Monday, October 21, 2019

The Abingdon Marathon 2019!

The Abingdon Marathon 2019!

Both of us -Blue 
Kelly -Purple 
John Orange

After 18 weeks of relatively average training (whoops - must do better next time!) the day had arrived! We'd found ourselves a pretty nice little place on Air BnB only 1.5 miles from the start. After a chilled Saturday watching a documentary about the Boston Marathon (yes we really love running!), we had a carby tea of pasta before getting an early night. 

I woke up at 6am and John brought me some toast. I ate my breakfast before drifting back off to sleep for another hour. At 7am, we jumped up and got ready. Conditions were perfect 10 degrees, cloudy and dry with hardly any wind. We had a gentle walk to the start and arrived with plenty of time to spare. After quickly spotting our GWR crew, we sat down and chatted about race plans and strategies. Unusually, I wasn't nervous. I guess I hadn't really put any pressure on myself. My goal was to go for Sub 3 and see how it felt. I was prepared for it to hurt and I was prepared to put the effort in. After my DNF at the Kingston Half, I was determined to finish. In the back of my mind, I knew that sub 3 was probably unlikely, but the marathon is such a mental game that I knew I couldn't let myself think that. I had to stay positive. 

We did a little warm up around the track and got into the start pen with 4 minutes to spare. It was refreshing to stand on the start line of a race and feel cold! The race started and we were off. Initially, I ran with John and Dave but I found my rhythm relatively quickly and they pushed on ahead. My plan was to run 6:45 mm pace for as long as possible. At first I felt great! The first 6 miles flew by. I was in 3rd place and feeling great. Sub 3 was on. The first 5 miles were all exactly 6:46 - spot on. 

Around mile 7, I knew there was a slightly uphill section. It wasn't too bad but it did slow my pace a little. I was, however, prepared for this so didn't let it worry me. Getting to mile 10 is always a great feeling as 16 miles to go feels more achievable. I was still feeling pretty good although starting to worry that my average pace was getting closer and closer to 6:50 (6:51 was my average pace at Chester where I ran 3:00:51 so I knew I had to be under that). 

When halfway arrived, I felt a mix of joy that I'd reached that key marker but also slightly worried as usually -when I'm having a good day at a marathon - at halfway I feel really fresh still and the pace feels easy. At halfway the pace wasn't easy. My legs were starting to get heavy and that was worrying...there was still a long way to go. Nevertheless, I past halfway in sub 90 so technically I was on track. If only I could muster up a negative split! 

It was about this point that people started passing me. Club mate Tim cruised past looking pretty comfortable. I really wanted to latch onto him and push on but I really couldn't. My legs felt really heavy - just like they normally do at mile 22! Oh dear. At mile 14 I had done my first 7 minute mile of the day. That was the point where I realised that Sub 3 really wasn't going to be possible unless I really picked it up. I tried telling that to my legs but there really wasn't any chance. Surprisingly, I felt ok about it. I guess I had known all along that sub 3 would have been a tall order on my less than brilliant training and rather dodgy hamstring. 

I changed the focus of the day to- finish. I wanted to bank another marathon experience. I'd ran a sub 90 half and done 13 miles at target MP. I definitely wasn't going to pull out. I was pretty sure that it would be slower than my last race at Abingdon but I was confident that I could come in quicker than 3:21 - my Boston time. So my new goal was to finish in around the 3:05 - 3:15 bracket. 

It seemed to take quite a while to finish the first loop. Whilst I tried to stay positive, I wasn't looking forward to running that whole loop again. I felt like it would take an age. Surprisingly, the second loop seemed to go much faster even though I was running considerably slower. I had a good memory of the course and it was great to tick off the landmarks knowing I wouldn't see them again ...until next year perhaps! 
Jelly babies...YEAAAHHH!

The support around the course was brilliant. Our friend Cat was everywhere with her brilliant blue pompoms. It was also great to see Andy from our club and Beth, Dave's wife. As well as all of these cheers, there were quite a lot of supporters out and the marshalls were so enthusiastic and encouraging. 

By mile 17, people were starting to slow and and walk. I decided to try an encourage others who had clearly, like me, given up on their A goals. After a few positive shouts, I managed to get a couple of guys to run along with me but eventually they slowed back to a walk. I overtook a few people in these last few miles but quite a few overtook me too. Most notably, lots of women. Part of me really wanted to sprint on and overtake them...but my legs wouldn't let me. Also, despite feeling a bit tight (as was to be expected), my hamstring actually wasn't feeling too bad and I didn't want to destroy it for no reason. I grudgingly let them go past and focused on keeping to an acceptable pace of when I deemed to be around 7:30mm. 

By the time we reached 22 miles, I had a new problem - my feet. I've never really suffered before but I've moved to a new pair of shoes (as my favourite Pure Cadence brand have been discontinued). I could feel blisters forming and every step was becoming painful. Not only that, but my legs felt incredibly heavy. My pace was slowing but I just tried to keep smiling. I was really looking forward to mile 24 as our parents would be there waiting for us. Loud cheers and waves from them gave me all the boost I needed to power on to the end. 

The last miles follow the route we walked to the start so I knew it well. It was brilliant turning onto the track and hearing John's voice cheering for me. I crossed the line in 3:10 happy that I'd finished and banked my 3rd fastest ever marathon. I felt into John's arms with a smile on my face. 

2:57:01 = PB!!! Awesome result -  Well chuffed! From start to finish everything went near enough perfectly. As KD has explained the weather and conditions were perfect for marathon running. No excuses today. I was targeting Sub2:55 but wanted to race as comfortably as possible to make sure I renewed my membership to the Sub3 club. 

Prep was good. 18 weeks of good training averaging 50 miles per week whilst making sure to run steady throughout, very little speedwork other that the odd tune up race here and there. This meant I got to the start line injury free and feeling fresh and raring to go. Food prep was as follows (boring but I wanna record it so I can replicate at future marathons) Porridge for breakfast with a cuppa tea and a pint of water (2.1/2 hours before the race. The day before consisted of 4 Wheetabix and blueberries for breakfast, 6 pcs of peanut buttered toast for lunch and pasta with home made pesto for dinner. Plenty of water and decaf tea through the day but no more than on a normal day. Kit wise I was wearing 200+ mile ready Saucony Kinvara 10s and the usual club singlet, Ron Hill shorts and blue socks. Cloudy enough to not need sunglasses or sun screen today :-) I had a new setup on my trusty Suunto Ambit 2 GPS watch - Instead of having autolap telling me my pace every mile I was going to manually reset every 5 miles as per the course markers instead of the GPS reading. I've read a lot of people do this and have practiced during training. Personally I feel it's a little more relaxing and dependable... as soon as the watch beeps the first couple of hundred metres the pacing is all over the place and any kinda incline can really throw the pace enough to worry you - not ideal during a long race.

The race starts on a track which is very exciting. Great facilities surround the track which helps to make sure you're ready to start the race comfortable and there's plenty of places to keep warm and socialise before hand. Everyone huddled together before the start we all wished each other good luck and set off. The first couple of miles are quite crowded, chaotic and slightly uphill so no need to rush here. I took it steady and ran purposely at the back end of my pacing window (6:40-6:50 minute miles) - this was a really nice way to start the race. I was with KD for about a mile and a few other club mates which meant for some good banter before really needing to concentrate. 3 Miles in and everyone had started to spread out a bit and settle into their relevant groups. Downhill for a bit through a little bit of countryside before hitting the town centre and the not so beautiful industrial estate which you loop round a couple of times. 
0-5 Miles - 33:37 = 6:40MM Pace = Perfect

In the town I ran past KD's and my parents - lush! Great to have family and friends supporting which we had throughout the race today. A wave and a smile later and now time to concentrate and focus on getting the job done. The next couple of miles are slightly undulating. Firstly along the river and then out of town towards an industrial estate and a 7ish mile loop which you do twice. Ideal for any race as it means you only need a set number of marshalls - something I can really appreciate. Mile 9 comes and goes and I implement another renewed race tactic - I have a gel. The last few long distance races I've survived on beer and pork pies and this time round I thought it better to be a little more scientific. I felt the benefits and the next few miles felt a little easier than the ones before - coulda be psychological - don't care - having a gel worked. I also took an opportunity shortly after to have a cup of water - I stopped to make sure I could take on the necessary fluids instead of trying to drink on the run and choking it down - this was a smart move as it meant I was hydrated, not coughing or throwing water all over myself and because my watch wasn't autolapping every mile this short stop had a very small effect on my pace. My 10 done and I'm feeling great! 
6 - 10 Miles - 33:44 = 6:42 Pace = Perfect

Approaching half way and time to take stock. I'm not far off starting the second loop and I'm still feeling really fresh. I'm running a good pace but don't at any point feel uncomfortable or as if anything is out of control. I have a look at my average heart rate, 15X-something and this confirms that I'm running comfy. 1:27:XX-something ticks over as I go through half way - Great! If I do that again I'll get Sub2:55 - should things get tough near the end I'll have at least 4-5 minutes in the bank to make sure of a Sub3! 
11 - 15 Miles - 33:21 = 6:40 Pace = Perfect

The start of the second lap and I'm able to reminisce on the first lap and tick off all the landmarks as I go by. After the success of the first gel, I'm also able to count down and look forward to the next one and the boost I was confident it would bring. 18 miles comes and I take the gel, I stop at a water station and take on plenty of water. I'm still feeling really strong! I know and feel like I've ran 18 miles but I am in no way whatsoever apprehensive about the next 8 to come - if anything in a sick way I'm kinda excited. Whilst everything is going so well I think back to Kipchoge's recent Sub2 hour accomplishment and remember how he just purposely smiles and thinks positive thoughts to himself - I do the same! I think about how lucky I am at home, at work and with my friends and family. I draw on all the experiences of last year - I ran 100 miles, 26.2 is gonna be easy!!
16 - 20 Miles - 33:19 = 6:40 Pace = Perfect = My fastest split yet!

Now this is where the marathon should and does get interesting! My legs and body are now starting to reject my mission - I feel tired and achy... *just*keep*run*ning* KD's mantra which fits perfectly in time with my footsteps. There's a van collecting race drop outs at mile 23 and this is both very tempting and slightly off putting. I try to put it out of my mind as quickly as I can - I give myself a telling off for letting any negativity or doubt become a part of this so far awesome day - let's get the job done! My pace is slowing down - I'm aware of this but I'm in control. I'm still on target - I was at half way and through 20 miles so I had plenty of time stashed in the bank. The marshalls through the last 6 miles are awesome - it feels like they're everywhere, cheering, ringing bells and genuinely wanting you to do well. This alongside seeing my parents again, friends Cat and Andy around (what felt like every corner) was just what I needed. As I ran past my mum and explained I didn't have time for (what I hoped might become a traditional) hugging I knew I was gonna do it. 23 miles done and I was in a world of pain but I'd been here before and I'd beaten it before - I knew I would today.
21 - 25 Miles - 34:42 = 6:58 Pace = Not perfect but good enough!

The last mile or so is quite cruel... Every so slightly uphill the whole way... you're running past so many runners who are having a bad day; walking, hunched over, hiding in a bush... I put them out of my mind and focus on the runners who are strong and ahead of me - I overtake them one at a time - I must have overtaken at least 10 in the last mile - Including a guy dressed in full silk pyjamas and the first lady! The runners who are having a good day are feeling good for themselves and for me and are shouting lots of positive messages which is just what I needed. I turn the corner and run on the track... with 300 meters I have a quick glance at my watch just to make sure I hadn't got anything wrong - I had 4+ minutes to make sure of Sub3 - I WAS GONNA DO IT! Runners having a similarly positive day to myself started sprinting for the finish, making sure to earn every last second... I do the same crossing the line in just over TWO HOURS AND FIFTY SEVEN MINUTES! I celebrate by falling on the ground and crawling in to the foetal position probably staying there a good couple of minutes until someone gave me some water... 

What a great day and an even better race - PBs always are. Thank you so much to all my family and friends who supported me and as always a massive thank you to Kelly - my biggest fan and someone who has always believed 100% that I've got it in me to achieve my dreams! On to the next one... A winter of speed and strengthening with 5K road races, Prom and cross country before starting all over again with marathon training in the new year.... 2:57:01 = PB!!! 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Tapering and recovering...just in time...

Abingdon Marathon Training 

It's Taper time!

Both of us - Blue 
Purple - Kelly 
Orange - John 

With only a couple of weeks until race day, I decided I needed to do something about my hamstring niggle. Last weekend, I pulled out of the Kingston Half as I could feel it pulling with every step. On Tuesday, I booked in to see Matt one of the Physios at Comfort Health in Clifton. I've been seeing him and Jenny there for a while so all I had to say was 'I've got less than 2 weeks until the marathon - give it everything!' He did just that. First, I had another round of dry needling followed by a deep tissue massage and lastly -and for the first time - I tried out Matt's new toy called a 'massage gun'. The gun had a tennis ball sized sphere on the end which vibrated. I'm quite tempted to buy one myself to use at home! Matt and Jenny recommended that I take a good few days rest now to let all of the treatments do their magic. 

Rest is my least favourite thing to do. However, I needed to get my hamstring as good as possible to give me a chance at the marathon, so I had no choice. I rested for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday, I ran 1.2 miles with the kids at running club. My leg felt tired and heavy but not too bad. 

On Saturday, I headed out for 4 miles to see how my hamstring felt. I could feel a dull ache for the first mile but, after that, the pain got less and wasn't too bad at all. On Sunday, I wanted to give it a bigger try so I planned to go out for 1 hour. John and I ran together to start with, he then pushed on to try some marathon pace and we met up again later. 

I had a BRILLIANT run. I felt like I had loads of energy, my legs felt fresh and light and my hamstring didn't hurt at all! It felt amazing. To give myself an added extra boost before the marathon, 

After last weekend, I wasn't sure how the marathon would go. After this weekend, I've decided I'm going to be my usual positive self, I'm go for it. I'm going to go out at sub 3 pace and see how it goes. Positive thinking; it's amazing how much of a role the brain plays in a marathon. 

I got home and put my birthday pressie from The Maestro and Nat on my shoes...

A good week of tapering for me: 5 Miles steady recovery on Tuesday, 11 miles with 3 @ marathon pace on Wednesday with the Maestro and 4 miles steady recovery on Thursday. Day off on Friday. A busy weekend of running! Up early to get a run in - 4 More miles of recovery running - making sure to finish in time to watch Kipchoge break 2 hours running a marathon distance. A phenomenal achievement and a masterclass show in running. A fantastic spectacle - very inspiring! A science experiment in many ways but watching Kipchoge celebrate in the way he did really did set a good example for the happiness that comes from the reward for working your hardest at something. 40-something <13min 5K runners in one place doing pacing duties was pretty cool as well! 

The rest of the day was spent travelling to and organising our clubs cross country adventure. Race 1 was at Llandaff fields in Cardiff. A relatively flat and fast course. With the marathon next week there was no racing for me. Was great to be a part of it and watch all of our guys and gals run really well. There were a fair few elites taking part as well - doesn't quite compete with Kipchoge but watching men and woman a similar age float along the ground at 5 minute mile pace is really something there in person. We were really lucky with the weather and had a really good time. 

Back home and straight back out to celebrate my friends recent engagement - congrats Max and Frankie (Max has had a few mentions before - he convinced me to sign upto my first ever 10K back in 2010 - I ran 46:19...) an evening of beer and pizza - proper carb loading whilst tapering!

Sunday - the weekends events so far were taking their toll so we opted for a lie in... Some lunch with KD's auntie and family, a few hours of napping and tele watching - massive congrats to Kosgei breaking the women's marathon world record - a stellar run and more great running entertainment - we were really spoilt this weekend! Come the evening we went out for a run... with 7 days to go until race day there's no need to do any sort of major workout but just keep ticking over. I was keen to test out/reassure myself with a few miles at marathon pace as well... 
8 MILES WITH 3@ MP (6:37, 6:33, 6:33) Easy - as it should be!

With all the great and inspiring things that happened in the running world this weekend and in an attempt to match KD's positivity - next weekend I too am going for it... 2:55 is the target - 26.2miles @ 6:40 Pace. Why not! I might do it or I might PB anyway (<2:58:05)... Worse case scenario I have a good run, bank another marathon campaign and eat my body weight in pizza! :-)

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Only 2 weeks to go...Colds, injuries and Maranoia set in...

Abingdon Marathon Training 

2 weeks to go - 

Key - 

Both of us - Blue
John - Orange
Kelly - Purple 

We haven't blogged for a couple of weeks as we've both been feeling a bit anxious about our marathon prep. You may be familiar with the term 'Maranoia' which is fear of being under prepared as the marathon draws closer. Maranoia really does sum up how we've been feeling...we are used to having doubts as race day encroaches however, this time, I think the doubts might have some legs...

Our training this summer has been rather...relaxed and we're both wishing that we'd done a bit more to prepare. Neither of us really feel that we're in as good shape as we've been in the past...which doesn't bode well when you want a PB. We had one last opportunity to test out how marathon-ready we were - the Kingston Half Marathon. 

One of the reasons I've not blogged for a while is because I've had a cold didn't really run much last week other than a steady 16 miler at the weekend. I've also been feeling a bit fed up with this niggly hamstring. It's not got any better and might actually be getting worse...I've tried resting, dry needling and lots of massage but can't quite shake it. Jenny, my physio, think's it might be hamstring tendonitis which is when the top of the hamstring that joins to the glute is inflamed and has micro-tears. This, annoyingly, takes a longer time to heal than other hamstring issues. 

I had a pretty restful week with the aim of having a successful final race before Abingdon. I've cycled to work every day which I'm loving.

On Saturday, we went to Bushy Parkrun as it was the 15th anniversary of parkrun. We ran with my sister for her 2nd parkrun - she enjoyed this much more than Ashton Court and its hill...

Sunday 6th October 2019 - The Kingston Half 

As we're only 2 weeks out from Abingdon, we decided to run this at just under marathon pace as a confidence builder. We're slightly worried that we won't be able to maintain the target 6:45 pace for 26.2 miles so we hoped that today's race would put any doubts aside. 

While John decided to run to the start, I opted to drive in with my Dad. I had the sort of morning where everything just seemed to go right. We arrived in the car park and were ushered straight into the closest space. Then we walked to the start and en-route I spotted a row of empty portaloos! Surprised by this unusual occurrence, I jumped straight in - feeling rather smug. When I came out, I noticed that there was in fact a (very large) queue at the other end...but in my defense, the people queuing hasn't noticed all of the empty ones. To try and make up for my shameful queue-jumping, I went down and told everyone about my discovery.

With 20 minutes until the start, I dropped my bag and went to warm up. 1 mile along the river in the sun - glorious. Legs felt pretty good. I did a few hundred meters at MP and it felt alright. I was ready. With 7 minutes to go, I popped into the front of the pen and was joined, within seconds, by John. Perfect! I was feeling great and ready to go. 

The first few miles went around the center which meant that my GPS wasn't accurate. This stressed me out a little as I really like to know what pace I'm doing. After a very twisty first mile, the sub 1:30 pacer came past. This really surprised me as we we should have been ahead of him. Often, pacers are followed by a large group so, not wanting to get caught up, John and I picked up the pace a bit and pushed on in front. John was running really comfortably but for some reason, I couldn't get into a rhythm. It might have been the twisty route or the frequent dodging of puddles or curbs - I'm not sure. All I know is I didn't feel right. John and I would be in line one minute and then I'd drop back without meaning to and I really couldn't pick up the pace to get back to him. Again, I think I felt quite tense and anxious. I started worrying about the pace dropping (which again could have been to do with the route or GPS) and my mind was stressing about the marathon (If I couldn't do 6:40s for a half marathon, how was I going to keep it going for 26 miles). I could also really feel my hamstring hurting. I wanted to put on a little spurt to reach John (who was, once again, a little way ahead) but I was worried about putting extra stress on my hamstring. 

After 4 miles, my pace was dropping, I was feeling stressed about my pace and about my leg and worried about not being able to recover in time for the marathon. I felt like I was doing more harm than good. I had to decide what was more important - this race or the marathon. I knew I'd see my dad and sister at mile 5, so I decided that, when I saw them, I'd pull over and stop. This decision happened pretty quickly as they appeared before I'd had much time to really think it through. I stopped, removed my number and manage to tell John to keep going and not to worry about me. 

We walked back to the start so I could collect my bag and there was a massage company waiting for the runners to finish to offer free massages. I made the most of this opportunity and got a free massage which really helped. We then went to cheer on John who did brilliantly and was looking really strong. 

So I'm left feeling a bit deflated and wondering if I gave up too easily - especially as the finishers T-shirts were really nice and they had XS (for once) and the goody bag was all gluten free! I've never DNFed before and it's really unlike me to give up like that. I could really have done with the confidence boost of a strong 13 miles at MP as I'm now left worrying that I won't be able to achieve my target. Part of me definitely wishes that I'd kept going but I think I probably made the most sensible decision as my main goal is the marathon. 

I now have 2 weeks to recover. I've booked in a dry-needling session and I'm going to have a good few days rest after that to let it have the most effect. I'm not sure if I'll be able to reach my goal at Abingdon. I'm not sure I've done enough training for Sub 3 and I certainly haven't done enough miles at marathon pace. I'm not even sure I'll be able to finish...It could just be the disappointment after today's DNF or it could be maranoia...all I know is, that I'll do as much as I can to get myself recovered and I'll give it my very best shot. 

A good weekend of running for me! Lush to spend time with the Dicks family as always - well looked after and very good company. On the Saturday, being in London meant that we were able to attend parkrun's birthday at its place of birth! I left early to bank some extra miles by running to Bushy Park - 5 very flat and mostly pretty miles later I arrived at the already very busy briefing. I had some time to kill so did another mile in the park. Racing the next day, Dicks1, Dicks2 and I took it steady throughout and really enjoyed the excitement of the 15 year anniversary and all of the people around taking part. Dicks2 even managed a PB - well done Amy! A chilled afternoon followed - watching the athletics with unnecessary carb loading... 

Sunday, 5:30 and the alarm goes off... urghh.. KD likes to have her breakfast 3 hours before the race... I think 2 hours is fine but she's the boss... Toast and jam for KD and a bowl of porridge for me... Back to bed for an hour of napping and watching New Zealand v Namibia... At this point, the rain is hammering down outside... :-(

An hour or so later and we're up and about getting changed into race gear. No sound of rain - Yey! Similarly to yesterday, I was keen to bank some extra miles so I ran down to the race start. 3 Miles later and I'm at the start in plenty of time - one more mile of running before getting in the start pen with KD. 

Race conditions were unexpectedly perfect; clear skies, nice temp with a slight breeze. Starting and running the first few miles in and around the town was lovely - a few tough turns but nothing too stressful - I thought we were plodding along nicely... As we were coming to the end of the loop around the town - mile4 - it appeared that KD was struggling to keep up (we'd planned to run together at around about marathon pace.) At the time I didn't think too much about it and knew we would be seeing KD's sister and dad shortly so thought to myself that would encourage her to pick up the pace and we'd soon be running together again. I was half right - KD had sprinted to catch up to me but only to tell me that she'd have to pull out the race! She assured me it was nothing serious and gave me the OK to carry on and wished me luck. By this point - 5 miles into the race - I was very much in my stride and enjoying the run. We crossed the Thames and took the towpath for a couple of miles from Kingston towards East Molesey in the direction of the Scilly Isles. The race was pancake flat throughout and all on tarmac so no excuses whatsoever. The miles ticked over nicely and at 8 miles we took a turn and made our way back towards Kingston. More flat and fast tarmac on the cycle path. 
Having run 4 miles before the race - with just 3 miles to go, I was starting to feel a little tired at this point and found myself actually running a little too fast. I reminded myself that today was a workout and not a race... the plan was not to get to the finish as fast as possible but as comfortably as possible whilst running marathon pace - strange aye! With just less than a mile to go I was reunited with KD and family again - massive cheers followed which was just the boost I needed to get me to the finish.

71st place with 1:26:43
13 miles at <marathon pace
17 Miles total @ 6:50MM Pace / marathon pace
27 miles for the weekend

2 weeks to go - Let the taper begin!

A tough day for KD and a hard pill to swallow in regards to doubt regarding whether or not we have trained hard enough to achieve the overall goal of Sub3. Personally I agree with KD - I don't think we're in the shape it takes to run a Sub3 - but - I'm not particularly fussed about it. When I did it back in 2016, it was off the back of 4 consecutive and very positive marathon training campaigns. This is our first one back after a year off proper marathon training. For once I'm having to be the positive one in the relationship... It really doesn't matter what we achieve in Abingdon in a few weeks time. What's more important is that we're happy and healthy and able to take our experiences from this campaign into the next one and look to improve where we can. Whatever KD achieves in a couple of weeks time I'm proud of her and know that she's capable of Sub3 and that it will come when the time is right. 

Monday, September 16, 2019

Bristol Half Marathon 2019

Abingdon Marathon Training 

- 5 weeks to go!

Both of us: Blue 
John -Orange 
Kelly - Purple 

Monday 9th September 2019

Just a cycle to and from work today and no running. I did however pop to the dentist in the evening for a Wisdom Tooth check up. The dentist's exact words - all healing nicely! 

Knackered - Just a 1mile run for me today - Home from work. Feeling DOMs-ed from the Satursday long run.

Tuesday 10th September 2019

I wanted to do a 5 mile recovery run today and, being back at school, I've found I'm very tired in the's hard to get back into the swing of work after 6 weeks off! So I decided to go out before work and get the run done. I went out at 5:45 and, to my surprise, it was dark! I've gotten so used to running in the daylight it felt quite strange. Gentle recovery run at 9:23mm.

Annoyingly, I had a meeting after work in Clevedon so I couldn't cycle today. 

2 Miles to work and 3 miles home @ 9MM Pace - Legs still feeling awful.. With a big race coming up on the weekend I wasn't too upset about lacking in miles already on day two of the week - it probably made sense to cut back a bit - although it being forced upon me was a tad annoying!

Wednesday 11th September 2019

Another day of no cycling as I had another meeting. This time in Yatton. I did run in the evening however. We ran to club and then did the first winter 8 mile route of the year. 10 miles in total at an average pace of 8:20mm. At one point, whilst chatting away, I looked at my watch and spotted that we were doing 7 minute miles without realising - always nice to slip a couple of speedy miles in without noticing! 

2 miles to work and back home again @ 9MM Pace 
10 Miles @ 8:20MM Pace which included running to club, the winter 8 route and running home.
Legs finally starting to feel slightly normal... nice to catch up with everyone at club and good to get reunited again with the winter routes and the Portway... ready in time for this weekends Bristol Half.

Thursday 12th September 2019

I was up early again today - in the dark again but this time I was ready for it! Another 5 miles, slightly quicker than Tuesday - 9:04mm legs are getting fresher ready for the Bristol Half on Sunday. 

I also cycled today and stopped part way through to do my bit and answer a questionnaire for Sustrans. 

2 Miles to work and 5 Miles home from work @ 9MM Pace
I've been using my work commutes to catch up on podcasts... I invested in a pair of bone conducting head phones... these allow me to listen to podcasts/audiobooks/music whilst still being able to hear other runners, walkers, cyclists and cars etc...

Marathon Talk - Episode 505 was a good one! A good interview with Aussie marathoner Julian Spence who has gone from 3:something to Sub2:15 over the course of 10 years. Also good to hear that Kenenisa Bekele could be back on the marathon scene and running Berlin in October (probably my fave ever athlete... 5K and 10K World record holder... 4th fastest ever marathon 2:03:03)

Friday 13th September 2019

No running or cycling for me today as I had a sports massage straight after work. I was quite looking forward to having a rest day and hoped it would get everything feeling fresh ready for Sunday. 

2 Miles to work and 4 Miles home from work @ 9MM Pace...
Legs stll feeling a bit rubbish and have done overall throughout the week... hmmm... Not filling me with confidence for Sundays half marathon...

Saturday 14th September 2019

Today it was our running friend Laurence's 100th Parkrun at Ashton Court. I wanted to support him but didn't want to run the day before the Half so decided to volunteer instead. My role was to use my best 'teacher voice' to ensure that everyone stayed in order in the finish funnel. 

After some delicious Gluten Free Angel Cake - thanks Laurence, we walked home and put our feet up for the rest of the day. 

5 Miles including Ashton Court parkrun. Was great to catch up with everyone and enjoy Laurence hitting the 100 parkrun land mark... was hard work keeping up with him and rightly so as he joined the Sub19 club with an Ashton Court PB! 9th Place with 19:10 for me... probably a little quick the day before a race but I felt reasonably comfy throughout... bit of a confidence boost legs wise after them being miserable all week...

Sunday 15th September 2019

Today was the Bristol Half Marathon. After a solid 7 hours sleep, I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to race. The best thing about this race is that we can walk to the start in 10 minutes so it was a nice relaxed start to the day. 

We met the rest of our club for an obligatory GWR club photo before doing a mile to warm up and then entering our pen. 

Both John and I were in the same wave right at the front so we didn't have to worry about it being too crowded. Eventually, the gun sounded and we were off! 

From the start, my left leg felt a big hamstring and calf were tight on that side but I tried to put it out of my mind and focus on the aim - running 6:25 mm for 13.1 miles. I was aiming for a PB (1:25:31) so wanted to go out at that pace and see how it felt. 

I'd buddied up with Catie and Rob who were planning on running the same pace as me. Dr Dave was planning on joining us too but clearly we were too slow as he stormed past us at mile 2! The first few miles went to plan. I was working hard to hold the pace but it felt alright. After about 6 miles, Catie dropped off as did Rob so I tried to tuck onto a couple of other groups and keep the rhythm going. 

At halfway I felt alright. My pace had dropped a little during some of the uphill miles but I was still on for a good time and possibly a PB. I was trying to keep it going but getting hotter and hotter. At every opportunity, I threw water over my head and tried to cool myself down. Mile 9 is where it really started to get hard.  The course got very twisty and turny and I couldn't pick the pace back up on the short straights after slowing for the turns. What was nice is that lots of my fellow GWR runners were passing me ...slightly annoying but nice to see friendly faces and get some encouragement. Actually, the whole course was full of encouragement. I saw so many people I knew and was constantly being cheered on by shouts of 'Go Kelly!' -thank you everyone - it really made a difference. 

I realised around mile 10 that I wasn't going to get a PB today. I re-evaluated and decided to focus on getting a sub 90. In hindsight, this was probably the point that I let myself slow down. If I'd really wanted to, I probably could have pushed on. But I think it's harder to be motivated when I'm way down the field with at least 20 girls ahead. If it was a smaller race and I was in with a prize, I probably could have found something...

I did a couple of slower miles (7:21 and 7:22) when I noticed that my running form was horrible. I stood up straight, leaned forwards and managed to do the next mile in 6:55. By this point I was very hot. I only had 1 mile to go and I had 10 minutes to do it to get a sub 90. It was just a case of pushing to the finish. 

The last mile always catches me out. Unlike the 10k, where you go around the center and right to the finish, the race in the half takes you - pointlessly- up a HUGE hill ....well it felt huge...and then back onto the finishing straight. The hill seemed to go on forever and by this point I was just looking forward to stopping. In the last few meters I saw that I was close to sub 1:29 so put in a last little sprint to just tuck in at 1:28:55. 

Not a PB but not bad for a hot day on a hillier- and- twistier- than- I'd-remembered-course!

I definitely have a problem with my left leg. It didn't massively slow me down but it didn't feel great. The area that was dry needled last week felt a lot better so I've booked in to have a bit more of the leg done. Hopefully I can get it feeling better in time for Abingdon. 

Hmmm... 1:26:52... Not what I'd planned... After 10+ weeks of decent marathon training, a half marathon time earlier in the year of 1:26:07 (off of no training) and a 10 Mile race time of 59:46 only a fortnight a go - I had big plans... I wasn't expecting anything near PB pace (1:17:15 = 5:54MM Pace) but I did rather fancy something around or under 1:20 or 6:06mm pace... 3 Miles in and on paper things looked like they were going to plan... mile splits of 5:58, 6:01 and 6:05 but... I felt HORRENDOUS... my legs felt like concrete blocks, blocks with steel reinforced rod going through them... heavy and far from flexible... it was warm but we were in the shade throughout the first half... I made some changes to my game plan... I feel experienced enough nowadays to know when it's just not going to be my day... I felt that I'd slow down to marathon pace - 30 seconds slower at 6:30MM pace and try to enjoy the rest o the race whilst still banking a training session of sorts... the miles ticked by, not terribly uncomfortably but I never quite found my flow or any sort of rhythm.. 10 miles flashed up on my watch and I'd had enough... it took all my might to concentrate on just getting the race done and trying not to get overtaken by the ever closing KD... with a mile or so to go - 2 GWR club vests overtook me... Mike looked like he was jogging past me as he checked I was OK and Gary's humorous and pitiful slap on the arse was a little more embarrassing... finally I crossed the line. 

I spent the rest of the afternoon pretty annoyed with myself.. thinking about retiring from running and taking up other sports; maybe archery or orienteering... I really feel I'd let myself down today and that my training hadn't given me the karma I felt I deserved... 6 pints later and I'm maybe feeling a bit differently... It was a bad day. These things happen - I feel that I know this more than most! On the flip side, when I scroll through my Power of Ten and my Strava - I realise there has been so so many good days - again - more than most! Better a bad day today than at Abingdon in just 6 weeks time! Onwards and upwards... 3 weeks of proper marathon training with another blitz at a half marathon race and then a decent taper to take me to race day.

Well done to everyone who took part and a genuine and sincere thanks for all of the shout outs (and photos taken) along the way - when you're having a bad day it does make it all that bit easier. 

Total for the week: 

Kelly - 34.1 miles 

John - 

Sunday, September 8, 2019

6 weeks to go!

Abingdon Marathon Training 

6 Weeks to Go! 

Both - Blue 
John - Orange 
Kelly - Purple 

Having been away on holiday last week, this was our first week back to normality. 

Monday 2nd September 2019

After 6 weeks off, today I had to go back to work. Luckily, it was an INSET day so I had one more child-free day! It was lovely to go back actually, mainly to catch up with the staff and chat about our summers. 

I'm going to try and cycle every day this year (maybe unless there are torrential rains or snow!) so I started today with 3 miles each way. 

No running for me today though - still recovering from the Oldbury 10 yesterday. Legs very tired - especially my left hamstring. 

Back to work for me! I walked in and ran home: 5K @ 9MM Pace on the way home. Hard work - going back to work... after a week of sleeping, napping and sleeping!

Tuesday 3rd September 2019

My first day with my new class today! They were very sweet...rather smaller than I'm used to having been with Year 6 for 5 years - now being in Year 3 is quite a change but one which I'm very excited about. I cycled again today and was hoping to get a good run in. John and I had made a plan where I'd get home, park up and change and run out to meet him. The plan worked and I ended up running 3.3 miles. I had hoped to run further but actually my legs were still pretty sore so 3 was enough in the end. 

2 Miles @ 9MM Pcae on my way into work.
10 Miles @ 8MM Pace on my way home - Cycle path throughout and meeting KD with 3 miles to go was nice. 

Wednesday 4th September 2019

Anther cycle - slightly further today because I was tutoring after school. 8 miles for the day. Then, in the evening, we went to our running club. The nights are drawing in so it's almost the end of our summer runs through the woods for this year. We managed to squeeze in one last summer 8 mile run tonight although it was rather dark by the end. 

My legs - particularly my hamstrings - were feeling really tight and tired still and with a 20 miler planned for the weekend, I got home and quickly booked a sports massage for tomorrow night. I booked in with Matt (the physio who also does acupuncture) after Jenny (my regular physio) mentioned that it might be worth trying, I decided to book a sports massage with Matt to talk it over. 

2 Miles each way - to & from work - @ 9MM Pace
Then to running club with KD and the gang! Last summer route of the season - running round the woods is much nicer than down the Portway - but back to the grind of autumn/winter training next week. Wanting to bank a long-ish run - I ran from home to club as well as the club run - 
13.2 Miles @ 8:29MM Pace

Thursday 5th September 2019

Another cycle today but no running. I went to see Matt the physio at Comfort Health in Clifton. I had planned to get a sports massage and just chat about the acupuncture but after looking at the needles which were far smaller than I'd expected and Matt explaining that it really wouldn't hurt at all, I decided to go for it! 

He used the needles at the very top of my hamstring as he suspects that the problem might actually be the tendon because I've had this dull ache for nearly a year. In that time, you'd expected a pulled hamstring to have healed (apparently) whereas tendons are more stubborn. He put the needle in and then moved it around to activate different areas. It didn't hurt a all but did feel rather strange. Every now and then, the needle would hit a nerve and my leg would twitch unexpectedly. He also gave me a deep tissue massage on the area and advised me not to run for the next day. 

Straight after, my leg felt ok...but driving home was really quite painful! If I have it again, I definitely won't drive home after. 

An easy day of running for me - 2Miles to & from work @ 9MM Pace
Using my commutes to try and catch up on podcasts.. today was listening to Finding Mastery - An Interview with Meb Keflezighi - a Boston Marathon winner always takes my interest and he came across as a top guy with some good advice regarding perseverance and sticking with it (Fastest American V40 with 2:13!)
Car passed it's MOT amazingly - yay!!!

Friday 6th September 2019

No running for me today. I did cycle to work though and my leg felt pretty good after the dry needling - a little sore but alright. 

Still taking it easy with a long run planned on the weekend...
To and from work - 4 Miles @ 9MM Pace

Saturday 7th September 2019

We had planned to do our long run today but John wasn't feeling well...I'll let him explain about that... I went out planning to just do 3 or 4 miles but my legs felt great so I ended up doing 7 miles nice and gently at 8:45 mm. I could have gone quicker but wanted to keep my legs fresh for tomorrow. 

Struggling! A very disturbed nights sleep and I woke up with a very sore neck and generally feeling under the weather... After some Google-ing - I self diagnosed sternocleidomastoid pain... and feeling generally rubbish I prescribed a day on the sofa watching the tele! It did me the world of good - I've run 30+ days without a day off so it was due - My friend/doctor told me that I was safe to run with my neck pain as long as I didn't look side-to-side to often so that was re-assuring for tomorrows long run...

Sunday 8th September 2019

The alarm went off at 7:30am but we decided to lie in and leg John's neck and shoulders loosen up a little. Going out late also meant that we could watch the Great North Run. We've not run it before but it's definitely on our bucket list. I was really inspirational watching - especially Charlotte Purdue who is a real idol of mine. 

We eventually go out for our run at 12:00. We planned to do 20 miles and used the Portway to do laps.  My goal for today's run was to keep a pretty consistent pace; ideally around 7:30 mm. The first 13 miles felt great. My legs felt really fresh and my hamstring felt great - hopefully the dry needling did the trick. I had to work a bit harder in the last 7 miles. It was getting hot and by 17 miles I was really thirsty and tired. I just thinking about how, in the last few miles of the Oldbury 10, I had a jelly baby and that really sorted me out - just gave me the little boost I needed. I was just wishing that someone would pass me with a packet, when I caught sight of a blackberry bush to my right. I grabbed a handful and carried on. Perfect! The natural solution! 

I finished feeling pretty tired but having kept an average pace of 7:34. Really pleased with that - a solid 2 and a half hours of running. 

Woke up feeling a lot better - but not 100%. Whereas it would have been advantageous (especially for me!) to go our early during the coolest part of the day I decided to neck some pain killers and enjoy a little bit more tele! Watching the Great North Run was awesome - Mo (as usual,) Callum Hawkins and Charlotte Purdue were awesome - very inspiring and I'm very excited to see how Hawkins and Purdue get on at the Work Champs! Once the race was over - we put running kit on and got out the door just after 12... very brave considering how well I do in the sun... But I was layered up with sun screen AND wearing a hat! After yesterdays day off my legs were feeling awesome so after a 1mile wam up I decided on some speed work: 3 X 3MILES @ MARATHON PACE - I did each effort with a 3mile easier effort in between (3miles on-3 off - etc...) Success! All the efforts were 6:45MM Pace or faster... One more big session like this in a couple of weeks time and I think that'll be it for the speed work during this campaign (Two half marathon races planned in the next few weeks aside!)
20 Miles @ 7:05MM Pace!!

Totals for the week: 

Kelly - 38.3 Miles

John - 60 Miles!

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Marathon Training on the Isle of Wight before racing a 10 miler

Marathon Training on the Isle of Wight 

before racing a 10 miler

Abingdon Marathon Training - 7 weeks to go! 

Both of us - Blue 
John -Orange 
Kelly - Purple 

Monday 26th August 2019 

It's holiday time! 

We woke up super excited this morning ready for our holiday to the Isle of Wight. John had booked this for me to celebrate my 30th Birthday (back in July). We had already packed so left ahead of time and arrived in Southampton an hour earlier than planned! We had hoped to sneak onto the earlier ferry but...there was fog which caused a 2 hour delay. We now had 3 hours to kill in Southampton. Never mind, time for breakfast and a cheeky drink in the local Weather spoons!

Eventually, we made it onto the ferry and had a glorious sail with the sun blaring at 25 degrees. 

We arrived in our home for the week - John did good. The 'corner house' was lovely with a great little kitchen, living room and upstairs, a bedroom with a roll top bath in - perfect for recovering in after our running this week! 

I didn't actually run today but we did do quite a bit of walking, first around our local town of Ventnor and then up the hill to Bonchurch where we ate dinner- lots of pasta which was perfect prep for our run tomorrow morning. 

I ran :-) Up early - Recovery Run - 5 Miles @ 8:42MM Pace - Good to get it done and being that it was 6AM and bank holiday Monday was eerily quiet out and about!

Tuesday 27th August 2019 

Can you spot Kelly?

After a bit of a lie in ...we are on holiday after all! We got up and headed out to explore the coastal path. It was supppper hot so I was really pleased that John packed some water for us. The coastal path (like all others I've ever ran on) it very bumpy but we were rewarded for our efforts with beautiful views. 

We ran 8 miles at an average pace of 10:40 but with 995ft of elevation! 
We saw our first ever red squirrel! He posed for us!

We spend the rest of the day on the beach! 24 degrees and glorious sunshine. Luckily, we could cool down with a swim in the sea.

John swimming

As KD has explained, we ran 8 Miles @ 10:32MM - very bumpy up and own coastal miles! Tough in the heat but nice to explore.

Wednesday 28th August 2019 

Today John had planned for us to get our long run in as we had a race at the weekend. I was keen to do 20 miles but slightly apprehensive as my legs were definitely still feeling the Severn Bridge Half only 3 days ago...

Knowing me very well, John researched the whole Island and found a stretch of 3 flat miles that went from Shanklin to Sandown - perfect! He knew that there was no way I'd be able to do 20 miles using the coastal path! It was a beautiful stretch of beach with a dead flat prom between the two towns - similar to our very own Weston Prom! 

We started off and got into a good rhythm of  7:35 - 7:50 minute miles. I was feeling pretty happy with this pace. I was working hard; my legs were tired from the weekend. But I was able to maintain the pace and I was looking forward to keeping this pace going for the whole 20 miles. John had other plans however. He wanted to add in 2 blocks of 3 miles each at marathon pace (MP - we are targeting around 6:40s). I instantly went into denial and declared that there was no way that I could do that so soon after legs just couldn't. John gave me a bit of a talking to - telling me that it was all in my head. 

I supposed I could at least try. So I did. Although, when we turned around after 4 miles ready to start our MP, we realised that the wind was now in our faces and really quite strong...quickly reading my mind, John suggested that we do our MP in the other direction. Great. Although that did give me another 3 miles to mentally panic about the fact that I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to hit the pace. 

After a quick drink (we'd sneakily hidden our water bottles under a bench at one end of the prom...we don't normally drink for long runs but it was already about 18 degrees at 8 am and getting hotter by the second) we turned around and set off for 3 miles of MP. Surprisingly, it wasn't too bad...maybe I'm adapting...or John is right and it's all just in my head! 

The first mile went past quite quickly 6:46mm pace - not bad. And the best thing, I felt like I could do two more miles. The next two were even quicker - 6:42 and 6:45. The pace felt hard but ok. Although, the second my watch beeped for the end of the 3rd mile, I was desperate to slow down and it took me almost a whole mile of recovery to get my breathing down. 

So, 3 miles done but I knew that, after another 3 miles of recovery, I had 3 more to go...I just focused on recovering at this point and tried to put the other miles out of my mind. Again, we had a quick sip of water and then we were off for our next 3. These were harder. 6:56, 6:46 and 6:48. Slower, but close enough for me. I had to really dig deep to get those done and as soon as I'd finished I pretty much collapsed onto a bench (handy the bench was right where my watch beeped!). John was looking incredibly strong so I waved at him to push on and gave myself a couple of minutes to sit and recover. 

By this point we'd done 16 miles. Just 4 miles to go...4 tiny miles...which felt like such a long way. I sneakily popped into a cafe and grabbed a glass of water; half of which I drank and the rest I poured over my head. By now it must have been well over 20 degrees and I was feeling the heat. My legs had had enough and I was really tempted to walk the rest...but I calculated that it would take a very long time. Instead, I gave myself a good talking to and pushed on. The last 4 miles were slow and painful (around 8:40 pace) but I did it. I got them done. Great mental training for the marathon. 

I rewarded myself with a swim in the sea. THE best way to end a long run. I felt like a pro having an ice bath - although it wasn't that cold...just refreshing. 

20 miles done with an average pace of 7:44. Running on tired legs it hard but hopefully it's got to be good training. 

A great confidence booster! 
20 Miles @ 7:23MM Pace - 2 x 3Mi & 1 x 2Mi @ Marathon Pace <6:45MM
WELL CHUFFED! The run felt pretty straight forward throughout (Heart Rate was 142BPM average) and as long as it's not 20+ degrees come October marathon pace on rested legs SHOULD be straight forward - typically for the first 20 miles anyways...

We spent the rest of the day visiting a vineyard and tasting wine - perfect recovery! 

Thursday 29th August 2019 

Just a recover run today. We decided to explore the coastal path in the other direction. We found a lovely route with a rope swing and a wishing chair. 

5 miles at 10:30 mm pace. 

Knackered after yesterday - very steady running - 5 Miles @ 10:32MM Pace - nice to get the legs turning over but we were on holiday so 5 miles was more than enough.

Then, we walked alpacas and llamas! 

Followed by a visit to the Needles, a trip on a cable car and a spot of crazy golf. John won by 1 point! 38 - 39! ...But I got a whole in technically...I won right!? 

Friday 30th August 2019 

What with the Oldbury 10 miler on Sunday, today was just a recovery run...and also, our last run on the Island. 3 miles at 9:19 pace. It was another beautiful day so I finished it off - as has become a custom - with a swim in the sea! 

We visited Osborne House today and saw the bed where Queen Victoria died! A beautiful house with stunning grounds and a private beach! 

5K Plod - 3.1 Miles @ 9:25MM Pace - Time to go home... :-(

Saturday 31st August 2019 

No running for me today. We were back at home so spent the day chilling...oh and visiting our local running shop - Moti - and trying on pretty much every pair of shoes in the shop. I've had a major dilemma in that Brooks have discontinued the Pure Cadence range which I have been wearing for 5 years. This meant that the poor men in the running shop had to listen while I explained all the things I liked about those shoes and how I'd bought up every pair of size 5.5s on the internet and now I needed something exactly the same...

After at least an hour, I chose the Saucony Kinvara helped my decision that they were also GWR blue! Amazingly, and - in my opinion - quite romantically, John separately chose the exact same pair in the mens...although they didn't come in blue sadly. 

We spend the rest of the day with our feet up before having our new favourite pre-race dinner of gluten free (animal shaped) pasta bake. 

I went for a run :-) parkrun for me - 
8 Miles @ 7:29MM Pace - Ashton Court parkrun - 7th place with 19:02
500+ people running Ashton Court - great atmosphere and great to catch up with friends. 
Needed to go running as would have struggled with keeping my feet up all day. Took it reasonably steady what with having a race tomorrow.
Was nice to go shopping and spend some money on trainers - first time this year!

Sunday 31st August 2019 

Today was the Oldbury 10 miler. Being completely honest, I wasn't expecting much after working myself so hard last weekend and then again on Wednesday. But, it was only 10 miles and I was determined to give it a good go. 

My target - well I came 3rd two years ago and got a fabulous gift I was pretty keen on trying to place. I looked up my PB from 2 years ago - 1:07:27. I knew that to beat this, I needed to average less than 6:40s. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to keep that up for the whole race as, in previous visits here, I'd ran almost a perfect regression run (each mile slower than the one before!). What I really wanted was to pace this race well. To go out at 6:40s and try and hold that pace for as long as I could. 

Looking around at the start, the women's field was strong. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to podium...The gun went off and the first mile is downhill. I knew I had to control the first mile and not get carried away. Speedy Susan from Weston (who won last weekend's race) stormed off again..and whilst, again, I wanted to chase her, I knew I had to run my own race. Luckily, I quickly found myself in a lovely little group with 2 lovely Westbury ladies and a few men. 

Working really hard!
It quickly transpired that the Westbury ladies had the same plan as me as our first few miles were all around the 6:40 mark. We got into a great rhythm and the miles were passing quicker than I'd expected. My legs were tired and did hurt but I just tried not to think about that. I kept telling myself that they'd hurt with 6 miles to go in the marathon too - so I tried to imagine that I was in the closing stages of the 26.2 miles. 

Channeling my inner Laura Muir
After we hit the half way point, I knew I was going to be able to hold the pace until the end. In fact, with 3 miles to go, the 3 of us, clearly eager to try and shake each other off, picked up the pace. I grabbed a jelly baby from a kind supporter which gave me an instant boost! We were starting to overtake the men that went off to quickly (he he). With 1 mile to go, Sophie couldn't quite hold on so we were left with just two of us. We were clearly trying to drop each other; taking it in turns to surge a little and see if we could drop the other. The last mile is also uphill which wasn't ideal for me. I was working really hard but the effort felt controlled and I was eager to keep something for a sprint finish which I was pretty sure was what it was going to come down to! 

We reached the top of the hill neck and neck. There were no other women close to us. It was going to be a sprint finish for 2nd place. With about 200 meters to go I decided to go for it. I pushed as hard as I could and...felt like I'd got it...I couldn't hear her...I started counting down from 20 ...20 seconds of pain left...but with about 50 meters left she came past me. I'd given everything...I'd gone too early and she took the 2nd place. But...I looked at my watch...PB! 10 mile PB by almost a minute! 1:06:47. Average pace of 6:38 (10 miles quicker than MP! Hooray!)

It wasn't 2nd...but I still got a gift basket! 

Great skills from KD - awesome bagging a PB and just reward for 10 weeks of decent marathon training :-)
Similar to Severn Bridge Half Marathon last week - my current shape and the weather somewhat dictated my race strategy.. Having not (purposely) run particularly fast throughout the marathon campaign I wasn't going to go out full pelt and with the weather making the temperature warmer than 10 degrees I was also wary of going out too hard.. My plan was to hope that there would be a group aiming for around an hour and hang on to them... that I did! I was in a group of about 6 through half way, all of us working hard but within ourselves... with 8 miles gone there was just two of us left working together and I had a bit of energy held back.. so I went for it! Good job I did... 
6th place with 59:46... not many seconds left to spare! A decent tempo session :-p and overall a great result.

Total for the week: 

Kelly -  47.8 miles 

John - 61 Miles