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Kick up the backside

2 Sundays ago I ran the Windsor Half Marathon. 

I've been bimbling along with my training, slowly upping the mileage. I got to 8 miles, comfortable, slow, happy. Then we had a daft September full of socialising and weekends away (most unlike us!). Of course, I got a cold. Just as I should have been doing happy little 10 mile training runs, before tapering nicely for the half. 

Still, I recovered. Actually in under a week from snot-monster to running, so I was pretty pleased. Spent a week taking it easy and recovering, so with a week to go I was planning that 10 miles again. 

This time I got a stitch at 3 miles. Normally I just breathe through them and they go. This one migrated down my side and forced me to stop and swear for a bit. I limped on for another 3 very slow miles, and wimped out at 6 in total. The following day (Tuesday) I got a sore throat. Cue another 4 days of precautionary lemsip and no running, and I lined up for the start of the half. 

Which went predictably slowly. It was hotter than I thought, I didn't drink enough before the start, I haven't got the hang of drinking out of open cups on the run, and there were more hills than I'd bargained for. All of which are really excuses for being undertrained.


(Clarkie's photo, from near the end of the first mile.)

It took me 2 hours 48 minutes and 44 seconds. A bloody long time. My training times predicted 2.5 hours, I was optimistically hoping for a smidge faster. 

There were, however, positives. I finished. I pushed myself, I didn't drop out after the first lap, and I made it. I could walk the next day. My kit wasn't perfect, but my shoes and sock pretty much were. And I remembered just how bad a run can be when I'm underprepared. 

So, from here on in every run is important. No skipping. Don't feel well? I'll go a bit easy. Full on cold I'll have to skip some. Clearly I can't not catch colds. I am clearing them faster than ever though - poor Clarkie caught that sore throat from me, and its turned into a 2 week monster. 

I have mapped out the 14 weeks from here to the marathon (14 weeks yesterday). I've worked out the long runs and the rest weeks. It's a lot of miles for me, but with a combination of running and walking I'll manage them and I'll be substantially better prepared than I was for my last marathon. I ran just over 10 miles on Saturday in 1 hour 55, and it was hot but I found a shady path and I'm using a Camelbak now. 

Of course, I also have a small shed-load of coding to do and DPhil work to chug through. I have big dreams for what I can achieve before Christmas. I'm going to need some very simple knitting...

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