The main goal for autumn is the Jersey Marathon on 6th October. I am going for a PB on last years first attempt at the marathon of 3:45:08.
With the trails and ultras finished for a while, it is time to get my road shoes out and get interval training for the upcoming road races. I love ultras, especially on the trails, where you can get lost in the scenery and the escape of the path. No care for speed or time, just getting finished and feeling a great sense of achievement. However, I also love the roads for more specific training on times and pacing. I find the training for speed a lot harder but also more rewarding especially when you can finally feel yourself getting faster.
For practice I lined up a few races to test out gels/pacing/head game and now with the marathon this Sunday I feel a lot more confident than I did a few weeks back.
JERSEY SPARTAN HALF - 15/9/19
My first half was scheduled 3 weeks before the marathon with the aim of getting a time under 1:40. Having been ill the week prior and having to cut short my final long run of 20-22miles and only managing 14miles before getting picked up, I wasn't feeling very confident at all. In fact, I wasn't feeling great about my target for the marathon either. However, you just gotta trust the process and always listen to your body!
Having practiced the route a few times, I knew what to expect (I always recommend to do this before any race if you can!). A nice flat first mile, before the first big hill during mile 2 and a few up/downs all the way until mile 5, followed by an unforgiving gradual uphill gradient up to St Martins. However, as soon as halfway hits, it's a nice long road down to the bottom of Gorey and along the coast!
I woke up nice and early for an earlier start time of 8:45am, then stretched out my legs after eating a bagel with almond butter and jam to get the energy up. With a nice easy warm up jog to the start line, I was nervous as this was my first road race in a while.
Before the start, it was nice to catch up with the other runners I met from other races as well as a group from my work completing their first half (which they smashed!).
The half started with a loop around FB fields and I promised myself I wouldn't start off too fast as all I needed was to average 7:30/7:40min/miles to get my target time… But of course it’s so easy to get carried away and with a lovely first mile 6:55min/mile my heart sank.
With negative thoughts and a huge worry I was going to burn out quickly, I shut them off in my head and managed to hold on. These races can be so dependant on how you speak to yourself so you have to always stay positive and remember to enjoy it in the moment!
I took my 2 SIS gels at mile 4 and mile 8, just before each of the water stations to help wash it down. I was tempted for another one just before the finish but after my second one exploding on me, I didn't want to risk it again so held out.
The last two miles were a struggle but the 1:40 target was in sight with 20 minutes left!
It's really easy to forget the pain you were in once you are finished, so I kept telling myself ‘when your on the sofa later you will regret it if you slow down when you know you have energy there’ so I mentally pushed myself to make sure I didn’t regret it when I was finished.
A lovely lady called Heather joined me around mile 9 and we helped pace each other to the end, with a nice sprint (that I couldn't quite keep up with) - she got a PB by a few minutes and I achieved my goal with 1:38:39 - we were both buzzed at the finish line!
Overall, a great event with lovely organisers and amazing marshalls! All marshals were so friendly and some even had speakers bursting tunes as we ran past!
Special shout out to Al for coming down to support and video at the end of the run.
DISNEY HALF MARATHON - 22/9/19
What's better than running? Running in Disneyland of course! With my sister keen to try her first half marathon, it couldn't just be any old destination - so the Rainbow family packed our bags and set off for the Disneyland run weekend!
After hearing ‘if you don't dress up, don't turn up’ - we decided on the Incredibles - special printed t-shirts and all.
Being only a week after my PB half race, my legs were not as fresh as they could’ve been. After arriving on the Saturday to collect our race packs, we had our outfits all sorted and got a very early night for our early start.
Due to being a tad faster than my family, I was in start pen A and them B. The plan was the family would run together and me have a nice tempo (no PB) run as more marathon practice. The atmosphere was insane, I have never participated in a race that big before - with something like 8,000 people taking part! Waiting in the pen wasn’t as bad as I thought, especially bumping into Heather from the Jersey half the week before! Such a small world, so we got chatting right up until the start.
The start was filled with people dodging and trying to get into a rhythm, but after mile 2 this became easier. I am definitely a person that struggles with the start of any race, takes me about 5-6 miles to get into it (crazy! Maybe that's why I love ultras).
The first 5 miles consisted of a toilet stop and a character break to have pictures with Woody and Bopeep (my time on watch was paused for these), before the most amazing part - running up the main street in magic kingdom and through the castle! This was so amazing, with huge crowds out to cheer on so early in the morning (the race started at 7am)!
Then the long dreaded road out and back loops outside the Disney park. It looked like it went on forever at a slight incline too….But thankfully you could see runners on the other side of the road making their way back to the park. This helped me mentally to deal with the last miles 6 to 10.
There was also a live band with brass instruments that I could have stopped and listened to all day as well as street dancers and cheerleaders all around. One negative I have was the water cups… I couldn't drink out of the paper cups at all - but i mean that's me just being fussy!
Of course I met another Mr incredible (not my dad) along the way, a French man named Fabien - we ended up making a small people bus the rest of the run!
Coming to the end of the long road and ready to turn back, we didn't… instead we turned left off into an estate and then around a lake - which was actually beautiful and nice to be on track and off the road for a bit. Before turning back down the final stretch of road again.
I started to feel really tired with 5k left to go, but Mr incredible didn't let me drop my pace haha… thanks I guess! Making me squeeze in just under 1:40 again (not official time due to stops).
The final stretch came round very quickly and ended in the Disney Studios Park under Tower of Terror which was brilliant.
Having avoided all the energy drinks all the way round, I do not recommend downing a bottle of powerade at the finish, my brain was not functioning at the end of the run and that was a huge mistake - never again!
The medals were huge and the box of snacks did not last more than an hour, oppsie!
Massive well done to my family for finishing the half and still smiling at the end, so proud! We definitely will be back to Disney to complete the full weekend challenge (5k/10k/21k) and the special Aladdin genie medal.
Now I'm hoping with all the ultras in summer and these speed road tests, that my legs will know the marathon distance and endurance it needs on race day! Here we go!!!