Race Day

Anyone who actually follows this blog will notice a big jump in time to this post. Essentially this is because I’m deep in the run-up to London in April, so since Seville it’s just been a case of piling on the miles; running to work, running home, running to the gym. Mile upon mile.

One thing that I do love in the run up to a big race is a number of smaller races… Basically I run to race.

Lots of people run to get fit, or run to get outdoors, or enjoy the feeling of running itself. Myself, I want a number on my chest, and a finish line to aim for. It’s purely the feeling of doing something to 100%, knowing there was nothing left in the tank at the end. The endless training miles are all about feeling good in the race. It’s a cliche, but the race is the easy bit. It might go well, or terribly, but you need zero motivation to push yourself on race day.

In the last three weeks it’s been back to back half marathons. I never expected anything hugely fast out of any of them, and I deliberately built up the miles so I was constantly running on tired legs (this is marathon training let’s not forget). I won’t lie though, I always want a PB. A little local half was first, with a 3.5mile run either side to make up the 20miles. Hilly course, so no PB, but I powered up the hills and felt strong all the way to the finish, which came round 45” off my best. A great result and a fun race… picking off people in the distance to work towards and pass.

Two weeks ago, and it was the infinitely more glamourous Paris Half, with almost a perfect build-up , save for a really bad fall the day before, leaving my hands cut to shreds, but thankfully all my limbs intact. On the day itself my superfast mate Paul came round with me as a pacer, forcing my speed all the way round. Much less enjoyable run this time, mainly as I was working so hard all the time, but we hooked up with a Londoner early on and spent most of the time with him, trying to get past the lead (European) woman. We didn’t, but were kept highly entertained by Paul’s en route photography and cheerleading. 4miles off the back, a free massage, and a new PB (77:30) made for a great day out

Last weekend was the MiltonKeynes half, mainly run as I messed up the dates to Silverstone, and had to find a race at short notice. Cheap and flat, MK was it. A great day. Off the back of 60ish miles in the week, it was a full-on, eyeballs-out, race. It hurt like hell, but I worked up to people, surged and dropped others on hills, and spent three miles at the end hiding in a pack of four and trying to burn them off, which I managed with three of them in the last half mile. As we crossed the line it was all mutual congratualtions, and that cosy runner’s chat that’s only possible as people dribble over the line, before the mass pack make it neccesary to move through the finish shoot. Oh, and a new PB. 76:50.

Three intense weeks have left me with a bad case of shin splints, and forced a lower mileage week, but next week it’s three shorter races back-to-back before I hit the London marathon T minus 3weeks point and the taper starts again, the trickiest point of the whole business.  Next to that, racing is simple.

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