Sunday 15 January 2012

A Run of Two Halves

Today was scheduled to be a real strain of a day - with the Not the Roman IX 12km road race followed by an easy trail half to get home.  The sun shone bright, the day was calm, cold, and crisp.  We got out early to have plenty of time for picking up chips & numbers, with a lift to the race from fellow EVRC runner Adam.  Planning to have a fairly quick race, Nic and I set out for a steady warm-up with 30 minutes to go before the start.

The race started fairly steadily, as I eased through the many runners who kindly started far too close to the front for their pace.  The first two miles are essentially flat with a few nice wobbles to keep it interesting.  Then comes the 1.5 mile steady climb, where those who overcooked the start generally pay for their mistake.  Two and a half miles of mostly downhill give plenty of time to pick up time.  Today, I enjoyed the speed, but seem to have aggravated my hip.  No problem during the race, but it certainly wasn't going to make for an easy jog home.  The final 2km are basically one-up-one-down.  Another chance to pick up places as legs began to tire. At about 1km to go, I realised that I had a small chance to break 50 minutes, so pushed a little harder than I'd planned.  After all, I'd be a bit annoyed if I didn't at least give it a shot in the final stages.  In the end, I was a few seconds too slow, but the finish was exhilarating from the effort.  It turns out that this was the fastest average pace I'd ever managed in anything over 5km.  It felt pretty fluid, so I'm over the moon with the result.

Once Nic had finished, Adam and I retrieved the kit from the car, including birthday cake (this race is the closest to my birthday, so it's nice to celebrate with friends).  Luckily, this year I avoided the sing-song and we dug straight into Nic's chocolate cake - delicious!

A quick change into dry tops and trail shoes and Nic and I started walking back home.  Once we felt a bit looser, we eased into a slow jog.  My hip didn't really feel like loosening up, so I decided to enjoy the sunshine and hope for the best.  The trail south from Stratford-upon-Avon covers some excellent scenery, and was generally quite good to run on.  But, after 9 miles, as we sat to change into road shoes in the hope of getting home faster (due to my dodgy hip - is it the ageing?), I decided to call it a day.  I'd been limping for miles, and I decided that at best, I was only going to end up properly injured with a series of marathons & ultras on the way.  Luckily, our fabulous neighbour Mark had arrived home just in time to come and rescue us.

Certainly, a run of two halves - first a surprising course PB for me (and a huge course PB for Nic).  Then, the body gave up the ghost before we finished our long, slow "cool-down".  Given the surprise of the morning, I think I'll just try to forget about the afternoon and carry on!

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