There is no such thing as a bad race, especially if you can learn something from it. Safe to say, Cambridge didn’t really go to plan and I’ve spent the last 24 hours or so reflecting on why.
Arriving at the Park + Ride in pure sunshine I dug out my sunglasses from my bag, and made the 1st mistake of day – leaving my gloves on the passenger seat of the car (Schoolboy error 1), convincing myself that the sun was coming out and the world would be a happy, sunny place. Once on the double decker bus, the sun disappeared and I took off my sunglasses.
Arriving at Midsummer Common I bumped into some FreedomTri club mates (and a work colleague who was also running) and started to regret leaving those gloves behind (note everyone the picture below with gloves, hats, warm clothes!). The wind had picked up, it was cold and the queue for the coffee stall was getting longer and longer. Leaving it as late as possible I stripped down to my running kit, and stood for the next half hour in shorts and t-shirt, bemoaning not bringing anything to wear before the start (Schoolboy error 2)
The race got going and I felt pretty good. The first couple of miles were pretty busy and it took a while for the runners to thin out. But I was running a reasonable pace (I had no idea what shape I was in, and was hoping (ambitiously!) for a sub 1:45. I was working for a 1:48 and was hitting about these numbers for the 1st couple of miles). At Mile 3 I had a quick stop for a toilet break. Miles 4 to 8 though resulted in both my calves feeling really tight and my right foot suffering from pins and needles. These miles were really hard going, and the thought of giving up did cross my mind on a few occasions. It was during this period that my times tailed off quite badly and I made the mental decision to ease off, be disappointed in myself and just effectively turn this run into a training run.
By Mile 8 though the pins and needles suddenly disappeared, my calves felt better and I got talking to a couple of other runners and we managed to talk each other into pressing on (helped further by a nice tailwind for a couple of miles). These were an enjoyable few miles (well, except Mile 11 which seemed to drag on forever!). In the final mile another club mate overtook me, and so I jumped behind them and used them to pull me through the field (and ran the fasted mile of the day!- thanks John!!).
So some silly mistakes:
- These mistakes started in the week running up to the race. I only managed a single run and I know I run much better when running ‘regularly’.
- Being cold before the start, complete lack of warm-up – very silly mistakes and a timely reminder to be better prepared – I wonder how much that contributed to the pins and needles and calves.
- With lack of running, there was also a lack of stretching in the week of the race – another contribution to the calves?
The good bits – well, Mile 8 onwards saw me post 5 of my 6 fastest miles of the day, so I’ve evidently got some kind of fitness (although perhaps not 1:48 fitness! And what idiot was thinking of 1:45!!!). The medal is excellent and I had a great day chatting away to other runners, even if the race itself wasn’t quite what I had planned.
I do feel a little like a Premiership football manager though, I’ve got the opportunity to bounce right back with Bath Half Marathon next week. I’m going back to basics and will be pacing for anything better than 1:54 and start to see improvements (hopefully!).
Oh, and I’ve got some new, go faster shoes for MK Marathon
Willen Hospice and MK Marathon 2017
In May 2017 I’m running MK Marathon to raise funds and awareness for Willen Hospice, an amazing local charity. I’ll be blogging my journey from here to the finish line. If you’re in a position to make a donation, however small, it’d be greatly appreciated. My JustGiving page is here, or alternatively you can text ‘GBMK50 £3’ to 70070 to make a £3 donation.