Sunday, June 29, 2014

Humber Bridge Half Marathon 2014

I have fond memories of this race as it was the first half marathon that I ever ran back in 2008 (1hr 39mins).  I also ran it again in 2009 (1hr 33mins)It's a local race and also an unusual course, taking you over the Humber Bridge not one but twice.  The Humber Bridge is 1.37 Miles long and is the 7th longest suspension bridge in the world.

The course is tough as there are a few big uphill sections, the biggest one being a 1 mile climb at mile 8 known as 'Cardiac Hill'.  The second crossing of the Humber Bridge is also a long gradual climb, made tougher as it's situated just after finishing 'Cardiac Hill' and at the end of the race when your legs are pretty spent.  

Zoe was supposed to be running this one too but she was injured and had to just come to support me.  I had only just come back from injury myself after missing 4 weeks of running.  Therefore, my plan was to just get a solid 13 mile run under my belt and enjoy the race. 

The weather was cold and wet, so we took shelter under some trees by the start line as it was pouring with rain.  I was quite pleased it was raining as the weather was very hot and sunny on the two previous occasions that I ran this race.

It was good to get under way and even though I was wearing my Garmin, I decided not to look at it during the race.  I wanted to relax and just run on how I felt.  I also decided not to go out too fast as I knew that the big climbs came towards the end of the race.  I wanted to feel strong in the second half of the race, not slow down and struggle. Basically the pressure was off and I soon found a good pace and settled in.  

As I was just cruising, I was able to really take in the views as we crossed the Humber Bridge.  The rain eased off and I was really enjoying myself!  I began to slowly pick up the pace as we crossed the half way marker. My legs felt good and we were closing down on the infamous 'Cardiac Hill'.  As I started the climb, I gritted my teeth and attacked.  There is nothing more motivating than passing other runners and I was leaving them in my wake as I cruised up the hill.  I was pleasantly surprised how easy it felt as I soon reached the top.  Now the push for home.

The second crossing of the Humber Bridge, from Barton Upon Humber over to Hessle, is mainly uphill and once again I was feeling strong and passing lots of other runners.  Once across the bridge, it was just a few twists and turns to the finish line.  Zoe cheered me on as I passed her at the finish and I crossed the line in 1hr 40mins.  I felt pretty pleased to have run a decent time on a tough course, considering I was not pushing and felt relaxed and comfortable during the race.  Mission accomplished!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Hull 10k 2014

The Hull 10k is part of the Jane Tomlinson's Run For All race series.  The race is run around the city centre streets and takes in some landmark buildings as well as vistas across the waterfront. The race attracted over 5000 runners including Zoe and myself. We are always keen to do local races and both wanted to run a few more shorter races this year.

My race preparation was far from ideal.  After suffering a calf injury during the North Lincolnshire Half Marathon, I had only managed a couple of runs in the four weeks leading up to the race.  I had to resort to spinning classes twice a week in order to keep up my fitness levels. 

The race began at 9.30am but the sun was already beating down on us as we waited on the start.  We were glad it was only a 10k race as it was going to be a hot one. Due to my lack of training, we decided to run our own races as Zoe had been much faster than me in the couple of runs that I had managed in the week leading up to the race.

The race was soon underway and we were winding our way through the city streets.  I had no idea what pace to run at, having missed so much training.  So I decided to run on how I felt.  The first two miles went by at 6min 30sec/mile pace and it felt OK.  I was keeping up with Zoe and she was running well.  However, I decided to slow my pace after 3 miles as my legs were not happy at all. The lack of training was starting to tell.  I wasn't surprised and dug in for the second half of the race.  

Zoe was flying and feeling confident of a good time, maybe a PB.  I was now feeling it and trying to maintain a decent pace but slowing mile on mile.  Suddenly I saw Zoe ahead of me walking and then trying to stretch out her calf.  As I approached, I decided to stop and make sure she was OK. However, she started running again just before I reached her.  She was able to keep running and pick up the pace again after a short time.  So I never caught up but could see her in the distance as we neared the finish line. 

I crossed the line in 43mins 41secs.  Not great but I gave it my all.  I had lost my speed as a result of virtually no running for 4 weeks before the race.  Zoe finished in 43 mins 18secs bagging herself 4th woman (out of over 1,500 other female runners) and 2nd in her age category.  However, she missed a potential PB time due to having to walk and stop mid race because a calf injury. 

As it turns out, both Zoe and I have now both suffered calf injuries mid race in our last two races.  Bad luck indeed. 

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