Front Runner on Amsterdam Marathon build-up
The run-up to Amsterdam Marathon
A multi-purpose update - Amsterdam Marathon is now only 8 days away *gulp* and preparation has being going well, hell, better than well; it's probably the best block of training I've laced together since Ironman South Africa in 2009.
Back at the beginning of September I ran my first track 5000m and was pleasantly surprised with a time of 15:11.7 - I've made a habit of setting myself goals at the start of the season and proceeding to get absolutely nowhere near them. I set myself a target of breaking 15 minutes for 5k 10 months ago and to get within 11 second (whilst still a bit away) felt like a massive step in the right direction.
Next up was South Eastern 6 stage relays - this involves all the clubs in the South East fielding 6 runners who each run a 6k leg, lowest cumlative time wins... simple. Serpentine ran a great race and on the day we finished 2nd, the club's best result ever. Alas, thanks to a slightly antiquated club transfer process, some mistaken assumptions on my part and being issued a race license that wasn't worth the flimsy card it was written on, we were disqualified. This obviously came as a massive disappointment and left a slightly bitter taste but the day itself was fantastic. I was brilliant to be racing as part of a club again, especially a competitive club, and to be mixing it with the best - about 2k into my 6k run Scott Overall flew past me. I held on for all of 10 meters but it's racing with the best that makes you better.
John busting a gut and sporting a fine pair of Brooks Mach16 XC spikes at his first Cross Country Race of the season
Finally, two weeks ago I raced Ealing Half Marathon, the last real test before Amsterdam Marathon. It's a tough course, quite a bit of climbing and tens of dead turns. I ran well and stuck with two other Serpentine runners until 7 miles. At this point they got a gap on me of about 20-30 meters but I hung in. With 4 miles to go Jon Poole pushed on leaving Andy Greenleaf as my "hare". I got a second wind and, seeing that sub-70 was on pushed again. With two miles to go a passed Andy and although J-P remained 15 seconds up the road finished strongly to cross the line in 69.50. A big PB on a tough course. We were interviewed afterwards by the BBC as the whole of Ealing had come out in support of the Find Alice campaign. Sadly a few days after the race the search came to a tragic end but seeing how the community pulled together was one of those things that makes me realise why this sport is so much more than some people turning up to run from in a big circle - I was reminded of the London Marathon 2013 when everyone wore a black ribbon in memory of the Boston bombings.
After some very encouraging sessions in the last 6 days the plan for Amsterdam is to head out on a 2:25.15 schedule - I also have a track record of going out too hard so although my sessions indicate sub 2:25 is doable I'd rather be feeling good at 16 miles and be able to push than be under 2:25 pace but be starting to worry... an all too familiar feeling.
If you want to you can track me online, here's hoping it's not another Franklin classic of a fast opening half followed by a massive positive split!
Happy running and good luck to anyone running the Sheffield 101010.