Monday, 4 November 2013

2013 so far!

I admit I'm not to great at writing this blog, I've decided not to promise to be better but to hopefully post something as and when I get the chance!

I realise the last post was at the start of the track season and a lot has happened since then so I have summarised as much as I can below.

Track Season review
Considering the time I had had out following the trip, the season seemed to be going well until I suffered a hamstring tear in early June, it struck on the last water jump of the British league in Manchester, but I was still able to hobble home to win. Following the 4 week rehab I came back hoping to recapture the form I had shown prior. The last 3 races didn't really show this, including a BMC 3k at Oxford, the last BAL in Barnet and the BMC 3k chase at Streford in close to monsoon like conditions. Although the last BAL required me to double up in the chase and 3k which helped the team win the league for the second time in 3 years.

Northern 6 Stage
For the 6 stage I went off first leg and within the first 200 meters of the race I had to make a decision about the race tactics. A group of 4 had already formed a small gap and I had to choose to go with them or hope that the chasing pack would keep in touch. I decided to close the gap. The first mile was a very brisk (4:41) and during a twisting section of the course in the woods I lost contact and was on my own until the last mile of the course when I was joined by the chasing pack. I held it together to come home in 9th and set up the team for the rest of the race, going into the last leg we were leading but unfortunately our last leg runner was just back from his break and found the race a shock to the system but still managed to hold on for Silver. 

South Manchester Triathlon
Transition 2 of the triathlon
I took part in the Triathlon based in my home town of Wilmslow, I had competed in this race last year finishing third. The aim was to improve my overall time which in turn would lead to a higher placing. I certainly pushed myself in the race, being a little ill while out on the bike, and I managed to finish second only 17 seconds behind the winner. Although in hindsight I struggled in my transition from the bike to the run and also suffered from cramp and a stitch during the run (a little down to poor pre race nutrition planning). However I improved my time by over a minute from the previous year and had I not had these issues I feel I could have come away with the victory. At least this gives me something to aim for next time. 

Northern cross country relays
After winning the event last year, as team manager, I wanted to ensure we retained the title. In the 4 leg team I was out last leg; I had the luxury of a fairly large lead thanks to Niall, Simon and Charlie and brought the team home to retain the title. A welcome start to the cross country season.

Oulton park Duathlon
The following day I had my first Duathlon at Oulton park. In the first run I started with the leading group only to push on towards the end of the first lap when the pace dropped. I built up a 1 minute 20 second lead going into the bike. Unfortunately this is where I ran into problems, upon mounting my bike I knocked the back wheel but did not realise I had also knocked the rear brake. I then proceeded to ride the next 38km with my brakes effectively on. Needless to say I struggled, whist I thought I was just having a bad day on the bike, I dropped quite a few places on the ride picking up around 10 on the final run to finish 23rd!! It was only after returning to the bike did I find the mechanical problem. It was certainly a lesson learned.

National 6 stage relays
AW front cover
This was the highlight of the year, the Sale team managed to win the National 6 stage for the first time and I had the glory of crossing the finish line after being put in an almost unassailable lead by the rest of the team. It was great that everything came together the team was the best we could have hoped for. To top things off I was lucky enough to have a picture of me crossing the line on the front page of Athletics Weekly. The interview I gave after the event to Athleticos can be found HERE

British fell relays
I was asked towards the end of the track season if I would like to take part in the fell relays. Although I had never raced in this type of event I thought I would give it a try. After racing the previous day in the Manchester League, finishing a conservative 7th, I was unsure how I would cope with this event. It was typical Welsh mountain autumnal weather with driving rain and gusting wind. Out on the first leg, I was in the top 15 on the way up (400m of climbing over 2 miles) however it was on the decent I struggled. With a wet surface, steep descents and unsuitable footwear my technique compared to the seasoned fell runners showed as I dropped quite a few places at the same time as falling twice in quick succession. I finished 30th out of the 182 people who started on the first leg, but I don't think I will be returning to this type of event in the near future.

National Cross Country relays
As this was a 4 man team event I was in the B team, which I was grateful for as i'm not a huge fan of the course at Berry Hill. I had a mediocre run and the team finished in 15th place, the 2nd B team behind AFD who were in 14th. The A team however kept the rich vein of form for the club going finishing in 2nd place again behind AFD.

The last few months have been an unbelievable time not only for me but for Sale Harriers. The results mark the most successful period in the clubs history winning the Track league, National 6 stage title and Northern cross country relays along with silver medals in the Northern 6 stage and National cross relays. The future is certainly bright in both the short and long term.

Next up for me will be a few road races including the Stockport 10 and Ribble Valley 10k. Then the big cross country events will start in the new year.

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