Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Bristol half marathon 5 September

This half was my target half for the Cologne marathon build up and would be the gauge of my progression in this training cycle. We also got to visit some friend in the Bath-Bristol area.
The morning of the race required me to book a taxi. This particular taxi driver was excellent and got us extremely close to the start area, much closer than we got when I did Bristol two years ago.
The weather was not good, cold, wet and not in considerably windy. Proceedings began a few minutes after 9am. The crowded nature of the first mile and a half made it quite challenging and definitely accounted for most of the overrun. After this things settled down and I was hitting my splits nicely. However, the weather was not great at all. The wind increased but as we moved along the Avon river the wind was at our backs. Through the Avon gorge and under the famous Brunel suspension bridge the field began to thin out and we began the gentle incline towards turnaround point. As I approached about a mile from the turnaround I saw British Olympian Liz Yelling pass me on the return. She was on for a seventy minute marathon but a trapped nerve in her foot resulted in a DNF.
As we reached the turn around point I began to feel crap; no particular reason just not feeling comfortable and as we made the turn around the increasingly strong wind was right in our faces. It was also at this point I realised that the gradient on the out section is steeper than you realise, steeper than travelling north-west up Chesterfield road in the Phoenix park. Miles seven and eight dropped into the early 06:30s and I hit a low point here. By now I was considering the possibility of missing out on my target of a sub eight-five minute half. I knuckled down and managed to knock my splits back into the high 06:20s.
The last 5K of this course is brutal. It a constant up and down short sharp hills. We encountered the first of these ascending past St Mary Redcliffe cathedral. Around the back of this and back down another steep hill and across the Avon again and onto cobbles - brutal. The wet conditions actually meant that I was losing traction on the cobbles! Then up another hill to Queen's Square, which is a nice Georgian square and onto a dirt trail that borders the square lawn. Then back onto more cobbles and up another short sharp up and down hill past Broadmead shopping centre. Here another runner turned to me and said 'I thought they said this was a flat fast race!' I responded with a harrumph.
Then back onto more cobbles and the end was in sight. My wife took the picture below but I never registered her presence, and while it looks like I am smiling I can assure you it is a grimace.

Yikes! Look at that heel strike. So much for Chi running. I need to make more of an effort to avoid heel striking so much. It definitely saps my strength in longer races. As I rounded the statue of my compatriot Edmund Burke, who was one time MP for Bristol I was within half a mile of home and manged to up the pace and crossed the line in 01:25:28. Not quite was I was after and felt I should be able to run a half-marathon 60-90 seconds quicker. However, you can never complain too much when you secure a three minute PB.

1) - 1m - 6:33(6:33/m) - 165bpm avge
2) - 1m - 6:19(6:19/m) - 176bpm avge
3) - 1m - 6:21(6:21/m) - 172bpm avge
4) - 1m - 6:28(6:28/m) - 170bpm avge
5) - 1m - 6:23(6:23/m) - 172bpm avge
6) - 1m - 6:25(6:25/m) - 172bpm avge
7) - 1m - 6:24(6:24/m) - 171bpm avge
8) - 1m - 6:32(6:32/m) - 171bpm avge
9) - 1m - 6:32(6:32/m) - 171bpm avge
10) - 1m - 6:26(6:26/m) - 170bpm avge
11) - 1m - 6:23(6:23/m) - 170bpm avge
12) - 1m - 6:29(6:29/m) - 169bpm avge
13) - 1m - 6:29(6:29/m) - 169bpm avge
14) - 0.3m - 1:45(5:51/m) - 173bpm avge

1 comment:

Grellan said...

"Not quite was I was after and felt I should be able to run a half-marathon 60-90 seconds quicker" - I'd say you could run quicker but not in Bristol with the wind and the hills to contend with. I certainly can't see your pain in the photo.