Countdown to Chester

This coming Sunday I have another half marathon. My last one was the Silverstone half marathon on the grand prix racing circuit. On Sunday it is a more traditional course as it is in the historic city of Chester as the race starts at the race couse (usually home to the 4 legged variety of runners) and heads through the city and out into the countryside, followed by a return to the city and, what I am told. a slow and steady climb over the last few miles.

The city was originally founded by the Romans in AD79 and was known by the name Deva, after the goddess of the Dee. The fort of Deva was about 20% larger than most other forts built by the Romans at this time and there is a suggestion that it was originally intended to  be the Roman capital in Britain rather than London. Chester is now much more of a tourist destination based on its long history and the half marathon route should give us some good views of the Roman city walls as we head out of town.

I would have liked to have had more miles under my belt for this race and I have to confess to feeling a little under prepared. I am trying hard to keep things in perspective and I keep telling myself that I don;t have to set a PB every single time I run. I’m sure most runners feel the urge to constantly better themselves, but I think I put undue pressure on myself to achieve a better time each time I run and that this means I don’t enjoy the race as much as I could do. So given the recent improvement in the weather and the increase in  temperatures (25 degrees centigrade this weekend), coupled with the hill towards the end of the race, I am going to try and enjoy this race and not feel under pressure to PB…….although I am sure on the day the atmosphere will get the better of me and all this sensible thinking will go out of the window.

As I mentioned, the weather was great this last week and weekend and I couldn’t resist having a final run out before next weekend.  For the first time this year I actually had to wait until the evening to run because it was so hot during the day. Whilst the shins have been feeling relatively good in recent weeks I haven;t really been able to pin down exactly why. Consequently I have been hesitant to push myself too hard or too far in case I suffer a setback. I know there will come a time when I can’t keep holding back if I want to improve my times and distances, but that’s for the future and for now I am enjoying being able to run with my club and the odd solo run without being in agony for days afterwards.

I did 5 miles on Sunday evening and I have to say I felt really strong. I kept the pace back at around 8:45 a mile for the first couple of miles (as this is my intended pace for the Chester half) and then dropped a quicker mile in as there is long straight section on this 5 mile route which is ever so slightly down hill. I managed mile 3 in 7:47 so was really happy with this. I slowed somewhat in miles 4 & 5 (8:16 and 8:07 respectively) and finished my 5 mile route in 41:31. I was delighted with this as my previous 5 mile best was a good 30 seconds slower than this :-). I did feel strong, and probably could have gone further, but opted to head home at this point to keep myself as fresh as possible for the weekend. I’m also looking forward to Chester as my daughter, wife and mum are all doing the 1 mile fun run as well. I’ve been trying to encourage my wife to start running and having 3 generations of women in the family all running together will be great. Pictures with our medals will follow.

The weather forecast for Sunday is looking much more favourable with the temperature only getting to 12 degrees C at best, thank goodness!

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