From experience I know that I find running hard for about a week after giving blood. After donating a pint last night, I lowered my expectations and set off for just an easy 3 miles this morning. I was expecting my heart rate to be high, but to misquote Tony Hancock I think the lovely nurses at the blood doning session took a legful of blood from me last night. I felt so heavy-legged it was unbelievable. Luckily it was a beautiful sunny morning which took my mind off my legs. Warm sun on my arms and legs, and cold dew on my feet. Magical.
Do you give blood? Do you find it affects your running? Maybe I’m just a wimp!
It’s official. Summer has gone. I ran my first race with the temperature in single figures last week. For the past two days I’ve run in the cold and wet. Someone found this blog by searching for “thick oozy mud”. My trainers are currently sat under the kitchen radiator looking very sorry for themselves, and I was seriously considering wearing gloves this morning.
The clincher is that I’ve put my running shorts away. Even my lovely new Crewroom shorts have been packed away and my capris and tights have been pulled from the back of the drawer.
So that’s it folks – it’s all over until next April.
Oh hang on – I’ve just heard the weather forecast. Apparently it’s going to be barbecue weather by the weekend. Now where did I put those running shorts ….
The morning of the Cricklade half marathon, 2014. A lack of pre-race nerves meant minimal pre-race “night before” preparation, which led to me dashing around the kitchen on Sunday morning, eating porridge with one hand whilst grabbing drinks and snacks with the other. The half full box of gels I’d been saving turned out to be mostly out of date, but the two I’d managed to salvage had completely disappeared overnight. As a last resort I grabbed the remains of a bag of Veggie Percy Pigs as I shot out of the house.
Cricklade is a very pretty little town that I hadn’t visited before, and although I parked about fifteen minutes walk away from the race HQ I simply followed the other runners to find it. (Runners are easy to spot on race day). At the start I was spotted by a good friend of mine who was doing the 10K. It was lovely to have a hug and a ‘good luck’ when I’d travelled there on my own. I lined up by the start, and by the time I’d contemplated how adrenaline stops you feeling cold when you’re dressed in shorts and t-shirt in 7 degrees centigrade, we were off.
For a small half marathon it wasn’t surprising that the roads weren’t closed. What was surprising was how busy it was. Runners, cyclists, horses as well cars made for an interesting route. The 10K runners set off after the half marathoners, so we had a stream of faster runners passing us. Although distracting, it did mean I got to see my friend again and have another quick word.
The course was an out-and-back route with a couple of loops but despite this it wasn’t dull. We got to see the leaders heading back whilst we were still plodding out, and we got to run between the lakes of the Cotswold Water Park as well as through pretty villages and under autumnal trees. The water stations were at interesting places, coming add they did at 1.5 miles, 5.5 miles, 7.5 miles, 10.5 miles and then 11.5 miles. I knew I would need water to wash my Percy Pigs down, so from the 5.5 mile stop onwards as soon as I saw a sign saying ‘Drinks Ahead’ I grabbed a couple of Percies from my pocket, stuffed them in my mouth and chewed frantically whilst taking a cup of water. The disadvantage to eating sweets was that I really needed the water as my mouth felt so sticky, but sugar obviously helped because I was feeling strong, and only felt tired coming up to mile 9, a distance that I always struggle at. A good talking to myself soon sorted that out.
As I was finally heading back to Cricklade I could see the church spire above the trees and houses and I could feel it calling me to the finish. The slight incline up the High Street felt like an enormous hill coming as it did in the last mile, but really it was the only slope on the course. I knew my time was good, but I was amazed when I stopped my Garmin and saw 2:09:31.
I had finally beaten my PB from last year’s Devizes Half and taken 3 minutes and 33 seconds off my time.
As I slowly walked around the field at the finish line to stretch my legs I confess I had a little tear in my eye. I blinked hard, looked up, and saw a small plane performing acrobatics over my head.
Thanks for the celebration, and a huge “Well done” to me AND to Percy Pig!
It has not been a year of races. For once Mr B&T has earned more medals from cycling events than I have from running. Time to do something about that! So, this Sunday I’m running in the Cricklade Half. Online friends told me it was flat which sounded good to me. Then a ‘real’ friend told me because of the potential for a PB the race is full of speedy club runners. This didn’t sound so appealing. Then my electrician told me about the big hill near the end which was not good news. (I hope you like how I’m taking advice from so many people).
Normally I’m a bundle of nerves before a race. Frantically sorting out what to wear, planning how to get there, obsessively reading race reports to try and glean any sort of ‘insider info’ that might help, along with imaginery ailments really wears me out in the week beforehand.
I’ve not run a half marathon since October last year, when I ran the Devizes Half in torrential conditions. Funnily enough, I’m not feeling nervous about Sunday. Maybe my brain thinks I can always bail out like I did for the Chippenham Half four weeks ago. Maybe I’m in complete denial because I’ve forgotten just how hard a half marathon is. Maybe I’m finally pleased just to be making it to a race this year, knowing I’ll run the best I can on the day. Maybe.