|Not liking the thought of stripping down to race kit in the cold weather|
|Doing warm-up drills in Morrisons car park- a new one on me!|
|Feeding the chickens...|
We had a full day of races on Sunday. In the morning, I was doing the Devizes half marathon, and in the afternoon, M was running the Combe Gibbet, a 16 mile cross country helter-skelter over the chalk from Inkpen Beacon (near enough) down to Overton.
When we arrived in Devizes first thing and found race HQ on the green by the duck pond (a lovely setting) it was rather chilly and I wasn't looking forward to peeling off the layers. Luckily, M was my pack horse so I kept my coat on till the last possible minute before handing it to him at the start.
I'd decided to run this one as a steady training run, having done a few fast races in recent weeks, so I set off quite happy about the number of people who zoomed past me. A few miles in and I'd warmed up and settled in to the race. I had a chat with a couple of my fellow runners whom I ran a few miles with, then decided I was feeling good so picked up my pace a bit and left them behind.
By mile ten I was more or less on my own, loving running through the beautiful Chalk countryside, appreciating the friendly and supportive marshals and calling out encouragement to the runners I passed, some of whom were in varying stages of decline by that point. I was enjoying myself but not, at that point, thinking much about my pace or time.
Half a mile to the finish I caught up with the 1:55 pacers. I glanced at my watch and saw they were ahead of time, which they confirmed as I drew up with them. We had a brief chat then I ran on, with them shouting: go for it! you'll be there well under 1:55! I was quite happy with running a sub 2-hour half but felt good so decided to edge my pace up a little bit more.
You do a lap of the green before you cross the finish line, and as I came running down to it I realised if I sprinted I would improve on my time at the Bath Half three weeks ago, so I sprinted, hearing but not seeing M yelling me on. I crossed the line in 1:52 and couldn't quite believe I'd knocked over 30 seconds off my PB. Devizes has some hills and inclines on it, and I hadn't really been trying all that hard, but here was another PB. I'm not complaining!
I drank my protein recovery shake (chocolate- yum) and got in the car so we could whizz over to Inkpen for M's race. It took an hour to get there, then we had an hour to wait before the coaches arrived with all the runners, then it was another hour between me seeing them all off and driving to Overton where they would finish. By the time I got to Overton I wasn't feeling very well. I was beyond hungry and had gone into that shaky low blood pressure phase where you really, really need to eat something before you fall over.
Luckily, there was a co-op in town, so I bought a ham salad sandwich, salt and vinegar crisps and some chocolate and wolfed the lot down. I stopped shaking but I was feeling really tired. I parked the car and decided a walk was in order, to stretch my legs and get some fresh air. I felt a lot better for it.
Forty minutes later the runners began to arrive. M came flying down the hill, beating my 1:52 time of the morning and adding another three miles into the distance.
We got home by five, tired but happy and full of our relative achievements. My take home lesson from the morning was- always have more food than you think you'll need after a race, and don't leave it three hours before you eat!
All good. How are you all?