The wheels on the bus… fall off again

After a poor performance at the Solent Half a couple of weeks ago, today was the opportunity to redeem myself and do well in the Great South Run. I’d set myself a reasonable goal of finishing in 1 hour 30 minutes and planned to run in a pack.

Waking up at 6 wasn’t so bad given the clocks had gone back. Being woken at 3am by Connor who turned the bedroom light on hunting for teddy bears wasn’t great for ensuing a good night’s sleep. Nor was Daniel getting up at 4am. Kids!!

I left home at 7am and was parked on Southsea seafront at 7:30am. By some fluke Paul R parked next to me so we had a chat. I’d planned to meet some of the Lordshill Road Runners at about 9am and eventually caught up with them at about 9:30am before losing them again.

It was a cold morning with the threat of drizzle and gusty winds.

The race started and there was no sign of the pack I’d hoped to run with. I’d looked and looked and bumped into several familiar faces along the way.

The race started and it was time to abandon layers and set off. I was targeting a finish time of 1:30 but paced myself at 5:29 to give myself a little leeway for the stretch from 6-10 miles.

They say that the course is flat and fast but it seems like a gentle incline all the way round to me!! I kept the 5:29 pace for the first 3 miles and then dropped to my target race pace of about 5:36 for miles 4-6 and a bit. Thinks we looking good and then Tamsyn and Teri caught up with me. I’ve run the GSR twice before. In 2010, I lost my mojo at about mile 6 and my run deteriorated at that point to a walk/run combo for the last 4 miles. In 2011, I hit mile 6 and hobbled off injured. This year was a repeat of 2010. Tamsyn and Teri tried to get me to keep going but mentally is lost the battle and I couldn’t turn things around.

The last 4 miles were an embarrassing combination of jogging and walking. Many thanks to all that got me running again of whom there were several. The spectators tried too.

I crossed the line in a little over 1:38. Worse than my 2010 time when I was full of Gatorade. I could have buried my head in the bowls of Jelly Babies being handed out!!

There aren’t many things that make me low but p!ss poor running performances tend to rank quite highly. Two in a row now and it makes me question why I do it. On a positive note, I ran (kinda) both races and finished. I was mentally strong enough to finish this time so that is a positive.

But where did it go wrong?

(a) I would’ve probably lasted better in the pack.

(b) I probably should have tried sticking with 5:36 pace from the start and increased pace if there was anything left in the tank.

(c) I’m about a stone heavier than I want to be and that must have some effect on performance

(d) my training is adhoc at best and hasn’t been focused for months

All of these things need to change if I’m to start meeting my expected finish times which shouldn’t be unattainable.

Whether I race the Gosport Half is currently up in the air. I don’t want to have 3 bad races in a row and as it’s only 3 weeks away it doesn’t give much opportunity to get more focused with my training. Advice gratefully received.

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