Sunday, 4 November 2007

Signing off in style...

Well that's finally it! A long hard season of racing is over and I can sit back and reflect on pb's at Olympic, middle and Iron distance triathlon and as of six days ago a nice shiny new marathon best :)

Most of you will be familiar with my 'statto' like analysis of race results and having done my homework I was pretty confident that contrary to popular belief Dublin marathon would be a fast course. Although there were plenty of hills on the profile, it seemed like the ups would be short steep and the downhills long and gradual and combined with nothing uphill from 20 miles onwards I was confident of a strong finish. Walking to the start Tony and I bumped (by chance) in to Mark Redwood from Total Fitness Nottingham who we'd arranged to run with (but never got round to actually sorting out somewhere to meet). Mark is an all-round top bloke, owner of one of the best triathlon shops on England (TFN - where H bought her bike from) and super fast Ironman. I first met Mark two years ago in his shop when we were first getting in to multisport, he'd just done 9.26 in Austria but missed out on Hawaii by a few minutes! At the time he was training for Ironman Lake Placid where he ended up qualifying for the world champs and completing the journey that I so desperately hope to emulate. Anyway, back to the race...

We'd also planned to run with our good mate Paul but hadn't been so fortunate as to bump in to him so it was down to the three of us to make up today's picture at mile one (from L-R... Tony, me, Mark). Standing on the start line the start reality dawned on me... there I was having not really trained quite as hard as I should about to run 26.2 miles with two athletes who were clearly capable of inflicting serious pain on me... Tony had just pb'd for 5k (16.48) and half marathon (1.19.02) and Mark has a half marathon pb of 1.15... oh well, 'don't let them dangle' and all that!

Settling in to 6.45 miles over the first 10k (41.39) everything was feeling good. Our regular long runs had paid off and in particular we were definitely not pushing it as hard as our 22, so confidence was high that T and Mark would break three hours for the first time and I'd survive the experience! A quick loo stop interrupted mine and Mark's splits around the 6 mile point but by 9 or 10 we were back with Tony and running strong... coincidentally we also bumped in to Chris Booker from my tri club (LBT) who ended up running with us until he frustratingly had to pull out at mile 20 with lower back pain. Our target for the first half was 1.29.30 and clocking 1.29.34 I knew my split second pacing was setting us up for a great race.

At about 16 miles Tony & Mark needed another (for Mark) loo stop and feeling good I opted to keep the pace and push on. The effort levels were just creeping up and I knew the next four miles would be crucial, especially with the downhill finish. H, Paul and Izzy were supporting at about 18.5 miles and provided a much needed push just when it was most needed, at this point T was about 20 seconds behind but we'd be running together again by 19.5. Cresting the hill at 20 we were still holding 6.40's and feeling strong and as long as I tucked in to Tony's slipstream in to the headwinds everything was nicely on track.

Up to this point I hadn't even considered running a pb but increasingly it seemed like we'd dip under 3 by a comfortable margin. Turning left toward the finish at about mile 25 we both knew all our Thursday night miles and Tuesday night speed sessions had been worth it... unfortunately a serious headwind had decided to sort the men from the boys and with Tony pushing on and me struggling mentally, a gap opened up between us over the final mile (he did run it in 5.57 though!) with him finishing in 2.56.45 and me in a new pb of 2.58.01. Within a minute Mark crossed the line and Paul who had just got taken by Tony with 200 yards to go, finished in a brilliant pb of 2.57!! All round a fantastic day with all four of us breaking three hours and setting new pb's on a fantastic course and brilliantly organised race.

So there it is, a great season of fantastic highs and very few lows... the only real low point has been H's 'never ending' dodgy ankle, it must have been so so hard spectating in Dublin whilst all the time knowing that she would have surely pb'd on such a fantastic day for running a marathon! As usual though she was the most phenomenal supporter... there truly is no way I could achieve even half of what I do without her belief, faith and patience... THANK YOU BABY x

Apart from all that I'd like to finish by saying a massive well done to Ozzer and Eek for competing in the Noosa Triathlon today... you can follow their travels and make yourself green with envy by checking out their blog...

Also an even massiver GO FOR IT! to our friends Lisa and Marlon who are running the New York City Marathon!! (as we speak they are at 35k according the athlete tracker).

And a super-sized WELL DONE to all the Virgin Road Runners who conquered Dublin on Monday... particularly Khara for slaying the demons of the 'Dam and Kay for showing us all what Adidas mean by 'Impossible is Nothing'... you are all AMAZING!

Today H and I did a swim clinic with the guys at and hopefully we'll be able to post the video analysis on here next week!! The next three weeks will be quiet on the training front but busy on the 'sorting our lives out in order to train at a million miles an hour for 32 weeks' front... see next week for details ;)

Thanks for the inspiration,


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