Zatopek Week 8 – Sessions of the Greats will make me Great. Maybe

Gammoudi beating “Pre”

This week was a tough one – 3 hard sessions crammed in and two which mimicked legends of the past – one is Mohammed Gammoudi who won the Gold in the 5000m at the ’68 Olympics. He would apparently do sessions where he started quite slow and ramped up and up through a rep of 3k or so. The session is tough as trying to run fast off about 10k pace, in a long rep, is pretty challenging, but great race simulation.

Steve with hair

The other was the classic Mona fartlek – a staple of Steve Moneghetti – an Australian marathon icon. For anyone that doesn’t know this session, it’s a 20 minute continuous effort with subtle pace changes over shortening time periods starting at 90secs on/off and ending at 30sec on/off efforts. It simulates surging mid race and pushes up your aerobic threshold as you practise a slight surge and then settling into a pace that is still pretty quick. This session is as hard as you make it really, so a good one in a hard week.

A tiring week but more progress.

Monday – 66 mins home from work at 6.33/mile. Felt pretty good (10)

Tuesday – AM – 36 mins easy at 7.05/mile (5.5)

PM – “Gammoudi’ session. This is 3 sets of 6 laps of the track at 80,80,70,70,2 laps fast. 5 mins between sets. I’d never done this before and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. 7.12 (2.12), 7.12 (2.09), 7.10 (2.09). A decent session again. (10)

Wednesday – AM – 87 mins easy/steady. Another AM Wednesday – these are supposed to be evenings really but circumstance dictated an early start. 6.52/mile. Felt pretty dead. (13)

Thursday – AM – 37 mins easy into work. (5.5)

PM – Dobroyd Hills – 2 x 6 x hill off 5mins. This felt awful. I don’t know if it was Tuesday in my legs, or the shock of 2 sessions in 3 days or what, but I knew from rep 1 this was going to be a struggle. Ranged 1.53-1.57, which reflects this! A few others also struggled. (11)

Friday – AM – Pilates.

PM – 56 mins easy at 7.14/mile – (8)

Saturday – AM – Mona fartlek – 4.03 miles in 20mins. Yugi and Nipper got away in 2nd half but a decent session at the end of a tired week. (9.5)

Sunday – 2.15 long run. Started early to try and beat the heat but it still bit! Last 30 mins was a struggle. 6.25/mile. (21)

93.5 miles. Another solid week and an improvement bar the tiredness!

Zatopek Week 7 – Finding my feet

So this week is an improvement – 2 sessions that were a big step forward based on previous weeks. Hopefully things are starting to click now and I can come into form in time for Zatopek 10,000m in 3 weeks.

Monday – 66 mins home from work at 6.40/mile. Felt better. (10)

Tuesday – AM – 40 mins easy (5.5)

PM – 8 x 1k on the track off 90 secs. Felt a lot better and like I was running comfortably. Ahead of Yugi and Nipper only got away on last 2. 2.54, 2.50, 2.52, 2.56, 2.50, 2.52, 2.51, 2.48. (10)

Wednesday – AM – 77 mins easy/steady. Typo in my training program – should have done 90 mins. Never mind. Also had massage from training partner Nipper. Then I had a coffee from the trendy cafe in the physio building. It was nice. 6.54/mile (11)

Thursday – AM – 40 mins easy into work. (5.5)

PM – 60 mins with 2 x 7mins tempo off 5 mins. Ran with Nipper and kept it pretty relaxed. Tempos were 3.15/km or so. A nice old man came over afterwards and said “I bet you boys could run a 2.40 marathon!”.  (9)

Friday – AM – Pilates.

PM – 67 mins easy at 7.08/mile – (9.5)

Saturday – AM – Grass session – 5 x full lake (1470m). Felt pretty good and splits were close to my best times. Haven’t been at the front of group for a while! 4.28, 4.20, 4.19, 4.18, 4.14. (11)

PM – 45 mins easy at 6.57/mile (6.5)

Sunday – 2.17 long run. Legs felt really dead so just got it done. 6.31/mile. (21)

97.5 miles. A much better week. 2 good sessions, which had been poor recently. Finding my fast legs again!

Zatopek Week 6 with NSW State 3,000m Champs

Hi all,

Sorry this is a week late, but y’know, I’m busy and a bit lazy, and I figured you weren’t all desperate to hear about my 13th place at the NSW StateNSW state 3k 2014 3k Champs. My comments on the race will be kept reasonably brief. Basically, I’m not fully fit, and 3,000m is too short for me without a few track sessions under my belt. I figured if I ran close to 8.15, I’ve done pretty well, but after 400m when I saw the lap split of 66 and how quick that felt, that I was going to struggle to achieve this. The lead group was already pulling away and would go on to run 8.03-8.09. My km splits went 2.45, 2.48, 2.51 and I struggled my way round to 13th place in 8.24. In previous years I have run 8.02 for 2nd (when fully track fit) and 8.09 for a win 3 weeks before my marathon PB in Fukuoka.

However, with the benefit of hindsight writing this blog 1 week late, this race has helped me and I’ve felt much more comfortable in sessions this week and I expect I’d be much closer to 8.10 if we ran it again. A real rustbuster and shows that racing can really help move things along, even though the result may not be pleasing.

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Here was my training leading into the race – glad I didn’t taper for it!

Monday – 66 mins steady home from work at 6.31/mile (10)

Tuesday – AM – 35 mins easy (5.5)

PM – 3 x (4 x 400) off 30secs for set 1, 45secs, 60secs. 5 mins between sets. The track was ROCK HARD and I tried wearing spikes. I fear my already complaining calves won’t be happy. 65, 64, 64, 64,  64, 63, 63, 64,  63, 63, 63, 61 (10)

Wednesday – AM – Pilates

PM – 90 mins steady at 6.45/mile. Sore calves. (13.5)

Thursday – AM – 38 mins easy. VERY sore calves. Not painful, just so incredibly tender.  5.5)

PM – 40 mins easy (5.5)

Friday – 30 mins easy. Calves a bit better. Race tomorrow should be ok. (4)

Saturday – NSW State 3k – 8.24 (9)

Sunday – 2.15 Long Run at 6.23/mile. Took my frustration out on the run a bit. (21.5)

84.5 miles. Race wasn’t brilliant but a decent week otherwise.

Zatopek Week 5 with Noosa Bolt 5k

I guess I could be working while everyone else is at the Melbourne Cup, but seeing as productivity in Australia has ground to a halt, and I’ve already done a couple of Sporcle quizzes today then I shall use my time to write a blog on some running I did last week.

The plan for last week was to do an almost full week of training and then race the Noosa Bolt 5k at the end of it. I’ve missed too much time to have an easy week and so I need to cram in all the training I can.beach

The Noosa Bolt 5k itself was really cool. It’s a sideshow compared to the Triathlon festival that goes on in Noosa that weekend. It’s the largest triathlon event in the Southern hemisphere apparently and the usually quiet, small beach resort-town of Noosa was rammed with athletes and had a great atmosphere

 

The race itself is 4-and-a-bit laps of a 1200m circuit that’s really just 600m out, around a cone, and then back again. this makes it great for spectators, but also leads to lots of slowing as you navigate the hairpin turns. I knew I wasn’t going to set the world alight here but was hoping to be in the mix with my 4 training partners who were running. I started off reasonably steadily in about 15th place, and moved through the Racefield as the race went on. I probably shouldn’t have let Roffy and Jeff get away from me early on, as this isolated me a bit and meant I got the full breeze in my face for half of the loop. As things turned out, I moved into 8th place and was slowly gaining on Roffy and Jeff but couldn’t get close enough to challenge them. 8th place was where I finished, in 14.57. My Sydney Running Academy teammates all ran to form really – Nipper had a strong run for 2nd and young Jack Stapleton challenged well for 4th. Jeff, Roffy and myself all need a bit more training in our legs. Still, 5 in the top 8 for this Asics sponsored race makes the sponsors happy.

results

 

The biggest disappointment for me was that I wasn’t on the warm-down party that got lost and saw an echidna in the national park. I’m yet to view one of these prickly little chaps and so that would have been excellent.

Anyway, here’s last week’s running:

Monday – 68 mins very easy. Felt really dead after the hot long run the day before, so just kept it slow – 6.48/mile (10)

Tuesday – AM – 38 mins easy (5.5)

PM – Quarters on the track – 14.25. Averaged 68-69 for the 400s, and 38-39 for the 200s. Felt tired still. (8)

Wednesday – 90 mins very easy. Felt tired again…. 7.20/mile (13)

Thursday – Am – 42mins easy (6)

PM – 43 mins easy (6.5)

Friday – 38 mins easy (5.5)

Saturday – Noosa Bolt 5k (9)

Sunday – 2hrs 15 around the National park and Noosa coast. Started off with a few wrong turns – sand, steps, hills. I found the last 15 mins really tough as the humidity caught up with me. But again, got it done. Pace hard to tell as Garmin got lost in the woods. (20)

83.5 miles. Calf threatened to get sore after track and race but held up ok. Just got to get the training done and hope things start to click soon.

whiskyAt the end of it Amelia had booked lunch at a very nice Japanese restaurant called Wasabi. Here’s some sort of glass decanter they keep their whisky in.

2014 Zatopek Week 4

The good news this week is that the calf hasn’t been a problem and I got a full week of running in. I didn’t lose too much fitness with the 10 day calf issue but I still have work to do to get back to full fitness. Noosa Bolt 5k next week will give me a good idea of where I am…

Monday – 10 miles back from work at 6.20/mile. No pain in calf (10)

Tuesday – skipped AM run just to be cautious

PM – 2 x 6 x Dobroyd hills with group. Set 1 was 1.51-1.53. Set 2 was 1.51-1.54, but clearly switched off on the penultimate one with a 1.56. Didn’t sprint the last one too hard so as not to get on toes too much. (11)

Wednesday – Physio session in AM with some dry needling and 90 mins after work at 6.20/mile. That needling really made the calves sore but was fine when I was running (14)

Thursday – AM – 43mins easy. (6)

PM – 10miles home from work with 2 mile tempo (10)

Friday – Pilates in AM 40 mins easy (6)

Saturday – 3.1k loop, 6 x Long hills. Loop in 9.30, 5 mins recovery then hills in 97secs down to 91secs for last one. Was in the mix with the group for most of it. (11)

PM – 43mins easy in the Blue Mountains. Hot day! (6)

Sunday – 2hr15 on a very hot Sydney day. My longest run for about 3-4 months and chose the hottest day in ages for it…. I got it done but felt pretty awful afterwards. Average 6.19/mile and was under 6 min miling for last 8 miles or so (22)

96 miles. A good week, and no calf problems. Got a couple decent sessions in, as well as a good long run. Not sure how Noosa 5k will go next week – I’m definitely lacking in speed so I may well find it tough!

2014 Zatopek Week 3 with Trail Race debut!

This week was largely about getting rid of this calf injury and building up the running again. I was pleased it healed very suddenly towards the end of the week and I could do the trail run on Sunday – albeit only the 20km, and not the 30km option I had initially intended to do. Hopefully now I can push on and train properly again!

Monday – 35 mins easy. Calf wasn’t too sore, but uncomfortable. Probably a 3-4/10 on the pain scale but was starting to get slightly worse towards the end.

Tuesday – REST. Gave the calf another day to recover.

Wednesday – 35 mins easy. A slight improvement on Monday. Didn’t get worse as run went on. 3/10 for pain.

Thursday – 35 mins easy to compare to yesterday. Exactly the same, so not getting worse.

Friday – 45mins easy. No pain! All of a sudden it seems to have pretty much disappeared. Could even run close to 6min miling towards the end feeling fine.

Saturday – 65mins steady. Zero pain again. Excellent!

Sunday – Botany Bay 20km. Amelia was running this race so I thought I’d do it as my Sunday run, which I was going to try 90mins for today anyway. Initially I would have done the 30km run, but with the calf issue I scaled it back. The run starts out and back along the beach and I let a few go as I eased into the run, and I ran at about 6min milling so wasn’t anything that would hurt the calf. After 8km or so I was at the front with one other guy, and we ascended onto the sandy narrow trails, and some slightly rocky sections on the coast. The running was quite slow

Running along the Sandy Trails of Botany Bay!

Running along the Sandy Trails of Botany Bay!

along here, as it was so narrow, and slightly uneven underfoot. There was a pretty tough section up a sand dune but after that it was pretty good going. I didn’t push the pace and just focussed on following the pink tape in the bushes, which wasn’t always easy to spot! I got a bit of a gap as the race went on, but lost almost all of it as I followed someone from the 30km race which started before me who had gone the wrong way right at the end of the loop and so I actually ran straight past the finish line! I think I did an extra 800m or so but managed to just finish in front, gaining $200 for a narrow 20 second victory. The calf gave me no problems at all which is the important thing and Amelia outsprinted an old man which was exciting to watch!

Weekly mileage: 55 miles. Time to crack on!

2014 Zatopek 10k Week 2

Hi all,

Just a training update for last week, and annoyingly an injury update…. I seem to have tweaked my soleus and am having to have a few down days to let it recover. I was doing my usual run on Thursday, accelerated from 4min per k to a tempo pace and a few strides in it started to hurt. I thought it was fine to continue but when I tried to run the next day, it was pretty painful. Since then I have been resting it until it is largely pain free. Frustrating as I was starting to get close to fitness, but these things happen….

Anyway, this was my running

Monday – 10 miles steady home from work @ 6.25/mile (10)

Tuesday – AM – 38 mins easy at 7.20/mile (5.5)

PM – Dobroyd Park Hill Session. 2 x 6 sets. Averaged Ranged from 1.52-1.54 on 1st set and similar on 2nd set but with a 1.48 final rep. At my best I hover around 1.50-1.51 so not toooo far away. Nipper and Stapo destroyed me on 2nd set. (10)

Wednesday – 90 mins before work. Usually do this in the evening but had to get it done in the morning. (13)

Thursday – AM – 42 mins easy at 7.20/mile (6)

PM – 60 mins with 3k tempo (and a hurty calf…) in 9.37 around the Domain. 15 secs quicker than last week – but wasn’t hammering it. (9.5)

Friday – Physio, then 6 miles easy, and luckily it was only 40 mins as the pain was becoming too much to run on… (5.5)

Saturday – REST 😦 Knew as soon as I got up that I wasn’t running today….

Sunday – REST 😥 Turned up at the run, but while it felt better – it still hurt to run on…

59.5 miles. Annoying to pick up this calf tweak. Get better please stupid calf.

2014 Zatopek 10k Build-up week 1 (sort of….)

Hello all,

So, I have been doing some running, but haven’t really documented it. Mainly as it’s been a road back to fitness and so it’s just been a case of building up week on week until I can train fully. Also it’s partly because my sessions have been poor and bordering embarrassing so the thought of committing them to paper hasn’t filled me with joy!

Anyway, the aim for the rest of 2014 is a strong run at the Zatopek 10,000m, the event I ran 28.40 at 2 years ago. Before that I will run the Noosa Bolt 5km on the road, and a 3,000m on the track.

I’m going to call this week 1, as it’s the first week I’ve put on the blog, and also because it’s my first ‘full’ week of training.

Monday – 10 miles steady – 65 mins

Tuesday – AM – 5.5 miles easy

PM – Track session: 6 x 800m off lap jog in 95secs. 2.14, 2.18, 2.20, 2.24, 2.27, 2.27. Hmmm. I felt ok at the start but then was having to make up ground on the lap jog and was just getting slower. Pretty poor. (9)

Wednesday – 90 mins steady at 6.20/mile (14)

Thursday – AM – 6 miles easy (7.20/mile)

PM – 10 miles with last 2 miles at tempo (5.10/mile) and 6 x 60m sprints

Friday – 6 miles easy (7.20/mile)

Saturday – AM – Figure of 8 loop in 9.36 (9.15 at 3k), 5 mins recovery, 6 x Long hill – 98, 96, 94, 93, 94, 91. Nipper was 30secs ahead on the loop, but just about hung on on the hills – mainly with Yugi for session. Hit some lactic on the last one. (10)

PM – 6 miles easy

Sunday – 2 hours long run at 6.20 miling. Felt pretty good. Am feeling quite good on the long runs but not so well on the sessions…. (19)

99.5 miles. Reasonable week but am still well behind on sessions. Hoping it will ‘click’ soon.

Bolivia should produce World Record Holders – why doesn’t it?

Hi all,

DSC03512

Up the top of La Paz

 I’m always conscious of not trying to make my blogs all about me as a) I think it’s a bit boring for you lot reading and b) it’s a bit lazy. So instead of writing about me this time I’m going to give a largely mis-informed, inaccurate piece about distance running in Bolivia, with a lot of guesswork. Amelia and I just came back from our honeymoon here, this isn’t plucked out of a hat.

Bolivia is a country that has had it’s fair share of political turmoil (they had 6 presidents in one day once!), economically underdeveloped, and with many communities living at altitude between 2,000 – 4,000m. Ring any bells? Similar to Kenya and Ethiopia no?

Yet Bolivia as a whole is rubbish at running relative to the aforementioned powerhouses and in fact relative to most places. Their male marathon record is 2.17.49, set by Juan Camacho in 1984, and their female record holder is Sonia Calizaya, with a 2.45. I took some satisfaction in noticing I’d have every national record from 3,000m upwards! So why is it that a country with so many communities at altitude and a lifestyle that in many ways mirrors the rural ways of East Africa, that they fall so short when it comes to distance running?

Well I certainly don’t have the answers. But there are a couple of ideas. One is that culturally, running has just never caught on. No-one wants to run and they don’t have the ‘heroes’ to bring some success that would spark an interest. Another of course could just be genetics. The average Bolivian looks very different to the Kenyan and Ethiopian distance gods – much shorter and stockier in general.

imagen062

You see that city down there? That’s where the marathon starts….

These two factors on their own could satisfy most people, and could well be the answer. After all it makes sense that if they don’t have largely share the genetic gifts of the East Africans, and no-one takes an interest in distance running, well, you won’t get thousands of kids out running! So I took a look at what races existed in La Paz and there aren’t many. Running is not hugely popular in Bolivia – as we thought. However, the La Paz marathon was launched in 2013 with 2,500 runners and the male winner ran 2.33. Pretty ordinary no? Well I just went to La Paz and I can tell you, I don’t think I could run 2.33 there. For a start it’s at 3,600m. Secondly, it is HILLY. The first 9 miles of the course goes up about 300m in elevation and I think that in itself would kill me. Jeez, even our taxi could barely get up the hill when it took us to the airport. I thought that 2.33 was a pretty remarkable time to be honest. The hills must be worth nearly 10 minutes on their own, before you even factor in the huge elevation. So that comes the question, what could this guy run on the flat, at sea level? I looked him up – his name is Eduardo Aruquipa and he is not a full-time athlete. He has a PB for the marathon of 2.26, and a half PB of 64.47. His half marathon was run at 2,600m, but his marathon was set in Caracas, at just 900m. To be fair I know nothing about Caracas and maybe it’s super hilly (I’m too lazy to try and find out), but considering he ran 2.33 on a super hilly course at 3,600m+ you’d expect something better than 2hr26m at 900m.

This phenomenon isn’t just unique to Eduardo – many Bolivian athletes seem not to perform much better at lower altitude than they do at altitude. WHAT IS THIS MADNESS? Well, having just read David Epstein’s amazing book – “The Sports Gene”, I think he explains this amazingly and it wasn’t something I was aware of. It is that different communities have adapted to altitude in varying ways. Andean natives have adapted to altitude by creating more haemoglobin (i.e. red blood cells), making their blood more viscous, and this doesn’t help much when down at sea level….

By contrast, the East Africans have been at altitude for a far shorter period of time and so their adaptation isn’t genetic, it’s physiological, similar to when most Europeans travel to altitude to train. So while the effects are similar in some ways – more red blood cells, oxygen carrying capacity, etc it’s much more transient and dependent on the environment, not our genes. In short, my red blood cell count wouldn’t be as high as a native Bolivian, and my adaptations (and the Kenyans/Ethiopians) would be more useful when back down at sea level.

So the effects of altitude aren’t actually that helpful to native Bolivians (relative to Kenyans, Ethiopians, and me), and this is because they’ve lived at altitude so long that they have genetically adapted to this environment, and this adaptation doesn’t assist them as much as you’d expect at sea level.

IMG_0424

Me struggling along the Salar de Uyuni at 3,700m!

Combined with this of course, is that actually a lot of Bolivia is perhaps a bit too high at 3,000m+ and so the benefits of training this high up are less pronounced than between the sweet spot of 1,500-2,500m.

In summary:

1. Bolivians don’t like running

2. The altitude doesn’t help them as much as you’d expect so it’s not such a hot-bed of talent as somewhere like Kenya

3. 3,000m+ is too high anyway. Come down about 1,000m guys and you may get some better results. Bring your llamas, it’ll be ace.

If anyone reads this and I’ve got any of this wrong, please correct me. I claim no authority on the knowledge here…. I do know that I tried running at 4,000m on the admittedly incredible landscape of the Bolivian salt flats and while it was amazing, it was also VERY hard!!! Cool place to do a training camp though….

Commonwealth Marathon Reflections

Well I’m now back in Australia and awake at 4.45am and so am putting my jetlag to good use with a few feelings about my race last Sunday. I finished in 14th place, in 2.16.50, and was behind my other 2 England teammates (fact for you – apparently the oldest ever trio of Commonwealth teammates – combined age of 109 and I’m the young one!). Coming into the race I’d had some very mixed form, with a pretty disappointing 12k XC and a 30.13 10k. However, my longer stuff had gone pretty well and I’d not suffered any big interruptions to my build-up so the fitness was there, I was just struggling for form over the shorter distances. I’d also made a few changes to my training and diet – incorporating more of longer efforts at marathon pace and less carb reliance, and the point of this was to make me more of a ‘diesel’ engine which would actually explain the drop in form over shorter distances.

One of the difficult things with being in the athletes village building up to a race is the amount of time to think and you have to really focus to not let the negatives creep into your thoughts. The rest and recovery is a definite positive, but it’s a tough test mentally I think. I definitely had moments when I doubted my ability to run a good race and had to force myself to think rationally and positively. The way I dealt with that was not to think about the time I wanted to run, but just to think of it as a race, and take out the mental pressures of all the splits I need to run. I’d also had a tight hip flexor for 2 weeks but there’s nothing I can do about that on race day so just pushed it to the back of my mind.

So, to the race. It was a 9.02am start so I got up at 5.45 and got some food and then got the bus with the team to the race start, where we sat and waited. It was a nice drizzley day –  a relief after the hot days we’d had previously! Finally, the days of waiting were over and we got underway. My plan was to try and get in a group that was moving at a pace that felt comfortable enough, and for the first 5k, that was the lead group as the race started cagily. We moved through 5k in 15.45 or so and the pace felt ok. Not super easy, but ok. There were a couple of moments where the lead group surged a bit and slowed, but soon after 5k, they surged away and left a group with the 3 English guys, Derek Hawkins (Scotland) and Martin Dent from Aus. I knew there would be a few casualties from the lead group so I sat in this group, not really thinking about the pace we were running at, but just what felt comfortable. As it was, we were actually running at sub 2.14 pace, so reasonably quickly.

IMG_025510468026_10152656121035786_6527339620950002992_o (1)

I still didn’t really feel comfortable at this pace. I knew I had to stay with the group, but it didn’t feel super easy, and that was worrying me a bit. Steve and Nick seemed pretty comfortable, but there were times when I would drop off by a few yards, and then work to get back to the group. All I was telling myself was to back my strength, and to stay calm. I wasn’t looking at my splits – I didn’t want to know if I was slowing down. I wanted to just think of it as a race and not a time trial, as this made me feel more confident and positive.

The crowds were amazing all of the way round but as we looped back towards the end of the 1st of 2 laps we hit the crowds again and the noise was amazing. I was trying to identify familiar faces in the crowd and was getting a lot of shouts but there were so many I couldn’t do it! There were a few moments that were real hairs on the back of your neck moments and I’ve only ever experienced that before at London marathon. Certainly a far cry from the 14 spectators and a monkey at Delhi!! At one of the points Steve surged a bit and gave a fist pump to the crowd. I was thinking ‘keep calm Steve, long way to go yet’, but clearly as it turned out he had things well under control!

As we hit halfway, this was the first time I looked at the clock – 66.50. I was now dropping off of the group and was finding things tough. The course is 2 13.1 mile loops and I actually quite liked it. IT had a few short hills in, but the final 10k of each loop is a gradual downhill. I knew I was going to find 20-30k quite hard, with the hills and the breeze that was getting 1547914_10152656121645786_1816168415355164899_o (1)stronger. As I started running on my own the negative thoughts came back. Should I drop out? How bad is this going to get? Is my hip flexor going to hold up? The answers were: you don’t drop out, whatever happens. You can’t let people down by dropping out. As to how bad, well just run at the pace that feels manageable. Hip flexor – forget about it. It hurts a bit, but it’s doing ok.

Somewhere between 20-30k I passed Marty Dent who had a bad day, but the other guys were pulling well clear of me. I kept telling myself that everything can change in the final 10k and just hold it together. I struggled up the hills and the windy sections and knew I was slowing down but now just wanted to get to the final sections of the race. Weirdly, something Steve said to be at the start of the week came into my head: think how happy you’ll be on your honeymoon (I head to Bolivia this week!) if you can sit back and think you gave it everything. That was all I thought about for a few km – being satisfied with myself and not giving in.

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I got to 35k and thought – I’m not dying, this feels ok. A couple people started coming back and now I told myself I could push hard and try and pick people off. I could see in the distance that Nick Torry was coming back, but Steve and Derek were a long way ahead. I rallied a bit in the last 5k and picked off 2 Africans and was gaining quickly on Nick but eventually ran out of road and finished 15 seconds behind him.

As I finished I saw Mike Shelley vomiting but with a flag draped on him and asked Liam Adams how he did who told me he won. An incredible run. Another incredible run was from Steve Way – 2.15 for a 40year old and another big PB. Legend.

I’m still not sure what to think of my race. On one hand, 1 minute outside my PB on a course that isn’t super fast and with a slight lack of form, isn’t bad. On the other, people ran PBs and I still feel I’m not getting the marathon performance I should be capable of. It was a tough slog for me and I never really felt great – unlike Fukuoka where I felt incredible for so long. My hip flexor was very sore afterwards but will assess it when I get back into running and see if it’s ok.

The atmosphere was amazing – and I actually really enjoyed the course too. Enough variety to keep things interesting without making it super hard! Highlights on the course were spotting several people I didn’t expect to; being shouted “Go on Wales!”; several people trying to say ‘Moreau’ and failing; and someone obviously thinking I was French and shouting “Allez, allez allez!”…!

I’m extremely proud to have made it to two Commonwealth Games – I would never have thought that was a realistic thing to happen. It’s also been a privilege to have Nick and Steve as team-mates, and to have had so much support on race day and the build-up was fantastic.

In any case, I have 2 weeks in Bolivia to reflect and not run, so will enjoy that greatly 🙂

Splits:

5k – 15.49
10k – 15.45
15k – 15.51
20k – 15.46
Half – 66.50
25k – 16.29
30k – 16.56
35k – 16.34
40k – 16.26

Results here