The brass monkey

Posted on: 20 Jan 2014

Good evening to you all, what a busy bunch we have been. Sugh a lot has been happening and it's been a treat to read through some of the blogs today. So much news is shared here and not always about split times and Kenyan hills, the personal detours are what give realbuzz it's warmth and thats what draws me in.Congratulations to Vin and all the best Holywood.

This weekend marked a couple of firsts in our household. On Saturday my son Hamish took part in the North Yorkshire cross country trials , he was selected in a team of 10 from the York schools heats In December.On saturday morning in the rain and mud he battled his way round a hilly course in some borrowed spikes and finished 12th out of a big and strong field from all areas across North Yorkshire. As he finished he was handed an envelope in the finishing tunnel - we hadn't realised that the top 12 finishers were selected to run for the county and he'd squeezed in as the last selection! The bad news is that he can't make the North England County race  in two weeks time as he has another big climbing event on the same day. With Hamish climbing always wins! Even so it was a proud day and the first time any of us has been chosen to represent the county at anything.

My own first took place the following morning, my first official half marathon race ( run plenty in training ). The Brass Monkey is a well known road race in York which attracts a field of around 1500, many of which are club runners from the north of England so the general standard is pretty high, no fancy dress and a lot of expensive looking Lycra. It's organised by the Knavesmire Harriers, the club that Alaistair and Viv run with, thanks to them for a really well run race.

I had arranged to run with Ali again as we run at a similar pace and we help push each other a bit! Unfortunately Ali had been suffering all week with a nasty cough and cold and was not in good running shape really but typical of Ali she wasn't going to pull out. Her mum told me that she never gives up on anything and I can believe that. It was a filthy morning in York, leaden skies and persistent heavy rain not ideal but no wind so could have been worse. We started fairly near the front and kept a steady first mile pace , our intentions had been to try and go sub 1.38 to give Ali a PB, this meant consistent 7.30 miles. We clocked of the first five in good time just under target pace and the the rain began to clear. I was feeling pretty good but by mile 6 I could tell that Ali was beginning to struggle a bit ( I will let her file her own report rather than attempt to do it for her ). I tried to maintain a slightly faster pace from half way and pushed ahead. I was surprised how much easier mentally the distance felt, as I progressed through the miles I really did relax and begin to enjoy it in a way that I've never quite done in a full marathon. The marathon is a real battle almost brutal mentally and physically and the only time I have experienced a feeling approaching relaxation during a marathon is the last 100 metres in York when I knew I had done what needed doing. I expect that it was relief rather than relaxation though. Anyway, back the the Brass Monkey where the last three miles felt fluid and I passed people and was pretty determined not to let anyone pass me. Crossed the line in 1.35.20 which gives me a PB ALERT!!, although it was my first so maybe it doesn't count. Here are the splits -7.24, 7.21, 7.26, 7.23, 7.28, 7.26, 7.21, 7.18, 7.14, 7.11, 7.07, 6.51, 6.50, 0.50. Average 7.16

I was really surprised to hear my wife Jill cheering me on in the home straight, she hadn't told me that she was going to come and watch and she bought me a cup of tea and a flapjack, what a star. a catch up and chat with Ali and her Mum afterwards ( she'll be back even stronger and more determined in good time for London- Ali, not her mum ) and the a 5 minute walk to a friends house for a shower and lunch. Perfect.

I don't have any more races booked until the summer when there are 4 x 10ks which came as part of my Yorkshire marathon package. I've never run a 10k before either so prepare for another PB ALERT in June! as you all train for London, Paris and Brighton in the spring I would be feeling very guilty if I wasn't running too so no doubt I will be inspired by the reports of your long runs and speed work and will be out there too following in your footsteps.

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