14 June 2006

Bridges Race

What an excellent way to spend a lunch hour! Having tried this event (http://www.optimisefitness.com/bridges/) today, I'm going to be a regular in the future, and already have one colleague lined up to run it next month too. It's not a route I would have run otherwise, but although it goes in the unfashionable direction (that is, west from Westminster Bridge) it does have the advantage that the crowds of tourists are all downstream.

Extrapolating from my best time for 5K, I told the organisers I should be on for 14:30 depending on the course (it's not as level as Silverstone, indeed it includes a flight of steps, and bridges commonly have a significant gradient) so they gave me a 6:30 handicap. In future I won't have to turn up promptly for the start ... Andrew, whose enthusiasm for the event persuaded me along today, spotted on the organiser's list of runners that Martin's best time for this event was 15 minutes: had I known that I would have been rather less bullish.

I didn't manage to do much about the runner in front of me, but by the time I reached the end I had passed five or six other competitors (out of a field of about 20), so I guess I will be stuck with that handicap: and my watch showed 14:50 - which works out at about six-and-a-half minute miles. There's life in me yet.

Fair weather runner?

I don't often allow the weather to stand in the way of a run. Actually, now I have written that I realise how false it is. But normally, I don't worry too much about whether it's raining, cold, hot, sunny - though driving sleet would probably count as a deterrent. Generally, commuting on foot, I can't afford to let the weather dictate what I do.

I have spent evenings at the office hoping for a break in the weather, but eventually I have accepted what nature has had to offer. Last night seemed perfect anyway, so I left to run back to the flat and was about 15 minutes into the journey when the rain started. And having started, it got heavier and heavier, so I splashed my way up Lisson Grove, Grove End Road and Abbey Road and reached the flat already showered, just needing to dry off.

Unfortunately, my running kit didn't dry off quite so easily. I opened all the windows to maximise the airflow, though the atmosphere was still and humid so little movement was available. I hung vest, shorts and socks in the open windows and placed my shoes (packed with paper towels) on the windowsill: this morning, they were still soaking, and my attempts to dry the socks using a fan heater just created an undesirable smell not unlike a wet dog, scorched the socks and melted a plastic coat-hanger. My run to the office today was one of the less pleasant ones: I took it slowly, lacking energy and carrying a certain extra weight of water around my feet. With a race to do at lunchtime, I hope my energy levels will have increased!