Saturday 30 March, 09:04
Ran the course in reverse today. Was just going to run easy but quarter of a mile in I felt good and upped the pace. By the third lap I was full sprinting, thinking it might be a decent time and close to a PB. Official time is a PB by 1 second.
Tuesday 12 February, 17:33
Run commute home, light backpack. Felt good, felt fast.
Distance: 4.77 miles
Time: 44:53 (PB)
Sunday 11 November, 11:02
It started to rain as the race director said a few words and we had 2 minutes silence. I’d found out a bit about the course from another runner on the start line, positioned myself behind the fastest runners but not that far back.
The start was downhill then rose into a long hill about 1.5 miles long. After that was about 3 miles of downhill, then a flattish mile to the finish. The first 2 miles were good tarmac, then compacted stone trail.
Felt good on the hill, pushed hard down the downhill and kept it going along to the end.
Knocked 6 minutes off my 10k PB that I’d set at Stockport in September. Finished 101st out of 455. Was 17th in my age category out of 52. Very happy.
And I was going to do this race easy and work hard at Brighton next weekend! Guess I’ll swap it round and enjoy flat Brighton.
Time: official 45:21 Fitbit 45:25
Avg pace: official 7:18 min/mile Fitbit 7:35 min/mile
Avg HR: 148bpm
Trainers: Brooks Cascadia 13
Sunday 8 April, 09:42
8C, bright but overcast, slight breeze. Ideal running conditions. The start was delayed due to police dealing with something on the route.
I’d met a few vegan runners outside the Crucible before the race. Felt calm and ready.
The race climbed gradually up Ecclesall Road, then got steeper. Passed Zaz from the VR group just after Endcliffe Park. Feeling strong and legs bouncy on the hills. Seemed to pass a lot of slower runners, my trail racing paying off.
After 6 miles the route turned left towards Dore & Totley. Somewhere round mile 7-ish I looked across and saw Billy Sharp (SUFC) in the crowd. I shouted “Billy”, (waved) “It’s Billy Sharp!!” Laughed and sped onwards. Best bit of the race!
From here it was mostly downhill, still running by feel rather than Tom Tom watch. Pressed on and tried hard down Eccy Road, there had been the odd shout here and there ‘go vegan runner’. Big crowds except for the country part.
I’d been checking off the mile markers and with a mile to go I gritted my teeth and pushed harder. Up Charter Row and Pinstone Street I gave it everything. Left it all out on the course.
Really pleased to knock 10 minutes off my best time for this race. Surprised at the average pace, given the 5 miles of uphill.
Distance: 13.18 miles
Time: official 1:42:58, Tom Tom 1:42:52
Avg pace: 7:46 min/mile
Trainers: Brooks Ghost 10
7C, cool, overcast. Rising only slightly in temp, ideal running weather.
Met up with Emma and Ash at the marathon start, gave Emma some words of encouragement for her 5k, and showed her a dropped manhole hazard on the finishing shute.
I was in wave 3 so had a 10 minute wait from the actual start. I didn’t see any pacers near me in that wave (more on pacers later). When the wave was set off it seemed very busy for the first couple of miles, slowed me slightly but that’s ok. Then I saw I’d done a fast (for me) 3rd mile split, 7:16 min/mile. I’d been aiming for about a minute slower… knew I’d gone off too fast.
Miles 4-7 were also sub-8 min/mile. Oh no, but felt ok. My pace then dropped naturally to what I’d been doing on 20 mile runs, around 8:15-8:25. Heel felt ok, actually improved on the run. I passed a 4 hour pace group after 5 miles, then the 3:45 pace group at 9 miles. I didn’t know how far ahead they’d started, but knew I was going too fast. Saw I’d done first half in 1:47, hmmm. A pit stop at 14 miles let the 3:45 pacer just back in front, took over a mile to reel them in. Thought about tagging along but legs felt ok so just eased ahead, kept going.
A few spectators shouted ‘go Steve’ etc, and a group on cycles kept passing, pausing, then passing again, and they kept calling my name.
In the middle miles I knew my legs were tiring but no niggles apart from the usual left adductor stiffening up. I pressed on…
The mile 22 marker seemed to be missing, and it was a relief to see mile 23. Then turned into a southerly headwind. About mile 24 I saw my total race time was 3:23, and I simply calculated a couple of 8:30 miles would put me close to Jeff’s marathon PB. That helped me up the pace, from mile 24 at 8:52, to mile 25 at 8:37 and mile 26 at 8:15. I’d remembered what Jeff said setting his PB; he tried slowing down and speeding up and the tiredness and pain were the same, so he went for it. That’s what I did, literally ‘sprinting’ the last half mile including finishing shute.
I saw Emma in the crowd, waved, and the announcer called out my name amongst others running in. I felt really emotional again, I often do at a mara finish. I knew I’d done my best. Heading through the finish area I collected food, drink, free beanie hat. Visited the results tent and read the printout in disbelief: sub-3:40 by 2 seconds. More tears and sobbing.
I could not find family so headed back to the hotel, couple of blocks away. Reception gave me another door key and I called from there. Seems I’d missed the finish area exit point, they were worried I’d be in the medical tent collapsed or worse!
So, best ever marathon time, knocking 32 minutes off PB. It’s going to be hard to beat that time, but I just want to enjoy my running regardless of time.
One change I plan which should help my fitness is, after celebrating today’s marathon, I’ll be trying a vegan diet or as close as I can get. Think cleaner fuel will help, just need to be careful and eat a variety of good whole foods.
Distance: 26.2 miles (TT 26.33 miles)
Time: 3:39:58. (TT 3:39:59)
Avg pace: Official 8:24 min/mile (TT 8:19 min/mile)
Trainers: Brooks Ghost 10
Sunday 1 October, 07:05
15C, rain, grey, breezy. A 20 mile run along the Trans Pennine Trail to Chesterfield and back. Repeating the route I did 2 weeks ago.
Had planned to warm up and run the middle 15/16 miles at a set pace, something comfortable. But I found that my TomTom wasn’t giving me great pace data because of the trees along the TPT, so ran by feel and sort of just went for it. Tried to see what I could do.
Previously I’d been surprised by my time/pace and finished with a little bit left over. This time I pushed on – seemed crazy fast on the outbound – and held on as long as I could. Only the last mile was beyond my comfort zone, including the uphill bit returning home. Finished on ‘empty’.
Had a Chia Charge flapjack and 500ml water. Didn’t use other stuff I’d carried. Only wore t-shirt and shorts, carried stuff in my trail backpack, and didn’t mind the rain which changed from light to moderate and back.
I don’t think I could maintain this pace for the full 26 miles, but who knows how I’ll feel on the day, and what condition my taper will leave me in. One more 20 miler planned in 2 weeks time.
Noticed right heel and calf, as usual. Left knee niggle but not bad. Really pleased with splits/time/pace.
Distance: 20.08 miles
Time: 2:45:34 (PB – nearly 9 mins better)
Avg pace: 8:15 min/mile
Trainers: Brooks Cascadia
Wildlife: 3 squirrels
A great start to my #RunEveryDay
Saturday 16 September, 07:26
12C, cool, grey and overcast. A 20 mile long run was on the marathon schedule. This has been a high mileage week, so planned to do a steady pace and just get to Chesterfield and back on the trails, alongside the Chesterfield Canal.
Thought I may have overdressed, swapping a t-shirt for thicker long sleeved NYC top. Could have got away with a shirt, but it was OK. Wore gloves too. Slight drizzle and a bit of light rain on and off.
The mostly flat route was straightforward and I just kept it going. The previous evening I’d calculated to do about 3h10, 9:30 min/mile. Just had the route and total mileage showing on TomTom, no pace or time data, so just ran by feel. Was shocked by the final total time/pace, which shows I’m on track for sub-4 in Indy 🙂
Took bites of a Chia Charge from mile 4 and finished it by mile 12. Had a gel at 17 miles and drank 500ml water. Didn’t seem to suffer any energy drop, legs felt mostly good, bit of fatigue in last 2 miles but this was my strongest and fastest 20 miler I can remember. With Indy being flat this was my first good test of marathon fitness.
Distance: 20.09 miles
Time: 2:54:09 (prev best run #668 in 2013: 3:01:17)
Avg pace: 8:40 min/mile
Trainers: Brooks Cascadia
Weekly summary: 7.7+7.7+7.7+5.5+3+20.1=51.7 miles