My Percy Pud 2016 – The not so sweet end to a sour week 

“The body does not want you to do this. As you run, it tells you to stop but the mind must be strong. You always go too far for your body. You must handle the pain with strategy…It is not age; it is not diet. It is the will to succeed.”

– Jacqueline Gareau, 1980 Boston Marathon champ

1 day since the 2016 Percy Pud 

41 days till the 2017 Brass Monkey Half

This was the first of my target races. The return to racing well, weeks of great but hard training followed by the last two weeks being easy to get energy back into my battered legs before the Pud.  The first week went well but Monday just gone I started with the beginning of a cold.  I managed the quality speed sessions but had to skip a couple of the easy 30 min runs.  Thursday the cold had gone and I managed a good progressive run feeling strong. Saturday I felt strong and ready to race but I had a touch of gastro problems  then 00:30 this morning I was again sat on the porcelain throne.  No, not now, not Percy pud day. The last time I ran this race I had a couple of days earlier finished a spell of Neurovirus finishing ok but feeling ill.   Surely  lightening doesn’t strike twice?  

6am I was up and after a coffee back on the throne for a another deposit.  I went downstairs had some porridge and a drink of water and some caffeine tablet.  30min later I was back upstairs to deposit.  This was a little better and I felt nothing was left.  I ate an energy bar and a little isotonic drink.  The morning of the race and I should be bouncing but obviously I wasn’t.  I wondered if the problem could be nerves.   If it wasn’t I knew I shouldn’t be racing really.  Time came to leave and Emma dropped me off a mile from the start so I could have a gentle walk to loxley.  I felt a little better  and confident I could run well.  I chatted with a few people before a 1mile warm up where I felt good. 

I lined up in my pen with my fellow Sheffield running club mates and felt finally bouncey and ready to go.  Had the mornings gut problems been nerves? 

John, the man with a shopping trolley (local legend) started us off and I went off in a fast but not uncomfortable pace along loxley road.  Through the first mile in 5.47. It felt comfortable and Something I’d not seen in a while. I was side by side with Steel city strider Mike Greer and Bruno Beckett with club mate Steve King just in front as we went past the infamous Nags Head  and then down to Damglask reservoir. Along the wall and followed the road.  Doug Banks caught up then and I tucked in behind him.  It was here the strap of the timing chip started to dig into my Achilles. 2nd mile logged at 6.04 but I was ok with that. We followed the road around to the long drag towards the plough but I had pain now in my left side where my intestines are as well as the pain from the chip.  Doug, Bruno, Mike and Steve pulled away and I knew I was slowing and Concious of people catching me.  Before the plough the watch bleeped for mile 3 in 6.37!!! I went through halfway and the turning point in 18.19 the fast 5k this year. Shame it was a 10k race.  Lol

At the turnabout I sprinted out for 100m to  1: give myself a kick up the arse and 2: play mind games with people chasing me before settling back into 10k effort.  As we made our way back towards loxley your passing people going the opposite way and I could hear shouts of encouragement from people but I wasn’t looking to see who as I was too busy pushing the gut pain and increasing ankle pain to the back of my mind.  Mile 4 passed in 6.12 and I was far from comfortable. Before long we were back at the loxley end of damflask again. Club mate Steve Cox passed me here and I concentrated on trying to keep him in sight but I wasn’t in a good place.  

A new group of people caught me along the dam wall including an old nemesis of mine Chris Guy.  I dug in and pulled away again up the little hill towards the nags head, saw the 8k sign and the watch beeped for mile 5 6.16. Ffs


Now a new problem entered the f**k up Gareth’s race train. Everytime I tried to push I felt like I was going to be sick meaning I had to drop off the pace. Could I hold off Chris and the chasing pack at this effort? 

I pushed on, every now and again trying to kick until again the nausea would hit me.  I could see the finish and passed a spectating Coach Yoda-field with Jason Chow.   He shouted “cmon gareth you have 3min” I glanced at my watch and saw 5.66miles and 34 something. That would mean I needed a low 5min mile pace to get anywhere near sub 37 or low 37min.  I dug as deep as I physically could and took off. If I was going to be sick I was doing it as close as I could to the finish line.  I went through 6miles in 6.08 but was running a faster pace than that so the first part of that mile must have been slow.  

As I passed the hill before the garden centre I was sick quite a bit in my mouth, I spat this to the side, probably over some poor unsuspecting spectator (sorry about that) but I was now shot, nothing left.  I stumbled over the finish line.

  I had managed to keep off the chasing pack including to my pleasant surprise club mate Rob Jones. Massive PB for him. 

I felt shocking and had ran 38.08

In perspective the following people ran 

Bruno Beckett 36.34

Doug Banks 36.43

Steve King 37.04

Mike Greer 37.40

Steve Cox 37.33

Rob Jones ran 38.11. A massive PB over 10k but he is an enigma as he is yet to go sub 90min over half marathon where yesterday’s result  would suggest sub 85min. 

After a good period of training and how I felt in the run up and in perfect racing conditions I expected to hit the sub 37 easy and would have if it hadn’t been for the illness. Maybe I should look for another 10k soon but first next week it’s the last SY xc at penistone. 

Both coarse records went with winner Mohammad Abu-rezeq running 29.57 and Elish McColgan, daughter of Liz McColgan finishing  6th overall in 32.32.  Clubmate Joe Sweetnam-Powell finished 4th in a massive PB of 32.12. 

Anyway, Bye for now

“Bad workouts and races — we all have them and we always will. Accept that the body has an ebb and flow that we don’t quite understand. Some days you just feel ‘off.’ As hard as it is to accept a bad workout or race when there are valid reasons, it’s doubly challenging when there appears to be no reason at all. I used to worry about this, but now I just shrug it off as the quirkiness of the body and mind. Don’t invest in it or over think it. Move on.”

-Greg McMillan, in Gibson’s Daily Running Quotes

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