Sunday, 30 September 2007

The 'VIP' life...

It's been another great week in this seemingly never ending great season. Following last Sundays late night blog posting where I set myself the target of breaking 25:15 for a mile in the pool and getting close to my pb of 25:04... I felt great during the warm up and broke 25 for the first time with 400 splits of 6:12, 6:12, 6:12 and 6:08 giving me 24:44! I've not done much on the bike this week except for a fairly steady two hour turbo session on Wednesday evening. Running however has also gone well with a pretty comfortable hilly 18 miles in 2:09 on Thursday evening followed by today's Great North Run. I wasn't really sure what to expect this morning and having done 18 miles a couple of days ago and picked up a slight head cold over the weekend wasn't expecting a great race. The first mile of the Great North is always pretty quick as it's almost entirely downhill... 5 minutes and 50 seconds later and I was hoping it hadn't been too quick. It took me a while to settle into a rhythm and I felt pretty much on the limit from the start but by mile six my confidence was growing that I might be able to hold on to break my course pb (1:22:37). Miles 4, 5, 9 & 11 are all pretty slow and I knew that with the last mile along the seafront often in to a headwind the sting was definitely in the tail of this race. Coming through mile 12 in 1:14:44 though I knew I was looking good and a strong 13th mile (5:55) the final 0.1 (a half marathon is 13.1 miles, in this case 37 seconds) saw the clock tick in to the 1:21's for a finish time and my new pb for the course of 1:21:17. Overall I was really pleased with today's time which at 1 minute and 20 seconds faster than 2004 (when I went on to pb for the marathon in Venice) sets me up for a good race in Dublin in four weeks time where the target is to put the season to bed with a comfortable 2:58/2:59 which I can use as a foundation to go sub-2:55 in the London Marathon in April.

Now to today's picture... the Leukaemia Research Fund celebrity team photo from this morning's start line. H and I have run and raised money for the LRF for many years now and although we've been a little quiet on the fundraising front recently, H continues to take their publicity photographs for nothing and in return we become honorary celebs for the day. I've taken part in races such as this and big city marathons both as a normal everyday runner and as part of a 'VIP' team and thought I'd give you an insight into the day of a typical 'soapstar' jogger.... Arriving in the Jury's Inn hotel in Newcastle on Saturday night there's time for a quick shower and snooze before popping down to the amazing complimentary buffet to stock up on much needed carbs. Before we know what's happening the alarm's buzzing and it's time to make our way down to breakfast for a last minute feed and then on to the team bus which will drop us right at the start line. It's then straight to the front and in to the special VIP area where we share our own toilets and warm-up area (the first mile of the course) with the likes of Paula Radcliffe and all the elite men, not to mention various z-list celebs, ex-footballers and TV chefs. We then get front row seats for the start of the wheelchair and women's elite races before making our way to the start line a good two or three minutes before the gun... and when I say start line I mean start line! Normally I hang out a couple of rows back but today I had clear road ahead of me with my big toe literally touching the line. I don't know if you've even been at the front of a 50,000 person queue before but if not I can tell you it's quite a surreal feeling. Fast forward to the end of the race and no sooner have we picked up our finishers t-shirt and medal then we're whisked off in to the BUPA hospitality tent for more free food and booze (the best apple pie H has EVER had apparently) and a chance for one last hob-nob with the 'stars'. Then at 3pm sharp we make our way to the buses just in time for a police escort back to Newcastle and boy do they go for it... all the traffic stopped, straight through red lights and police outriders everywhere. If this is what it's like for Eric Pollard can you imagine what David Beckham's life must be like?? Minutes later and we're back in the car and slip back in to the non-VIP lifestyle of sitting in total gridlock on the A1 and then queuing for ages in service stations to pay a fortune for the exact opposite of what only hours earlier we weren't expected to either a) queue for or b) pay for!

Anyway, that's about it for now. I seem to be racing all the time at the moment and would really value getting some decent training in but with a 10 mile timetrial this coming Saturday and the possibility of Carsington Duathlon on the Sunday training may have to wait... roll on the winter ;)

One last thing... a massive GOOD LUCK to our mate Liz Yelling who is running in the Chicago Marathon on Sunday. For those that don't know, she makes me look like the proverbial tortoise and is hoping to manoeuvre herself in to a place in British team for the Beijing Olympics. She'll need to run under 2:30 so positive thoughts will be much appreciated ;)

See you next week,



Brian said...

Well done indeed for the GNR! I saw a bit of it on telly but should have watched for longer and might have seen you take off from the front! You seem to be on top form so I hope it all goes from strength to strength. Loved the piccies. Stay strong my son!

Jevon said...

Good work, Tom. I'll be trying to run this week after a month off with a calf pull. Enjoy the TT !!!

Debra said...

Unlike Brian we have now watched all 4 hours of coverage that we recorded and once again Tom you were on the telly at the start line, unfortunately didn't catch you at the finish although saw James Cracknell and Tony and knew you were somewhere near both of them

Well done on the course pb, I managed one too which was superb given the injuries and woes of late, just as we thought we were gnr'd out we both really enjpyed the day and they've put next yera's race on my birthday - sounds like a damn good excuse for a fancy dress party to me!!

Tom said...

cheers for the great comments guys :) I was lurking around trying to get my face on the box so glad to tick that box ;)

James Cracknell beat me for the first time and although I could see him just in front of me for the entire race he was just too strong over the last couple of miles and did me by 47 seconds.

Well done Debra on a great race, nice and steady back in to the running Jevon there's a long way to go and Dad... you are the greatest :)