Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Paris Half Marathon & overdue update

As per usual an update is long overdue! Firstly I will start with a race update from the half marathon I ran a couple of weeks ago...

I ran in the Paris Half Marathon Sunday 4th March, which fitted in well with my next trip to Kenya, I literally travelled out to Paris from Guernsey the day before the race, back to London straight after the race and then on to Kenya the following morning, I've clocked up some good air miles recently. I must admit when I arrived at race hotel in Paris I stood out a bit on the start list, as I was the only non-Kenyan or non-Ethiopian athlete, there was not even a french men on the elite list, well not unless you count my my french surname! It didn't bother though, I just wanted the opportunity to race as this was the only weekend were a raced fitted into my schedule and there are actually few good half marathon opportunities this early into March.

The race itself was a bit caged early on, with a slow first km (approx 3.10) and to be honest it didn't really get going until 5km, when the field was suddenly strung out due to quicker km of around 2.40. From about the 6km point I was on my own for the rest of the race, going through 10km in 30.00, feeling good though and at that point confident I could hold that pace and run something around 63.15. The course however was a little more up and down that I had expected, don't get me wrong its not the hilliest course in the world but there were a few long drags which meant a few km splits of around 3.15's rather than 3.00. After a few of those my 63min clocking unfortunately slipped away. I passed one Kenyan guy with 4km to go I ran out road with a further 3 or 4 guys starting to come back to me over the last couple of km's. I finish in 16th place in a time of 64.10. I was a little disappointed with the time but overall, given the course and recent heavy marathon training prior to the race it was strong enough and at least faster than marathon target pace for London. Perhaps in the future when marathon plans aren't the priority I find myself in a position to attack and nail a fast half marathon.

The Paris half was the start of 5 weeks away from home, something which clearly bothers me more than it bothers my 3 year old son Thomas. I usually bring him back a present each time I'm away from home for long periods, so this time I told him I would bring back some lego, he loves lego! In-fact I would go as far to say it's an unhealthy obsession for him at the moment, he will often spend hours building the stuff. Having told him I would bring some back, this was all that he was interested in talking about when I've called home, I have probably spoken to him 5 or 6 times since I've been away now and the first question ever time is always 'daddy have you got my lego yet!' I think it's also been driving my wife crazy as he has been asking Teresa about it every 5 minutes too. Little does he know we bought it before I left and that it's hidden in the bottom of the wardrobe. I also stupidly asked him a question of what he loves more daddy or lego, not even a pause! He said lego before I'd finished the sentence. I guess I shouldn't ask the question if you don't want to hear the answer! I don't think my daugher is missing me either, however she is only 7 months old so I won't hold that against her.

Other than missing the family, things have been going well out here, it's only been 3 weeks since I was here last and that made a big difference, with adaption time seeming to be a bit quicker this time around. I was also sleeping in my altitude tent when home to help maintain the benefits built up previous visits so I'm sure both these approaches have helped. Training and preparations for the marathon have been slightly different this time around compared with my previous marathons, with the idea being to extend the quality training at and around marathon pace. This has lead to the introduction of new training sessions, whilst still maintaining some of the work I have done in the past but I have been pleased with how these new sessions have gone.

Outside of training much of my time tends to be spent resting or asleep, so much so that the other athletes on the camp have commented that they only seem to see me at meal times. One of the major benefits of preparing on a camp like this is the extra rest that you are able to get and this can make a big difference to your recovery, which at altitude is event more important given your body is working harder even at rest. When not asleep I've been watching episodes of one my favourite TV programmes... 'The Inbetweeners', I love the fact that so many of the foreign athletes here are also into this programme. It seems that rude teenage humour is fairly easy to interpret.