Monday, 27 September 2010

A new Rain-PB

It took me 1:58:22 to complete the Berlin Marathon this year, nowhere near my goal of sub 1:40 due to pouring rain. You have to add about 10-15min to your time if you are lucky not to fall and all attempts at PBs can be forgotten right at the start. Some say this makes for a more relaxed race as people take it easier as the main goal is to get round in one piece. So when the rain started 2 hours before the race I was deliberating if I should start at all. I had said before I would not skate in the rain as it ruins all your bearings, wheels etc and is potentially dangerous as falls are likely. In the end I started anyway and I was glad I did even though my wheels/bearings are ruined once again and have to be replaced. But I was lucky enough to skate in a group that was guided by a very cheerful "Marathon-Guide" who kept working the crowds at the roadside so we got lots of cheers and really had fun.

When we met up for our practice sessions in the morning before the race though I was nearly thrown out of the 1:40 group by him. When you join this paceline project you have to turn up for the practice session and they try to get the group working together etc. Germans are not known to be very polite but rather direct so one was thrown out of the group straight away as he could not brake or turn. One girl was told to skate at the back as she was a liability and likely to fall and take the group with her if she was in the middle or the front. Somebody was sent down from a faster group as he did not make that cut. So there were 12 in our group and 3 guides. There were 5 girls in total with my usual problem that they were much smaller. It was difficult for our group to find a good rhythm so the "fun-guide" had the brilliant idea that the girls could skate together as they usually have a "similar rhythm". This is not true as it really depends on your stride. I objected as it would not give me any advantage having the wind right in my face as I was the tallest. I went for a short practice with them anyway and then he picked on me for moving my upper body too much. Yes, because I constantly had to adjust my rhythm. The next test was a 1km stretch at race pace, this time behind the guys. And I dropped off. Turned out he had gone at a slightly faster pace than race pace. Only: race pace for a 1:40 was my limit. So a few hours before the actual race I went back to the hotel for a rest rather deflated. Then the rain started. And it did not stop. I went to the start with Don who was in a different group. When I found my group I refused to get in-line with the girls and stayed with the guys in 3rd position, then in 4th as one wanted to be in front probably thinking I would keep him back. Ha! Then we started and shortly after the big group fell apart and there were only 6 left at the front including myself. Turned out that the guy in front was actually flagging a few times and a gap kept opening. Eventually we changed positions and found a good rhythm. And right from the start it was clear that we would be nowhere near our target time and we were told to just "enjoy the ride"! And I must admit the guide really made sure we did. We also had a motorbike with us filming our group for Skate-TV (DVD available later in the year!). Eventually we lost a few and there were only 4 left. After 30km the guy in front started to get tired and eventually was dropped even though we slowed down a few times for him and I tried to push him up a small incline once! Another one fell but due to the weather and no PBs we slowed down and let him catch up. We crossed the finish line together and were really happy as we actually had a fun race despite the weather and the time. At least it was still a sub-2hours!

Here are the stats:

There were 2974 male finishers and 1324 female finishers. I was in position 372 from 1324 girls with a time of 1:58:22. Last time I did a marathon in the rain I was over 2 hours so a new rain record for me.

You can watch my finish here. I am in the middle of the line of 5.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

SUMS 2010

Yesterday was not only the final race of the Scottish Ultra Marathon Series but also the Ball with the prize giving ceremony of this first SUMS-Championship. The venue in Ayr Townhall was very nice and the evening was a great success. As was the whole SUMS! So a big thank you to all those who made its first year possible!

And Thomas did very well in his ultra races this year. Not only did he finish his 1st WHWR but he came 5th overall in the SUMS Championship (having done the required 4 races with the Double Marathon, the Fling, the WHWR and the Devil) after Grant Jeans, Jack Brown, Marco Consani (superb!) and George Cairns. And he brought home a very nice price indeed for coming 2nd in the Vet category! So great achievement and well done!!

What next?

Well, we are off to Berlin next weekend for the Berlin Marathon. I will be doing the Inline Marathon on Saturday afternoon and Thomas is on the start list for Sunday's run. Up to last week he was on target to attempt another PB. Unforunately this has been halted by a bad chest infection that is not shifting. So at the moment he cannot run (or speak for that matter as his voice has also disappeared) and we will have to wait and see how he is in a few days. But a PB in Berlin is far away just now.

Myself I am also targetting a new PB - if I manage not to catch whatever he has got! Last year I had a great race coming in after only 1:41 when I was trying to get under 1:50. So this year I have signed up for the 1:39 paceline! Though I am not as fit as last year and have not done as much skating as last year I will see if I can keep up with that pace group. It would just be fantastic to do it, but it is very optimistic. But on a dry day with no wind - who knows what is possible ... My 2 Scottish fellow skaters will go for 1:49 and 1:29 respectively so here is hoping we all have a great time! It is a bit late for me to invest in bigger wheels at the Expo as I will not have enough time to get used to them but that would certainly help me with my target as most of the others in my group will probably skate with 100mm wheels. I only have 90mm ones. But no excuses! I managed 1:41 last year so bring on Berlin!