Rogue Races

Google "Rogue, running" & this is what you get...

Google “Rogue, running” & this is what you get…

Have you ever run a Rogue Race? You know, when all of your other races and times have occasionally shown tiny signs of progress but out of the blue, you pull off a performance to end all performances. It will definitely be a PB performance, but with hindsight it might feel more like a case of a PBTDWNBIU (personal best that doubtless will never be improved upon). And I’m not talking about the latest race in a “hot streak” where you just can’t help getting faster every time you pin on a race number. It has to be out of the blue and preferably unprepared for.

My Rogue Race was the Worcester Half a Marathon in 2012. I’ve already blogged about it here. The Rogue Race happened after a shocking lack of planning and preparation (I didn’t decide to do it until the night before and it was 120 miles away from where I live. To warm up, I stood in a freezing country lane for half an hour). 1:49:09 might not be much of a big deal in many runners’ schemes of thinking but it’s haunted me ever since. I tend to use this time as a yardstick to measure every running-related thing I’ve subsequently tried to achieve and so far, it’s always led to disappointment.

7 months after the Rogue Race, I did another half marathon, one I’d chosen because it was reported to be generally flat with a downhill finish. I’d trained for this event specifically and quietly hoped to improve on my best ever time. I finished the race over 3 minutes slower than the Rogue Race.

To really rub it in, I put the Rogue Run time into Runner’s World Race Time Predictor calculator to see how fast I should be able to do a range of other distances in and then see how I might fare if the Rogue Race was not a freak one off. This what I found:

Distance Rogue Race Predicted Time Bog Standard Actual Time
Marathon 3:47:34 4:28:57
Half Marathon 1:49:09 1:49:09
10K 49:31 50:41
5 Miles 39:19 41:31
5K 23:45 24:14

“Bog standard” clearly needs to buck it’s ideas up.

So what next – will the Rogue Run be a motivator or a weight around my neck? It’s kind of putting me off committing to another half marathon next month but I’m slowly talking myself into it. Using the Rogue Race pace I accidentally beat my 5 mile PB during a training run last Saturday. It wasn’t easy but I felt like progress. However, the thought of keeping that going for another 8 miles was pretty much out of the question.

Have you ever run a Rogue Race? Have you slowly come to terms with it being your one, never to be repeated moment of glory? Or did it spur you on, eventually turning it into just another Run-of-the-Mill race?

Vicarious Runs #4 – Worcester Half Marathon 15th April 2012

image Once again, I block out the disappointment of not being able to do any races this spring by reliving some of the glories and shambles of my recent running past.

As I continued to prepare for my debut marathon, my seemingly obsessive compulsive disordered approach to following a training plan created a bit of a problem in mid-March 2012. On the 15th March I just had to do a half marathon but a forensic search of the Internet failed to drum up any suitable events remotely near to where I live. One very long listed option was the first ever Worcester Half Marathon which just happens to be on its second edition today.

The downsides included a lonely 120 mile early morning drive, but one upside was that my West Midlands roots made it almost feel like a bit of a “homecoming”. Unlike previous efforts I ummed and ahhed about whether to sign-up for days on end. It was not until the eve of the race, in the middle of cooking a massive curry, that I finally decided to go for it. Therefore, instead of the traditional wholewheat pasta with tomato and red pepper sauce carb loading extravaganza, I prepared with chicken tikka masala, daal, home made naan bread and rice, not the worst pre-race option but one that would inevitably lead to some delicate TTT planning the following morning.

The Worcester Half Marathon recapped:

1. TTTs are comparatively easy if you set out early enough for a long motorway journey. Service stations oblige quite nicely thanks and allow you to stock up on post-race snacks (for more information on TTTs go here)

2. I discovered the concept of “event haterzzz” after this great morning spent in beautiful countryside flooded with spring sunshine. Rather than going home with a feeling of satisfaction and then putting up their feet, the haterzzzz have to log onto Runner’s World and slag off the organisation of the race they’ve just participated in. There were problems with queues for paid parking but curried up rundontrun was there at the crack of dawn, got issued with his last-minute race number without being charged (don’t worry, I pointed this out and coughed up) and got to the start way before the point at which some of the more laid back locals were still queueing in their cars to get into the venue. One of the haterzzz allegedly “froze” because of the 15 minute delay at the start. Other criticisms made by the haterzzz included the flimsy security of the bag-drop area (when they all had cars to lock their stuff in anyway), occasionally missing mile markers, marshals not being willing to give them a piggyback when they got tired and there not being enough for the spectators to do (race organisers bear this in mind when planning your event – remember to budget for a free fun fair for the kiddies)*

3. If the haterzzz hate Worcester then this race is a good option. It goes nowhere near The place.

4. Bad or no preparation doesn’t necessarily equal bad performance. I somehow managed to get a PB. I tried and failed to improve on this later in 2012, after weeks of planning and training for a half marathon deliberately chosen because it looked “easier”.

5. Missing mile markers I can handle but signs saying “Scrumpy” mixed with curry related dehydration could quite easily be my downfall in slightly different circumstances.

6. Races that double up as both half and full marathons (like this one did) are odd occasions. It’s possible to overtake people who look and are twice as fit as yourself, not realising they’re saving themselves to run the whole route again as your energy’s pretty much hitting zero. I also felt a bit of fraud wearing the otherwise rather fetching finishers’ t-shirt, constantly feeling the need to say “of course I only did the half you know” to passing admirers. No my time to finally wear a marathon finishers’ t-shirt with genuine pride was yet to come and will inevitably be the subject of Vicarious Runs #5…

*Okay, I made up one of these complaints