Blackpool Marathon.

That was a test. Only 2 days ago I was taking a covid test because I felt so lousy. The next day I was fine again, so I don’t know what that was about. Last night I finished work at 22.30, by the time I’d had my tea, a shower and a a brew it was 00.30 getting to bed. Then I woke up at 05.30 with a blocked nose and was thinking I had to get up in an hour, so I couldn’t get back to sleep. Not ideal.

On the plus side the weather was amazing. The first lap there was no wind at all to speak of. The sea breeze had picked up for the second lap, but it was still light.

We set off pretty slow as the pack thinned out. I found a guy to use as a pacer. He was a little bit too fast for the pace I was trying to set but he was metronomic. I knew if I could stay with him I was going to be on target.

I stuck with him for the first 19 miles but on the second lap on the long, gradual inclines (you can’t really call them hills) he got away from me. I just couldn’t. I had nothing extra to give for the extra effort of uphill into the slight wind.

On the flat, with the wind at my back, I managed to grit it out for the last two miles but truth be told I had nothing.

The positives are; for the first 19 miles I was going better than expected and faster than I wanted. I was after 7.05 – 7.10 pace, my pacer had me 6.57 – 7.05. I was lucky I didn’t burn out completely.

Also, despite the last 7 miles, I put in a 3.08:11 (official chip time), which is 8 minutes 50 seconds faster than my previous PB! If I can step up by the same amount again, I’m sub 3. But right here, right now, that was good enough to put me first in my age group (by 7 minutes). It’s only a small field, but someone had to win the ‘male, 55 – 60’ category and it was me! If it’s the same as last year that should have earned me a free entry for next year.

I’ve been feeling battered the rest of today. I think I’ll have a week off running (you are supposed to rest after all-in efforts) then get back to it. Try to quickly build up to lots of easy miles in preparation for the next training cycle.

If I’m honest I missed too many days on the last cycle. Consistency is key. But it shows that if you put in the effort you can improve. One more big step and I’m sub 3. I really don’t know what’s after that. Whether, once I’ve set the bar, I’ll be wanting to maintain it, or go back to just doing fun runs, or whether I’ll burn my trainers and play to my strengths, doing competitive eating or something.