I decided to enter the Twekesbury Half in April after starting to build my running back up over the past few months.
A couple of things helped massively in my training, the first was volunteering to be Jenny McNamara’s case study for the Nutrition module as part of her Personal Trainer qualification. I had put on a few pounds and had difficulty losing it, mainly because I love food, especially chocolate and my hard-fast belief that as I run, I could eat whatever I wanted!
Jenny did some calculations and gave me my target calories and macro nutrients per day. After quite a few expletives, I put my faith in the plan and followed it religiously (despite opinions to the contrary, I’m very compliant and love a good plan!). I found training was getting easier, I could push myself harder and I was recovering faster from hard sessions.
Six weeks later, I was a stone lighter and felt a renewed spring in my step. Jenny also recommended some blood tests which identifed a vitamin D deficiency. This really impacted energy levels and muscle fatigue. A few weeks of Vit D doses and I’m feeling great.
Fast forward to race week. Tuesday’s track session nearly finished me off, it was brutal and fab! Only a runner can say that and only other runners can empathise!
With achy legs I did an easy park run on Saturday and had a great natter to Rachel on the way round. It was lush! I then decided to rest up by painting the spare room Saturday afternoon! It then dawned on me that I hadn’t had a rest day that week, not exactly textbook tapering!
However, on Saturday evening myself, Andy, Stu and Jenny went to a relaxation workshop. It definitely did the trick as I slept like a baby and was uber chilled on race day, although my glutes and quads still ached.
Right, to the race bit….weather was fabulous. A sunny 13 degrees and little wind. A great turnout from the Cheddar crew with myself, Andy, Chris, Lee and Nikki making her half debut. All supported by the lovely Michelle. After a warm up with Andy and Chris, we were off!
I was hoping to knock a couple of minutes off my Prague half time from April. I felt really good, my legs were behaving themselves and the miles ticked by.
I felt like I was holding back a bit but didn’t want to overcook it and I knew there was a long drag at mile 8 for a mile. I took it steady going up the hill, focusing on effort over pace.
At the top of the hill there’s a left hand turn and it flattens out. My pace picked up without any effort and I found myself overtaking quite a few people. I felt really strong and maintained the pace until 12.5 miles.
I was pretty confident at that point that I wouldn’t blow up before the end so I decided an increased effort was in order to take me to the end. With Shane’s…’pick it up’ ringing in my ears, I quickened my pace, sustaining the effort and managing a sprint finish.
I stopped my watch as I crossed the line and was very surprised to see 1:44:54 on my watch, four and a half minutes faster than Prague five weeks ago. I was very surprised and super pleased!
The race organisation was great, lots of support on the course and friendly marshalls.
It was one of those days where everything went really well on the day. A great day out!