Thursday, 22 July 2010

Shining Tor - hurray for short races

After the long slow torture that was Holme Moss, it was great to get back to some fast runnable stuff. Shining Tor is another one of those "this is one of my favourite races" races. It's got loads of hills but it's never too steep.

It was good to be back in the top 10% of the race field, and to yet again beat my time from the last time I ran this race (2 years ago).

I was also very pleased to have the new experience of being in a winning team. I guess this is more likely now I'm part of a proper club, and one that has good runners like Simon Coldrick in it. Simon was 3rd, and because us Pennine boys were also 14th, 18th and 19th, we had a higher average over our top 4 than anyone else. I'm currently sipping from a bottle of Stella that was my share of the multipack prize.

Mrs Noel was also first, ahead of her Pennine teammate, Lucy. They also won the lady's team prize along with Mary.

Bring on more short races. I love 'em.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Holme Moss - it went to plan

In my last blog entry I was planning out how my Holme Moss race would go. Obviously, this was partly tongue-in-cheek. Let's revisit that plan and see how much of it came true.

1. Set off too quickly - No. I think I set off a bit too slowly.

2. Still feeling fresh after about 5 miles - Yes.

3. Get cocky and overdo it - Yes.

4. Lose the person in front - No. But there were a lot of them.

5. Head towards Scotland by mistake - No, but only because there were lots of flags showing me the way.

6. Finish in a crumpled heap - Yes, definitely.

I said I'd probably finish about 150th, but I was hoping for top 100 and I finished in 97th.

I was aiming for 3 hours 15 minutes and I beat that to finish in 3:11:34 (here are the results).

So on the face of it, I should be pleased with my performance. But I am not. I think it was the style of my race that leads me to not be pleased. Relative to previous years, when I've trained for long races, I have done:
- more long, slow runs
- a greater run-in period of long, slow runs
- more overall mileage.

But the last 3 miles of this race were like the last 45 minutes of every endurance event I've ever tried: my muscles saying "that's your lot" and me having to jog back while streams of people overtake me.

I don't like to turn my back on things that I haven't got the hang of, but I'm erring towards Mrs Noel's advice on the subject of long races - "what's the point?"

However, these pained musings are demonstrating to me what the point is. It's a challenge. And despite the fact that I would like to turn my back on long races, the more I do of them, the more I want to do them well.

So, whenever I pluck up the courage to enter another long race, here are the main points I've learnt from doing this race:

1. Train more, in terms of overall mileage per week and distance per outing.
2. Train up to the race distance. I need to know I can do the distance, and not mis-pace it because I'm used to running 2 miles shorter.
3. Do a few long races during the run-up to my target race.