Over the past few months I have not been racing much, and quietly training in the background. I talk about motivation and enjoyment of running a lot within my blog, and the reality is, sometimes you need to reset. After a huge year of running in 2021, and lots of ups and downs, I have found myself lacking motivation to achieve the goals I have set for the year. But that is ok. It is ok not to be motivated all the time, and I have found another love with running, and that is running Parkrun with my 8 year old boy.
At our first full Parkrun together we ran around in just over 35 minutes. I was not overly convinced he was going to come and run with me, until he finally did. He loved it. We saw so many people with Milestone tops, and when I explained them to him he was already planning on getting his for 10 Parkruns.
I have been so impressed with him over the last few weeks, making such fantastic progress. Running with my boy has given me a new buzz, and enjoyment for running. I can hardly believe that on his 6th parkrun he ran under 27 minutes. It will not be long until he is pushing me to improve.
On 6th March 2022 I decided to enter the Surrey Half Marathon, last minute. I had wanted to go and run something a little faster, keeping in mind I do not feel at my best, but still want to achieve a sub 3 marathon. I noticed there was also a kids fun run (2km) race, and I knew that my boy would be excited by it. I signed up my whole family (wife, son and daughter) for the Fun race, which started whilst the half marathon was underway. My boy was very clear that he would not be waiting and being slowed down, so I was pleased about the safety and security measures in place for child proteciton. This meant he could run off by himself, and wait for my wife and daughter to finish and come to pick him up.
Meanwhile, I ran the Surrey Half Marathon. A few months ago I would have been wanting to push a sub 1:28, but honestly I am not as fast as I used to be. I am finding it more difficult to pick up the pace, but find I am able to sustain the same pace for longer. So my 5k pace and marathon pace are not all that different. Instead my goal was to start around the 1:30 pacers, and stay ahead of them for my goal marahton pace, just to see how im feeling at the moment.
I ran two marathon PB’s last year wearing the adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2, which are fantastic shoes for racing, but dont have the stability I feel I need for training. In my training I found that the Boston’s have much of the same benefits of the Adios Pro 2, being lightweight, with energyrods, and a lot of cushioning, but with much more stability. They are made from 50% recycled content, and felt super fast. After racing in them for the half marathon I would happily use these as a racing shoe. However, for marathon PB attempts I am going to stick with the Adios Pro 2, to take advantage of the slight advancements. But these are a great combination for training / racing trainers, and certainly a top choice for shorter distances.
I was cold before the race started, but at least it was dry. I always think its better to be a little colder at the start, as it makes better race conditions. I have done Surrey a few times before, so I had a little smile to myself when people at the start were talking about the race profile being flat. It is described as a flat and fast course, and relatively speaking it is. However, it feels like you are constantly on a subtle hill, with lots of gradual inclines. I find this type of course tough to be honest.
My pacing was not bad. I started off a little quick and ended up a good 10 seconds ahead of the pacers. I thought I would try to maintain this, and work towards a 1:29 pace. The gradual inclines slowed my pace, with a couple of peaks at mile 5 and 10 slowing my average mile pace down. I still stayed ahead of the pacers the whole way, and felt comfortable. Although I did not feel like I could have ran much faster, I did not feel the need to slow down any time soon.
Towards the end I was surprised to see the 1:30 pacers drop behind a little bit. I knew I would be very close to my 1:30 target, and they started ahead of me. So I spent a little bit of time willing them on, I am not sure if they hit their target, but they would have been very close. The end section is always stressful for a pacer. I maintained my pace, and finished strong at 1:29:43. I finished with more to give, which is a great confidence boost. I had nothing to prove by running off ahead to get an extra minute or so off my time, it would not be anywhere near my PB. But, finishing strong, on marathon pace, I will take that.
It was great to see my family at the end, and see my kids smiling back at me, who had received the same race medal that I did. After I finished I noticed the cold, so we didn’t hang around the end too long. My family had fun in the playground, and enjoyed drinks in the cafe, but it was time to go. We are all lookingo forward to our next adventures, and aiming to get my boys 10 parkrun milestone tee before his 9th birthday.