Paul’s Blog – Posted 14/04/16

After a few days away there’s quite a lot to cover this week so before I bleat on about the Manchester Marathon lets start with more important things.

First up a quick reminder that it’s the Moelwyn Race this Saturday (more details on our Events page). This is one of my favourite races with a bit of everything, I’m even beginning to enjoy that steep slippery descent off Moel yr Hydd as the final stages come into range. Weather has treated us kindly over recent years & the start in the centre of Blaenau adds something extra to the atmosphere. One not to miss although speaking for myself I might have to simply spectate this year due to my body still not recovering from last Sunday (still hope but a bit slim). It’s a true fell race, not for beginners but don’t let that stop you as long as you are good about looking after yourselves in the mountains, hope to see you there one way or the other.

This is quickly followed in the evening by John Rowell’s & Rob Johnson’s Patagonia presentation at our Cafe which kicks off at 8:00 pm. Having accompanied them both on their trek back in Oct./Nov. last year I know that they’ll have some stunning images to back up a fascinating insight in how to explore one of the true gems of the natural world. Entry only £5 per head (entry fee goes to a local school) with food available until 7:15 pm & drinks license until 11:00 pm. Tickets available by booking in advance, simply call (01690 720429) although we hope to be able to accommodate walk ins on the night.

Pure co-incidence that during the planning of John & Rob’s presentation the Cafe was approached by the Patagonia Outdoor Clothing brand to see if we would be willing to play a part in their first ever European ‘Worn Wear Tour’. No brainer really, we said yes & just weeks later it is upon us. On Monday 18th & Tuesday 19th April Patagonia will park their van at the Cafe & open it’s doors to repair your tried, tested & loved kit free of charge!! Why, simply to help educate those who love the Outdoors that old kit doesn’t always have to be replaced with new, an ecological approach to be applauded. Be warned, come early, I might test them on my Inov 8 Roclite’s (recently battered on my Birthday run), they might be scratching their heads at such a task!!

Now then, the Manchester Marathon!

Firstly thanks to Fraser for putting up me & Dorina at Chester over the weekend it was a major help in the logistics of running the race. Also thanks to Fraser, Dorina & Janet for their support during the race itself & to those who shouted Paul or Eryri as I made my way around the 26.2 mile route (more of that later). I know there have been some complaints about the race organisation but let’s not let this cloud a great day in Manchester with a lot of friendly Marshalls & Crowds cheering us all on, even the weather smiled on us.

I’ll leave the more boring details to be discussed with Kean as I seek his advice on how to turn my performance into a significant step towards my 3 hour Marathon goal (part of my 6 goals for this year of being 50). So a brief overview of how it went is bullitted below:-

Race time was 3:10:22 a pb by over 7 minutes so pleased with the progress in the immediate aftermath.

I was running well with all of the first 30 kilometre splits being below 3 Hours 10 Mins. pace & was roughly on course for 3:05. A Gel from Dorina at 6 miles & again at 17 miles went as planned & I later apologised to Fraser for taking Dorina’s Gel & not his ‘Peeled’ banana (as he’d even done that for me) at the 17 mile point.

Then with 8 Kilometres to go the energy faded & the real battle was on, I wasn’t alone, runners began to implode with alarming regularity, my pace slowed as each K seemed to take an eternity. In truth this wasn’t exactly as bad as it felt, I still managed to keep to within about 30 seconds per K of my earlier splits but it was seriously hard work to do so. Thank god I kept running unlike some who were by now walking, there was a lot of talking to Myself going on during the run in.

Finally the finishing line came & I was soon re-united with Dorina & Fraser, they looked as enthused as I did knackered, we’d all had a very good morning one way or the other.

Post race thoughts turned to ‘how can I sort out that last 8K’ but since then two things have happened to help me react positively to the pain (more of the body in a minute). Firstly Kean, who’d had his own trauma of nearly being beaten by Sandra over in Ireland the day before, sent me a response text saying ‘you will do a sub 3 hours one’, thanks mate appreciated! Secondly having arrived home late yesterday I’ve finally been able to analyse the race data & it was more pleasant than it felt at the time. At 10K I was 939th out of 9,500 then progressed to 901st at Halfway & 812th at 30K, then despite my troubles through the closing stages I finished in 710th, yes I was being overtaken by some but clearly I had been passing many more. Amazing how good seeing that felt but musn’t let it distract me from I need a little more early pace & I need to maintain that for 42 Kilometres & not 34!

Reflection, thoughts during the race of ‘I’m going to give up on my 3 hour goal this year’ were transformed just 24 hours later to ‘next marathon, where, when, Edinburgh late May………. watch this space!

As for the body, perhaps it was un-wise to drive back to Chester that afternoon, dine out that evening & then on Monday drive down to Surrey to meet up with old friends for a couple of days but in truth seeing Don & Jill after more than 4 years in very good retired health was great. The stories & wine flowed, so calves, groin strain & body – put up with it & get off my case! You had your day & will have many more to come albeit probably not on the Moelwyn’s this Saturday.

Finally back to that 26.2 Mile Course, my watch & a few others I checked with at the finish had it at 26.5 Miles, now I may not have taken the most direct line at every corner but come on guys were we all meandering by some 400/500 metres or were you pulling our legs?

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