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Things I learned on the RRR 2015.


The route

The route

The History:

2012 saw me complete the Rowbotham Round Rotherham (RRR) for the first time.

I aimed at 10hrs or less.

I managed a 9hr 38min, having walked what I’m sure was a total of about 15 miles.

I learned a lot from my recces and the event itself.  I also promised myself that if I ever went back to do it again, I’d shave a good hour from that finish time.

An hour at the very least.

The Meantime:

2015.  I’m running more regularly than ever.

I run to/from work most days.  A total per day of 7.5 miles.  37.5 miles/week ave.

I’ve experienced a few ups and downs since the 2012 RRR.  Namely – the best year I ever had (2013), with a PB in everything I entered, but the birth of my son Bentley meant a complete drop off in my running and failure to attend the RRR, for which I suspect I might have been in contention for third place.

The reason I was so sure of this, I’d just beaten a guy in the HP40 a month prior (he normally leaves me in his dust and beats me by about an hour).  He went on to take third overall in the Round Rotherham a month later.  I just assumed that unless he’d had a bad day on the HP40, I might have continued to out-do myself at the RRR.  But I could never know for sure, unless….

The ‘Training’:

Training for the 2015 involved running little and often, but at least I avoided ‘over training’.  Mainly running to work and back for a total of 7.5 miles per day, some 37.5 miles per week on average.

I’ve run every opportunity – upto 5 days a week on average.  I also completed the High Peak Marathon in February and the Plusnet Yorkshire Half Marathon Sheffield in April.  Trail Rush in May.  All good practice.

Lately I’ve enjoyed frequent 20 milers at close to race pace encouraging me to try for that third place, or at least the equivalent finish time.  With the inclusion of the longer runs at weekends/on days off, I clocked upto 70 miles per week.  But 20 miles is obviously far from 50.  I haven’t done a proper ‘long’ run for as long as I can remember.

Looking at the results from 2013 and that third overall, it was frighteningly quick.  Perhaps I’d assumed too much about my ability back then.  Maybe that other runner had just suffered a particularly poor run on the 40.

Regardless, it was something to aim for.  It added some focus.  I’d had a real stinker this year on the Scott Snowdonia Trail Marathon, so I needed to face my demons.

Equipment settled.  Footwear chosen.  Race plan decided.  It was time.

My Sheffield Half Marathon 2015

My Sheffield Half Marathon 2015

The Event:

RRR 2015 got off to a great start.  I was moving well at just under 9min/mile.  I was confident that reaching 20 miles in comfort was easy for me.  At that point I could decide whether to maintain, speed up, slow down or whatever might feel necessary.

The shoes I had on (Saucony Zealot) were comfy under foot.  I trusted that road shoes were at least a better idea than trail, since around 70% of the RRR seems to be tarmac or hard stoney trails.

The fuel situation was a tried and test combo.  Water for quench.  High5 4:1 for carbs and protein mixed with vital electrolytes.

The vest was the Ultimate Direction Scott Jurek Ultra Vest 2.0, along with Injinji Toe Socks and Salomon S-LAB Exo Twin Skin Shorts – Good to go.

I covered those first 20 miles in exactly the kind of shape I’d expected (deep down).  Tired – but I knew the remainder was a lot flatter, therefore more ‘runnable’.

I had fun passing familiar faces along the way (too many to list, but you’ll know who you are and it was genuinely great to see you/say hello).

By the Halfway checkpoint (and a 4hr Marathon), I knew that things were getting a little awkward.  Then came the full ‘reality check’.  Then the pain.  I ended up settling for a PB instead of that delusional third place.  I actually ended up fighting with the temptation to walk.  Run, walk, run, walk….

The long runs I hadn’t done might have been a good idea.  The shoes I chose would be suitable for a lot of people, but didn’t really suit my feet all that well – so likely contributed massively to the pain in the legs for the entire second half of the race.  It seems without the pressure I’d applied by aiming so high, I might have been better at a slower average speed and maintaining a slow jog throughout.  Almost certainly so.

So struggling in at 8:55:58, assuming that the finish would be exactly the same as in 2012, I wound up the wrong side of a wooden fence, which I then scaled in order to gain entry to the finish funnel and dib out (electronic chip timing was introduced this year).  I then proceeded to stagger about, feeling sick and looking pale.  I moved like I was creeping across broken glass as I returned to the car.  Teeth chattering, I couldn’t wait to get sat down and turn the heater on.  I think my body might have gone into shock/hypothermia.  All this despite the inov-8 Thermoshell (a literal life saver).

You can view my Suunto Movescount record of the race here.

The Lesson:

With a new PB by around 45mins, I’m back on ultra form at least.  Lots of work to be done and a lot more prep before my next ultra distance event.  Still curious about attaining that time.  But you know what, that runner had  finished the 2013 RRR in 7hrs and 17 minutes!  So my hat’s off to him.  I mean what was I thinking?  Icarus springs to mind.  Stoopid Icarus.

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