So another couple of weeks have gone by and the Marathon looms so much closer! Since the Watford half back at the beginning of Feb I have been training 3 times a week – 1 track night, 1 gym night and a weekend run.
None of them have been as hard or as far or as fast as I would have like or perhaps as they should have been, but none the less I have been training. And it shows!
On the 28th Feb, with my good friend Jason, I went and ran (with Kate in support too!) the Tunbridge Wells half marathon – a challenging ‘hilly’ run and in awful weather conditions!
The drive to Tunbridge was abysmal – with heavy rain and spray we could hardly see anything. We got there and its was still pouring, with the pathway from the car park to the rave HQ running like a stream. This was not good. I have never been a keen bad weather runner – preferring warmer, dryer conditions.
However, I was not too daunted and Jason’s spirits were high – so we joined the masses and got ready.
Having done the Watford run in 2hrs 15 and knowing this was a tougher course, and then taking the weather in to consideration, I was aiming for anything under 2hr 30mins. I didn’t want to go over that regardless of the conditions.
With Dame Kelly Holmes on the starting gun, we set off on time and Jason dragged me a long to a 8.5 minute first mile – much quicker than I usually run! We slowed a little over the next couple of miles but rain or no, the run felt good.
There were parts of the course, on country roads, where the entire road was flooded in many inches of water and where there was no choice but to run through it which lead to cold wet, HEAVY feet. Still, we continued on – knowing that the first half was mainly down hill but looking forward to the 6 mile mark where we knew the first Major hill was – and then had to endure another MUCH BIGGER hill directly after that.
With Jason pulling me onwards we cruised up the first hill without too much of a problem and enjoyed ‘bouncing’ down the other side and picking up some speed, but then BANG. The big one. God damn it that hill was long. 🙂 I tried my best but I just couldn’t make it all the way up and swapped from a struggling run to a fast paced, long striding walk. But just before the peak Jason once more got me running and we continued on.
From there on in, it was actually a fairly good run. The rain had eased off and by mile 11 had all but stopped – the hills had calmed down and Jason was keeping my spirits up (as well as all the Marshals – he said hello and thank you to EVERY SINGLE ONE).
The last mile was lovely. All down hill and I knew at that point I was OK – I could knew I could have run a little further too (if not any faster) so everything was looking good. At about 12.5 miles we came across a young lady who was starting to flag but Jason started chatting to her and encouraging her on which really helped her out – and we all sped up a little.
We even managed a little bit of a sprint finish 🙂
So how did I do? 2hrs 11 mins 47 Seconds. FASTER THAN WATFORD!