It was brass monkeys during the Brass Monkey 1/2 – my race report

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just soft people.”
-Bill Bowerman, co-founder of Nike

Current PB 1:23.04 @ a windy undulating Worksop half


5:50am on Sunday, its a cold January morning and my alarms going off.  Why you may ask? or you may not. I dont know. Its because today, the 19th January 2014, its the day of the Brass Monkey half marathon at York racecourse. Entering and gaining a place in the race last December via the 500 place ballot after the mess the online system had made a couple of weeks earlier I thought this was my opportunity to get into the 1:22.00s for the distance.

A few weeks later with a thought of aiming for a 2:50.00ish marathon in April this then became an attempt at 80min. The lazy Christmas I had meant I wasn’t sure, in fact almost sure, I wouldn’t be in the correct shape in time. Again a reassessment of targets.

B. as close as possible to 80min
C .1:22.something (not good enough though really)

I checked the weather report for York on Friday9 (17th) which said dry, 6° and 6kph wind. Almost perfect racing weather, I checked again this morning to be confronted by Wet, 2° and 10kph wind. Not so great. Undeterred I made my way down to hillsborough to be picked up at 7:40 by fellow Sheffield running club runner Rob Jones. We arrived, via a small accidental detour in east leeds(not nice)  in York just after 9am to a deluge of rain. For once, the weather report had been right.

We made our way into the racecourse stand, got changed, did a little warm up and got into our expected finush time pens. The lady starting the race kept saying ‘start in a few minutes’ to a field of freezing wet runners. A lynching was on the cards at one point. Eventually the whistle went and we were off.

Aim was 6.10 min miles for 80min ish.

I started quick hitting the first mile marker at 0.8miles? A little later my garmin bleeped for 1mile 5.51, 2nd mile marker 1.8miles, garmin bleep a minute later 5.59, 3rd mile marker 2.5miles :-/, 3min ish later bleep 6.18. Its a good job I wasn’t relying on the mile markers.

The rain was still falling and we were all playing dodge the puddles, 6.14, 6,21 6.18 my pace was a little erratic but I was feeling strong. Just after 6miles kimberworth strider and my race marker for the day Kevin Doyle went past using the encouragement ‘c’mon almost halfway’ . I was still executing my plan and knew keep, him in sight and use my kick to catch & pass him at some point in the last couple of miles.

Mile 7 marker was passed at 6.6miles in the garmin and Mile 7 bleep was passed in 6.13, At some point it had stopped raining but I hadnt noticed when. Up to now the 1st lady had been a small lady in a yellow vest who I passed for the 2nd time at around 6.5miles but on approaching the 8mile marker a taller lady in a green vest came to my side, my garmin bleeped for mile 8 in 6.13. The mile 8 marker was passed just after, 9min after we had passed the 7mile marker.

I started to feel a little cramp in my calf. This might explain the 6.20 min mile for 9miles. I got onto my toes to stretch out the calf, I gently pulled away from the 1st lady and pushed hard to regain some time,mile 10  6.09. I began the reeling in of Mr Doyle but he had also picked up the pace. By the little bump of the hill/bridge I had managed to reduce the gap from 22sec to 10 sec, our local hilly terrain showed as we both kept pace up and over while local to York runners faulted. Mile 11 was passed with a 6.19.

Once again I knew I needed to push on and with the racecourse grandstand in view started to wind up the pace. Mile 12 6.12. With just over a mile to go I kicked hard, passed Kevin Doyle before re-entering the racecourse  with mile 13 5.59 and sprinted thru to the finish. My garmin reached 13.1miles 200mtr from the finish in 1:21.00.

Text message from organisors got my official results as

Gun time 1:21.26
Chip time 1:21.22

New PB by 1min 42

A good start to the road racing season and confidence for a 2hr 50min Marathon finish.

“Just do the best with what you have, and you’ll soon be doing it better.”
                                                -Gil Hodges


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