Yes the beech rather than the beach. Of course it was the Burnham Beeches Half Marathon a couple of weeks back - you must remember it because it was the hottest day of the year (I know that could mean anything but it was really hot). This event seems to be fixed within my race calendar & despite the reduced milage this year was no exception but the really good thing was that it a good Club outing - 5 of us (well 6 on the results !!).
We arrived in good time esp as there is a good 20 min walk to the start, literally bumped into a friend & fellow Thunder Runner team mate (MrSJ) who was on holiday from the North who fancied a holiday race (see not only me then) & made our way to the start. Time seemed to disappear & soon we all assembled on the grass for the start.
The race plan was really to take it easy - wouldn`t mind a seasons best but really & despite the heat I just wanted a good run. We made our way out of the starting field via a huge grassy bank then out onto the main course. I kept it very steady for the first two miles, then seemed to speed up - opps. I did think "Would I pay for that later on??". The course has a few lumps & bumps esp in the 2nd half of each lap (2 lapped course), I ran the first lap & went through halfway in just under the hour. Then I took on board water - and almost immediately felt terrible. I slowed down, started to walk - blimey I still had a long way to go. I think the garmin was also having a funny turn as mile 9 came up with 8:15/m inc a best pace of 2.27/m.
I had a gel but noticed it was out of date - the trouble buying bulk and not running I guess. Normally I carried a pack of Randoms but being out of practice I had forgotten to stock up. Eventually felt a bit better and managed to find a steady but slower pace as I moved closer to the finish. As I said the lumps are towards the back end of the laps so I felt those second around esp the incline towards the turn back into the school & finish line. It felt like I `zoomed` down the grassy bank, around what seemed to be extended `home straight` & through the line.
My old mate Muttley (from RW) was there at the line - which was nice as I don`t think I was 100%. I was given a goodie bag - I think it was a spot prize but wasn`t really paying too much attention but did thank the finishing team for their work. I checked the garmin - 2:07:32.....what was my Fleet Half time????
I got home and checked on my Fleet half time was.............2:07:08 Darn but things are looking up - terrible race running wise, much hotter conditions but only 24 seconds so cannot complain too much.
Result - link (need to drop down to BB Half)
Next up was only 8 days later & a return to where I think my ankle problems started to happen last November. It was a trip up to Milton Keynes and a new event the `Enigma Gold 20` Yes 20 miles - my longest run since the 17th December 2011 (Andover Track Marathon) - not that I was counting this day down or anything * :-)
I had completed a few half & those were a couple of hours on feet time, I wouldn`t have minded a 15 or 17 miler but hey hoe. I was only 90 mins away but I did have a `club`s` BBQ the day before but somehow I managed to leave nice & early for the drive up. I got there and signed in for the `fun run` - tongue in cheek I know but there was also a 30 miler being held at the same time so it was good to fool the brain that I was kind of being a slacker for the day - that was my way of thinking which seemed to work for me. (I wonder if that trick will work at Caesars Camp??). It was good to see a few folks again - Foxy, Plodding Hippo, CC2 Speedy Goth, HOD, Joe & good to say hello I haven`t met before.
11 of us made our way to the 20 mile start line. The course was a shorter lap & then 5 of the full laps. It was clear from the outset I would be towards the back of the field - I had set the Garmin to show Virtual Partner, which was set on 10.30/m (I knew I would be faster but 10.30/m would be a good gauge) rather than the normal 4 screen splits of Time, Distance, Average Pace & Speed.
Foxy started us off & straight away I was in last place - I had never finished last in a race before not that I minded as someone comes in 1st & someone comes in last & the rest in between (however we did know who was going to come in 1st place....CC2 Speedy Goth). I kept close to the last group - just to make sure we all went the same way esp for the first one & half laps.
Unfortunately at I guess around 5 & a bit miles HOD slowed down & dropped out. I think we saw our first ultra runners on the course & wished them well, soon enough it was the water station, cheering point (& finishing area) which is always good. Even at this point I had no real actuate idea on distance wise but concentrated on keeping the pace steady.
The laps ticked away, I had taken my iPod if needed but it was actually nice to listen to rhythm of my running & the noise of the course. Occasionally I ran with someone, like miles 11 - 13. I think it was Paul from the 100 Marathon Club & a lady from the 20 Mile race. I didn`t mind the pace dropping off I knew it was so steady, They both stopped at the water station - I just grabbed a bottle & continued running. In fact I only `stopped` 3 times & they were only to remove a stone from my shoe.
Suddenly I had Foxy ringing the bell - one lap left. I couldn`t really believe it as body wise I felt good. Ok a slight tightness in a left hip & left hamstring (slightly worrying it was that side) but ok. Ankle wise good. Soon enough I was on the far side of the course & felt the buzz of another mile being clocked over - two left, Round those horse shoes then buzz - One left. I picked the pace up & came around the last corner & through the line.
I thanked Foxy for putting on this 20 as there seemed to be a lack of 20`s around. As I recovered I chatted to CC2 - who kept to her name & won in a speedy fashion (talking of fashion she did had some nice slippers on). Soon after Joe finished his 30 - in a very good time I add. Myself & CC2 had some chips in the warmth of the restaurant while watching the remaining ultra runners going by. Soon enough it was time to head back down the M1.
A great day with the Fox & it was good to go back to the course where I think my ankle problems started & have a really good run.
Results - link
Splits - 9:59, 10:03, 9:59, 10:18, 10:18, 10:11, 10:12, 9:56, 9:57, 9:49, 10:26, 10:21, 10:26, 9:41, 9:59, 10:06, 9:25, 10:09, 10:09, 9:39, 1:27 (0.17 @ 8:45/m)
Ohh and wondering 17th Dec 2011 - 27th August 2012 is 254 days, which you must agree is a nice streak to break
Next up - I went a bit mad & entered a few events but the next being the Stockbridge 10Km next Sunday.
Looking forward to this as been to Stockbridge so many times as I have family who live there & good memories of catching Rainbow trout in the small stream at the back of my Auntie & Uncle`s old Garage - which is now a very nice restaurant (Stokes Of Stockbridge), plus I`ve never done this event.