Autumn Shakespeare Half Marathon – tick!!
As expected, it was a tough one today: four-and-a-bit laps of an uninspiring disused airfield that – if I’m honest – I wasn’t particularly well prepared for having only run one 9-miler in recent weeks. It was made even more mentally challenging by the cold, wind, rain and the fact that I forgot my iPod so didn’t even have any motivational tunes to keep me going!
But still, I did it! I finished in an official chip time of 2:07:08, which is some minutes off my personal best (1:59), but I’ll still take that under the circumstances!
The course was pancake flat, which I thought would make it seem easy(er!?), but I guess I like hills! I felt like I was constantly pushing forwards, like being on a mechanical treadmill; although there was no uphill slog at any point, there was no let-up either. There were also potholes to avoid and some hairpin turns to negotiate.
But I’ll try not to sound too negative –there were some positives! The repetitive course wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be, in fact counting the distance in laps rather than miles-to-go was good for the mind and made it seem shorter. Also, I didn’t know until this morning that my brother-in-law Howard and our friends Angela and Rich were doing the 10km course, so it was lovely to see them at the start, and even lovelier that they all stayed in the cold and wet to cheer me on for an hour after they’d finished! They all got PBs too, which is amazing!
I made a running buddy at around the 2-lap mark; a guy from Birmingham whose name I didn’t actually get (I’ll look him up in the results when they’re out!), but it was his first ever half marathon, he hadn’t done any training for it, and he was hoping to finish in under 2 hours. I thought this was maybe a bit ambitious, but he seemed to be keeping up a good pace, so I tried to stick by his side. At first he was the one keeping me going – had I been alone I definitely would have slowed up, so I guess it was good to be challenged! I was also getting very tired by this point, and he kept coming out with motivational quotes and telling me I was doing well so this helped to spur me on.
At the start of lap 4 my buddy slowed up to grab some water while I pressed on, but he soon caught me up again. However, I could tell that for all his earlier motivational quotes and bravado about having done no training, he was now the one suffering.
Meanwhile, I’d had an energy gel (thank you organisers!) and although I was still tired, I managed to keep up the faster pace we’d set. I lost him right near the end and he eventually finished about a minute behind me. Still, I am very grateful to him for keeping me going during the hardest bit of the run! Imagine what he could have done if he’d trained!?
Oh, and today’s run takes me across another milestone – I now have less than 200 miles of the 1000 mile challenge left to run!!! Yippeee!!!
I will be putting another £10 in my fundraising pot, and if you have any spare change and would like to do the same, you can do so here: https://www.justgiving.com/LisarunningforCALM.