Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Great North Run Follow-up

It's been a little while since the Great North Run in Newcastle, but it's been a busy couple of weeks with my travel back to Portland after 2 and a half months in Europe. The race was a fantastic experience. I was excited to hit a solid half-marathon PR (62:04) in the middle of marathon preparation. In order to ensure that I didn't peek for this race and risk feeling flat in New York, I ran 145 miles the week before the race. This is a great indicator that training is heading in the right direction. The course was hilly, but the weather conditions allowed it to be a fast day across the board. We had a solid group working together through about 9 miles, which got me off to a fast start and forced me to dig those last few miles on my own. The first 5km was a little faster than I would liked, but I had to decide to go with the group or run alone for most of the race. While this made the last 5km of the race a bit rough, I believe I will be put in a similar situation in New York, making this an excellent tune-up race.

While I was pleased with my race, it was the atmosphere in Newcastle that made the experience for me. First, there were 55,000 runners lined up behind us for the same race. You could feel the energy at the starting line. Following a few words from Mo Farah, the speakers starting blasting "Highway to the Danger Zone" as a group of jets blew over our heads at low altitude with red, white, and blue smoke spewing from their engines just before the gun went off. The jets continued performing flybys for the entire morning to make sure everyone got to experience them. There were supporters for the entire duration of the point-to point race, which began in the city center and ended at the coast. The race organizers were fantastic to work with, and even with all the bells and whistles, made it obvious that their priority was to allow everyone to have their best possible race. I definitely hope to return to this race in the future.

With about 4 and half weeks until the ING New York Marathon, I'm in the last couple weeks of tough training before I really start to taper down. With training progressing well it's important for me to keep things on ice and make sure I don't burn myself out before November 4th. That's a nice position to be in.