Sonntag, 21. Februar 2016

2nd place at Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon

I have been a bit limited in the last few weeks by my hip muscles which are really sore. As I have mentioned in a previous post, I have tried to break up the fibrous tissue of the ITB with a foam roller to enhance the development of the muscle tissue. I think it has had a real good effect, but at the same time the area got somewhat destabilized and the insertions of the gluteal muscles (bum cheek) are struggling with the additional load. 

Because I had an exam on Friday I was not able to put in the same training effort than I would have wished - but then again it's more important I bring my osteopathic studies to a good end. So I did a training run Saturday morning including the Maidstone Park run to get a few miles in and a positive running feeling. Thanks for the company all around Tom! Just after the run I had a massage where I had to realize how bad the state of my quads and gluteals actually were. They need a lot of work and I was a bit unsure how that would influence my performance for the TW Half. 

The conditions were relatively good running weather - if only there wouldn't have been this wind which made it feel pretty cold. Gathering at the starting line of the 2000 men and women strong field I saw a few familiar faces from the Tonbridge AC including Julian Rendall. I had quite a battle against him in Canterbury and was wondering if I was able to convert the improvement on the road which I have felt during the Cross Countries. Among other runners there was with James Laing (24th Ally Pally) a familiar face from the MET League as well as the winner of Ally Pally - Paul Martelletti.

As a bonus local star and double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes gave the starting signal and did the race herself as a preparation for her Marathon debut in London. So off we were and Paul set the pace right from the beginning. Only a few meters back a whole bunch of athletes were following. I tried to hide myself in there somewhere as I did not want to lead in the wind. The group was still relatively big after three kilometers which I was surprised because the pace sure wasn't slow (~3:15min/km). I closed the gap to Paul and he was pulling me along for the next two kilometers which allowed me to get some space between me and the next runner. I felt that his pace wouldn't be very healthy for me as I would hit the wall at some point. So I let him go and the gap would just grow very slowly. But on a more important notice I was able to drop all other runners at this early stage of the race - if this only would not get back to me I thought. 

As I approached the half way point Paul was only half a minute ahead with the big hill just waiting for us so the 34:30 split was not reliable. I had no idea how far back the other runners were because I did not look back once. I thought it was important to keep the focus to myself and keep myself within a zone where I was comfortable but then again not too comfortable. My plan was to pick up the pace again when I reached the top of the hill and to sustain the pace on the last 5 kilometers. I was able to convert my targets and crossed the line in exactly 1:11:00. 

In secret I was hoping for a slightly better time but considering the course with about 220 meters uphill it was quite undulating. I really enjoyed the course and can truly recommend this race to anyone. Well organized, nice course route and great hospitality. To my surprise the leg didn't play up really except for a little niggle which reminded me of my limits. It was once more a positive outcome and I am looking forward to set hopefully a new PB at the Folkestone 10 mile race. 

Sonntag, 14. Februar 2016

Met League fixture 5 at Alexandra Palace

The iconic Alexandra Palace hosted the last race of the cross country metropolitan league. Alexandra Palace was home of the world's first regular television service.

However, this was not of much interest a few hundred yards away. It looks always great with the tents and beach flags presenting their colours - it always reminds me of what medieval joust could have looked like - on a different scale obviously. Anyway it is always great to meet the club mates and other athletes. I did the warm up with Shaun Dixon who was looking for his first win of the season at the Met League before he moves to Amsterdam.

The temperatures were just a few degrees above zero, but the wind made it quite uncomfortable so everybody made sure they would be warm until they headed for the starting line. It was a three lap course consisting of a flat loop around the park with a brisk up & down section just underneath Alexandra Palace. Today it was muddy. Very muddy in places. Well who cares once you're dirty it doesn't get any worse does it.

Right after the start I struggled already in the slippery mud. I felt like I couldn't possibly run any faster without reeling which would mean more effort but not faster. So all I could do was to wait for firmer ground and focus on a stride where I would not waste to much energy. I was probably around the 40th position initially but was soon able to overtake a few runners. I was sitting back in the uphill only to change gears as we hit the top. This way I was able to jump from one group of runners to the next.
On the last lap there was a group of four runners I really wanted to catch but whenever I tried to go harder I would slip again. So I made the most of my abilities and made sure nobody would catch me.

This was certainly one of the best performances I have had in this league finishing in 17th place. Not only the position was a lot better than four weeks ago (31st) but also in comparison with the same athletes I was able to leave a few more behind me averaging some 50 seconds faster compared to the same runners. This shows my form is going in the right direction. I was second scorer of the team with Tom Phillips coming in 12th position not having his best day.

I heard some hard working athletes haven't got home before 2 am. I guess that's the result of a free bar! Terry I wish you a good start in Spain and thanks for all the sweat and tears you have given for the Woodies :)

Today I can feel again my gluteal muscles of my left hip, I hope this will be good again next weekend for the Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon. It will be interesting who will turn up on the second fixture of the Kent Grand Prix. It sure will be a good race.

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