>It may have escaped your notice -it certainly did mine – but I haven’t had any race practise this year. At all. What with being injured and busy it just hasn’t happened. It suddenly struck me, however, that it might not be too clever to roadtest everything – speed, nutrition, kit and mental attitude – while out on the course in Chicago. Added to this I’ve been a bit unmotivated this past week – I’ve made most runs but am not bursting with vim and vigor, as we might say. So I thought a race would be the perfect thing to shake me up and sharpen up my ‘tude and mojo before October 12th. I scrabbled about for a race to run this weekend – I had 12 to run on the schedule, so I figured a half would be perfect. The only one I could still enter was the Mablethorpe half run on the Lincolnshire coast about an hour from here. Now before you get excited – our coast is no cape cod. Or Florida. Really. First of all there’s the North Sea which is cold and vicious. Then there is the fact that the Lincolnshire coast was developed on a large scale in the 50s and 60s. The developments along the coast are basically dumps. Tawdry fish and chips shops, lots of gambling parlors and lots of – let me be diplomatic – undertall people who could do with a marathon or 10. BUT – with some kind of wisdom the people of Mablethorpe have built a high sea defence between the town and the ocean and for snobs like me this allows one to enjoy the beach without having to deal with the town. Anyhow – that was just me setting the scene for you. On with the report.
I set off at 6 this morning as the race website said that only 100 people would be allowed to register on the morning of the event for the 10K, half and full marathon. The race has been very popular in the past and this weekend has been uncharacteristically warm and sunny so I thought there would be an enormous amount of late entries.. It seems not. When I finally found the start area – amazingly it took me half an hour to find any sign of life in a town still fast asleep – and registered I was the first to do so. I got chatting to the race director who told me there were only 900 people registered for all races. I mosied about for a while and finally found someone who would sell me a cup of coffee (instant – I knew better than to think to look for a Starbucks) and chatted to a few people. The race started at 9:45 (5 mins after the 10K start and 5 minutes before the full Marathon start) and I happily jogged along for the first mile or so. The adrenalin in a race always makes me happy – I’m always beaming from ear to ear for the first mile or so.. One of the many worries I had about Chicago was that I have been training with walk breaks in my long runs (1 mile run, 1 minute walk) and I was wondering whether to do these in Chicago, or to walk aid stations, or just to run the whole thing – and whether I could do it. So I decided in this half to walk the aid stations and when I got to the first one I duly walked for 1 minute drinking the water. By this time it had warmed up plenty and I had to tie my windproof jacket around my waist. (Note to self – unless it is below 0 leave that jacket behind in Chicago). I soon got running with 2 women from the Louth running club, Amanda and Fiona, who had a nice pace going and some distracting conversation. I got so busy chatting to them that I forgot to walk the rest of the aid stations and as I was feeling quite comfortable I didn’t really have the need.. The course was flat and windy (good preparation for Chicago) and the last 3 miles were along the seafront (with the wind in our back). At mile 12 I left Amanda and Fiona behind and charged ahead – Amanda was having a slightly tough time – and forged ahead for the finish line, ready to be done with it. And I came in at 2:01! I was very pleased with this – I didn’t feel I had pushed myself too hard and I’d overcome some of my worries and concerns for Chicago. After a delicious sausage bap (or hot dog as it’s known outside of this region) I jumped in the car and drove home. Quite uneventful really – but that was good too…
Onwards and upwards..