Sunday, November 23, 2014

Norwich Half Marathon 2014

Well it was very wet as expected. I delayed my warm-up for as long as possible and got out there about 25 minutes before the race was due to start. A 10 minute gentle run, and then a 3 minute hard effort to lift that heart rate into race mode. Then a quick change of shoes and lined up at the start. Hardly anyone warming up - that's how bad it was...

The race started and 2 sponsored athletes took it out, with 3 others chasing (that includes me), So a nice lead group of 5 as we made our way around the showground. A horrible muddy wet section with ankle deep water in the first mile where I lost about 5m, and then had to work to get back onto the group.

As we exited the showground we passed the first mile marker and the pace was on. I stuck at the back of the group getting some shelter from the wind and was running strongly. I knew the pace was quick but that was okay as long as the HR stayed in my threshold zone. Through the second mile and then a long uphill drag up to mile 3. As we passed a drinks station I checked the HR and it was too high so I had to pull back, If it was a 10km you'd just get on with it but I had to be sensible as there were still 10 miles to go. I watched as the other 4 slowly drift up the road. I had a decent gap on any chasers so it was time-trial mode for which I'm well used to.

Miles 4 and 5 were great. Some lovely long downhills and I was moving well. The course was slightly different this year - in previous years there was a long uphill drag back into the showground. This year it was still the same climb but a much shorter sharper hill - around 500m of lung-busting effort. That pegged me back but I got going again and as I ran into the showground again we had a new section to cover where you were running on long wet grass for what seemed like 400m. Back onto a path and good to get running again but miles 6 and 7 were slow and that wasn't due to lack of effort.

Exiting the showground again for the start of lap 2 and it was tougher now as I had no protection from the elements. I knew 8 and 9 would be tricky but there was the good section to look forward to for miles 10 and 11. I pushed on and felt strong but knew the pace wasn't as quick as the first lap. The splits for 8 and 9 were good and then I made a big effort on the quick part of the course. Through 10 miles in 53:11 (a new PB)  and managed to keep it going well until mile 11, Then it got a lot tougher. Lots of backmarkers to lap by this stage (I reckon I passed 200) and the lanes are quite narrow and with either side of the road flanked by water everyone was running in the middle of the road. When people run 2 a breast it blocks the dry line so you either shout to move people out of the way or run in the water. I tried to shout but not easy when you don't have much spare oxygen.

The sharp climb back into the showground and I was really feeling it. I was passing people but not going that much quicker than those 6 miles behind me. Still plenty of shouts of encouragement which was great. Into the showground at mile 12 and it was all about hanging on. Another section of water/mud with around 1km to go and this time I slipped and went down - I grabbed the fence which prevented a full face dunk but I lost a good bit of momentum and somehow managed to keep it going. The last stretch was tough - there was nobody on the course just one volunteer and I had to ask what the route was. Then just get on with it - a couple more turns and I could see the finish and just ran as hard as I could to cross the line in 1:10:31 for a new PB and 5th position overall.

Happy with the run in those conditions - but I know I can do better. Putting the weather aside it's still a tough enough course so I think I need to find something flatter and faster to have another dig on.

Here are the splits. You can see the tough miles 6, 7 and 12, 13 which cost me the sub 70.

Split       Time      Pace      Avg HR  Max HR
1              05:07.3  03:12     142         152
2              05:05.7  03:11     149         152
3              05:10.6  03:12     160         182
4              05:05.5  03:11     165         186
5              05:18.4  03:16     153         174
6              05:40.5  03:32     147         154
7              05:38.8  03:28     144         157
8              05:26.1  03:23     160         167
9              05:24.9  03:21     148         162
10            05:13.7  03:12     144         146
11            05:20.2  03:19     144         147
12            05:46.8  03:35     146         148
13.1         06:13.8  03:29     146         151
Sum        1:10:32   03:20     150         186

Here's some photos to give you an idea of what it was like:


Tom said...

Great run Matt, especially considering the conditions and those grassy sections.

jerome said...

well done matt, impressive to run a PB in such difficult condition, route, weather, and people to overtake. Sub 70' is in the legs!