Weekly update 30-9 to 7-10

Firstly, a couple messages from Chris Fitz and Sue Buck

Fitzy:
Morning all, just a week to go before the Borders League season starts next Sunday. You all excited?
Race 1 is in New Brighton and it’s an out and back along the water front, 11am start, it’s free of charge, just turn up in your Helsby vest. Anyone wanting to race who doesn’t have a vest let me know, we can put you in contact with Sue Buck
There is also a Borders league taster session on Thursday 11th 6.30pm start from Tudor Road. WA7 1BD. We shall have 7,8,9 & 10 min pacers taking you around the 5 mile Norton 5 course. Would be great to see a fair few turn up to this
All details on the Borders league on the website below
http://www.bordersleague.org.uk

Sue:
I’m going to order some more hoodies as it seems winter is here. Unfortunately, the price has gone up, so the next lot will be £18.  Please let me Sue Buck know the size as well.

parkrun
Full results for Helsby members at last weeks parkruns are below, including a first place for Jenny Illidge at Phoenix Park

https://tinyurl.com/kvq2x25

Chester Marathon 2018 by Col Thompson

The last time I ran a marathon was in London 2013, over five years ago. At that particular time I was aiming for the coveted “sub 3” which I managed to get (just) and I swore I’d never do another one, the pain of that race is still etched into my mind to this day! I stuck to my guns on this until recently when Louise got sick and I wanted to do something to give back to the unit who cared for her last year.

I’d heard good things about the Chester Marathon, although not the flattest marathon around the organisation always gets great reviews and it’s right on our doorstep, so my place was duly booked and training started. I decided to follow a specific training plan this time from a book called “P&D Advanced Marathoning” I’ve never followed a plan before but seeing other runners I know successfully follow the plan and set themselves big PBs, it seemed like the logical thing to do.

So my 12 week training block started back in July and I had my ups and downs with it. We had one of the hottest summers on record so most of my training was done late at night, I also developed plantar fasciitis in the second week which I had to train through and I then hurt my achilles in the final week (on a treadmill in work for charity believe it or not!) but I managed to stick to the training sessions as best as I could and arrived on the start line relatively injury free. I think following an intense training plan with weekly mileage up to 70mpw was always going to be a challenge and I expected to pick up little niggles along the way.

So race day arrived, I had a target time of 2.45 in my mind but plan B was sub 2.50 if things didn’t go to plan as it would still be a big PB for me. I arrived at the race course and the weather was glorious, dry and sunny and cool with no wind, perfect! Chester race course was a great venue to host the start and finish, plenty of porta loos and everything was very easy to find, the organisation was top notch. I bumped into Spiderman AKA Gaz Boyd at one point who runs marathons for fun these days now he’s an ultra man! Great to see Gaz running well again. Race day nerves were starting to kick in and I did a short warm up and made my way over to the start line where I bumped into Fitzy who was pacing the sub 3 hour group, we shook hands and wished each other luck and then we were off…

The course takes you through Chester City centre, over the River Dee and out towards North Wales, then back to Chester with a finish at the race course. It was a nice route, gently undulating through country roads and it looped through some beautiful little villages where the locals came out to support which was nice to see. At the halfway mark everything was going to plan, I had stuck to the required pace and fuelling strategy I’d practiced in training (gel block and water every 4 miles) and was feeling great at this point, I breezed through at exactly 1.22.30. Things were pretty uneventful until I hit a hill at 16 miles and the pace dropped, I also started feeling some pain in my achilles which had been bothering me in the final week of training. After this point I just couldn’t maintain the required pace for target time and as the miles ticked by I could see the pace dropping further and further. Time for plan B! A quick mental calc and I realised if I could hang on I would still be in with a shout of sub 2.50, I then passed the 20 mile marker and I entered the dreaded final 6.2 miles! It doesn’t matter how much training you do, nothing can prepare you for those final 6 and a bit miles of hell in a marathon! It really becomes a mental and physical battle, I was desperately trying to keep the pace below 6.50 per mile and my achilles was getting worse and now the course was getting more hilly. I stopped looking at the watch and just concentrated on my gait and stride which I adjusted slightly and things settled down a little. 22, 23…then mile 24. I’d heard about the “huge hill” here and it didn’t disappoint, with 24 miles in the legs it felt like a mountain! It’s there that I heard a big cheer and someone shouting my name, I looked over and Gaz O’Connor and Helen Owens were at the top of the hill, I think I managed a small wave (sorry guys!) but it gave me the boost I needed and from there I managed to hang on in the last 2 miles and finish in 2:48:56, a ten minute PB! I was elated! My mum and Louise were there to greet me at the finish which was amazing!

image1

Fitzy managed to pace the sub 3 group perfectly finishing in just under 3 hours and we had some other fantastic results from the Green Army. Neil Finegan finished in 3:05:15 as he prepares for the Snowdonia Marathon and Spiderman finished in 3:54:51, well done mate. Ben Williams also had a strong run to finish in 4:12, not quite the sub 4 he was hoping for but I don’t think Chester is the best course to go for a PB and I’m sure he’ll achieve it on a flatter course.

So in summary it was one of my most memorable races, it’s always nice when you work hard for something with months of training and it pays off on race day. It also helps to have a very supportive and understanding partner, Louise has been my rock these last few months, even when I was nipping out at 10pm for a 20 mile run she never complained! The best result we got from the day was the amount of money we raised for CANtreat though, over £700! Thank you to all members who donated it really means a lot to us.

Will I do another one? If someone asked me that two days ago I’d have said double defo no, but now the pain has faded and I’ve analysed my race a bit more, I hear Manchester is one of the fastest courses in the UK…. ;-

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