So despite, promising myself that I would keep up to date with this blog, I have spectacularly failed. As such, I am going to do a quick summary of September and get back on the horse (I promise). My excuse is that actually my running in September has gone really well and I have been too focused on that :-). Nice problem to have I suppose.
After I returned from holiday I knew that my next target was the English Half Marathon in my home town of Warrington. There was going to be a huge presence from my running club and I had targeted this race as one to try and break my PB, and potentially go under 1hr 50. I wasn’t sure how well I had prepared and I knew the challenges of the route having ran it last year. There were a few people from the club who were also targeting 1hr 50 so I managed to join them for the race in the hope that a more experienced runner would be able to pace more accurately than I would.
I knew early on that our pacer was secretly pushing us faster than my anticipated pace as our average pace over the first 4 miles was 8:05 per mile. Mile 5 was up hill so we slowed slightly to 8:23 and then picked up the pace again covering miles 6, 7, 8 and 9 in 8:05, 8:14, 8:00 and 7:58. It was at that point that I lost touch with the pacer and had to accept that it was going to be hard work from here on in to get home. Thankfully, Tim from the club stuck with me and managed to bark instructions at me whilst I desperately tried to hang on. I must have been a useless running buddy as I could hardly acknowledge him, let alone have a conversation for those last 4 miles.
Miles 10 to 13.1 slowed a fair bit with times of 8:28, 8:46, 9:18 and 9:05. It was a good job that the early pace had been hot as there was some time in the bank for chasing the sub 1hr 50 I was after. Thankfully I stumbled over the line in a time of 1:48:57. I was over the moon as this was 4 minutes off my PB, under the 1hr 50 I had set as an aspirational target and also a full 20 minutes faster than my time from this race 12 months ago. It was great to have my family there at the finish line and later that day the 3 of us completed the Family Mile fun run and my daughter was delighted to add another medal to her fledgling collection. A massive turnout from Warrington Running Club meant that there was amazing support out on the course. It was a great day and I can’t wait to come back next year.
Having had such a great result at The English Half Marathon, I decided I needed another race, and quickly, to capitalise on the high I was feeling. I had the Manchester Half Marathon booked for mid October but searched around for something sooner. I secretly harbour ambitions of doing a marathon, so when I managed to secure a last minute place at the Chester Metric Marathon (26.2km or 16.3 miles) this was a fantastic opportunity to push myself and see what i was capable of. I’d never run more than 13.1 miles so this was a journey into the unknown.
It was an absolutely glorious day with the weather perfect and a great start and finish location at Chester Racecourse. My dad came along to support and be chauffeur which was fantastic. Another strong presence from WRC, especially camped out by the finish line was brilliant to see too.
I had decided, after my experience in my last race, that I was going to manage my own race rather than try and stick to someone else’s pace. I wanted to run negative splits if possible and ensure that I didn’t go out too fast. I knew I was going to need to save my energy and manage it better to make the distance. Running slower than you know you are capable of is a strange feeling :-). I will spare you the blow by blow account of every single mile and simply say that I don;t think I could have paced this race any better. I managed to make it round 16.3 miles, my longest run ever, and got a very respectable time I feel.
Having run the Chester Half Marathon in May I was very pleased to see that this was just as well organised. Very slick and professional, loads of drink stations out on the course that were manned to perfection and a really nice finishing stretch along the river and into the racecourse. I will definitely be back next year.
Next up is the Manchester Half Marathon in 2 weeks time. A nice flat course by all accounts so if I am feeling good on the day I will see if I can push the PB a bit closer to 1:45!