Last year I was selected to represent Leicestershire at the Inter-Counties Championship but having fallen ill on the morning of the race I had the disappointment of having to pull out of the race.  This year, unfortunately the Inter-Counties clashed with the same weekend as The Big Half.  After having some decent cross country performances under my belt this season it was nice to be in considered for selection but I had to decide whether to make myself available for selection or focus on my own marathon build up.  Despite my dislike for cross country, it's always an honour to represent your home county but you cant race them all!  As it turned out, Leicestershire had a very strong team on the day and finished 8th overall. 

After nervously monitoring the weather for most of the week the conditions were looking favourable right up until Thursday when things took a turn for the worst and 42mph winds from 9am were forecast!  Trying to stay optimistic I was hoping somehow the weatherman was wrong but in reality he was spot on. 

We'd travelled down to London on the Saturday morning after saying goodbye to the boys and leaving them for a weekend of fun with their cousins.  The weather conditions would have been perfect for racing but later on the Saturday the wind started to pick up and overnight the rain arrived.  Fortunately the base for the Championship start runners is in a local primary school which provided some welcome relief from the elements. 

After completing my warm up in the rain, it soon dried up and we were greeted with blue skies and sunshine for around 5 minutes before the start of the race.  The race got underway and I managed to settle into a comfortable pace going through the first three miles pretty much bang on target pace.  Then we hit the hideous wind head on which was going to batter up for the rest of the race. By this point I was in a group with the elite women who obviously the TV cameras were following.  This years race was live on the BBC red button so I managed to get myself on telly for a few minutes at least as I ran alongside the leading ladies.

A break away group soon formed, of which I'm sure were all chasing a sub 69 time too so I decided to go with them.  As a group we managed to battled the elements for the next 5 miles or so but by mile 9 I'd dropped off the back of the group, still within touching distance but being on my own the wind was blowing me left, right and backwards!  Going through 10 miles I glanced at my watch and realised I'd need to run a 16 minute 5k spilt to make up the time. 

 

On another day in better conditions then that may have been possible but not this time.  I managed to keep plugging away to eventually cross the line in a time of 1:09:44 and 36th overall.  A course PB but well off the sub 69 minutes I was confident of achieving in better conditions.  My wife Madelaine also completed the race despite battling with an injury for the last couple of weeks.  This was her first half marathon and she smiled all the way round despite the weather and finished in 1:55:38.  Another big milestone on her own marathon journey!  

There's some excellent footage on line of a man dressed as Big Ben being blown backwards coming through Canary Wharf, well worth a watch! 

https://metro.co.uk/2019/03/10/time-stands-still-runner-dressed-big-ben-punishing-wind-tunnel-8879974/ 

This weeks training

A cut back week leading up to race day with plenty of easy running mixed with a few short sharp efforts to keep my legs ticking over.

  am pm
Monday Easy 40 minutes Easy 40 minutes
Tuesday - Aerobic 8 miles and strides
Wednesday Easy 40 minutes Easy 40 minutes
Thursday

Overspeed Reps

5 mile warm up

5 x 250m downhill efforts

2 mile cool down

Recovery 40 minutes
Friday Recovery 40 minutes -
Saturday 30 minutes pre-race sharpener -
Sunday

Warm Up

THE BIG HALF

Recovery 40 minutes
     
Total Miles for the Week 82.3 miles