So this is my first Half of the year and my first of 12 Half Marathons I hope to complete this year in aid of Scope. It's been a while since I've gone this distance and lets be honest here I'm not a distance runner. Never have been. In fact I'm not really a runner at all! I mean I did the 100m at school and even tried the 200m, but my thoughts at the time were simple; 100m is boring and well 200m is just twice as boring! Anyway, back in school my event was the hurdles, 110m I think they were in those days, and I loved it! I mean why would you want to run and just run? Where's the fun in that? But having hurdles to overcome, that is shear beauty; that seperates the men from boys! So, back to my point, I never thought distance running was for me, but as today proved, distance running is a challenge in itself. It's not a short, sharp blast of energy; it's a marriage of effort and endurance. You're not in and out in 14 secs (my 100m record) it's a lasting partnership between you and the road. Once you go for distances of 13.1 mile and beyond you're in for the long haul.
So why have a rivetted on for so long? Simple. These were the thoughts going through my head when I started out on this race. Tortential rain, a nice sharp cold breeze, beautiful puddles of mud and undulating hills, what more could you want for a Sunday morning race that gets you out of bed at 05:00? You get my point? Needless to say I was exhuasted on the drive down and had numerous micro sleeps behind the wheel. Poor form I know, but what did wake me up is opening my eyes to find I was on course for a head on collision with an oncoming car. Nice! These are the points where I wish I drank coffee!
I arrived at 08:10, which gave me pleanty of time to get myself sorted before the race; loo and a quick change into gear that would keep me warm if not dry! The course started on the running track and once they called us out of the nice, warm, dry clubhouse, I did a quick loop and a half (excuse the pun) to warm up. From the information I got in the post I knew it was one short loop and two longer loops to make up the 13.1miles. I didn't clock that the one short loop was the warm up loop I'd just run i.e. 1.5 loops of the track; doh! The interesting bit was when we finished our track loops and due to flooding had to go through a small gap in the fence instead of feeding out through the main path. We went one by one and yes we had to stop and wait to go through! Everyone was quite jolly about it though and there were remarks like "No PBs today then!", speak for yourself! The first loop was quite uneventful; mostly uphill not enough down to mention and lots of crossing back on forth on the road. The marshalling was great at these times; they stopped traffic over a 100m section of road to allow floods of runners to cross without breaking their stride. There were some serious puddles at points and on the first loop I missed all of them, but on the second loop I lost my footing twice and drenched my right and then left foot in floods of muddy water, great! I coped well and my squelchy feet didn't bother me too much until mile 12 where I had to stop to adjust my shoes. My feet were slipping inside them and my toes were getting a bruising! The last 3.1 miles I desperately tried to pick up the pace; I wanted to come in around 2:10 and I had some ground to make up. I kept telling myself that it was only a 5k race and I needed to pull my finger out, but heck, I knew I was lying! The 200m miles to go sign was a godsend and then I really brought it home and overtook two plodding runners on the way as well. A good race all in all, now just need to see what I can do on the flat!
Rodding Valley Half 2:10:40. Next 13.1 miler? Next Sunday 07-03-10; Nike MK Half!