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Cambridge half marathon

Way back pre-marathon, this race showed up. I can't remember where I found out about it, but as soon as I did it was a Must Run. Dad used to do the Cambridge half when I was growing up, but they stopped running them. This was the first in something ridiculous like 17 years.

I think when I signed up I had this image that I'd have completed the marathon, bounced back to full and happy health and be training lots, so a half would be easy. I mean, it's only a half. And Cambridge is so flat, it struck me as something of a PB possibility. Of course, as it happens it's not worked out like that. I completed the marathon right enough, but never quite got back into full training. I've been knackered this term. People have been telling me I look wiped out for weeks now, and frankly everything has suffered as a result. So once again I rocked up to do a race with somewhat less than perfect training (nothing over 8.5 miles since January), some impressive blisters (I must write about that), and somewhere around 3/4 lung capacity (I may have to admit that chest infection has made my asthma worse and go back to the doctor).

To add to the excuses list, I cunningly also forgot my trainers. Given that I have two pairs of road trainers sitting at home this was particularly stupid. Ok, so one of them is giving me blisters after about 5 miles, but the other pair are totally good for more miles yet. But no, I forgot both. So I had to break all the rules and go out and buy a new pair. I ended up with this fetching pair of bright yellow Inov-8 Road-x 155s. They feel a lot like slippers, which is great, but they do have a 3mm heel drop. Inov-8 do a 0mm drop shoe now, but nowhere in Cambridge stocked it.

Inov-8 Road-X 155

I do know you're not supposed to do a long run in new shoes, but I had no choice and besides, it's only a little half...

Then my stomach started playing up. I think if I'd thrown up I'd have said enough and not run. As it was, I gratefully accepted some Immodium and got to the start.

I think in the end all of that took the pressure off. It was a beautiful morning, the route was very central Cambridge and was mostly fabulous architecture, the river, various greens and lots of my student stomping grounds. There were no tricky hills - I know it had Garret Hostel bridge twice, but these days I've met a few more 'proper' hills - and I just pottered my way gently round. It shows in the photos. I seem to be beaming in almost all of them. I had a slightly rough patch around 10 miles, so I gave myself a talking to, ate a shortbread biscuit and got on with it.


(I love the two people in the background who seem so utterly aghast at my shoes...)

My long-suffering support crew was out and about again, this time armed with a banner and a Brompton for getting between sighting spots.


Apparently the banner got a lot of comments from the total strangers, so that's good. Normski's an old school friend of mine, who always used to kick my arse at cross country (not hard) and unsurprisingly did again here. I didn't manage to see her at all, but Clarkie did. She was running with her brother in memory of their nan.

Also a shout out to some people I ran with and chatted to who were running for a girl at their school who had a brain tumour, and a woman who was running as a warm up for London, which she was doing in memory of a friend's husband who died of pancreatic cancer. All these people running for good causes, and there's me just doing it for me. Of course, the plus of being slow is having time to chat!

I finished in 2 hours 39 minutes, which is 15 minutes slower than my PB (set in Reading 2005) and 15 minutes faster than my PW (set in Reading in 2006 - and not including the one I didn't finish). I'm happy with that! I'm also nearly at the end of term and have some downtime planned, so hopefully energy levels will be somewhat restored soon,

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