Milton Keynes marathon race review

Milton Keynes marathon was my big goal race of the year, a PB attempt and an attempt to crack 3.20 for the first time. The theory being that training for the Quadzilla gave me a great base to work from in the 10 weeks leading up to the race. All was going well until 5 weeks before the race when we went on holiday to Cornwall, a great week with the kids and some nice running on the coastal path but I lost my focus and momentum and quite honestly never got it back. The final few weeks of training were ok but I missed a few sessions for various reasons and then a week before the race got ill. Somehow the stresses of life and work often seem to peak close to a race, Murphy’s law I guess, but it quickly derails your running.

Ultimately this meant a change in goal for the race from a PB attempt to just being happy to be well enough to be on the start line.  And what a start line it is, lining up outside the beautiful Stadium MK (which I know sounds a bit odd but it really is a great stadium inside and out) and to top it all the clouds cleared and the sun put his hat on. While it may have been a nice start line it was most definitely not an organised one, in fact I’d go as far as to say it was chaos. The kids superhero run lining up at the front didn’t help things but there was also close to zero control of people entering the pens and the signage was crap.

There also appeared to be a confusion amongst the pacers who seemed to be standing in quite random spots, not helped by having both marathon and half marathon starters and pacers in the pens. I’d love to know whose bright idea it was to stick balloons to the pacers backs with their time goal written in felt tip on them also. Maybe the budget wouldn’t stretch to the normal flags that pacers wear? The strings were getting tangled up and then when actually running the balloons kept hitting people in the face.

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Race day bullshit

There are 2 types of people at the start of a race; first there are those like me who get quite nervous and deal with it by finding a bit of peace and calm to focus and prepare themselves for the challenge ahead. We fidget a little, do some pointless half arsed stretching and remind ourselves that we’re ready. Then there those people who’s nerves get too much to contain and they fight their way out of the persons mouth in the form of mainly pointless chatter.  This chatter is normally fairly harmless “what you aiming for today” “is this your first time doing this race” “where are you from”, but it inevitably descends into a self depreciating competition of who is going to do the worst. Maybe it’s a British thing, we don’t like to shout about ourselves so why would we be as bold as to say we think we’re going to be awesome? Whatever the reason the bullshit you hear in a starting pen would have a lie detector test flashing red very quickly

It doesn’t matter how big or small the race is either but there is definitely a correlation between the distance being run and the amount of bullshit you hear with a multisport race adding an extra bonus level because the bullshit has more than one sport to cover. With it being peak spring marathon season I thought I’d share my top 3 bullshit phrases you’re bound to hear. If you’re nervous like me at the start of a race why not play your own game of bullshit bingo and see if you can tick them all off.

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Not another year in review post

This isn’t another of those year in review posts or a post about new years resolutions, no, it’s both! Clearly I’m at the cutting edge of blogging with this idea and most definitely not too busy to write 2 separate blog posts. 2015 was always intended to be back end loaded, I knew having a baby that didn’t sleep meant that planning any significant races in the first half of the year just didn’t make sense so aside from one local 5 miler I did no racing at all. Instead the focus was on getting fit again after a light winter of training and also figuring out how to swim and ride a bike again.

Yorkshire marathon medal 2015

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The early bird gets into the race

I came across a new (to me) ultra last week that looked really interesting; a flat, scenic route that has potential to be a great PB course. It was also relatively cheap and had good reviews. I chatted it over with my brother and we both agreed it was on the potential list for next year. Today I went to have a read of the website again and noticed that next years race was sold out, 3 days after tickets were released and 9 months before the race starts.

I’ve seen the same scenario play out a few times now for 2015 races, which I can understand for the big ones but this was a just a small, almost local race. I guess that’s a reflection of how popular running and in particular ultra running has become. But I can’t bring myself to start planning 2015 yet when I haven’t finished this years races yet. I don’t know yet if I want to carry on with the ultras or do something different but I’m now worried I may miss out on any race I do find anyway.

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Race to the Stones – Race review

It’s taken me a few days to recover and reflect on the Race to the Stones and my perspective has evolved over the last 5 days with it. My first reaction on finishing was pure relief, relief to have finished and be able to stop and sit down. But this then changed to disappointment at not being anywhere my time goals and not performing as I’d expected.  Now however I am happy and I’m proud, the time might not have been what I hoped but I finished. I ran 100km which is quite honestly a bloody long way and it’s easy to forget that achievement and get caught up in time comparisons.

A year ago I hadn’t run more than a half marathon, now I’ve finished 2 marathons and 2 ultra marathons not to mention crossing Scotland in a day on bike and foot. I think these moments of reflection are important to our development as runners, the chance to enjoy the achievement and also think about what could be improved before you start focusing on the next goal.

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