Stafford Half Marathon 2012

For the second year running I had an entry to the Stafford Half. The annual family race was on. Following on from the last post when I weighed myself on 1 Jan 12, as most people do in a Bridget Jones way, I weighed 84kg. I accept that this was probably false due to being bloated from the night before but it’s a good figure to start from. From reading several articles on weight loss, a 10% loss is worth a 2min for 10km times. VO2 max is measured used volume of Oxygen per second per kilo. You can’t change time, lung capacity is more or less the same so losing weight is the easiest way to increase fitness.

Interestingly, it is hard to prove any of this. If you exercise to lose weight you will get fitter but is it due to the exercise or the weight loss. They go hand in hand I know but how much of a difference pure weight loss gives is hard to measure.

Using my Wheaton Aston 10Km time I planned my goals for 2012. Stafford Half was an “A” race with a goal of sub 1hr 30min. I have never liked 13.1miles as a race maybe because it is “half” a race or maybe because it hurts in the last few miles.

I improved my fitness and managed to attend some club sessions but the 3 weeks prior to the race I away with work and did no training at all. An interesting taper. My training had been disjointed from the start but at least I had done something unlike the year before. I just missed 1hr 40min then and had done no training whatsoever relying on latent running ability (whatever that may be). My weight must have been 78-80kg (3-4% down) but I don’t have a record of this.

My usually sound material preparations were soon going wrong. I chose to wear my Royal Navy Triathlon Suit. An all in 1 lycra body suit that I decided would make me stand out and maybe get a push from people shouting. I did stand out but not sure what people were shouting! As Ryan and I drove into town my watch starting playing up and had completely died by the time we had parked. It needed a new battery. I love running with a watch. I love running with a watch built into a HRM and pace sensor. I like to calculate pace, projected finish times in my heads as I run along. Not a problem. Ryan was fitter than me as I’d been away. He wanted sub 1:30 too so I just needed to keep myself calm for the first mile and then keep pace with him. Within 2 miles he was bored of me asking for pace and mile splits!

We started well through the town being near the front and not going off too quickly. 6:30 was the first split followed by 6:45 and 6:48. We were on pace. It was quite warm but nothing to slow me down. Ryan was suffering and blaming me for going off too fast (we were bang on pace). We started to slow so I went it alone. I got a time split at 7 miles of 47:30. This put me pretty much on target but knew that I had to keep this up if I was going to achieve my goal.

Stafford is a flat half with only 2 hills of note. The last 4 miles are long stretches 2 miles of road and 2 of disused railway. Then it’s through the park and town. I just kept pushing but felt pretty useless on the railway and thought I must have been looking at 1:32 or similar. My mum gave me a good shout at her usual corner and I picked up the pace still unaware of my potential. As I entered the town I could see the pace car, how can I be so close to the front? Oh it’s parked but the official clock said 1:2730. And I must have passed the 13 mile mark. I had 2min 30 to do 4-600m. It was going to be close. I saw the 400m sign and thought I had 2 min to do the equivalent of a lap on the track. I remembered 2min for 400m being 8 min mile pace and I felt like I was going faster than that. I swung round the corner and saw I had 15 seconds to run less than 100m. I got a PB of 1:29:59 (chip time 1:29:47) and first home for family. I almost fell over at the end. It was nice to get the goal so early in the year. Ryan came in a couple of minutes later (next year Ry!).

Questions I now have to consider: Do I need to wear a watch to run? No but I like to.
What’s the next goal? 8 July, Plymouth Olympic Distance Triathlon.
How much weight to lose? 74kg would be a good weight, close to my 2008 weight and 10% off 82kg. That would in theory make me capable of a sub 38 10km on paper. Let’s test the theory.

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