Monday, 14 November 2011

Doing things by halves

So immediately following my trip to Italy, I ran a half marathon. My feet had been playing up a little which I put down to scrambling over cobblestones in vibram five fingers. The half was organised by Purple Patch Running whom I had never heard of before but am now such a fan that I might go on holiday with them to run more. It’s an addiction folks.

The location was Uxbridge – a part of the country that likes to think it’s London because the tube goes there but really isn’t. It was a beautiful autumnal day, the kind you’d want to run 13 miles in even if you didn’t. I have to admit I was a bit nervous when I got there. Girls never tend to do events on their own (what is up with us woman folk?!) so you end up standing around like a lost pony amongst gabbling groups of girl friends and smiling nervously at some lone man who looks like he runs marathons for breakfast.

The course was very slow; canal towpaths being generally single file and the one or two stiles and locks we had to navigate proved a bottleneck robbing at least 45 seconds of time. But a sense of order quickly followed and it was useful to pick people to keep on the pace of or keep up with. I was careful to only let men pass me (there's got to be some element of competition!) and held my pace confidently as I moved up the ranks.

Feet behaved marvellously, I was beginning to think the problem is when I walk, not when I run! Fitness was great – being so close to other competitors I realise how other people sound like they are seconds away from a cardiac arrest. I kept deliberately conservative, not wanting to aggravate the broken toe any further (naturally it got stubbed in Italy and was a bit tender!)

Despite the route being spectacularly beautiful (who would know there are lakes in Uxbridge) I did get bored around mile 11. But mile 12 proved a bit of a slug so I had something to focus on. The last half a mile always seems like an ordeal and even at the 400m sign I couldn’t see the finish and hard to work at it. For some reason I depended to do a real sprint finish– not for any timing reasons but just because that is what one does, no? The result is some spectacularly awful gurning pics as I heaved my way to the finish line.

My time, including all stops for traffic, congestion etc was 2:11 and given that I had lots more in my legs and plenty of fire in my belly if I needed to keep running, I was really pleased. The feet and toes were happy and only my right IT band was whingeing.

Hooray for halves. I've got to do another one this weekend...(and a 15km the following day!)

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