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Trinity's race report part1 for the Amsterdam Marathon has inspired me to write my race report from the weekend - something I normally seem to end up doing weeks after the actual event. lol! Cheers Trin :d Admitedly it's a *little* long winded, but hey, you don't have to read it :p

EDIT: Actually, you might want to put the kettle on, this is going to take a while :lol: :embarrassed:

Cassidy Lady Godiva Half Marathon – 19th October 2008...

Six months had passed since the disappointment of the Shakespeare Half Marathon and what a lot has changed. Back in April I felt I should be able to break the 1:25:00 marker – the target I'd set myself to break by the end of 2008 for the Half Marathon distance, but for whatever reason things just didn't turn out as I'd hoped on that day and I finished in 1:26:58.

Since then I'd had nearly a month off from running, putting on my trainers only a few times between an operation on my nose and jetting off on holiday to Egypt. During this time I planned my training schedule for the next 18 weeks including more specific speed-work sessions and longer 'long runs' whilst increasing my total weekly mileage as well.

All was going incredibly well, and I was satisfied with the progress I'd made throughout the schedule, that was until I decided to have an afternoon squash session in week 16 of the schedule. I've not played squash for around 3 years, and even that was only a single knock around, again the first for several years. I really enjoyed the session but by Saturday I was struggling to walk from the muscle aches. I forced myself out on the Sunday morning to complete my first ever 50mile week, though come Monday I was aching even more, struggling to walk and I started to develop pains in my upper foot.

To cut a long story short, it meant the last 2 weeks of my schedule ended up being much easier than I'd planned – basically a 2 week taper instead of a 1 week taper. Not really a problem but it left me feeling anxious that perhaps my training over the past 16 weeks could all be ruined by these last few weeks of doing very little. I rested and ran short distances very occasionally up until race day and the foot felt about 99%, Yet these nagging thoughts in my head made me feel things really weren't going to go to plan in the race. I've always said I should be able to do much better than I do in Half Marathons, my 10k time suggests I should manage nearer 1hr 22mins, but with everything in mind I conceded that I would be content just to break the 1hr 25min barrier.

As I drove towards Kenilworth to pick up a club mate (Paul) and heading onwards for Coventry, I suddenly realised that my concern over whether I should wear a normal stopwatch, or my Garmin GPS device for the duration of the race was completely unnecessary – it turned out I'd forgotten to bring either! I'd be running solo, without any time-piece, as I tend to for my 10k races.

We found a parking space not far at all from the start, and headed over to the busy crowds whilst looking for other Kenilworth Runners, we found a few and said hi before having to dash back to the car to drop off our baggage (the queue for the official baggage store was a little too long and we didn’t want to risk missing the start). The jog back to the car served us well as a warm up and we soon hopped a barrier near the start line just in time to find a bit of space, re-tie laces, and get ready for the starters horn.

HOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNK! We were off. I soon spotted a fellow club member Matthew, who I knew was aiming to run around 1hr 20min – before the race I'd decided if I could find him and sit on the back of him for the first mile and then watch him disappear off into the distance, it'd probably help me reach my target time. Well I ran alongside him and then tucked in behind him, and almost felt I was going too slow; perhaps something that has caused me to struggle in past half marathons, simply setting off too fast? I very much trust this guy's pacing, in training he seems to run perfectly to his desired pace so I knew I wouldn’t go far wrong by following him.

As we reached our first climb approaching the 3 mile marker, I was still running just a short distance behind Matt but he started to move away; he flew up the climb and I knew I'd be hard pushed to stay with him and just maintained my own pace. Heading through a park I noticed the course was the same as in 2006, but the path underfoot had been widened which made things a lot easier than last time round, where passing anyone would mean having to run in the mud. The 4th mile marker saw another climb, one of the hardest of the event, where a young lad, thin as anything came bounding past me as we climbed and Matthew moved further away into the distance. A short steady decent was soon followed by another challenging climb, nothing too steep but long and draining.

The next few miles are a little distant from my memory, they just seemed to be a case of 'keep going' and maintaining pace, I had a quick drink at the water station before carrying on as before. Miles 7-9 were an enjoyable change of scenery through the University of Warwick campus (or part of it at least) which I knew meant we were edging closer to the last challenging climb of the day – Gibbet Hill. The climb started, and before the difficulty of the climb became apparent I could hear words of encouragement from a spectating club member, Phil, who had strategically positioned himself to give a huge psychological lift just where it was needed – I barely even remember the hill after that – Thanks Phil!

I'd heard that sports drink would be available at the 8.5 mile drinks station in addition to water. I'd decided before the race that since it was available I may as well make good use of it, but not wanting to keep the sweet sticky flavour in my mouth I decided I'd also take a bottle of water to swig from. Things went a lot more smoothly in my mind than in reality – I took the bottle of water and put it in my right hand, then grabbed a Lucozade pouch with my left hand. The Lucozade still had its lid on… and I didn't have any free hands! I awkwardly tried to put the water bottle (which the lid had been removed from before I'd received it) under my arm whilst undoing the lid on the Lucozade; water splashed everywhere, completely soaking me and I still hadn't got the lid off. In the end I managed to undo it with my teeth. I took a few swigs and threw the remainder to one side – it was probably more of a hindrance than a help, D'oh!

I felt strong, a lot stronger than my last half marathon where at the 9mile marker I was thinking "Oh no! STILL another 4miles left!" this time round I was thinking "Blimey, only 4 miles to go!" I started to wonder about what sort of finish time I could expect, had I pushed enough to make the 1:25:00 target time? I thought so… but had no way of telling! I could just about make out Matthew in the distance as a green blob and since he was aiming for 1:20:00, I felt a lot more confident that I was on target, and possibly even on target for a time that would better represent my ability over 10km races.

The last few miles were a battle with one other competitor, he would increase his pace and start to break away before subsiding and slowly falling back alongside me, repeating the same process several times until I was sure he didn't have the strength to maintain his position. I waited for his last burst away at around 12miles, as he fell back alongside me, I pushed only a little harder and passed him. I could hear him behind me but the sound started to soften. I didn't look behind until I passed the 13mile marker where I glanced over my shoulder to see if I needed to worry about him; he wasn't within the 20m or so I could see behind me so I began to smile. I could hear the crowds as I came round the corner onto the finishing straight (which was much shorter than I'd expected), I saw the timing clock ticking away at 1:20:XX and my smile grew... I just flew the last 100m and with the huge crowd cheering I felt invincible – I approached the finish line and punched the air as I was so pleased. Cheesey I know, but I couldn’t believe what I'd achieved.

After receiving my goody bag and munching on the Kit Kat and banana, Paul had also finished and we headed back to the car to get changed into something warmer. I reached for my mobile and realised I'd received a text from the event's results service telling me my finish time and position. 1:20:27 (chip time)… an unbelievable six minutes 31 seconds faster than my time at the Shakespeare Half Marathon six months ago. I feel I can finally do myself justice over the distance and will look forward to my next one, probably in 2009. The whole event was absolutely phenomenal and I'll most certainly be entering again next year. Thanks Coventry!
 

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Brilliant!!!

I want to run!!!!!!

Hmm not so sure on your shadowing tactics with Matthew (lurker!) - but I guess it worked!!! Can Phil stand at around mile 9 of the Birmingham Half?

Is there a new Half Mara target now - or you gonna see what effect this has had on your 10ks(????) I think there should be a book made of some of the stories on this site... I'd buy it! :D
 

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Richard. I think you will definitely be close to a 35min 10k now and a sub 18 minute 5k. Shame you didn't have your Garmin with you on race day, as I suspect you probably beat your 5k, 10k and 10 mile PBs. It would have been interesting to see your splits. Was this data recorded on the chip? You might have even run a sub 1 hour 10 miles. You are getting into silly territory now ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Cheers guys, I'm happy the training has paid off!

Sweaty... Goal for this year was 1:25:00, and I'd set myself a 'loose target' of 1:20:00 for 2009 if I was able to manage my 2008 goal; obviously that's going to change a little now. I'll re-assess where I'm at closer to the end of the year but I'm guessing my new target will be more like 1:18:00. I'm keen to see where my 10k times end up but I don;t think it'll have much bearing on my half marathon targets.

JBBury... Sadly I've not got any split times, but based on my average pace I'd assume my 10mile PB was broken (though not sub 60min), 10km still remains, and my 5km doesn't really exist anyway :p I couldn't have ran that race any harder or better I don't think - but it's really made me keen to push myself harder in training and really see where I can get to :)
 

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Always enjoy reading your race reports Richard - you capture how the day went for you really well. I just hope there were no runners left out to hang on Gibbet Hill :d

Well done on your fantastic PB :d
 

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Good report :)

I always enjoy reading people's race reports, so thanks to everyone who posts them for making the effort.
 

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Great report Richard.

And a fantastic run.

Perhaps you can stop worrying abouit your weight now.................:p
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Just had another text through from teh race results service... I've somehow dropped a position from 28th to 29th? I wonder how that happened?

Looking at the total number of finishers, that seems to have gone up by 16 people too! lol.
 

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Blimey, those 16 are extremely unlikely to have achieved a PB!

Well done, RS, and I'd like to echo what bagpuddycat said about the race reports- love them, really appreciate the time it takes to write them! Thank you all, it really helps with the motivation. :love:
 

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Well done richard, thats a very similar story to my PB at Bristol in 2006, dropped from 1hr27mins to 1hr20.06
 

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Just had another text through from teh race results service... I've somehow dropped a position from 28th to 29th? I wonder how that happened?

Looking at the total number of finishers, that seems to have gone up by 16 people too! lol.
Maybe they've had to manually add in some results if some people's chips malfunctioned?
 

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Fantastic reading Richard.

Run as you feel is my new motto. Interesting the lack of gadgets didn't hinder you. That said I keep everthing in a daysack so if I work away I don't forget anything :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I live by gadgets in training, and I love being able to monitor my progress so closely. When I finish a race I always wish I was able to look back at what splits I managed etc, but I've found that when racing, it's all to easy to get distracted by splits, pace, HR etc and adjust pace outside what feels natural which can sometimes completely cock up a race strategy.

At the same time, if it wasn't for my clubmate running perfectly to pace (using a Garmin) I would've probably gone off too fast at the start! Tough one to call really.

I'm glad people find the race reports interesting enough to read them. I really enjoy writing them and always enjoy reading other peoples. Perhaps we need a new forum section? lol.
 
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