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#TBT – Wilmslow HM

Apologies for lack of #throwbackthursday articles but past two weeks been sharing an old photo on social media with a small story as not been worthy of full blown blog post. This week however I’ve picked the Wilmslow HM. This was my 15th HM in 15 months and I can a way with a new PB but with route I got it all wrong and still look back more with frustration rather then achievement. It’s funny how depending on how a race goes your view point can differ.

Here is the full report from that race;

I had been looking forward to this race for weeks. The race is advertised as a fast course. What they fail to tell you is the first half it’s a steady descent then the second half you ascent all the way to mile 13! Before I ramble on.

The build up had been pretty good, I was in good spirits leading up to the race and training for London had been good. I had a few niggles due to two weeks of 60+ miles including two 20+ mile runs. There was no taper for this race which probably didn’t help me come race day, up till Thursday it was a normal training week. However after an easy track session and two 30 min runs, I felt that my goal of 81:00 was very much on.

The day before I spent with family at the Running Expo and probably spent a little too much time walking round. That night had a good soak in the bath and then Marcus texted me with a race plan. Up till Jan my plans had been go hard, get time in bag and then when I start to slow I had a time cushion. This has always worked at 5k and 10k. I started doing it at HM from October and my times tumbled. Marcus though wanted me to start slow and speed up through the race and then finish with a sub 6 last mile. In truth this really through a spanner in the works as was opposite to how I had planned to tackle the route and probably didn’t help the nerves, however I trusted him so that was my plan.

The journey over was painless and was only 36 miles from my house, so a pretty close race. We arrived in plenty of time, which was good as took us 30 minutes just for the toilets. Before race I finally got to meet Mike Wells, Alex Loach and Chris Jordan who I follow on Strava. I also bumped into a few fellow Twitter followers as well which was great. Plus I saw fellow local runners before and after. This helped me settle the nerves, that was until I spoke to Mike and Co about the route. They explained the route so I knew that the plan was going to be hard to do with a gradual 2nd half. However I was determind to stick to it as much as possible.

I made my way to the start area and parked myself on the 80 minute marker and was far enough away from start not to get caught up in the crazy fast start (personally I would have been closer and got off like a bull in a china shop). At 10:30 the gun went off and it was go time. People flew past me left and right but I set off at a steady pace and just focused on holding back for first few miles.

The first mile took us out towards Manchester airport and watching planes take off distracted from the race. Mike was right as the first half was gradually downhill. After a slowish first mile in 6:24, I was feeling ok and settled and even at this point, I was passing those who had gone off way too fast. At this point my idea was to ramp up pace from mile 3 and then hold it. The 2nd mile took us to Morley Green and clocked the 2nd mile in 6:20. Still sticking to my plan, I then started to crank the pace up as I thought I’d be stupid not to make the most of the downhill sections. I started to really fly at this point as I passed a few people. I got on the shoulder of Sue from SRC and had a quick chat before I pushed on.

Mile 3 was a fast mile, little did I realise I would be running back up it later! I clocked mile 3 in 6:13. Then next few miles were all within a few seconds as I got my average pace down to 6:15. Mile 4 was 6:16, Mile 5 was 6:11, Mile 6 was 6:13 and I passed the 10km timing mat in 38:57. I was really going well at this point and felt good, I would have preferred to have going a little faster but as we headed towards Mobberley, I was still on for an 81 minute half marathon.

Mile 7 was another good mile in 6:12 then the climbs started to appear. While nothing major they still slowed you down and when you are PB chasing every second counts. Mile 8 I did a 6:18 and this was to be my last decent mile as the race from a personal view point started to go wrong. I struggled to maintain a constant pace as the race was very underlating mile 9 and 10 was a gradual pull up as we ran through Mobberley, I clocked a 6:22 and 6:23. I passed 10 miles in 1:22:45 and I knew it was going to be tight. Mile 11 was a rest bite as it was flat and managed to gain a few seconds with a 6:20 mile.

However mile 12 was a real hard mile and had nothing to respond so instead of posting sub 6:10 miles I struggled to do a sub 6:30 mile. The final mile was not much better and despite my legs screaming at me I pushed as hard as I could. As soon as I saw the finish line I sprinted with everything I had and came over in 83:03 officially. A new PB but for first time ever I was massively disappointed now to get any where near my personal goal.Mile 7 was another good mile in 6:12 then the climbs started to appear. While nothing major they still slowed you down and when you are PB chasing every second counts. Mile 8 I did a 6:18 and this was to be my last decent mile as the race from a personal view point started to go wrong. I struggled to maintain a constant pace as the race was very underlating mile 9 and 10 was a gradual pull up as we ran through Mobberley, I clocked a 6:22 and 6:23. I passed 10 miles in 1:22:45 and I knew it was going to be tight. Mile 11 was a rest bite as it was flat and managed to gain a few seconds with a 6:20 mile.

I like to evaluate my races so know what to work on. I know I am a strong starter and while it isn’t for everyone I do race better with a fast few first miles. If I compare my pace from York and Wilmslow. The later part isn’t much different just I reckon over first half I could have gotten a good 90 seconds more out of my pace. But the positives a new PB by 14s is still great. I did my first HM with all miles under 6:30. I still know I need to work on racing hills and in heat.

Now besides parkruns my focus is the last few weeks of marathon training. I am already planning a race plan that will work for me, this will include me fading in last 5-6 miles, I do think I race better with time in the bank.


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2 comments

  1. Mate, i think your edit had confused things. “However Mile 12” paragraph seems to be out of place?

    • The mile 7 paragraph was missing, it had an old image in it, so when saved it had messed things up. Should have proof read before posting 😉

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