Monday, 12 November 2018

Time of the season

Season 2018

It was a new season and hopes of emulating the previous years marathon times were quickly gone as my first race of the year arrived, Loch Katrine, we had just got over the worst weather the country had seen in a few years with a severe artic blast hitting the UK known as the beast of the East  this was followed by it's little brother, the mini beast from the East, when it hit on race day morning Facebook Messenger was busy, many folk asking the question is the race being cancelled or are we really going out in those weather conditions.

I remember people on Facebook saying that it was too dangerous to travel, we decided to go for it, Andy picked up Sam, Me and Gerry, as we drove through Cumbernauld we thought we must be mad looking at the outside conditions however we arrived okay, most races took the option to cancel for safety reasons but Audrey's background of running around the world in many challenging conditions meant she had the event up and Running.

Soon we were away, some underfoot parts meant you had to be careful on the road out to Stronalachar, as we approached 11 miles near the turn just past Glengyle  a strong wind started to pick up which we would have  to run into until we reached the finish line, after leaving the halfway point i was still sitting tight to the eventual winner, we continued working away together until he opened up a gap which just seemed to get bigger and bigger towards the end however i managed to hold on to second spot in 3:02:10 but it was a race where you could have been forgiven for pulling out.

April had arrived and It was on to my second Marathon, back to London, this time the weather forecasters were predicting the warmest London Marathon ever, they weren't wrong, i had travelled to the race start that morning with Gerry and Michael Craig, two well established VLM runners, we headed off into the GFA pend and settled down to wait to get called to the start, we met Kelvin Dickinson, another seasoned marathon runner who joined us for a chat.

The time past quickly and we were soon standing on the start line,  as the temperature started to rise many people would be seen later struggling in the heat, my race plan was going fine until around 10 miles when i seemed to pick up a strain in my left Quad, by the time i reached 16 miles it was still there but not enough to tell me to stop, i continued on and by 21 it was starting to get worse any hopes of a sub 3 hour were steadily disappearing and it was a case of damage limitation by just getting over that finish line, the last mile was starting to hurt and i eventually hobbled home in 3:03:51, looking back on the BBC iPlayer i could see how much that really hurt, thankfully i finished but for others they would not be so lucky including Gerry who had to pull out at around 14 miles with stomach issues, Michael would finish not too far behind me in 3:07:50.

I decided to enter the Monklands Half Marathon in May to try and get some speedwork back in to the legs, the last time time i ran the route was back in 1984, yes 34 years later i was back, turned out well as i was first vet 50 home in 8th place in 1:21:48.

It was back to Strathearn in June for my third year on the bounce, a route that i have enjoyed despite how hilly it is, the conditions were good and with support throughout the route by Debs who was there cheering on Marco this seemed to make the race miles go by quicker, most of the race i had sat in the top three with both Marco and Roger VK leading, i managed to move into second place briefly for a spell just after 19 miles but soon found my self being overtaken by Marco with less than a mile to go finishing in third place in 2:52:55.

The JL50 (John Lucas Memorial), anyone who has run this, and not many have will tell you it can be a tough 50 miles on tar with climbs and plenty of open countryside, it was typical of the ever present Grant Jeans who flew out of the traps from the start, that would be the last we saw him until crossing the Finish line,  the first few miles past as me, Gerry and Marco chatted away, this started to break at the first checkpoint when i moved into second
place , the weather throughout the route was a very wet one, i managed to maintain my 7:30 pace to come home second in 6:14:50 which would be a new Course PB for me, today it a reverse of rolls with Marco finishing in third spot.

I decided to change my plans for September  my training buddy Sam had suggested the Lancaster Marathon so instead of going back to Loch Ness i headed south, Sam had got injured a few weeks before so this meant i would be running myself, conditions that morning were a wash out with heavy rain travelling down on the motorway also let up a short time before the start.

The race takes three different out and backs where the millennium bridge remains the cross point each time and on the third cross you have around 2km left to run, the race is very flat with sections out in the open and some under trees, the race also incorporates a 10km which starts at the same time. soon we were off and i found myself sitting in the top 6 as we approached the bridge for the first time, this is where the 10km runners would leave us and head to the finish.

I could see the cyclist in the distance getting ready to take the marathon runners out on the second section as i approached everyone headed of leaving me at the front of the marathon, i continued to run how i felt and by halfway i was till leading and feeling fine, at 18 miles Sam gave me shout to say that i had opened up a lead as i started to head back on the last loop as i had returned back to the bridge for the last time it's funny how my legs could feel worse on flat ground but by know i was just wanting to get over the finish line, i approached the only climb on the course which runs all the way up and in through the castle gates, my legs started to buckle on the climb, Sam shouted to me to move as i had not far to go, i stopped and started to walk for a few seconds, just then Sam started shouting, that a runner fast approaching behind me, boy did that give me a wake up call, i got the legs moving and up over the climb managing to just hang on and take first place in 2:56:24, beating the second place runner by just six seconds, he must have worked hard on the last 8 miles to close me as Sam later tells me that i had two minutes at Eighteen miles.

It was now time to face my last race of the season, back to the forest for what would be my 4th and final visit to Zeil, anyone who has read my previous blogs will know the course profile, not one for getting a PB on but certainly challenges you, this years conditions were similar to 2014, a dry week in the lead up meant good underfoot and with highs of 12 degrees and sunshine made it perfect to race in. we were soon underway with the guys at the front storming off, i decided to sit in and work away going through halfway in just under 1:29, it is a course that will find you out if you do not train for it, the second lap started to take its toll between 34km and 38km and this would eventually see me home in 3:08:25, 9th position, my lowest placing in the event however the upside was that i remained consistent in taking the 1st V50 spot on the podium.

as another season draws to a close, it's time to start planning 2019

Dist    Time Event                           Date         Pos    Category
Mar  03:08:25  Zeiler Waldermarathon 10-Nov-18 9th 1st Vet 50
Mar  02:56:24  Lancaster Castle Marathon 16-Sep-18 1st 1st Vet 50
50M  06:14:50 John Lucas Memorial 12-Aug-18 2nd 1st Vet 50
Mar  02:52:55  Strathearn Marathon 10-Jun-18 3rd 1st Vet 50
Half  01:21:48  Monklands Half Marathon 13-May-18 8th 1st Vet 50
Mar  03:03:51  Virgin London Marathon 22-Apr-18
Mar  03:02:10  Loch Katrine Marathon 19-Mar-18 2nd 1st Vet 50

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