Leeds Half Marathon – 8th May 2016

On Sunday I took part it the Plusnet Leeds Half Marathon 

This was the first time I had run this race, and yet again my training had been slightly lacking, however my overall fitness felt good enough to go the distance. I was not expecting to get a PB, and I didn’t. 

I lived in Leeds for a few years, despite that I still had no idea where the course went, even when looking at the course map. I put that down to the fact that the years I lived in Leeds I was in fact drunk for much of the time – student life of course!

So the run was to be a mystery tour, luckily I didn’t need any nav skills!

Sunday was promising to be a scorcher, so I delved deep into my sports drawer and dug out my running vest and shorter running tights. As this was of course a road race I ditched the fell running shoes and relied on my faithful Mizuno Wave Rider 9s. I finished compiling my running playlist on Spotify and I even charged up my running watch! I felt nicely prepared equipment wise. 

A last minute puppy poo crisis meant that phill had to stay at home just in case Bob exploded, so I had no cheering squad – I was on my own as I knew the girls from work would have mega hangovers and not make it into town, and I don’t blame them – spectating can be pretty boring! 

I got there in plenty of time so killed time taking selfies and warming up. 


It was a lovely sunny morning, a little too hot for running 13.1 miles, but better sunny than rainy any day. 

I started well, if a little fast as usual. There were a few sneaky hills, but all runable and nothing like running on the fells. At the halfway point I was feeling good, if a little warm. Support along the course was great, with a few people out with hoses to cool the runners down, which was appreciated. 

By mile 10 I was starting to tire and get very hot. Especially my feet – my socks were a little too thick.

At this point you hit Kirkstall Abbey and whilst this road seems flat it has a slight incline and is a bit of a drag, then for good measure you have an incline to get back into town, and the finish line was also on a slope – cheeky. 

Secretly I’d hoped I could get close to 2hrs, but I finished in 2hrs 7mins (Strava link here). Initially I was a little disappointed, but I hadn’t trained properly and this was actually my 3rd fastest half marathon, so in the end I’m pretty chuffed. 

Phill thinks with decent training I should be able to do a 1hr 50mins half – we’ll see. 

This was a very well organised race, plenty of water stations (I was worried they may run out in the heat), good staggered starts and nice medal and finishers t-shirt. I’d give this one another bash!


Recovery was fine, even managed a nice walk out in the afternoon with the dogs. And of course a few celebratory beers. 

 

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Running up hill is hard!

My lack of updates on this blog are down to several things:

  • We got another puppy – Bob, he’s cute, and takes up a lot of time
  • We moved house – Again!
  • I’m working way too hard
  • Winter up north is wet, so limits activities
  • I haven’t found a baking club in the North!
  • My running successes have slowed, along with my speed due to the massive bleeding hill round here

Luckily my inner competitive streak keeps me going with the latter, but even my runs and training are very sporadic.

Even when I was running on the lovely flat roads of London I was never going to be fast enough to win anything, but now my new goal is to not coming last.

Fell running is a nasty beast. No two runs are the same – even the same route. The weather and terrain can drastically change the conditions and run ability of a course. And of course those pesky hills. I’m lucky if I can run around a whole fell race, usually resorting to a trudge up the hill, and a cautious canter down steep, slippery hills. I miss racing on nice flat tarmac.

Having said that, there is a perverse thrill of running through a muddy bog, hoping your shoes follow you. Or the feeling of your lungs wanting to jump out of your throat as you attempt to fast walk up a hill, just to overtake a 70 year old, who will likely beast you on the decent.

As I am unlikely to ever run a fell race at a nice average speed of 9 minute miles my goal is to not come last. So far I can claim this victory, even if I am amongst the amazingly fit 60 and 70 year olds, and I did drop out of a particularly long and nasty fell race because I knew I would come last if I carried on.

This was Heptonstall fell race and I was pleased to tackle this again this year and actually finish it, and not come last. It was 15 miles with almost 3000ft of climbing so quite an achievement, even without my own silly goals.

I’ve joined a lovely local fell running club, Calder Valley Fell Runners, and there is a nice mix of abilities that you can always find someone to run with and encourage you. Unfortunately I don’t get down enough to train due to work and puppies, so this probably hampers my progress.

As a nice treat I have decided to enter the Leeds Half Marathon on the 8th May, and I can’t wait to run some nice tarmac miles, with very little hills.

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