easy until the first drinks station and then surge until the final drinks station and hold on to the end with whatever I had left. An average of 8 minute miles would get me to my target time.

My plans were in tatters when I reached the first mile point in 7 minutes 50 seconds and the second in an even faster time. There was no point in surging now ! I had no surging power left. It was a matter of holding on to sub 8 minute pace for the whole race. I was running at 90 % effort all the way. Why not 100% ? Well, you have to leave something in the bag just in case.

It proved a good tactic there was a hill at 9 miles and then shortly afterwards the heavens opened and soaked us all to the skin.

My poor family : Mum, Dad, Helen, Dominic and Eddie were told to prepare for my arrival at the top of Overleigh Road just as the heavens opened. I stopped briefly to give my Mum and Helen a kiss.

Final time 1:44:26 and just outside of the top 600 out of over 2000 runners. I am pretty sure standards have dropped over the years – that would only have got me 900th place in 1982.

This time I felt no strong emotions just quiet satisfaction. All had gone to plan.

After the race I had to huddle in a tent with many other athletes to wait for Helen to arrive with a warm top. It was far too cold outside and I was soaked through to the skin and shivering.

I am under no illusion that this is good preparation for Madrid. It is just a small step. But I can now run 13 miles at a pace equal to that which I achieved as a teenager. I ran at 7.5 miles an hour. I am now beginning to gain confidence in my ability and feel like a decent runner. I was stretched and worked hard the whole way around but never felt out of my depth.

Now I think I have earned a rest. I am drawing a line and taking a week off from running and then the real marathon training will begin. A 16 week training programme that will get me to Fleetwood. I just hope it gets warmer soon.





One response

19 05 2009
Phil Jones

Behind you on the photo and just to the right of the back-end of a car I can see a hand. It must be your mother’s. Wifey has successfully blacked out the rest of her.
You ran too fast for me (sheltering on the otherside of the road beneath some trees to try and escape the rain ) to get a good shot of you between the tailback of cars held up by runners crossing the road some way ahead. Run more slowly next time at 10 min. per mile to give your good old dad a chance.

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