11 April 2010

White Horse

I love the White Horse Half marathon. Usually. Well, to be truthful, it's often run in pretty unpleasant weather, and it does have a magic headwind that blows right at you however many turns you take. But four years ago it gave me my PB, being a nice flat course across which Brunel inconsiderately placed a railway line, necessitating a climb over a bridge on the way out and the way back.

Yesterday, we travelled to Witney - Cameron country! - to collect an eBay purchase, a rowing machine. The seller mentioned that he had taken up running and the conversation naturally turned in that direction. He asked if I would be running the White Horse Half the following morning. "It's not tomorrow" I said confidently. "Is it?" And of course it was.

I woke the next day with an incipient headcold. It really wasn't a great start. I lined up near the back of the start and set off very conservatively, running with Noel and allowing a lot of others (clubmates included) to pass. But after a mile I got the bit between my teeth and started cutting through the field. It felt good. I was only 8 minute miling, but the flow was very satisfying.  It worked well to about 8 miles (as this photo by John Harvey seems to show, and this one from later), then the wheels came off and I started going backwards. I tagged on with some very nice and helpful people, but their encouragement couldn't keep me running. I'd slowed to a jog for a mile or two, but then ended up doing rather a lot of walking. At about mile 11 a marshal offered me a bottle of water (I had taken plenty on board at the water stations, but it was warm and I guess a cold doesn't help hydration) and, although what I needed was a Mars Bar or a bowl of porridge I settled for what I could get.

I made it to the end, over 2 hours and in a state of distress that I haven't experienced in a race for a long time. Lack of mojo certainly had a lot to do with it, but I just got it all so totally wrong I can hardly believe it.

Still, I now have the inaugural Kielder Marathon to look forward to - I've got through the ballot and now have to find the entry fee. 17 October: time to find the mojo and do some serious training.

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