Howay! 2018 Great North Run. by Alex Eddy

Would I do it again? Probably not.

Advertisements

31 minutes 34 seconds. My slowest Km to date. This is the time it took me to get from my starting position to the start line. By this time Sir Mo had elapsed the 10k mark, making my chance of winning slim.

I am not a fast runner, averaging around the 9 min mile pace. I started running back in 2016 when I got a call from Matt informing me I had a place in the 2017 London Marathon. 17 weeks of training later, I had picked up a medal on the Mall having ran for 4 hours 38 minutes and 52 seconds. After 6 months or so of getting overweight and unfit, I decided to enter the ballot for the Great North Run the following year. Although I was hopeful of a place, I was not expecting a place. Therefore, the binge drinking and excessive smoking continued.

Little did I know that on the morning of 7th February an email hit my inbox to inform me I have been successful and I have indeed received a place for the Great North Run 2018. “SHIT” I thought, although presenting myself far more grateful and fortunate than I really was. Throw the cigs’ away, pour the lagers away. I wanted to get a good time. I plodded around London, waving and thanking the crowd, whilst taking everything in. I wanted to record a time I could look back and be proud of.

Training was good, I enjoyed some very nice runs with my good friends Matt, Andy, Michael and Iain. I also enjoyed running with my fiancé, who got into running this year and it was really nice to spend time with her whilst training. Previously, Beth had been waiting at home with a bath ran for me, my E-Cig waiting and something to watch on my laptop, whilst I recovered from a long run. This time, it was the other way round!….

….The training was not good, although I ran 2/3 times a week, I was focusing too much on trying to improve my 5k time, something that in hindsight, was disastrous. My longest run was on July 30th. 7.2 Miles, 4 Miles on which, I virtually crawled. It was one of the runs, where everything went wrong. Eventually I got back into the car and drove home disappointed, texting my running partner’s apologies as my performance must have affected their run. All was forgiven.

We drove up to the North-East on the Saturday before and enjoyed a lovely pasta dinner and the reality check of England loosing to Spain, during the UEFA Nations League.

As my alarm went off at 7am, I felt good. Well rested and optimistic. I inhaled my porridge and it was off we went. A short walk from Gateshead to Town Moor found us at the start line. A further 30 minute walk found us at our bag drop. Another 45 minutes later I found myself at my start pen. The weaving in-an-out of people was exhausting and I hadn’t run a single yard.

At 11:11am, I crossed the start line and I was excited. Mostly because I spotted a television camera pointing in my direction and my watch buzzing continuously with WhatsApp notifications. “I’m probably on tele”- I thought. Starting off at my normal pace of 9min the first mile elapsed with no problem. There were concerns, certainly as on the other side of the central reservation, the other runners were seemingly running underneath the ring road and I was faced with the task of running over it, I thought “what goes up, must come down”. How wrong I was. I cannot remember running downhill until the final mile. The Tyne Bridge is something special. The Crowds were packed 4/5 people deep and plenty of hands offering a moral boosting ‘high-five’.

ce3fe2d8-62da-4e85-b842-69d48310fbac

The most apparent stat of the Great North Run is the amount of participators. The course was packed from mile 1 to mile 13. This was the hardest aspect of the run. Every time I thought I had passed people recovering, you had to navigate around another set and so on. Not only was this hard to settle into a decent pace, it was also mentally tiring. 5K had passed before a water station was available. Then again at 7K, 9K, 10K, 11.5K and so on. There were no consistencies with the water stations which was challenging for me, as I like to know when to take water on and settle into a routine.

As I checked my watch throughout the race, it was apparent my target of 120 minutes, was falling away from me. Not to worry, I will take in the crowd and the atmosphere. The atmosphere was fantastic, with steel, classical and rock ‘n’ roll bands dotted around the course. Families were out in numbers offering water, jelly babies and oranges to everyone. This is my favourite thing about running. I am never going to get anywhere near competing with my running, therefore I have to take smaller victories. The smile of the crowds, the ‘high-fives’, even the deafening screams of “oggy-oggy-oggy”.

Mile 12. As you come over the steep hill, you can see the North Sea. More importantly, you can see the final stretch is all downhill. For me, I could also see the famous red arrows commencing their air show. As my 120 minutes had just elapsed, I took it all in. Running whilst watching the red arrows completing their near impossible show was incredible and a moment that will stay with me for a very long time. This stretch also saw the deepest crowds across the course. However, for me, I was only looking for one of them. My fiancé had been waiting 350 metres from the finish line for 2 hours, to cheer me along. Fortunately, I did spot Beth and after a quick wave and a kiss, I was moments away from completing the greatest half marathon in the world.

Would I do it again? Probably not. I don’t want to come across ungrateful, but the whole race had been under-whelming.  For me, there were too many people. This was evident in the pandemonium at the finish line. However, this day was more than the 2 hours 11 minutes and 55 seconds it took me to finish. My best friend was running in his first ever event. Oli has family from Newcastle and when we spoke back in November about running, he was keen. Oli completed the race in a fantastic 2 hours 30 minutes. Together we raised just shy of £1,500 for charity.

I will keep up with my running. Shorter races for now, but I would like to run the royal parks half marathon next. But for now, where’s the beer?

 

Alex

 

IMG_3505

Cattle Creep & Stowe Trail

Back training, back racing and having fun with friends in Stowe!

After 4 weeks of rehab on the hamstring the return to training has been most welcome. The physio at Elite Sports Medicine in Aylesbury suggested it could be between 2-6 weeks out as I had a slight tear to the lower inside of my left hamstring, couldn’t believe this happened on the last blog and it did remind me of writing in January about ensuring I do look after my legs and body. However a prescription of strength exercises, cycling and swimming have really helped get this done in 4 weeks while maintaining some fitness and I have been able to race, albeit not at a terribly fast pace! But the good news is we are back on our feet and training again.

Below is the last 4 weeks training, as you can see the mileage has built up quickly but the recovery has been strong. Good food, stretching and rolling and even a sports massage with Sheila Rose in MK.

Train Snapshot

Within these 4 weeks have been 2 thoroughly enjoyable races. The first one is the Cattle Creep 10k in Wolverton. The second is the stunning Stowe Park Trail Race near Buckingham.

The Cattle Creep was a tough race and bemuse of my absolute headsgone start. Tom Inchly at LB Athletics club lead me out at 5:35p/m pace for the first 2 of this 6ish miles. Well that was a big mistake given the length of time out I had. I could feel the pace and strength exit my legs as the K’s ticked on, and as expected after 3 miles Tom and Ben Fairhall were out of sight. This meant to keep 3rd I had to dig deep and was running around 6:15 for the last 3 miles and that was tough going, sickening and I even considered stopping at one point! However pleased to race again and the track was brilliant across the Ouzle Valley park and finishes with 50m running through a tunnel designed for Cattle, hence the name! We all really enjoyed it and most impressively, my good pal Beth ran her first 10k without stopping, here we all are!

IMG-20180621-WA0004

The second race was last Friday 6th July at Stowe Park. Firstly, what an amazing place, the park has historic monuments, picturesque lakes and trails to die for. You lose yourself twisting and turning through tree lined darkness and then out into scorching sun across a valley or round a lake. This really is a great place to race and I am sure Gold Swan events could pull way more runners if they pushed too. For me it was a bit of an anti climax but I am delighted to say I won! Picking up a £100 voucher for Innov8 products (don’t know too much about them at the mo) in doing so.

Tbh, I wasn’t pushed at all to do so, and that’s not arrogance, the results show a 6 minute win over £12k of trail racing.  The nice thing is it meant I got to enjoy the surrounding and environment and to be fair the hill at the end of the 2nd and 7th K was a good challenge. At the top my legs were jelly but fortunately managed to recover and clock a 5:59 last mile. Nice efforts and a lovely reward of my first ever running trophy! 🙂

It was great to race proper trail for the first time and especially pleasing to win. Had some good support too from Mica, Freddie and Andriana and we used this as a reason to celebrate with a lovely meal at Prego in Buckingham…. Cheesecake and all!

So things finally seem to heading in the right direction, lots of work to do to get the speed back but everything is feeling strong again and ready to train!

Upcoming events

  • MMKAC 10K – Open University 10th July
  • Kimbolton Castle HM – August (sometime), my phone is upstairs.
  • Worcester City HM – September 16th
  • Bournemouth marathon – 8th October

All eyes on B’mouth as we head into the 2nd half of the year! Already!

Matt

#alwysrunning

Why you should Alwys Warm-up

……Things had been going so well. Knocked a cheeky 20 seconds off the MK parkrun this weekend! Result! Only 3 weeks back but ticking along lovely….

…. then this weekend I hit up the gym with my mate Rose for an abs session. He decides it would be good incorporate the rower as active recover between sets, a great ideal! But then during the 4th set of mountain climbers I hear a slight pop in the Hamstring and feel instant pain in the back of the leg. Hobbling home, I set the ice and the Ibuprofen on my injured leg. I don’t know how long I will be out but after the first couple of hours I was fearing for the worst.

Looking back it was the lack of warm up has done me over here. I went to the gym and stretched my upper body, went on the X-trainer to get the blood flowing and was ready to lift. It was the change of plan to hit the rower and do mountain climbers which made me forget to stretch my legs. Having smashed a 17:42 5k at MK yesterday, my hamstrings were not ready for the explosive moves of the rower and mountain climbers. The result a quiet pop and pain in the left hamstring,

Luckily that was yesterday, today it’s still very swore and ginger to walk on, but after speaking to a couple of reliable sources and reading countless articles online I think this is a grade 1 or even a 0.5 if possible. Will rest up for 5 days and then see if I can stretch or do something light to stop scar tissue.

This is really really really annoying!!!!!!!! The false starts of 2018 continues! (insert sad smiley).

Anyone who reads this who has done something similar or has any advise please let me know below! Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

Matt

 

 

Witney parkrun & Athletics Club

It’s way overdue this blog post and I writing with a certain feel of optimism and passion again for running which is refreshing as my fingers dash away at the HP laptop keyboard. Writing this is like meeting an old friend, I was thinking about it at work, wondering what style to go for and what to wear. I was thinking at work how I would get home, clear up and then get to down to business on the latest post.

But then it hit me….. I have nothing to write about. No Jan- April training plan, no unbelievable goals hit and don’t even get me started on the “1 session a week abs goal” I set in January. A notion and commitment that feels lost in the past, maybe out of the 50,000 – 70,000 thoughts I had on that day in January that one should have been put to the back of the brain, along with doing more cycling (mile cheating) and putting more in the savings.

6 further weeks out due to health also has scampered this half of the year, but lets not dwell on the past but look to the future. I have had 3 steady weeks returning to training and 2 good parkruns.

Most enjoyably, last weekend I met up with an old friend / foe Sam and my old housemate Jen. It was great to see them and especially awesome to be racing Sam again.

Screenshot_20180521-213840

Sam actually didn’t run at his quickest and I think if I would have stuck with him early on there could have been a real battle on. However I am relatively pleased with this result and its a good platform to build on for the rest of the year.

The most pleasing aspect of running over the past month or so is that Mica has started to come out with me once or twice (tops) a week. We have been trialling a little bit of “Run Walk Chat.” In a similar style to “Couch 2 5k” and it has started well and been a whole lot of fun.

Finally, I did the whole backstabbing thing and went training with MK Athletics Club on Tuesday night, which once uploaded on Strava took less than 42 seconds to commented on by a MK Lakeside Runner! To be honest there is no reason to move apart from the obvious, these guys are fast, really fast, in comparison to anything that I am use to. The 5 that were there this week are running 5K’s in 15, 16 and 17 minutes. During the training session of 6 x 3 minutes up hill, by the last 40 seconds they were gone, out of sight, all of them. My PB is 17:26, and I have a lot of work to do over the next 1-2 months to regain that form. However, I truly believe that by become involved with MKAC this will take me to the next level. On a further note, the chap that ran the session, James, is exceptionally qualified and knowledgeable in the field of running, (he dropped his PhD) combine that with how approachable and welcoming he and the team were, this is a really good set up to be involved in. It did take me a little while culturally to adapt to the quiet, seriousness of the group but the session was on point and I look forward to training with them again.

Can’t wait to get stuck into summer training, its light in the morning, the sun is…. out more often…. and I have miles to make up.

Matt

P.S – 2 weeks of healthy eating – shock to the system! #cbcbc

 

Ok – Now 2018 begins

Lets get on with it now…..

So I haven’t written a blog in a long while and this is purely down to frustration. Since my last post, I have false started numerous times trying to fix the calf (or thinking it was fixed) when quite frankly it wasn’t. Weeks of ice, rest, rolling and cycling and we are back in action.

Now when your competition has smashed through around 400 miles already this year and you have only managed 15 a week for 4 weeks, you somewhat feel that your performance is going to sail away. And the progressive 2017 runs will turn into leggy, heavy slogs falling minutes short of the standard set the previous term.

However, having now completed one event (MK Winter Half) I found my performance strong. Don’t get me wrong the DOMS for 4 days after were horrendous because I wasn’t use to the strain and slog of a real race, but the pace wasn’t all lost. I don’t know if I just felt light on the day or reckless but I tackled the MK Winter Half with the game plan of 6:00 min miles and hold for life.

I didn’t really end up holding my pace but I wasn’t far off, despite being overtaken by 4 runners in the last mile to finish 10th…. annoying!

Afterward, I felt worse than I have in previous marathons but it shows, you don’t lose speed and gains quickly, and possibly my Spring and Early summer targets can be met.

Don’t get me wrong the next 2 months I need serious miles, fast miles, interval, hilly and Xcountry miles to hit my marathon running target (Under 3 Hours) but with the right recovery, rest and food I can do it.

Really proud to clock in a PB at the MK Winter Half with 0 expectations 1:19:14 and a good first race of the year. A few other MK Halfs and then the Worcester Marathon to come!

Here are a few snaps and stats from MK Winter Half!RESULTS.png

Matt

Planning races around my life (or the other way round)

2018 schedule as I come back from injury

Finally tomorrow I will go on my first proper training run of 2018. The legs all feel recovered and after a swim, a bike, a few gym outings and endless ices, baths and foam rolling sessions. I believe I am ready to get running (arguably the most important part of marathon training).

Though, in fairness its only been 16 days but when everyone is on the January, whoop, running fitness hype, the result is my Strava is as depressing as Facebook was as a hormonal, single teenager. Everyone posts how great they are doing in their programs they picked up off google, and they’re running 20 miles everyday with their new running clubs and boxing day bargains from Mike Ashley’s Sweatshop. Sighhh (that should be me man)!

At the moment due to the injuries to the right calf and quad and I am considering pulling out of the Watford Half on the 4th Feb.

However apart of me wants to use it as a training run by sticking to a fastish pace. Ready to PB at the MK Winter Half (which has been rescheduled due the snow before Christmas). I also have been offered a lift, which makes it more tempting because the guys will probably finish before me, which means there will be no waiting around.

The only problem is, people that turn up at a race not to race annoy me, and I know for-well when I get there I’ll try my hardest! Which wont translate to a good time and maybe is a little dangerous. Though, in all seriousness, I think I will probably just listen to the body and see how it responds to tomorrow and then the training camp with Sam on the 27th!

Two things I wanted to discuss on here are my standard weekly training plan, (hoping people may comment with suggestions!) and my race schedule so far!

Schedule

  • Watford Half 04/02/2018
  • MK Winter Half (Rescheduled) 18/02/2017
  • MKRUN Half 11/03/2018
  • London Marathon 22/04/2018
  • Milton Keynes Half 07/05/2018
  • Worcester Marathon 20/05/2018
  • Bournemouth Marathon 07/10/2018

Typical Week (MKLR = Milton Keynes Lakeside Runners Club)

  • Monday AM – Slow Run
  • Tuesday AM – Swim/ Core
  • Tuesday PM – Speed Work MKLR
  • Thursday PM – Long Run MKLR
  • Friday AM – Swim/ Bike/ Gym
  • Weekend- Long Run (increase long run by 1 or 2 miles each week)

*** Everything is subject to change everyday ***

It would be good to gain some feedback from this plan, of course over the next couple of weeks it will be an ease back into it rather than too much, too soon (again!) Finally I guess this is normally that part where I say it will be good to see all my work pay off in the races, but for now I guess we should probably do some hard work.

Matt Tizzard

#alwysrunning

Too much too soon? 

So after the mid December, Xmas party season break my training hadn’t been too bad over the festive period. 

Being away at the other halfs parents ment lovely, morning runs around Worcestershire was on order. 

However towards the end of the 2 week’s off (lucky eh) I felt a strange dull sensation in my right calf. I figured a rest was in order but it wouldn’t go away.

Last Wednesday morning on a routine run around  the BBrickhills the wheels or calf in this example fell off. Pain right in the centre of the lower calf.

Now I know I haven’t torn or done anything serious so another week off and I will probably be ready to walk / jog or cycle. However I didn’t go down the physio route because the evening ritual of roll, ice bath, ice, eat and sleep appears to be working.

The lesson has been learnt. Slowly reintroduce milage don’t thwack it on and expect the body to handle it! (See below) 

Hopefully this time next week I will have eased back into it and will have some better news!

#Alwysruning