Big Half Race Review and Performance – A short write up

IMG_1194

The inaugural Big Half was upon us this weekend. The first half distance on closed roads by London Marathon Events. Mo Farah headlined and put in a stellar performance smashing the distance out in 61 minutes. If only….

With the week of weather we had due to the Beast from the East, I thought it could be an interesting run. It was actually perfect weather for the running – not too cold and the rain held off which was nice.

I actually missed out on getting in this event when it first went on sale as it sold out so quickly. Luckily, I got a place through a fellow club member, Mr Paul Jackson the Head Teacher of a primary school in Hackney. He happened to register the school as a charity for the event in which he offered all our club members and his staff places on the Manorfield Primary School Team to raise money for their new nursery and outdoor learning area. Their target was £25,000!

I myself work within schools and felt that it was a great cause and one in which I would support so agreed to raise the £75 asked. The school have been amazing at fundraising money and they had the pleasure of Callum Hawkins visit the school and decide the winning shirt design which you can see below. if you wish to find out more about them visit their website: http://www.manorfield.towerhamlets.sch.uk

Image

What did they raise? Well the current total stands at over £45,000, so certainly a smashing effort from everyone. They will be able to put that money to good use!

The Event and Performance

IMG_1193

I ran with a close friend (Chris Lomax) for the event and we did actually ask ourselves at the end in Greenwich how much we actually took in. Well this recount will probably tell you.

I arrived at around 8:00am and was set up to run in orange wave. I put the bag in the drop area which was slightly chaotic – too many people in a space which was far too small. I think this did depend on when you did this though. I probably left it a little late! I suppose with all new events there will be slight teething issues and you improve them year on year. This probably needs a little consideration.

Once I had fought my way through the bag drop crowds, I made my way to my wave and met my friend. It took a while for us to get going with a few waves in front of us. Whilst waiting, we had a guess as to what the winning time would be in which I had Mo down for 61 minutes – so bang on there! The idea was to run to a 1:45 pace, but I have been struggling with an injury the past two weeks so didn’t hold out much hope in sustaining it.

The injury occurred at the Olympic Park 10K Chase the Moon event and I felt it again when warming up for Hampton Court two weeks ago. I’ve been nursing it and not really done much running since. The difference? Well I ran in pain for most of it, but I could manage the pace. I think running with someone helped with this as I certainly would have slowed down I think.

Condition wise I could also tell I was lacking a little top end fitness and the lack of running over the last two weeks showed. Not in my time however, as I was only a minute or so slower than Hampton Court, but in how I felt particularly at the end of the race. The last two miles were hard work whereas at Hampton Court I felt really strong and could have sustained the pace for much longer.

The crowds were great in places, particularly around Canary Wharf, Tower Bridge and running into Greenwich. It thinned out in other places and running through the Limehouse tunnel was strange for me. The course was fairly straight forward and a little congested at the start. We were running on the pavement to begin with but this also thinned out with a lot more space after 4 or so miles. By mile 10, the realisation that a lack of running over the last two weeks was starting to show. It meant digging in a little. I would have actually loved to have felt as good as I did as at Hampton Court although that wasn’t to be today. The main thing was getting through it. What damage I have done to the injury will be seen in due course. If this wasn’t the Big Half, I would have almost certainly dropped out. The good thing is I have no more events now until the main one in April – The London Marathon. I’m currently icing as I write this post!

IMG_1198

I must say I love the medal. Really different from either the round or square metal bling you usually get.

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 17.23.16

After finishing, we made our way through to the bag collection. This bit had been organised really well. It also meant meeting our supporters – our wives and daughters who had managed to see us on the final mile running through to the end. We didn’t hang around for the Big Half festival and I think the weather recently had put a bit of a dampener on this unfortunately. It was certainly boggy in the park! We had one thing on our mind – food and beer (ok, two things!)

IMG_1199

IMG_1200

A lovely visit to Wagamamas went down incredibly well! Now just to recover and see what this injury will do. I’m just hoping I don’t lose a load of run fitness now. Thanks for reading!

IMG_1202.jpg

 

London Triathlon 2017 – a short write up

IMG_0868

This is the third time I have taken on the London Triathlon and the second time at the Olympic distance. The great thing about this event is that it is local to me, meaning no hotels, no traveling and no extra cost! To be honest, I wasn’t overly looking forward to this event. I have struggled massively with motivating myself to train in the last few weeks since the Ironman. This is my fifth triathlon of the season and it is only July! I usually do 4 or 5, but they are spread out a little more than they have been this year. I’m questioning whether I will do another end of season event in September as holidays are near and August is out of the question.

The London Triathlon is organised by the same organiser who run the Blenheim event. It is held in the Royal Victoria Dock with the bike and run in the near vicinity. Again it is a very friendly novice triathlon offering lots of distances and a real opportunity to dip your toe into the world of triathlon.

My previous attempt at the Olympic distance here was back in 2015 – quite a warm day with an overall finish time of 3 hrs 8mins. I knew I would go quicker than this as I have progressed quite well since then. Like I have done in the past when reporting on events done previously, I will give you the breakdown comparison of each part.

This race was different in one major way – the weather! Scheduled showers were forecast, but no-one said about torrential rain! The bike segment was made particularly difficult with the downpour. There were certainly quite a few DNFs and a few people had suffered accidents. The course is not a particularly technical route, but it is littered with lots of cyclists that you do need to be careful of especially when it is wet!

IMG_0865

It was also good to see a fellow East End Road Runner taking part (Mr Paul Dennis) and we managed to get racked together in transition.

Results:

Ok, here we go. The bit we all want to know. Below are my 2015 results:

Screen Shot 2017-07-22 at 21.48.05

And here my 2017 results:

Screen Shot 2017-07-22 at 21.49.13

Good ay! Swim nearly 3 1/2 mins quicker, T1 half a min quicker, bike quicker, T2 slower (due to me being so wet I needed to really dry my feet off) and the run – quicker again!

I was really pleased with it overall. Could I have gone even faster? Yes – certainly on the bike without the torrential rain. It also didn’t help that with over 500 competitors in my wave, it made the swim hard to find clear water. They split us into two sections, and unluckily I fell into the second one meaning I had to swim through the the first group who set off about 30 secs before us.

IMG_0863

IMG_0870

As always, it was great to have my support crew there who happened to get a little wet and cold also…

IMG_0866

(my Mum)

Everything was rounded off with a great tapas meal to celebrate Mum’s birthday and of course oil myself with a few cerveza!

IMG_0871

Now I can’t wait to have a proper rest! No training and two weeks lying by the pool or at the beach out in Spain. Knowing me, I will probably hire a bike for a few days no doubt!