Friday, 30 May 2014 13:11

What's with the Wind...Pt 2 !?!?!

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Two weeks later, and I was in Blackpool. I like running here, it is the marathon that I hold my personal best on from many years ago. As usual I went through the usual shenanigans before the start, chatting to several friends and deciding what to wear.

The gun went and the field set off, I immediately realised that the wind was blowing a lot stronger than I first thought and that it would be hard stick to my game plan, ah the game plan I hear you say, well the game plan was to run a sub 3.30 hour marathon, so that means a mile every 8 minutes ………….for 26.2 miles.

The first 4 miles were into the wind and I was zipping along nicely, this was followed by 6 ish miles with the wind behind me which helped me along a great deal, I was just about on target, well slightly over at 8.02 minutes a mile. The next quarter of the run was back into the wind, and it had picked up significantly by this point. I was zig zaging along the open path now looking for all the relief from the wind I could get, be it from another runner or a lump of rocks sticking out into the path. Whatever I did seemed to make no difference and the wind buffeted away trying to stop me in my tracks.

I was mighty relieved to get to the 16 mile point were, once again the wind was on our backs. I had struggled a bit to stick to my plan and had fallen behind by a few seconds a mile, with the wind behind me I managed to make up some time over the next few miles and then disaster struck.

I had gone through 19 miles feeling strong when suddenly the tank went to empty, I had ‘bonked’ big style, my legs went to lead and my pace just went out the window. This was hitting the wall big style and for me hadn’t happened like this for some time. There was no ready energy in my body to burn so my body was having to burn fat which takes a while to do. I pushed as hard as I could but my pace was slipping away, I had a couple of gels that I sucked on to try and get me going, and I felt that after a mile or so my legs were coming back to me but then the turnaround came and I along with everyone else had the final 3 miles to run into the severe wind.

Wow, this was hard work but I began to feel really strong again and was able to keep up a reasonable pace. At this stage of the run the field was spread out quite a bit but I still found myself running with a young lad who was struggling in the wind. Eventually he tucked in behind me and used me as a shelter which on any other day would probably have got to me a bit, but today I didn’t mind, I was well behind my schedule now and just wanted to finish.

Eventually the line came into view and I left the lad on his own as I picked up the pace for the last half mile or so, I was flying along now and was puzzled why I had struggled earlier on, I would have to analyse this problem later and see if I had done something different. I finished some 8 minutes behind the time I wanted but I had finished my 50th marathon which is a decent milestone to reach.

Also, as my new running friend came over the line I was given a hearty handshake and a ‘Thank You’ for helping him over the last few miles to his new PB. That made my day, after the miles of disappointment at knowing my target for the day had gone I had at least made someone else very happy.

All in all when I look back on the weekend I feel that running into the wind, trying to keep a decent pace going caused me to blow up so early. I also think that the wind had got into my head a bit and I was almost looking for an excuse to ease off, mentally I felt I was strong for the race but for whatever reason my mind had a blip and went for a wander for a few miles. A lot of long distance events are competed and completed in the mind, get the head right and the legs will follow. (within reason that is)

A few weeks later and I found myself at Milton Keynes for a multi lap race around a lake. It was Good Friday and the reason for the long drive was to celebrate Heather MH’s 100th marathon. I have known Heather for a number of years, indeed she was due to run the 10 in 10 last year but had to withdraw due to some issues in her hip which seemed to take forever to sort out. Her husband, Alex is a great artist and photographer and freely lets runners pinch photos of them running.

The days was a lovely day for a run, I had travelled down the night before and endured plenty of traffic jams on the way so was not as rested as I could have been, however I set off at a nice relaxed pace just wanting to enjoy it and put the memory of the Blackpool bonk to bed (ooohh matron). I was soon joined by Heather and we had a nice chat for a few miles, Heather was finally attempting the 10 in 10 in May and after a long wait was looking forward to it. As we ran I was aware that she was ticking along nicely at my pace, she must have been aware of this as she kept telling me to run on and leave her to which my reply was that I was at my normal pace and that she was running well.

We stayed together for a few more miles and then I slowly began to pull ahead, but not by much and by the time we had finished Heather had recorded a new personal best at her 100th marathon. What a fantastic achievement for her and thoroughly deserved after a couple of years of injury and for once I was happy to take the partial blame for someone’s mishap!!!!

The following week I ventured over the Pennines to Huddersfield for the first marathon there for some 20 years. This was to be my last marathon before the K2B which was 3 weeks later. Again it was a great day for running, nice and cool with a light breeze. It was a smallish field, about 200+ and a lot of the northern contingent were present. This was a marathon that had been billed as a tough hilly run, and boy was it just that.

The first ½ mile was flat and that was about it, the rest was either up or down with some really steep bits thrown in for good measure. I ran about 12 miles or so with Michael, who I have known for a year or so, and enjoyed putting the world to rights. He was struggling a bit, lets face it, we were both struggling, did I mention the brutal hills? Anyway I ran on.

I never know quite what to do in these situations, most of the time I personally would prefer to be on my own so I can give myself a good talking to/ feel sorry for myself, it is very rare that I have run an entire marathon in the company of someone else. It was a good run out though, and although I tipped over the 4hr mark I was pleased as I had plenty of running at the end.

The K2B was now on the horizon and I was looking forward to it. The logistics of food and clothing were beginning to fill my mind as I would probably be unsupported for this attempt and I needed to plan my race more than normal due to it being about 40 ish miles long!!!

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