Saturday 9 December, 08:03
-1C, clear skies, chill wind. A 9 mile run on roughly half of the Exterminator course. Wrapped up well and started on Penny Lane. Blessed by a great sunrise.
Stunning view on the climb up from Penny Lane to Totley Trig
I’d taken a week off running due to a cough. It’s not completely gone but that didn’t trouble me on the run. Good to be doing hills again, need to build up fitness again as I’m recovered from the marathon now.
Felt right heel on and off, and it stiffened up afterwards.
Ran to Totley Trig, across and up through Blacka Moor to Piper House Gate, up and across Houndkirk Moor, down over Burbage Edge (carefully!), along to Fox House, and up to Moss Road, back via Horse’s Field to the start.
Lots of ice around, in places the whole width of the path or trail. Slipped and slid but didn’t fall, phew! The x-claw shoes were great for the snow though, and part-frozen peat/soil.
Up on Houndkirk there was a fog/low cloud obscuring the view of Hathersage Moor and Higger Tor.
Drank 250ml water and had 2 sweet jelly things and 1 gel.
Enjoyed this. With heavy snow forecast for tomorrow I hope it clears so I can come back and do the other half of the Exterminator route soon.
The strap is broken on my Tom Tom watch so while I source a replacement I wore Fitbit. That froze on the Settings screen when I wanted to set off. So these stats are from recording my run straight into Strava app.
Distance: 9.1 miles
Avg pace: 12:17 min/mile
Trainers: inov8 x-claw 275
Postscript: The black toenail I got in the Exterminator race in September fell off in the shower today. And it looks like I’ve got another black toenail coming on the same toe on opposite foot. Must be something about this route!
Tuesday 14 November, 07:06
0C, cold, frosty, clear skies. A 6 mile easy run at Eagle Creek Park. Wrapped up again and headed out for a slow paced run, just enjoying the park once more before we head home tomorrow.
Slight heel niggle again but my legs got going after the first mile or so. Disturbed a couple of deer at about 4 miles but they were far off and only got a glimpse of them.
Distance: 5.7 miles
Avg pace: 9:09 min/mile
Trainers: Brooks Cascadia
Wildlife: 2 deer, 2 squirrels (I think, they’re fast!)
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
The results are in…..
Overall 51st from 160 runners
Category MV50 – 7th out of 27
Very pleased with that, feels like progress.
Sunday 8 October, 07:32
10C, high cloud, cool, breezy. A 15 mile run at Ladybower. The plan called for a 13 mile long run, so mapped out a route around Derwent and Howden Reservoirs, 14 miles. It ended up being 15! Ideal running weather, wore t-shirt and shorts, and carried the usual light pack.
Set out early to get parked near my start point. Right from the beginning the scenery was impressive, could not resist pausing here and there to snap photos.
I found the route to be easy trail with some tarmac on the way out, a bit of stony path at the far end, and lots of tarmac on the return. The last couple of miles I saw a trail path below near the water’s edge but was stuck much higher up on tarmac. It was all runnable, nothing too steep or long. More pauses to eat flapjack, I enjoyed this run immensely. Will be returning for more laps and to try other routes.
Had a protein bar before running, 1 Chia Charge flapjack on the run, and 500ml water.
Distance: 15.1 miles
Avg pace: 8:45 min/mile
Trainers: Brooks Cascadia
Wildlife: 3 squirrels, lots of sheep!
Footnote: After the run another runner chatted as I stretched off, mentioned good marathons in Enschede and Rotterdam…
Friday 29 September, 07:45
15C, low cloud, rain, mild. A 6 mile run from Fox House. Training plan called for a 6 mile moderate effort run, and instead of RV I decided to keep my trail fitness and do it in the Peak District. From Fox House I ran along Burbage Edge, then along to Higger Tor and Mother Cap, crossing the road and returning along Burbage Brook.
It was raining as I got out of the car. Had a chewy gel and set off. The route along Burbage Edge was familiar, very boggy underfoot. Had a few bites of Chia Charge flapjack along the way, lovely.
The rain eased off heading towards Higger Tor, then I seemed to get slightly lost but was heading in the right direction, just not a brilliant path to follow.
After Mother Cap and for the last mile the rain returned and was heavy, but it didn’t dampen my enjoyment. Drank 150ml water.
Stats are irrelevant today, put in effort on the climbs and throughout but paused for photos and for phone maps / GPS.
Distance: 6.07 miles
Avg pace: 12:42 min/mile
Trainers: Inov8 x-claw 275
Thursday 14 September, 18:12
15C, warm, breezy. A 5.5 mile run along the Thames.
It started to rain as I left the hotel. Lots of people around Waterloo, slowed me down and had to zig-zag a lot. Kept it easy, just a leg loosener after work.
Distance: 5.47 miles
Avg HR: 145bpm
Avg pace: 8:58 min/mile
Trainers: Brooks Cascadia