There are now just seven weeks between me and the 120th Boston marathon start line and I am in a lot better position than my last post when i was gradually recovering from a stress fracture. A long period of building up my miles, avoiding speed work, hills and weights, nervously wondering i see a re-occurrence of my injury.
Suffice to say it wasn’t a nice period, but training is going well and i just completed the biggest milage week of the my training plan. Covering a whoping 88 miles over just seven days, taking my February mileage up to 291 miles with one day of the month to go. It is a great change in fortunes and now i am starting to think less and less about my leg and more and more about Boston. In fact just yesterday morning i woke up with the London marathon tune in my head :
Although admittedly, i do have the occasional tweak and twinge and not to long ago I missed two days of running as a precaution. So i am not out of the woods, but those are the only two days i missed this month. One thing that London marathon tune does, it make me really want to return to that race one day…….its certainly an atmosphere that no other marathon has come close to yet.
But 2016 is all about Boston and unlike last year and partly due to the injury i had. I have set about my mission to do more cross training and speed work with great enthusiasm. I have only missed one Preston Harriers speed session this year, i have continued with my cycle cross training with ambition of completing a least one intense 30 minute session at 90 RPM per week (This week have completed three session). I am continuing to do core workouts (i have completed two this week) and i am fitting in not just hills but occasionally stairs into y runs, which if you are lucky can be found in your park or woodlands. I have also been lucky enough discover i work for the organisation as a chap called Rob Hope who is a three time British Fell Running champion and has represented England and Great Britain at international level. So i am getting out on at least one run a week with this guy and he certainly makes it tough and fast. I have spent my Saturday runs, partly due to the injury and partly inspired by Kenyan runner and two time Boston marathon champ Moses Tanui running on a treadmill up a none stop incline (4% at the moment). This is in preparation for the tough Boston run and to limit the impact of the roads on my shin and joins, ahead of the Sunday long run.
I have also managed a faster average past than previously of 7:54 compared is 8:00 in 2015 and 08:09 in 2014. Also despite my injury troubles my total mileage isn’t that far off, what it was last time round as i prepared for Manchester. Where at this point last year (Dec 1st 2014 – Feb 28th 2015) i had run 659.7 miles, this time round i have covered 623.1 a difference of just 36.6 miles. So with all the extra work i am doing, perhaps i will end up in a better position than last spring. Which is just as well given Boston is a tougher route than Manchester.
Doing all these things however would be meaningless with out results and on February 14th i found myself once again in north Wales running the Wrexham Village Bakery Half Marathon. Which I arrived at on the back of two days out worrying about having re-fractured my shin. However a short 4 mile treadmill run the day before re-assured me that i was worried about nothing. That said, i turned up on the day with a plan of running 6:30 per mile and testing out my marathon pace rather than going for a PB. This was after all my first real race since the injury
First mile, like a lot of first miles was a fast one, completing it in 6:04, which i thought was great because it takes the pressure trying to run a consistent pace if you know you can miss a mile or two.
I slowed down and found myself running alongside a chap in a yellow top and my Garmin was telling me was on pace once more. But he sped up and i followed him competing mile two in 6:19.
I slowed down once more and found myself in a group of five runners going along at what felt like a comfortable pace. 6:24, 6:27 on to mile 5 which was run in 6:23 and the group of five was now a group of four.
I starting to forget about my 6:30 pacing strategy and our group was pushing on. Up ahead was another group of runners but not too far ahead that we couldn’t real them in. And that’s exactly what we did completing mile six in 6:11 and it was me of all people who closed the gap. Speeding up and pushing away from my small group and catching the back running of the next group. The chap in yellow. Before the rest of my small group caught up.
Mile 7 – 6:14 and the group had split again with yellow runner behind left with me and my group. 6:15 on to mile 9, 6:26 and mile 10 was completed in 6:30 as the group slowed down a little after what had been a tough period.
But then one of our group pushed on down the road, I thought about it for a few seconds and then i gave chase catching him and passing him by within the mile. During our passing he gave me some words of encouragement and we talked briefly about there only being a 5k left. 6:18 mile 11 was gone and so was that chap id left him behind and passed a number of other runners.
Behind me all this time, i could hear a fast moving female runner, ahead of me what i knew was the third placed female runner. I decided to play pace maker and catch her, but despite this mile 12 was a slower mile – 6:25
Picking up the pace, I closed in on the third placed female passing her by around the 12.5 mile mark, with the chasing female runner continuing to be just behind me. Together we caught and passed two more runners and at 12.7 miles she drew level with me and i said to her, “You’re 3rd place, and there less than half a mile to go, keep pushing” and with that she, pushed on.
I was happy enough to leave her to go on, i was on for an accidental PB. But that said there was another runner not to far ahead so i decided to chase him down,passing him before the 13 mile marker went by. 6:14.
Just a few metres to go and runner not to far behind me, big PB achieved. What do i do………do i push on to sprint or take a fast run finish. This was what was going on in my head. I knew from my Harrier track sessions, i could get up to fast enough pace without sprinting, that most couldn’t catch. So i opted for the later plan, unless of course he caught me, in which case i would go for the sprint. Reaching 5:24 pace i ran home over the line, with out hearing the sounds of any incoming runners, it was a great, comfortable and relaxed way to finish a come back race.
Time 1:23:06 – a new PB, down from 1:24:25. So i am on track, surprisingly and the next big test is on March 20th at the Trimpell 20 my traditional spring marathon preparation race. Although it turns out they have changed the route this year, which is a shame as I used to enjoy the race track start and finish. But at least it keeps things interesting i guess.
On wards and upwards!