Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Race Report: Great West Run

A lift from a friend mate all 4 of us didn't have to wake up 3 hours earlier to get a coach and taxi from Plymouth to Exeter. The Great West Run was October 19th on a clear crisp day. The forecast had predicted rain in the afternoon but it stayed clear and sunny all day. I ran with a great bunch of friends all fundraising for MSF.

The Great West Run. Sponsored by Tozers. This was the 30th anniversary of the race and there were several thousand participants, so clearly still going strong.

I am slightly disappointed with my time. I ran a feeble half marathon at the Plymouth Half finishing well over 2 hours at 2:27, a substantial amount of blame was laid at my left knee and poor preparation. I hoped to shave almost half an hour off by avoiding injury.
Unfortunately this was not the case as I ran a pedestrian 2:13 while 14 minutes faster than my previous I would be lying if I said that I wasn't disappointed with not breaking the 2 hour barrier. I am pleased that I was at least faster than previously.

Type of course
Inner city with a hint of trial. No real trails but the route does head out into tarmac'd country for a couple of miles out and back. It is also a route of two halves. The first 5 miles were almost pancake flat with a small down hill section. The second half was tougher; a handful of hills and a good 3 or so miles of rollers.

Good Bits
Seeing mates cheering me on. This came in handy later on when I mentally bonked. The route through the city was fun. Running with friends was good although we only stuck together for about a half mile.
Sprinting the final stretch of a mile overtaking several trotters. It was the first time I had any energy left to kick at the end. It was nice to see I have a kick!

Bad Bits
Mentally Bonking. I have never felt like I don't want to do a race as much as I did during this. I hated everyhting about it, I shocked myself how unhappy I was. It stopped me more than fatigue. I had to have a real mental talking to myself to get back into the race, which was good as the hills came straight after this.

Overall I am actually happy with how this run went. I am slowly getting faster, I have had to really think about being realistic with some of the time expectations I set of myself but I can see steady forward progress.  I definitely learnt a lot about myself having to mentally dig myself out of that brain funk at mile 6.

How this fits in the Master Plan
I have a soft spot for Halfs. I do not know if they are the distance for me, but I find them fun. I am thinking of another Half, I got an email saying the Plymouth Half is open again. I feel like I have unfinished business there with the knee fisaco of May14. I think I will going back to the Plymouth Half and seeing if I can crack that 2 Hour barrier. Another 14 minutes and I am there.
I held my speed relatively consistently for the first 6 miles. despite feeling like I was slowing down a lot. In terms of the 5ks and 10ks. This is good.
The week following Exeter I set a new PB in the Brockwell Park Run 5k and I think I can go faster still. I tried to run a negative split for that and each mile was 45 seconds faster than the last. The mental tools to just push came in hand and I think they will come in handy again with upsocming fitness tests.

Would I do it again?
The Exeter half was a great day and an interesting course. The last long slow rollers on tired legs are hard but it makes for a fun course. The flat finish chute makes a change from the Plymouth's uphill finish beast.

Ultimately I think I would do it again. Next time. I would want some one to run with friends.

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