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some of you will have noticed that I promised to make my next blog piece about running your first ultra, but I’ve done the Sheffield Half Marathon since then and wanted to quickly share the news.  I managed a convincing PB, from the 1hr 30min and 22seconds of 2008 – to a new 1:26:39.  I’m very happy to have trimmed a few minutes off, especially when all I’ve focussed on this year so far is running slowly.  The stamina and efficiency gained from all the endurance training paid off.

3 miles left to go....

3 miles left to go….

I started quickly, aiming to reach the Wicker Arches in 20 minutes (6.40 per mile), but actually arrived there in 18:40!  Having planned to ease off at this point (3 miles in) I revised my plan a little as I climbed the hill past Ponds Forge.  I’d always intended to drop the pace here, to something comfortable and maintain speed thanks to the practice I’ve had.  Then when faced with the last 3 miles, increase the pace for a fast finish, eating the miles as quickly as I could.  Soon as I actually reached the uphill into town I figured it’d be safer to drop just enough that I didn’t have to carry on at 6.13min miles.

Instead of taking it easy round town and picking up for the final 3 miles back to the stadium, I simply continued at the 6.45min/mile pace and hung on for dear life.

Not sure if it was a perfect race plan, but it worked well enough.  I finally managed the course in less than 90 minutes.  Just as well, since the Don Valley Stadium is now due for demolition, so there won’t be another chance (boo hoo).

My brother Andy once again achieved an even quicker time than I did, which I’ll never be able to beat for the same reason, so he’ll take that victory to the grave with him.  Well done.  (There’s still Clowne).

Big thanks to Adela Carter, Colin Papworth and Ben Swain of Holywell Health for their expert advice, assessment and treatment.  Stu & Debs for their support and training advice.  Maxine Hoad for unwavering support in the face of dreaded Mr. Grumpy Runner, and Tom Brockwell for being a darn good running buddy. Andy Ow – Race Nemesis, and anyone else I forget to mention.  You all know who you are and what you do as part of my ‘Team Houghboy‘.  Next stop……Ultra.

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