09 January 2011

Slip Sliding Away

The Club's annual Christmas Pud Run didn't take place in two feet of fresh snow last month - if anyone had been able to get to the start they would probably have been wiped out by an out-of-control car, as this event is entirely on roads. But when the sun came up this morning (which seems to be a rare occurrence) I saw that the cars bore witness to a heavy frost - I had been at my desk since 5 am but hadn't noticed the weather at first. I drove to the start of the race without incident, but on climbing out of the car I found myself sliding around helplessly on the tarmac.

There were reports of cars having been seen in ditches, and one competitor had walked her bike for three miles, but that wasn't going to cause another postponement. We were cautioned abut the ice, and instructed to walk at one point, but that was all, so we lined up and headed off, seeking out the best grip in the circumstances. My feet slipped on the climb up Boar's Hill, and some wit suggested switching between spikes and road shoes. Some of the road surface was already ice-free, but in many places the grass verge offered better traction.

Ice apart, it was a glorious morning for a run,, as John Harvey's photo (below) shows. I contrived to run it  alone - a brief chat with Dave at the first water station being about the only talking I did for the duration. So my account of the race goes puff, flap, puff, flap, puff, flap, puff, flap ... It did me good to concentrate on my breathing (especially as it was cold enough for asthma to be a problem), but the revelation of the day was the compression tights that appeared the preceding day as a late Christmas present - wow, did they do the job.
It wasn't a day to skimp on the cold weather gear - there was still ice on the road on a shady stretch at mile 12 - so the famous green hat and gloves stayed on throughout. I'm concerned about the way my front foot is turning out in the photo, though: must try to deal with that. I felt hell-banging was the best approach when it was really icy, but at about mile 8 I managed to get in a couple of miles pose-running, or something like it, and later a little more, but I imagine that looks even uglier. It certainly put some strain on my Achilles and soleus, so I clearly have a long way to go before I can run far like that - before the luna sandals are going to work for me.

A satisfying day, then, and reassuring to prove to myself that a half-M is not only do-able, but comfortable, albeit over 20 minutes off my PB. I'm ready to start entering races again, I think, and maybe a PB will be on the cards later in the year? But I managed only half my target mileage this week, less in fact, so will have to pull a few double sessions to catch up again. Too many distractions, too much work to do!

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