Monday 21 April 2014

Two More Halves

An Update Before the Big One!

The Isle of Axholme Half Marathon - 29th September 2013

This half marathon is a relatively flat course and is described as offering the opportunity for a PB.  I wasn't going to enter it because I was a bit hard up, having celebrated my 50th Birthday in style in August.  However, Chris kindly treated me to this one.

At the last minute, Sue also entered it to help her overcome the post-race slump following the Vitruvian triathlon.  I set myself a target of under 2:05 and sort of by default, because we were starting together, Sue had more or less the same target.

As we completed the first mile, I heard a chap, after checking his Garmin, say to his mate, "that's 8:57 ... that's about right."  I couldn't believe it because I didn't think we had set off that fast.  I smiled at Sue and she gave me a look that said, "I'm fucked if I can keep that up."  I also knew I couldn't sustain sub 9 minute miles for the whole race, but it felt good that we'd got quite a jump at that point.

Sue and I ran together for the first 3 or 4 miles and she kept saying, "jog on mate, go for it".  I kept trying to keep us together because I just think she can run the same as me.  In reality, she is much quicker than me over shorter distances (hence she leads our intervals training), but I can sustain a slightly faster plod than Sue over the longer distances.  But after 4 miles or so, a little gap had opened up between us and Sue told me afterwards that she deliberately kept out of my line of sight when I turned around, so that by the time I saw her, I'd know she wasn't going to keep my pace.

This is as I saw the finish line.
I enjoyed this race and pushed myself.  I felt I had to push hard to have any chance of finishing under 2:05.  The sun came out and although there was a strong wind, it was really hot.  I kept trying to dodge into some shade, but there was very little of it and towards the end it was quite a fight against the wind especially on a long gradual incline about a mile before the finish.  I had my gadget on (Map My Run), and knew that I was on track for my target, having stayed below 9:32 minute miles on all but 2 miles and had been quite a bit quicker on a couple of miles. I just kept saying to myself, "just keep tap tap tapping."

In the end, I finished in just over 2 hours ..... just 16 seconds over.  Sue said that she thought I must be going for sub-2 hours, but that never entered my head.  Sue finished about 5 minutes after me and we were both really pleased with our times.

Cue a pose in our SmugFuckers badges .....  I'll write about these another time.

Two Smug Fuckers at the end of The Isle of Axhome Half.

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Sleaford Half Marathon 2014 - The Revenge

To appreciate why we called this "The Revenge", have a look at my blog about the Sleaford Half 2013, in which I didn't fare too well, and nor did Sue!

In some ways, I didn't want to enter this one, as the memory of last year was bad enough.  But a bigger part of me wanted to run every half this year that I ran last year so that I can track my improvement, like for like.  Also, there was something about wanting to lay the ghosts of last year to rest!  Obviously, if I was going to do it, Sue wasn't going to be let off the hook, so I bought her entry for her Christmas present. I know.  That's just cruel!  Sue got me these racing grannies for Christmas, so obviously they had to be personalised and ride on the dashboard of the car on the way to the race.

Our only aim really was to finish in better shape than last year and a bit quicker too.  Both goals were achieved.  It wasn't as cold as last year, but it was very windy.  There was one stretch, between mile 6 and 9, that was uphill, head wind and seemed to go on for ever!

Sue was aching all over and ended up with her obligatory blistered toes.  I just had pain in the 'ex-bad foot', which seems to give me a bit of hassle when I run anything more than about 10 miles.  But all in all, we were in far better shape than last year and crossed the finish line together in 02:14:02

We agreed after that - Sleaford. Done.  Let's never do it again. I love our Sleaford T Shirts though - so much nicer than last year.  Here we are afterwards, modelling them in the obligatory running pose.

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