Worksop Halloween Half Marathon October 2018
This one came as a bit of a surprise as I hadn’t planned on running another half in 2018. Unluckily for him a colleague had an entry and then succumbed to a iliotibial band problem. Wanting to remove any temptation to attempt the run he transferred his entry over to me on the Wednesday before the event
So with 4 days till the start of the race there wasn’t much time for any prep. Luckily I’d been upping my long runs so I’d done an 11 mile run 2 weeks before. And a very poor 10 mile on the Sunday before that had not gone well due to a skinful the night before and an amount of dancing that convinced Garmin’s Move IQ that I was swimming!
So really all I could do was take it easy and have a short run on the Thursday to make sure everything was working. The usual maranoia kicked in and a slightly sore right achilles became a massive worry, but I decided I’d at least give it a go.
This meant a strategy of taking it easy and treating as just another long run, no pressure. As long as I finished that was good, and below 1:45 would be nice as well.
Reading some reviews online I’d saw a lot made of the first 4 hilly miles. So taking it easy to ease myself and then pushing a bit more after that sounded like a good plan. Looking at the actual elevation profile might have been useful:
The eagle eyed will have noticed that there’s still a lot more hills after mile 4, including the big one from 10.5 to 12.5. This was not going to be like the Belvoir Half Marathon where the biggest hill was a canal bridge
Number collection was nicely organised, easy to find you table and very little queueing there. Getting out of the building past everyone trying to pin numbers on took longer. Decided to stand outside and do mine, wasn’t too cold once you were out of the wind. Decided the sun was going to be more of a problem than the cold so chose the cap over the wooly hat.
Luckily the organisers had laid on a load of urinals as well a portapotties, and load of blokes hadn’t read the signs so there was no queue. So now with bladder emptied I headed over to starting pens. Not having done much ‘speed’ work and not wanting to damage myself too much I started off in the 1:45 section and as bravado rose moved forwards to the 1:40 line.
Off we go
Off almost bang on 10, 20 seconds for my group to get across the line. Along a funnel till a sharp left onto a closed road when we could start spreading out a bit.
The road soon headed upwards. A bit of jockeying for position going on here as people surged forwards and then dropped back as the hill kicked in. And everyone seemed to want to stay in the left hand lane, seems driving/cycling habits stick even when running.
Gradually the field started to spread out a bit more and there was a bit more room to move around. Grabbed a mouthful at the first water station before a sharp left heading towards Clumber park.
Entering the park on Lime Tree avenue as nice. It’s a decent surface and the trees offered a nice bit of a break from the sun and wind
Soon we turned off the road and headed into the woods on some narrower paths. Just as I made the turn they were trying to bring the lead car through as well. Unfortunately both marshals were directing their charges to their respective rights which meant a little bit of car dodging for us (they were going to win). Nice little woodland paths were a nice change, a 5m section of mud was unexpected but not an issue and we rejoined Limetree Avenue at the halfway mark.
Heading home, and headed up hill. Hmm, maybe there were more hills that just those in the first 4 miles? Oh well, I’m in it now. Was feeling good, pace seemed ok at ~7-7:20 a mile and nothing major seemed to be aching or moving in a strange way. Somewhere along here I got papped by the official photographer:
More running ensued, and this was definitely feeling like a very uphill bit of the course. Post run analysis show 3 bigs hills between here and the finish. Which made my mood head downhill a bit. It was raised by the humourous signs at 8.1 miles in (they have their own Strava segment) for a little while. I had a pretty serious sense of humour failure between miles 10 and 12. Still more uphill and my legs were really feeling it. Having got the pace wrong at the start was biting me, slowing down a fair bit and a lot of people coming past me. TBH I almost though about walking it in from there, but just settled into a bit of a shuffle. Lungs and heart were fine, purely nothing left in the legs
Knowing that if I started walking I wouldn’t start running again I kept grinding it out. At about mile 12.5 things flattened out slightly and I could hear the PA in the distance which got the spirits rising a bit. We dropped downhill and turning right I recognised the road leading to the finish line. Checking the Garmin it appeared I’d not flagged as much as I’d feared and if I kicked my own arse there was stil a chance of a good time. So I put in a burst for the last half mile, Ms BeestonRunner said it looked like I was sprinting for the line as I crossed it:
So in the end I finished in 1:34:03 gun time, 1:33:44 chip time. Which was only a new PB!!! By 1:04, so just. But completely unexpected and a big suprise given where my training was, the lumpiness of the course and the way I was feeling from miles 10-12.
We hung around long enough for some water and a banana, grabbing a medal and shirt before heading back down the M1 to Beeston. By the time we got out of the car I was definitely starting to feel it. So after a bit of foam rolling and a shower and afternoon on the sofa beckoned, with a recovery veg curry takeaway later on.
It’s now Tuesday and I’m feeling pretty good. A few little aches and stiffness still there, but I made it through 45 minutes of Vinyasa yoga at lunchtime, and this evening should see a short 3-5 miles along Beeston canal to start properly loosening up.
Overall it was a great event. Only 50 minutes up from Beeston along the M1, so dead handy for that side of Nottingham. Parking was easy in Worksop on a Sunday morning. Well organised, and a very nice quiet course. I’ll be running this one again, but next time I’ll be ready for the hills!!
And a nice Halloween themed medal to add to the collection