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Ironman Quest
Ironman Quest
The quest of a 45 year old recreational runner who likes nothing better than a lazy night with a beer or glass of wine to become an Ironman

Wake Up Call

macukby macukMar 9th 2014
I set out early last Sunday morning and headed west to Llanelli so that I could run in the half marathon along the sea front. I had taken part in the event in 2013 as part of my marathon build up and had felt really strong whilst running and knocked well over ten minutes off my previous time over the same distance. I felt fairly confident with my training up to this point and was aiming for a 1.44 / 1.45 time as my training times had been getting better over the last few weeks.
Unfortunately it meant a 4 o'clock rise in the morning as I had a fair distance to travel and the organisers had recommended arriving a good hour and a half before the start at 9. This early start allowed me to fully carb up with porridge, toast and jam and on arriving at the venue I felt really good and ready for the race.

The start and finish for the race is at the Parc y Scarlets rugby ground and there is ample parking for all runners and spectators in a nearby car park. Whilst I waited for 9 o'clock a friend who I saw at the ground recommended getting a good warm up going as he always found he functioned better if he was on the start line already sweating and a little out of breath. This made a change from my usual warm up of a quick stretch and as the weather was quite bad with cold drizzly rain I though a few hill repeats along a back road would get my blood flowing. As the start time got closer I joined the ranks of runners, feeling very warm and just a little out of breath and before I knew it we were off.

The warm up certainly seemed to help and before long I was pounding away, moving past a lot of runners and getting well into my stride. Normally I tend to be slow over the first mile or two as I ease into a run but I felt really good for this race and before I knew it mile two and three had flown by. This was probably helped by the course as apart from a couple of inclines the route is fairly flat. I began to notice that a lot of the people around me were wearing club colours and kit and the seeds of doubt started to creep in as this wasn't the usual crowd I found myself with in a race. Putting any negative thoughts to the back of my mind I pressed on, still feeling strong and knowing that I was on for a really good finish time.

The race is an out and back course along the sea front and although the weather was bad with cold rain the wind was not too high on the outward leg but this changed on the turn. Suddenly I began to notice that I was no longer passing people but that was gradually being over taken by a lot of runners. The wind had picked up and was now steadily blowing rain into my face but my drop in speed was not all down to the weather and I realised that I had probably gone off too fast and that I was now paying for it. By mile 9 I felt totally knackered, I was no longer enjoying the race and all I could think of was getting to the finish line. I had been too over confident with my training and as my running became more laboured I could see my finish time getting bigger and bigger. The people wearing club colours were disappearing into the distance and all I wanted to do was stop. I knew deep down that although I had been running fairly strongly in training a lot of these runs were 6 to 8 miles long and that I just didn't have the distance in my legs to keep up the pace over longer runs. My diet had also been hit and miss with lots of good days followed by a couple of bad ones where I would think that because I was training I could eat and drink anything and not have any consequences. I was suffering big time over the 13 miles for the half marathon and the realisation that in only 6 weeks I would be attempting double that distance really gave me a wake up call.

The finish line was eventually reached in 1.57 which was a good 11 minutes slower than the previous year and to tell you the truth I would have struggled to run any further. I was really disappointing with myself but knew this was the kick in the behind that I needed. I have a few weeks left till London and know that I need to knuckle down. I have been training hard again this week with a couple of 7/8 milers and an 18 miler yesterday at a nice steady pace. My eating has been very good and I have dropped a few pounds which also helps with the running. I am fully committed again to my training and the Llanelli Half help me realise that becoming complacent is an easy thing to do.

Even though I had such a bad day out at Llanelli it was all down to my own doing. It's a very well organised event over a lovely route and I look forwards to getting back there next year and giving it another go. I know that I've got to start being stricter and more systematic with my training and not to rest on my laurels.
Wake Up Call
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