"} Get a life, Get active! By Fit Lesley: June 2000

Friday, 16 June 2000

Challenge 25 - Freckleton Half Marathon

On Sunday 16th June 2013 I took part in Freckleton Half marathon. Freckleton is located in the Fylde, Lancashire, just north of the river Ribble. 

This was the 48th running of the Freckleton Half Marathon, It is the oldest half marathon in the UK, and there is only one older half marathon in the world and that is in Luxembourg. The Mens Half Marathon started in 1964 and the Womens in 1976. The race was full with a maximum 850 runners. Looking at previous year’s results I realised a lot of these 850 runners were going to be FAST! 

As well as being the 48th Half Marathon at Freckleton , it was also Father’s Day! Luckily it was a 2pm start so my two teenagers were actually awake and up to give their presents before we had to leave!

I approached this race with a certain amount of trepidation. 

I had read that it can be a very windy course so I had been keeping my eye on the weather forecast in the week leading up to the race. This fluctuated between wet and cloudy to dry and windy! 

When I woke up on Sunday the forecast seemed good with sunny intervals predicted, a temperature of 15C and 7MPH winds. I was beginning to feel that perhaps I was going to get ideal running conditions for a change!  

Apart from the weather and the thought of speedy runners, another thing that was stressing me out was the fact the race started at 2pm! I have only ever run morning races so I was unsure about what to eat and when! My usual fuelling strategy I am comfortable with wasn’t going to work today and I would have to try something new.  If I had had any sense I would have tried running at 2pm on past weekends and practised this prior to race day, but it was too late for that now!

I got up at 9am and had porridge and coffee for breakfast. Then at 11am I had 2 slices of toast and honey, I was going to have a banana nearer to the start time but couldn’t stomach it!

We set off from Kendal at around 11.30am for the 49 mile car journey to Freckleton . We arrived, after a very quiet and easy journey at around 12.15pm. The car park and start at the Bush Lane Playing Fields, were well signposted throughout the village, which was decorated colourfully with bunting giving it a carnival feeling! We arrived at the Playing Fields, where a portion was set aside for parking and we were directed to exactly where to park by the Marshalls.

By now I was feeling extremely nervous, and was trying to talk myself into believing I was going to have a good run!

I was desperate to get a PB and I think this was putting extra pressure on!

I had in my mind that the last Half marathon PB I ran was on Mother’s Day, and today was Father’s day! Could this be a sign ...?!

Once we had parked we made our way to the marquee where they were distributing race numbers and timing chips. It was all well organised and no queues at all. 

There was a real festival atmosphere with various stalls and a bouncy castle. Whilst waiting around to start there were lots of opportunities for me to do my favourite pastime of people watching! I got the distinct impression everyone was eyeing up the competition. As it had all gone so smoothly we had quite a wait til the 2pm start time, even the toilets had short queues! We listened to the man with the mike and had a few laughs – I’m sure he fancied himself as a comedian! 

Eventually he announced it was time to make our way to the start line. I positioned myself in the middle of the pack – I didn’t want obliterated by fast runners nor held back by slow runners!

My plan was to maintain just under a 9 minute mile pace for the first 10 miles or so before pushing the pace for the final 3 miles (legs willing!) in order to get me somewhere around PB territory. 

I had read in the course details that there was plenty of water stations situated throughout the course, but that this was being served in plastic cups not bottles. I have a love/hate relationship with cups during a race! I love the way it cools me down as I try to navigate it to my mouth and end up pouring it down my front, but hate the way that only a drop actually reaches my parched throat! Bearing this in mind, together with the fact it was a hot afternoon I made the decision to carry my own water bottle! I also had some high 5 energy gels in my pocket for when I needed an extra burst and planned to listen to my ipod during the run to try and distract me from the pain!

From the off, the course loops around the playing fields at race HQ before winding its way around the village for the first 1.8miles. I was surprised at how congested this was but this served me well as it stopped me doing my usual trick of going off too fast in the beginning. Mile one was completed at a 8.34 minute mile pace. I was beginning to feel very hot even at this early stage, but I was amazed to come across the first runner walking at 1.5 miles! Surely if he couldn’t maintain a run for this short distance he should have set off at the back of the pack!
The first half of the course follows a series of undulations as it meanders through country lanes towards Wrea Green. 

At 1.8 miles the course heads out of Freckleton along Kirkham Lane. After logging a fairly consistent mile 2 pace of 8.32 minute mile, we turned left onto Hillock Lane.

At four miles the course heads north along Bryning Lane via Bryning village towards Wrea Green. This is probably the steepest part of the course but I was still feeling OK at this point and was running fairly well with mile 3 at a 8.40 minute mile pace and mile 4 at 8.43 minute mile pace!

I decided to take a energy gel at this point just to maintain my energy levels before they plummeted. Unfortunately with the combination of the sun and being in my pocket I experienced a rather unpleasant sticky gloopy gel! But needs must!

As we reached Wrea Green, hundreds of people lined the roadside. From here the course went around the Green in an anti-clockwise direction, as a game of cricket was taking place. I was worried about getting a cricket ball on my head! Running became difficult at this point as the traffic was very congested and we were running along the road with drivers trying to navigate past us whilst runners couldn’t get past those slowing without getting run over and it all became abit chaotic and a huge tripping potential. This is shown in my splits for mile 6 when I slowed to 9.11 minute miles.

On leaving Wrea Green we made our way first of all along Moss Side Lane before turning onto Corka Lane, Cartmell Lane, and Salcotes Lane where the course turns left as it heads towards Lytham., On reaching Lytham Road I decided it was time to have another warm energy gel as I was beginning to flag! The course then heads east for the next 3.3 miles via a long gradual incline, passing through Warton. Spectators appeared in “clumps” along the route (namely in beer gardens), and they gave friendly enthusiastic support which spurred me on.

However, between miles 10 and 11, I witnessed 3 runners collapse. Luckily on each occasion there were people around to assist so I didn’t need to stop. However, seeing this knocked my confidence and my original plan of pushing the pace for the final 3 miles quickly went out the window. I was struggling to maintain my 9 minute mile pace but I still sensed a PB if only I could find my groove again. 

Just before mile 13, a right turn took us back into Freckleton village towards the finish area back at Bush Lane. There were lots of spectators around this area and this inspired me to push the pace as much as I could in the heat! A quick glance at my Garmin confirmed I wasn’t going to get my PB unless I could pull a sprint finish out the bag! Strangely enough this didn’t happen! 

On crossing the finish lane my Garmin said 1.58.52, disappointing but considering the heat it’s the best I could have done! The official chipped results have me as finishing in position 366th at 1:58:41, and 12th in my category! You can view the full results here!

My pacing strategy went out the window and I ended up with splits looking like this: 8.34, 8.32, 8.40, 8.43, 8.49, 9.11, 8.56, 9.02, 9.19, 9.14, 9.41, 9.44, and 9.18.  You can see my run here!

Once across the line I nice man offered me a seat whilst he unclipped my timing chip from my trainer, then I was handed a water bottle and banana, together with a gym bag, sports bottle and towel! A nice souvenir but no bling!  

My husband was waiting for me and I had a sit down on the grass whilst he went to get me a nice refreshing ice lolly!

All-in-all a good race, fantastic route and very friendly although a tad too hot!
Definitely one for the diary next year!

Friday, 9 June 2000

Challenge 24: Morecambe 10K

On Sunday 9th June 2013 I ran in the Morecambe 10K road race.  I had run this race in 2012 so was aware that it wasn't flat as advertised!

I had entered the run on line but still had to collect the timing tag and race bib number at the race HQ, which was situated in the Station Pub!  The race was scheduled to start at 11am.

When I woke up I was relieved to see that it wasn't as hot as it has been and it appeared to be quite good running conditions.  After enjoying a breakfast of porridge and coffee we left Kendal at 9.45am for the 23 mile journey to Morecambe. We had no traffic issues and arrived at the race car park at approximately 10.15am and luckily got the last parking space!  

After parking the car we went into The Station pub where there was 2 queues.  One for pre-registered runners and one for register on the day runners.  I joined the pre-registered queue and waited. It soon became apparent that the register on the day queue was far faster - there appeared to be some problem with some of the on-line bookings.  Luckily when I eventually got to the front my name was there and my number and chip were waiting for me!

I attached my bib number using the safety pins provided and attached the Velcro strap (which was the timing chip) to my ankle.

It was too hot to stay inside so we headed outside, although by now the sun had broken through the clouds and it was beginning to heat up considerably!

We bumped into a running friend who I had a natter to before heading across the road to the Promenade where the start was. We arrived at the start with about 15 minutes to spare, so I could enjoy watching the many warm ups and stretches being performed!

Before I knew it the man with the loud speaker was announcing the race was about to start.  I didn't need to jockey for position as it was a chip timed event so it really didn't matter if I started at the back.  

I was carrying my own drinks bottle as I remembered that last year there was a distict lack of water stations, and being such a hot day I decided I might need it!

With very little ceremony the race started and I was on my way! I was keen to get a PB but definitely wanted to beat last years time. It was much busier than last years race but there was still plenty space to run at a comfortable pace.  There was a small crowd of spectators early on giving encouragement but these soon dwindled out. 

The race started off going along the promenade for the first 1.5 miles, and unbelievably the first water station was at the end of the prom which seemed very early to me, but as I was carrying my own it really didn't matter!

The race went along the prom into Heysham before looping back, all on roads open to traffic.  There was a big car boot sale taking place in Heysham so this made the traffic in this area heavier than expected, but there were plenty Marshall's positioned at all the roads we had to cross so it wasn't an issue for me.  

Although the organisers were advertising the run as fast and flat I still managed to feel a few hills which they hadn't managed to iron out since last year! ;-)  

I found the heat difficult to contend with and was pleased when I turned back onto the promenade for the final push and discovered the second water station at around the 5 mile mark. I was so pleased I had carried my own!

I could feel I was slowing but I really didn't have anything left in my legs to push on! I could see the big polo tower which was close to the finish in the distance but I didn't seem to get any closer to it! 

At this point I could of done with some cheering clapping crowds to urge me on but there wasn't any in sight.  The prom benches housed a few OAP's who were probably wondering what was going on!  Even on the approach to the finish line although there were crowds around no one got into the occasion and there was very little encouragement!

I was delighted to cross the finish timing mat and stopped my garmin.  My garmin read 53:28, not a PB but over a minute faster than last year! However, for some strange reason, I think I must have suffered delusional thoughts brought on by sunstroke as I told everyone I got a PB! Which was a blatant lie!  

My official chip time was 53:26 and I was 6th in my age/sex catergory, 31st female and 134 overall out of 214 runners.  I'm not happy with my time but happy with my overall position!  I didn't do too badly after all! 

I was delighted to receive my medal, and then got a cold albeit small cup of water.

I had finished hot, sweaty and worn out but that's what races are all about! You can view my run here.

After cooling down and watching a few more finishers we headed off home - to be caught up in a traffic jam!  I was not impressed I was hot and sweaty and in desperate need of a shower and food!