Luton Half Marathon and other stuff

Posted on: 16 Nov 2015

Well I have finally got round to creating a new post , I have had a nightmare with my broadband and my trusty old Macbook has had to be replaced because the charger disintegrated and the screen will only work at a funny angle ! I treated myself to a new Macbook but I subsequently lost some passwords and links and my mail account is all over the place ! I have been able to dive in and out of Facebook ( I have a really old mobile phone so I can't access internet that way ) but I am not receiving any notifications from Realbuzz !? Anyway , I am slowly getting everything back in order . 

It seems an age since i ran the Luton Half Marathon - I posted a pic on the Facebook but to recap it was tough ! I had a very poor preparation for this race owing to the achilles injury and four weeks running and only two long runs is the least amount of training I have ever done before an event but i felt strong enough to give it a go and with Luton being so close to home I felt it was worth giving it a go. An added bonus was my friend Fiona running the race too . The race headquarters and start was the Luton Athletics club track in Stockwood Park. Although the organisers had stated there was plenty of parking I was worried about getting close enough to the start so we left quite early , much to the annoyance of my kids who would rather stay in bed on a very cold Sunday morning ! The place was already buzzing by the time we got to the track . The whole thing was very well organised , there was several tents inside the track for number and chip collection , information etc , bit of a queue for toilets in the club but nothing out of the ordinary there ! . I met Fiona near the track and we chatted about our training and our plan of attack . I already knew a PB was going to be hard to acheive but if I could get close to 1 hour 50 minutes that would be cool . The start included a lap of the track and then we headed off in the direction of the stately home Luton Hoo .  It was long before we reached the first hill and half way up I suddeny caught up with Fiona and we huffed and puffed until we reached the top before we had a nice descent through the golf course and passed the main house . However , as we rounded the corner we were faced with another hill with the fastest runners already coming up the other way. I tried to conserve some energy on the run down this hill before we looped round and then made our way back up. This was the toughest part of the course and I felt like I was going backwards but i never stopped , I just thought about putting one foot in front of the other. I wouldn't say the hill was very steep but it just went on and on and really sapped the energy so early in the race . It reminds me of the Wycombe Half which is quite similar. The second half is through the town , first we passed through passed the town hall where a lot of people had gathered to cheer us on and then we made our way to the top of the town and back round for the last leg back towards the centre again. We passed through Wardown Park and more crowds and with less than a mile to go Fiona suddeny caught up with me from out of nowhere . We then ran together for the last  stretch which really helped as I was flagging at this stage , then she decided we should sprint for the line ! We crossed at exactly the same time in 1:52:41 , and we were well pleased with that. The organisers had laid out a huge pile of bananas and plenty of water and the goody bag was an improvement on the one I received the last time I ran this in 2013. I met my family at the finish and we said our good byes to Fiona and her husband as I wanted to walk back to the car rather than wait for the shuttle bus. In hindsight it might have been better to wait for the bus as the  walk up Farley Hill to Stcokwood Park is another steep one , but we made it in one peice .

After a week off I have returned to running and with no specific training plan until the end of December I have decided to just build up my fitnes and work on getting stronger . After the experience of Luton I have decided i need to run more hills , so my canl route at the weekend now includes a run up the 'killer hill' as i call it. it is hardly Snowdon but it is still a hard workout and i get a real kick out of running up it without stopping . The good part is that there is a descent that takes me towards the town , so I am able to get my breath back for the next half mile before the road climbs again towards home. As an average Joe runner I know I need to rely on more than my muscle power to get me to the distance so I have been working hard on my mental technique and let my mind concentrate on anything other than my watch , tiring legs or miles from home . I am paying more attention to the surroundings and relaxing a little more , I tend to get tense when i run so remembering to loosen up just a little is working for me. The change of route and the challenge of the hill is also giving me renewed enthusiasm for the weekend run and at the moment it is really enjoyable. I was also thinking how much I have altered my running routes over the past 3 years . Once in a while I will run an old route and then return to my regular patch ,which is stopping me from developing that 'hamster on a wheel' feeling i used to get when I was green and running the same route day in day out. I am still learning and I love all these little techinques I have picked up , some from other people and some by myself without even realising it ! Now I need to sort myself out a new pair of Mizuno's . Maybe Santa will be kind enough to bring me some :)

I hope you are all doing ok and have a great week whatever you are up to .

Thanks - Sean

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