It’s been a week, a week since London and a week since the spring marathons drew to a close. I’d love to say I’ve had a relaxing week, chilled out and stuck my feet up. In essence, I have! However I’ve done what I do and that is run. May is shaping up to be a busy month for racing, the Wednesday evening races anyway. The first of those came this week. I’d say I’ve recovered my endurance since London now, although I’ve not recovered my top end speed, the speed needed to kick on an extra gear. Especially over the shorter stuff; it’ll come back over time, I’m no speed demon anyway, I’ll leave that game to Scott Hinchcliffe!
With Spencer’s on the agenda, the plan was just to get around the course in one piece. I didn’t have any particular target, but didn’t wanna run too far off of pace. I ran down with David, didn’t clock a warm up PB this time around. Saw loads of runners in and around the clubhouse for a chat, mainly talking about marathons. Strange that? Then made our way to the start, clocking Scott Hinchcliffe, looking like a racing horse! Then also clocking Scott Nutter, young prodigy. He is and will be class, keep your eye out. Spencer’s Dash is just that, a dash downhill, a slower dash uphill, before dashing down, up, down and up. You get the picture? With bit of a trail section included; all for £4. Sweet! Kicked out the blocks, raced to the bottom of Bence Lane. In the lead, only to be taken by Nutter and Hinchcliffe on the climb. I blame the marathon legs. Keeping them both with metres for the rest of the ascent. Knowing I’d have run well then. At the top of the climb, Nutter had put some distance in us. Hinchcliffe looked to be slowing, so I tried to kick on the next descent before the trail. Marathon legs are easier going downhill. Flew down here and hit the trail in the usual hesitancy, with it being so sharp. Got up and over. Nutter had gone, still in sight but gone. Hinchcliffe just ahead. One glance at the watch, assumed and guessed I’d be a little closer to PB’ing than I imagined. Up the climb to the finish, under the motorway bridge. Over the line in 20:36. Not bad, 20:26 is the PB for the Dash. So we’ll see how I measure up in the months to come!
Thursday marathon legs had been a little enhanced, ah well. Then Friday was ticked off and the time to race was almost upon us. The North Lincolnshire Half Marathon here goes! A 9 o’clock start, in wonderful Scunthorpe, meant for an early get up. I’m not the best at them lately. Planned to get up around 6.30 and then set off around 7, getting showered quicksticks and throwing some food down my neck. Did that, but woke up at 7 instead. Ooops! Set off around 7.30, 45 minute drive through, avoiding the pre advertised road closures. Using my tricky sat nav skills, car parking was full! Managed to get parked by 8.30. Took me longer to get parked up then it did to drive! Initially parking in the car park on some grass, but finding another spot nearby. Jumped out the car to run to the start line, knowing that in previous years there has been a toilet near the start line! Busting. 2k there. Running past the Race HQ and the masses of toilets. Getting there. No toilet, back to the Race HQ and start queuing. Stopping for a photo with John Lawcock, definitely not whilst I was stood in the toilet queue!
Decided to quickly leave the comfortable toilet queue to join the urinal gang, sharing a pee with Gavin Sanderson. Then rushed my way to the start; 8.45. 1.8 mile done. Bumped into a fresh looking gang of Kingstone Runners for a quick chat and then ran into Birdy, Rob and Lee on their way, chatting with Birdy who was running his first half today, targetting 1:20. Big TARGET! Getting to the line but choosing to run out and back on the road with Birdy to add a bit on, taking a jump into the bush in the process! Needed another pee! Probably shouldn’t have downed a pint of water with my breakfast. Out the bush, 8:58. Quick sprint towards all the runners who were already lining up on the line. Made it, just in time? Spotting a few other familiar faces in the process. Then I was off, quick out the blocks and then straight into pace.
Into a more familiar pace and running steadily but fast, race pace. Legs feeling achey, tight and heavy. Normal. Must mean we’re running! Fast start usually at North Lincs. This is my 4th time here at this event, last running it in 2017; clocking a PB of 1:17:08. Started at the same place, came through that day with Lee Nash, as he hobbled with an injured hamstring into the athletics track for the finish.
The course here is flat, with only one real hill about mile 11.5 as you approach the finishing straight, ish. With it being on country roads, it is largely exposed; just a case of where and when will the headwind appear. I’ve run around here a few times, more recently being the Burringham 10k, a flat and fast local race that was only £8 to enter! Bargain. Coming through with Kieron Reed and meeting Lee Nash there that day.
First mile was done. Then the course began to rise; likened to the Dunford Express! 5:12 for the first mile and a strava segment for the first half a mile, ooops, done a Damien! Might have set off a bit too quick, sat back and dropped myself into 5th place, runners running in pairs in front of me. Joe Sagar paired up with William Strangeway, the eventual winner, and Rob Scott paired up with Ryan Page. Me left on my own….. Not too bad at the minute but wasting energy pushing into the little bit of a crosswind.
Feeling the wind and knowing that when we eventually make the turn, it’ll be an headwind. Grinding it and legs still aching, takes me a few mile to warm up anyway. The sound of my steps on the ground, bliss. So far away from the sounds of London! Last week in the marathon I split, 1:12:20 for the half. I’d be chuffed with that today on marathon legs! Trying to hold my head up, looking on in front. Seeing the wall of supporters in front, forcing us to the right. Headwind. On the narrower country lane, previous years it’s been boiling here. First race I actually saw the use of sponges and they operated a sponge station, instead of a water station. Still flat, nothing much to look at. Ticking the miles off, going through the motions. Enjoying the pain and enjoying the run. Race pace can hurt, it can be painful, but that pain is great and once its got to the stage of pain, it can’t get any worse can it? Got to run faster! Dropping a bit off of pace as we ran into the headwind, not the most pleasant experience. Ever so slightly hearing the footsteps of Ben Sadowyj. His running record is rather like mine, I’m always around him when it comes to races. Obviously more often in races when I cross the border into Lincolnshire! Eventually getting caught by Ben, to jump on the train and found my pair to run the remainder of the race with. Running past the mist station this year, marshals stood with small tankers, blowing a refreshing mist onto the runners. But it isn’t that warm today, choosing the central racing line, so I don’t get sprayed. Still feeling like an headwind and hoping for some sort of relief from that. Ben recognising ahead that Ryan Page, looked as though he was fading. Telling me that he had a big sprint finish if he needed it. We was catching him and should hopefully pick him off eventually. Using it as an ounce of motivation with nothing else to look at around or about. Running through familiar territory in the form of Burringham, recognising the windmills to our right. This being the run back on the 10k. Turning right and then left again, running past the start line of the Burringham 10k. To take the narrow dirt looking track away from Burringham. On our way home now. In that zone where I’m only 5k away from home and most of the hardwork done. Just got to hold on, a quick glance at my watch. Knowing a PB wasn’t going to be likely but secretly wanting to at least equal my London split from last weekend.
With my half PB coming from the not so flat Retford, on a fresher and not so tired day. I’d be hopeful of pipping that today. But probably not that day today. We was on the finishing straight. Ben had kicked on and with not much in my legs, heart rate felt fine! Averaged 126 for the full race apparently with that! Meditation zone.
The athletics track not far away now, sprinting around. A loop and finish line sprint that I liken to the Hull Marathon finish as you bank around and into the stadium, a bit smaller here than the KCOM though! Onto the track, seeing the line. Wishing it was a little closer and crossing to clock:
Not a bad day at the office, considering I was on marathon legs! Stood around and walked away with Joe Sagar and Ben. Joe managed to get 3rd and clocked a massive PB of 1:09:35! Fine form. I’d hope with fresher legs that I’d be somewhere closer to that. With no half marathons entered now until later in the year, we’ll never know. Unless someone knows a flat and fast half? I’ll probably have a bit of a research sometime later in the week myself. Went off for a bit of a cool down of 4.5 mile around the small area of the race. A few cheeky climbs thrown in. To make it 20.5 for the day, so far; I’ll be out later again in the evening, for my recovery run! Clocking a shy recovery of 130 for the week. It could’ve been worse, I could’ve run Newport half marathon in 2:33 today and taken 2nd place, Scott ‘madman’ Harrington. It’s Milton Keynes tomorrow, slightly and sadistically gutted I’m not there! Birdy managed to break the 1:20 barrier with a 1:18:14. Great to see Steve Melber clock another fantastic time as well, John Lawcock was a minute shy of his PB in 1:35:11 and Rob Davies did more than break the 1:30 barrier clocking a 1:26:53. The ever so consistent Paul Johnson also smashed it in 1:17:39.
For the first time in my life, I’ve probably done a sprint finish…. I blame the athletics track!
It’s the Penistone club mile on wednesday night, hoping to make the ever so speedy event into a bit of a long one. Running to the track from home and running back afterwards, might not run my best possible time in the mile. But it wouldn’t be me otherwise! Few more Wednesday night races penciled in for the next few weeks, with only 1 more Sunday race this month. I’ll probably sit down over the next couple of week at some stage and analyse my training for Manchester and London, acknowledge what I’ve done and see what I can do to improve, think I’ve got a bit of an idea already. I’ve been working on something, watch this space!
Just Keep Running!
Ps. I’ve created a new facebook page for all of my blog posts, click on the photo to take a look!