So I had entered Reading Half Marathon which took place yesterday.... and decided a couple of weeks ago that actually I had not been doing anywhere near enough training to warrant my entry, wouldn't be close to achieving a PB and actually would probably risk an injury if I tried. I did what can only be described as the worst 7miles easy of my life a couple of weeks ago just to make sure and decided that it would be foolish to even attempt the half.
With that in mind I did a comfortable easy - tempo 5 miles on Saturday down by the river before watching a rather "bitty" game of hockey.... You can imagine my surprise then to find myself getting up Sunday morning and digging out my race number....
BUT with the request from a friend (little Westie from the hockey club) to have some company and someone to pace off (or she'd be endanger of going off way to fast), I decided another little tempo effort would be in order and that I would have the discipline to invoke PLAN A - ie to stop around the 5mile mark and jog back to the finish for a total of 8 mile-ish long run. Popey on the other hand had the CRAZY idea that she would pace little Westie the whole way round (this from the person who was less prepared then me, although a much finer athlete then I, and who none the less had done a 3mile tempo on Friday and had played a game of hockey in the heat of Saturday).... and so it was... a lovely little morning for a "jog" ;)
This is us at the start... little Westie looking pretty in pink (and white) leading the charge at the start with me in the cap in the foreground and Popey just the other side smiling at the camera. We were smiling here as it was the start.... I think mine lasted about another 10 paces ;)
It was clear from the start that little Westie was indeed capable of getting totally caught up in the excitement of it all as we had to reign her back in several times in the first few miles from an 8min 20s mile pace back to 9min mile pace ... even on the steep climb out of Whitley!
I have to say during my little stint at times I did think the LUDICROUS thought of carrying on to the end.... although this wouldn't have been a PB kind of day and my heart was already in my mouth by Mile 4 ... despite this I was enjoying the feeling of a mass running event... it's been nearly 2 years since I did one of those at London Marathon in 2009.... we hit the 5mile marker bang on cue at 45mins... However, a little twinge on my hamstring warned and reminded me that this year is not about doing a "little" (ha ha that's like A LOT at the moment).. 13.1mile run this weekend and that actually that probably wasn't too sensible a thing to do...
..So with a little reluctance I decided that PLAN A was indeed a good one... so I handed Westie one of my gels (she had none!) and told her if she could stomach it throw it down around mile 8-9 and I peeled off to the side of the runners with the noise of the band playing a deep beat under the Reading Ring Road and came to a brief halt... time enough to turn my t-shirt inside out (I didn't want people to think I was cheating so wanted to not show my number)... and took a little solo jog down the canal (which was filled with a surreal peacefulness given how hectic and crowded the run route was).... I re-emerged onto the run route at about mile 11 (as I need to get back to the start/ finish area) and found myself jogging near runners who would be hitting about a 1hr 20ish half marathon. AWESOME. They so blew me away ... and there was me barely 7.5miles into my little Sunday jog... ha ha ha...
I made my way to the stadium (although clearly not into the stadium for the finish!)... and managed to get into the runners exit so I could hand my timing chip back and pick up a foil blanket (as I was a bit cold by then).... I did get offered a medal but clearly and rightly refused it!!! I did see some of the usual gang of Reading Half runners, with Steve posting a 1hr 22 time, Dan (with no training.. how very dare he...) post a time of 1hr 36 ... missed Keith post his 1hr 53. ... With some sneaky help I even managed to get a press pass for the finish area in the stadium only to completely miss both Popey finishing in 1hr57'58 and Westie doing what was the aim.. a sub 2-hour and a PB with it of 1hr59'09 .. which was BRILLIANT!
So a good day was actually had by all..... Followed the run with good company and a lovely pile of Fish and Chips (in my case) in Henley and celebrated in the evening with a fishfinger and chip butty accompanied with a glass of champagne (if only I had such discipline in my diet it would make this running thing a whole lot better/ easier!)
Anyway - give my decision to not run Reading I had already entered a few other races... .so here is the current swim/ bike/ run race calendar (thus far) for 2011, will probably be sneaking in the odd bike TT and maybe a shorter distance tri at some point (just to remind me what transition is!);
02 May: Shinfield 10k (Run)
15 May: L'Etape Caledonia (82mile Cycle Sportive)
12 Jun: Magnificat (82mile Cycle Sportive)
10 Jul: New Forest 10 (10miles Run)
17 Jul: High Wycome Half (13.1miles Run)
21 Aug: ETU Long Course - Finland (Expecting 4k/ 120k/ 30k)
05 Nov: ITU Long Course - US of A (Expecting 4k/ 120k/ 30k)
Such an exciting year ahead.