Janathon came and went and I made it half way.... *sigh*.... started stumbling just due to work pressures and then I got flu so that just ended it all really... two and a bit weeks of being pathetic, although to be fair for 3 days I (well we actually because we both went down with it) had high fever, aches, pains and general nastiness ..... so that really wiped me out frankly.
Which brings me to actually the main topic of conversation for the blog which is a race report (gasp! shock! horror!) for Wokingham half marathon... I say race in a loose version of the word. Whilst there were plenty of people chasing each other and PBs there were (in turns out from several coversations on course) quite a few of us just seeing what we could do and enjoying a little run on a wonderful winters day.
Background then: This time last year I had an entry to Wokingham Half and had sort of done some focused run training.... then it rained (and rained and rained and rained) and the race was cancelled because the roads were under a couple of metres of water. The race was cancelled quite at the last minute so my friends who had entered still came up and we had a bit of a social gathering and fun run anyway. The good folks of Wokingham Half though carried everyones' entry into this years race (I guess they had an insurance policy which paid out).... So one year later and coming off the back of having flu and little to no training the preceeding weeks it was here again.
Now I confess - I was actually thinking running the race wouldn't be a terribly good idea. I had made it to 10miles a couple of times in my training but not for some weeks. With the flu I did nothing for two weeks - so I gave myself a test run of 20mins 9 days beforehand - recovered ok from that. Then the week before I did a long run - 8miles which took 1hr30... so was pretty slow and the thought of another 5 miles was frankly a little ludicrous.... BUT then I saw my training plan...
My coach - who does know best - basically had scheduled the race and basically said relax don't worry about it and enjoy it.... WTF
My thoughts... " Really - "enjoy" it.... Really.... Hasn't he seen all the RED missed session in training peaks... does he not understand how long it took me to do 8 miles... Enjoy... ennnnnjoyyy PAH!.... sigh... but if he thinks I should that means he thinks I can so maybe I could ... OK THEN I'm BACK IN!!"
Friends arrived and my plan was to enjoy a day out. We were luckily blessed with stunning winter weather - cold but bright and glorious - if it had been dull, cold and raining I'm not sure the prospect of a 13 mile adventure would have been so enjoyable. My better half who was marshalling then text to say she would be at station 10 - which was a perfect place for a drop out at mile 10 if I needed. I wasn't feeling proud and given my state I did go into the run leaving myself options to bail out if I wasn't feeling it or if I felt unwell.
.. and so we gathered.. stripped off and put kits bags in tents - shivered and found a sunny spot in amongst the queue to get warm before the start! Jules was aiming for 1:30, Sue for under 2 and me for whatever it was - give my run the week before I was thinking 2;20-2:30 would be about right. My plan was to run at a comfortable HR, keeping it below or around 148 for the first half and then whatever... I had two gels which I planned to have around 7.5 and 15k. I had my Garmin on but the only view I was looking at was cadence and HR. Time and pace were not of any concern... and more then anything else... the aim was to ENJOY and do what I could.
Without a blow by blow account the following graphic kind of sums it up... Before the hill between mile 10-11 the only walking I did was vaguely just to have a sip of water....
Approaching the 10mile marker someone's phone went off announcing in a computersed female voice "10miles in 1hr 47mins" .... and I have to say it totally pysched me out... Not only was there a bloody great big hill (ok slope but that the time it looked like a mountain) ahead of me but I literally thought "shit - it's taken me that long and I thought I was going ok, so it will be at least another 30mins"... so frankly it demoralised me quite some. And despite the nun who ran past me I doubted a bit and lost faith.... I took on some water at the aid station ... walked a bit on the up over the motorway bridge... jogged on and then .. because other people were.. I walked on towards the top of the hill. Hurumph... The Nun and I ran near each other every now and again which was quite good fun as they were getting some good support... but eventually I pulled away (relatively speaking)... I was now counting down the kms to the end... I played cat and mouse with several runners the last 2-3k which helped just keeping the rythm going... arriving towards the home straight I had a good shout out from some supporters from my Tri Club and further down from Jules (who had come an agonizing 40s outside his sub 1:30)... I trundled towards the line with my arms aloft very happy to have finished... only for a little lady to come flying past... well I wasn't about to be beaten on the line so we ended up sprinting together I'm sure I got the photo finish ;).... we ended up with the same clock time and had a laugh and gave each other a hug as we crossed the finish mats... it was quite a funny end.
I then turned my watch off and was more then a little surprised to see my final time was 2:11:42 ... so whilst not close to a PB actually much better then I thought and expected. Once downloaded I saw to my 10k time was a surprising 59:57 and more surprising 1:38:27 for 10miles... You can see my pace slowed quite a bit in the second half which is not surprising and my HR going higher as I carried on (no surprise there)
Ulimately I was very happy to have got out and tried and was very surprised by the result. My form however must have gone to pot the last few miles - I battered two toes such that I have two blue nails (yuk) and I spent the next two days walking down the stairs backwards (it was the only way)... So the coach was right ... the weather was excellent.... and we all had lots of fun. Jules missed his time by seconds few and Sue ended up somewhere around 1:55 having taken it easy - excellent result.
It was a good race and not massively busy which was good. Also the atmosphere and camaraderie for the runners around me was really great - so I thank them for their support as well as all those supporters on the course.
Apparently my coach thinks I will be able to run 1hr 30 tomorrow.... he is hilarious.... but I have been walking forwards down stairs for a few days now so who knows - there is only one way to find out!