An early night, kit prepared and waiting. Can only mean one thing – Event Day.
The Helsby HM
The morning news was on TV, as I waited for the weather forecast for the day – Rain, Cold & Windy was not what I wanted – but Hey-Ho won’t make too much of an impact in my running.
Running Buddy – Edgie, was the designated driver for today – he knew sneaky places to park and a quick escape after the run. Above picture shows some of our Club Members that arrived early; #AndyS, #AndrewL, #Me. #Will, #Edgie(Neil) & #Karl. (Also present at the event were #KerryK, #BillyB & #StuartA – plus #Will’s wife – taking the picture but not running.
The Club members are of different ability levels, with #Edgie & I still at the plodding along stage. So for today we had a plan to focus on a steady 6mins per 1km pace – aiming for sub2hrs15mins as a worst time. #KerryK also met up with us on the start line and was happy to keep to the same pace – to be fair she is faster than us and has completed a HM in #Sub2hrs, which would be a help to us.
When you look at the course elevation, it makes you realise just how much of a climb the route was going to be – a factor that I was aware of and had prepared for my doing last week’s #Garstang10km run – with steeper hills.
Although the course had a number of hill, they where reasonably small and spaced out – apart from those between the 13km-18km, constantly increasing in elevation so burning the leg muscles & the lungs. It was around the climb at 14km that #Edgie started to struggle with a hip injury – we knew it was a problem before the race, but he wasn’t going to let it stop him from running today. #Kerry & I continued on with our steady pace and the climbs came and went – never got any easier but we overpowered them.
Around the 16km marker the climb really kicked in, the elevation just got steeper & steeper. #Kerry & I both struggled and we dropped the pace a little to ensure we managed to get over this particular climb. (To be fair, our pace was averaging at sub5mins45secs so an easier few km wasn’t going to hurt our target time too much.)
Once we had got over the last rise, about the 19km mark, it was a fast finish down hill to the finish line. However, the gradient going down was quite severe and we had to manage it carefully so not to fall or get injured. The bottom of the hill was great – a straight forward flat few hundred meters to the finish line and an opportunity for a sprint and gaining some extra seconds off our final time.
The finish line couldn’t have come any quicker than it did, the temperature had dropped or the wind chill factor was biting more. We were both wet and cold – just praying for the end of the race. The announcer could be heard saying our names & Widnes Running Club as we crossed the line – We had both done brilliantly to complete what was a hard route and an extremely challenging one with the continuously increasing elevation throughout.
A few minutes later, #Edgie could be seen approaching the last sprint to the finish line – he had worked really hard to close the gap between us and made up some time in doing so. His hip/injury had played a big part in him dropping on the steepest hill climb but once over it, he started to make up time.
It was too cold to hang around after we had finished, so #Kerry & her husband shot off to get warm. Edgie & I had a little bit of a walk back to the car – a little slow because his injury was stiffening up, but not the less a good opportunity to cool down and stretch a bit during the walk. We managed to take the above photo in the car – where it was warm with the engine running – instead of us – lol.
When the official results came out – we where all really pleased. A few of our leading runners managed to get New PBs/SB and then both #Edgie & I got New PBs. #Kerry managed a SB too. So overall the event was a good marker for our fitness levels over the Winter training period. We all have events coming up and are going to step up with various changes in our training. But for me, I was pleased to improve my previous best by over 4mins and now aiming for sub2hrs in May for the #LiverpoolRock&RollHM
I know have two ‘GIMMEEs’ for this Year and I am well pleased with how I am progressing. Plus my #FitBit STEPS for January so far has exceeded 425,000 in just 15 days. I’m aiming for 800,000 STEPS this month.