Monday, 26 May 2014

Melmerby 10km - one of those days!

A quick bank holiday blog.

I decided a few weeks ago to slot Melmerby 10km into the race diary.  For no other reason that is filled a weekend in my pre marathon training "mini speed block".  It was a new race for me as I've not done this one before but an undulating course, country lanes and tea and cakes in the village hall was just too tempting.  But it was a B race......not one that I specifically targeted and therefore off the back of a fairly normal week.   Tuesday a decent 10 x 800m session, Wednesday a steady 8 miler and Thursday a run out at the North York Moors AC 4 x  mile relay at Stewarts Park ( a very well organised and enjoyable event next planned for 28th August - meant just an easy Friday and Saturday "ease down".

The race started at a very leisurely pace with team mates Shaun O'Grady, Tristan Learoyd, Paul Dalton and Paul Cook from Darlington and a few Harrogate/Ripon vests in a pretty large group all running together for the first km or so.  At the front of the pack it seemed there was a huge number running together and made for quite a surreal experience as we approached the first "undulation" when eventual winner Shaun O'Grady attacked and at that point effectively won the race.

After the first mile (5:19) I found myself in about 6th place and working my way comfortably through the field in the next mile (another 5:19) settled into third place with Shaun about 30 seconds or so in front and eventual runner up Andrew Grant from Harrogate about 10 seconds in front of me.  Looking back occasionally it seemed the gap behind was never going to be pulled back so it was a clear 1-2-3.   I tried to pull 2nd place back but he was just too strong and ended up clear.  Mile 3 (5:27), Mile 4 (5:30) and Mile 5 (5:29) meant a 27:12 clocking at the 5 mile split.   Still feeling strong I had a final attempt at pulling back 2nd place but it was clear the gap was widening and at that point thought I would enjoy the run back into Melmerby secure in the knowledge it had been a decent race and my time would be a seasons best on a fairly challenging course. 

I think because I hadn't set a specific time target I wasn't really focused on my time and the first few miles felt like a "proper race".     So to stop my watch at 34:11 was a nice pleasant surprise and much quicker than I had hoped or expected. 

Based on my last blog this then becomes the best road race I have ever done (based on the WAVA Rankings).  It clocked an 85.01% age grade which exceeds any of my previous performances including all those from 1994/95 when I set most of my all time pbs. 

Using this age predictor it predicts a marathon time of 2:34.20!   I've been in the game for too long to think that sort of time will be easy and there is a huge amount of work to be done but maybe just maybe that could be done!   

Whatever the predictions say I know that sometimes things just go well and a "stellar" performance can just creep up on you without you noticing.  Sometimes just being relaxed, enjoying your running and letting things just flow can work wonders!  Sometimes you can just work too hard and that's a lesson Ive learned only too well in the past!

Next week its the Middlesbrough 5km.  Its a super loaded field and there are loads of people throwing out predictions some wild and some achievable.  Me... I'm staying quiet about mine....I'll let the running do the talking next week.   Another 85% er would be nice though!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Its all about percentages!

At some point in your running career you realise that you are never going to run the same times as when you were at your best..especially over the shorter distances.  I reached my peak as a "youngster" when I was 24.  Most of my pbs were set in the 95/96 season so using WAVA

I thought it would make an interesting comparison.  My peak at 24 compared to now at 43 years old.  It was also prompted by a question someone asked if I was running as quicker than ever before.   The answer to that on first thought is a resounding no but maybe the age grading might tell me otherwise.

As a younger running I never raced upwards of the half marathon.  

My 5km pb set as a 24 year old (15.11) is an 84.96% WAVA age grade.  My best as a Vet 40 is 83.98% set at last years Middlesbrough 5km.  My WAVA target therefore is 16 mins 26.

My 5m pb set as a 24 year old (25:17) is an 84.38% WAVA age grade.  My best as a Vet 40 is 83.50 set at Locke Park 5 (27:39) giving me a target of 27 mins 22.  

My 10km pb set as a 24 year old (32:26) is an 82.79% WAVA age grade.  My best as a Vet 40 is an 84.74 set at last years Leeds Abbey Dash (33:58).   Thats one to the new me!  

My 10m pb set as a 24 year old (52:26) is an 84.65% WAVA age grade.  My recent best as a Vet 40 is an 83.54 set at the Thirsk 10 this year (56:31) giving me a target of 56 mins 15 secs.

My half marathon pb set as a 24 year old (72:22) is 81.83 WAVA age grade - I never did get that distance right!  My recent best is an 82.49% set at the Chester Half Marathon in 2011(74:38) so that's one back to me.  

So am I quicker now than I was then?  The jury is probably out on that one but the targets for 5km, 5 mile and 10 mile do all seem within reach.     At the moment its 3-2 to the old me so I need to hit one of those targets as a 43 year old to snatch it!

Three races since my last blog post Manchester Marathon. 

New Marske Harriers Mermaid 10km finishing 5th overall and 2nd Vet 40 in a time of 34:48.
New Marske Harriers Coast Road 5km finishing 19th in a fully loaded field in a time of 17:02.
Locke Park 5 mile pie and peas race (and they were delicious!) finishing 1st in a time of 27:39.

Its always nice to get a win and what made this one special was that it was first over the line and first in the age graded list.  Another race in the race calender that Im sure will become a regular fixture thanks to New Marske Harriers.

I'm enjoying a few shorter runs over this early summer period before knuckling down to Chester Marathon preparations which will begin in earnest mid June.

Start of the Locke Park 5 mile race