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Run Hackney Half Marathon 2015

Since the Wings for Life UK run on Sunday the 3rd of May I’ve been pretty busy running and racing. I went to #TrackTuesday, ran the Assembly League Victoria Park 3.5 miler, did Mile End parkrun and enjoyed the Run Hackney Half Marathon.

Surprisingly after doing 23 miles for the Wings for Life run I felt pretty fresh and therefore in the last week I managed to do over 50 miles including the three “races” I mentioned before. #TrackTuesday was great as always, I’m looking forward to tonight’s session. It would be good to see more new faces soon. We run at Mile End track from 7.30pm (it costs £3.25 for track access) message me if you’re interested and want anymore details or head over to the Run Fast blog. 

My first race of the week was on Thursday. It was the Assembly League Victoria Park 3.5 mile run. It just so happened to fall on the day we have run club from The Running Works store. I was day off but decided to run in to do the 4 mile route around Shadwell Basin with the group. I decided to do this because I have found that I often run stronger after I’ve ran earlier in the day. The race was at 7.30pm so I had a good couple hours to rest/chill. I didn’t really know what to expect for the Assembly League run. Over 300 people ran coming from all the different London run clubs. I ran for Victoria Park Harriers as I have ran with them a few times in the last couple weeks and am joining them aswell as team Run-Fast.   One of my colleagues, James, was running the race aswell. Off the start line he managed to weave his way through the group and set off at a good pace. I decided it would be good if I could keep him in my sights and try and close up the gap as the race progressed. Having people to follow and keep pushing myself is a great motivation for me and I enjoy this aspect of running on track. The plan is to close the gap, not necessarily throughout the session but week after week, to the front runners. My race strategy, if you can call it that, worked well and I finished two seconds behind James. I finished in 19:20 in 34th place and considering the amount of running I’d done prior to the race I was more than happy with that. You can see the finish here (James in yellow and me in Green from 1:40 in). http://youtu.be/v8uy4Jy8YAY

I decided Friday should be a rest day. Then on Saturday after much deliberation I decided to run Mile End parkrun as a loosener ahead of Run Hackney Half. The run soon changed from a loosener to a race (again I know it’s parkrun not parkRACE!) I guess I’m just too competitive with myself to not push it at parkruns. I enjoy the Mile End course as it has a few little ups and downs and I try to keep a constant speed going up them. I managed to equal my Mile End PB with a time of 17:49 finishing 2nd. 

Now to the main event, the Hackney Half Marathon. I didn’t really know what to do pace wise considering the amount of running and racing I had done the week leading up to it but I just thought I’d go with the flow. I ran with Alan (a friend and pacer from Niketown) for the first half of the race. We set off at a steady pace in the first couple of miles then started picking it up. In the first few miles we saw Georgia (another Nike friend) and as strange as it is to chat during a race we had a quick catch up (pun intended!) talking about the London Marathon which she smashed in 3:17 after getting the place two days before, mental! 

Me and Alan went through 10k in 39:07. Just after this Alan got a bit of a stitch and had to ease up but as I was feeling comfortable I went on maintaining a decent pace. I knew I was pushing it a bit because my calf had twinged half a mile into the run. Luckily my legs cooperated with me for the rest of the run. After mile 6, when I was on my own, I just kept thinking about people around the course and the cheers I would get especially at mile 10 where Run/Cheer Dem Crew were situated. It was great to see so many friends on the run and I really appreciate the support.   Also big thanks for the photo and shouts from the Advent Running guys.

I managed to hold on to a decent pace despite the heat and finished in 54th place in a time of 1:20:30. That finish time is quite rewarding, I obviously would have liked to go sub 80 mins again but a better taper would be required for that I think.  I feel incredibly lucky that I can do what I’m doing and I have been enjoying every race. I am so relieved that I got through the half unscathed and I can now look forward to Richmond Park Marathon on Sunday. I’m going to take it steady between now and then as doing a half the week before is probably pushing it enough. I’m going to the Christopher McDougall “Natural Born Heroes” book launch on Thursday which should be good. I will then be working at the Night of 10,000 PBs as we (The Running Works) will be retailing at the event. It should be a great day, I’m looking forward to cheering everyone on and picking up issue #5 of Like the Wind magazine.

Looking forward to seeing lots of you at #TrackTuesday, The Running Works Thursday Run club and at the events mentioned above. I hope you all had a great weekend.

Steve

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Brilliant Brighton Marathon Weekend

As I’m sure most of you are aware, the 11th/12th of April was a pretty big weekend in the marathon running calendar. The main events included Paris, Rotterdam and Brighton. After running Manchester last year I decided to sign up for Brighton, mainly because quite a few friends had run it and they really enjoyed it. After London, Brighton is one of the biggest Marathons in the UK and is well known for its great crowds by the sea. 

This year my taper went relatively smoothly. Leading up to Manchester last year was a bit of a disaster, running 26.3 miles two weeks before and being ill leading up to the race. I still managed to do well and was happy with my time of 3:28 but I knew this time round as long as I tapered well and changed a few more things I could knock off a fair amount of time. In hindsight I probably should have taken #TrackTuesday a little bit easier and I shouldn’t have walked around and stood up so much on Saturday but overall the taper was good. 

On the Saturday I headed to Brighton reasonably early (probably too early) to pick up my race pack and have a look around the expo. Due to Manchester posting race numbers this was the first expo I’ve been to. Due to being early I got my race pack without having to queue and then went and got my name printed on my t-shirt. I also spent some time catching up with Paul from Run247 and Michelle who works at Asics (that I use to work with at Sweatshop). Michelle is never far from a marathon and she was pacing 4:30 on Sunday, which she nailed. I’m thinking about getting involved in pacing at some point, It must be so rewarding.   I then grabbed some food and went for a stroll along the seafront and along the pier. It was a bit windy and I was slightly worried that on Sunday this could cause some issues. I ran Bristol Half Marathon a couple of years ago and it was really windy, not fun. I then headed back to the expo as they had lined up speakers to talk about race prep and nutrition etc. Nick Anderson said the race doesn’t start until mile 20. I found this out last year at Manchester! Another of the speakers, and race starter, was Jo Pavey. It was great to hear from Jo. She reiterated how important pacing is and said how she struggled in her first marathon. She went through halfway in 71 minutes and did the second half in 77. Still not bad! After her talk she signed race no.s etc and had a chat with each of us. I get pretty starstruck so just asked where she ran when she lived in London. I need to get to Richmond and Bushy park more often it seems. After the expo I went and got some pasta and then I had a relaxing evening reading Running with the Kenyans by Adharanand Finn (great book!) before getting an early night. I slept reasonably well but woke up at about 2am, I then fell asleep again intermittently before waking up at 7ish. I grabbed some food and walked to the race village. I bumped into Sarah @littlerunnergal and Scott @ScottBrealey and had a quick catch up. She absolutely smashed the marathon and PBd by a massive 30 odd minutes! Sarahs been on fire recently and it’s so inspiring to see the amazing progress she’s been making. After getting rid of my bag etc I got to the start line. As in Manchester last year it suddenly dawned on me I had 26.2 miles to run, it came around so quickly. Thankfully this time I had the aid of my TomTom runner to keep me on a steady pace. I wasn’t really sure what time to aim for so set off at around 7min/mile pace. I started reasonably far up but still had some weaving to do hence the 7:43 for the first mile but I then found my pace and went through half way in 1:32. I felt comfortable at this point and started to up the pace to 6:40ish per mile to try and get close to sub 3. I was doing well with nutrition and hydration using the SIS isotonic gels every 7 miles and taking on sips of water at every station. I kept a solid pace until about mile 20 when I started to slow slightly. I was still feeling pretty strong until mile 24 but then near the beach huts my right hamstring started to twinge slightly. At roughly mile 22 in Manchester last year I had the same thing only more severe. It was weird because there were paramedics in that exact spot then and right next to me at mile 24 in Brighton. This time instead of needing to stop to stretch I carried on and it soon loosened up. My hamstring basically told me to ease up and make sure I made sub 3:05 and that Good for Age time for London an Boston Marathons. I’m glad I listened to it otherwise I could have pushed it and ended up finishing nearer 3:28 if not worse. I coaxed my hamstring home to finish in 3:02:49. A PB of just over 25 minutes and that GFA time achieved.  The event was awesome! I’m so glad I got my name printed on my shirt. A lot of runners that were near me didn’t so it was just loads of “GO STEVES!” There are always certain moments you’ll remember from marathons. My favourite from Brighton was an elderly man at mile 25 shouting “Just over a mile, you got this Steve!” I also really appreciated the shouts from Jon @LordJon, Scott, Sophie, Frankie @FrankieSaysRun and the @UKRunChat crew. 

Overall I’m really pleased with the run and my pacing. In hindsight I should have done my half marathons earlier on and got in more and longer runs closer to the day. Those runs should have been closer to marathon pace aswell but I will take all this into training for my next races. In May I have a pretty busy schedule race wise. I have Run Hackney Half May 10th, Richmond Park Marathon 17th, Westminster Mile 24th & BUPA 10k 25th. I think when I come to train for and do the Great North Run, Bristol+Bath Marathon and possibly Valencia or Nice marathon later in the year I can focus on them more and aim for certain times.

Well done to everyone that ran Brighton! From what I’ve seen everyone smashed it and really enjoyed it. It was a good day for the Run Fast athletes aswell, Dominic Kangor finished 2nd and Tom Payn finishing 10th paced Pennina Wanjiru to 1st woman. A big shoutout to those that ran Paris and Rotterdam Marathons. Kevin absolutely destroyed Rotterdam finishing in 3:10 including an epic sprint finish and Charlotte smashed Paris in 3:37! Amazing stuff guys!

I hope everyone’s recovery is going well and good luck to those of you doing Boston, Manchester and London Marathons in the next couple of weeks. I’m looking forward to supporting at London. 

Steve

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A Mile and a Half

On Sunday I ran the Run Hackney Half Marathon and the City of London Mile.

My preparation for Run Hackney was good and bad. Recently I have made more of an effort to taper, similarly to before the Ruby Run I only ran a couple of times during the week. This was also due to sale prep at work and generally being pretty busy. In the last couple of weeks when I have been able to run I have been running up and down some hills in Greenwich Park which has been good.

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On Sunday the weather was pretty hot! It was probably the hottest conditions I’ve ever ran in but thankfully there were quite a few water stations and a couple of those mist/shower things even though I missed the first one at mile 8.

The course was pretty good, a bit up and down but reasonably quick. Had it been a cooler day I would like to think I would have PBd. However taking into consideration my not so great preparation and the heat I was really pleased to cross the line in 1:21:56, 1m19s off PB.

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As you can see I ran a positive split in a pretty big way but I was always going to tire nearer the end and tend to go off a bit quicker than maybe I should. Something I want to work on soon is pace, I’m wanting to get some shorter distance sessions and hill training in soon.

Something I thought was a clever thing to do was to sign up to the City of London Mile on the same day as Run Hackney. After crossing the Half Marathon finish line I immediately regretted this but I shuffled my way to Leyton and stretched on the tube. There were a couple of reasons I still wanted/needed to do the mile, I love a good medal and I had never ran a mile race before so wanted to see what it was like.

I arrived in good time so was able to watch some of the elites and there was such a buzz seeing some epic sprint finishes, well the whole things a sprint I guess. I really enjoyed the mile once I’d got through the first couple of strides and loosened up a little. It was a good flat route and the atmosphere at the finish line was awesome albeit it was a reasonably small free event (compared to Run Hackney). I finished in a time of 5:42 which I was surprised to see and am happy with, again considering the conditions and having just done the Half.

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After the post half marathon “cool down” I was pleased to receive a nice goodie bag and the medal is awesome! Well worth the effort making it across. Plus it was the first time the event has been run so nice to get the first medal and i’m sure there will be many more. I enjoyed running the distance and want to do more mile races soon hopefully with fresh legs next time.

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My medal collection is growing and so far this year I have run some big events including 1 mile, 10k, half marathon & marathon distances which has been good. I need to book some more races soon and I’m very open to recommendations. Next up is the British 10k and then the 5 mile Anniversary run in July.

I hope everyone had a good weekend of running!

Steve

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