Back in July I ran the KACR 145 and was doing quite well until, at mile 90 things went wrong and I pulled out of the race. following that I had a rest a made an effort to try and recover properly. I took all of August pretty easy and signed up to The Devil Run a 15k cross country around the Devil’s Punchbowl near Guildford. The rest had clearly helped as I finished 7th in a time of 1h 17m. Getting in some steady training runs I booked Abington 10k where I got my PB last year. A fairly flat and fast course again I thought i’d have a go at getting near the 41m 11s PB. A good effort but finished in 41m 54s so not quite there and not enough work on the shorter runs.
Then I had 3 weeks to get ready for a 1 week block of 3 marathons and a 30 mile ultra. I’ve not done a double weekend before and this was now going to be my first double double! I had Phoenix Running Back to the Future run on 21st October which was a 6 hour timed event. Myself and club friend Alan Jones ran 8 laps to make it a marathon and knowing we both had Chelmsford marathon the day after we took it fairly easy finishing in 4h 47m.
On the 22nd October I had Chelmsford marathon to run. I was a little sore but ok considering the marathon the day before. Last year when I ran Chelmsford I blew up pretty badly and finished in something lie 4h 26m so the aim was to at least better that. Storm Brian was blowing through and as well as being cold there was a terrible headwind for most of the course. I surprised myself catching up with the 3.45 pacer and decided to reign it in a bit. By mile 16 I wasn’t feeling great and by mile 19 stopped for a toilet break. After setting off again I felt awesome! nothing hurt and I picked up the pace where the last 7 miles were all sub 8 minute miles and finished in 3h 45m.
I took the following week off thinking the miles would not benefit me and I was only risking injury before another double weekend.
On October 28th it was time for Beachy Head marathon. Beachy Head has got a reputation as being scenic but extremely tough! I planned again to take this fairly easy wanting to run well at Stort 30. We were lucky with the weather and the views were utterly stunning!! I had an early start being up at 3am for the drive down to Eastbourne and after parking and a short wait registered and waited for friends to turn up. There ended being quite a few people. A group from Twitter JK, Clare, Darren, Michael, Sarah, Deborah, Mark, Chris and bumped into a number of other friends from other clubs and who I’ve seen at various races.
The start was brutal having to walk up the steep hill straight away but it eased up enough eventually to get a jog going. The entire route being one extreme to the other of jogging downhill followed by pretty steep inclines. After a great day out this is a race I will definitely return to. Having taken it steady I finished in 5h 26m and only had to worry about the 3 hour drive home and wonder how sore I would be in the morning.
October 29th and it was Stort 30 day. The 4th time I have done this race improving every time I have run it. 2013 – 6h, 2014 – 5h 31m, 2016 – 4h 51m I was hoping to improve again. The legs were really sore and I was stretching and light jogging trying to get them to ease up a bit. I thought If I ran a steady 8m 30s a mile I should be fairly comfortable and still PB. The first few miles are a bit muddy, stony and rutted in spots but I had settled into 7m 30s per mile..too fast. I kept trying to ease up but every time I checked the average pace was still 7m 30s per mile! I made it to half way in super quick time and was running 3h 15m marathon pace…it soon began to tell. At mile 19 I had my first twinge of cramp in my quads which the hills had destroyed the day before and all I could do was let it ease off before trying to get going again. Fighting on I didn’t want the PB to slip and it was a very up and down last 6 miles, cramp, walk, run etc. I had slipped from 12th down to where I thought I was somewhere between 40th and 50th. The end eventually came into sight and I finished in 4h 20m another 30 minute improvement and new PB and my finish position was 33rd, 6th in age category so no age prize this year. It was a very pleasing end to the race year. I’m now looking to get a coach and concentrate on improving my marathon time, initially sub 3h 30m target and then possibly pushing on to 3h 15m good for age