A bad day’s racing.

Wilmslow half marathon 2016 – 1 hour 48 minutes and 30 seconds.

This run was sent to test me! An accumulation of small disasters which resulted in a time 4 minutes slower than my PB and 2 minutes slower than my course PB.

Here’s my list of moans!

1, Time of the month – I usually try and time races to avoid this but for the first time I had to fight the sluggishness. Jim will also vouch that I’m a bit of a grump too and mentally not best placed to push myself to do something tough!

2, Fuelling, for the last four races in Manchester we have stayed at the same hotel and eaten at the same Frankie and Benny’s; my nephew Lucas likes the kids menu and their gluten free menu HAD a risotto which was prefect for me, HAD being the important word here. Gammon, eggs and a jacket potato felt a little lacking in comparison? One of the main issues during the race was lack of energy, not fitness or breathing but just having no oompff.

3, Traffic, this is the 6th time I have done this race and the 2nd time we’d arrived by road but this time we managed to get stuck in slow moving traffic only arriving 30 minutes before the start. With huge queues for the baggage drop and toilets to deal with, panicking was an under-statement!

I burnt far too much nervous energy at the start. It’s only recently I’ve learnt the advantages of managing to stay cool and collected at the start of a race and my times had been improving recently in correlation to this.

4, A leak! My water bottle had leaked, emptying its entire contents all over the inside of my bag, rendering my hat, buff and some of my kinesiology tape unusable. But also meaning we had to go on a drinking water hunt on the already limited time at the start.

5, Missing tape, because of the rush at the start and the water incident I only managed to put kinesiology tape on my knees and one of my ankles – my other ankle was not impressed and niggled along the way.

6, GPS – I had set my Garmin up prior to the joining the pen, to make sure it found location quickly at the start, however for some reason it lost signal just after the gun went off, thinking quickly I changed it to the stopwatch setting; we would have to do it the old fashioned way today!

I didn’t realise how hard it would be not having my Garmin tracking properly! Luckily I know my eight times tables! Up until 8 miles, the miles were ticking away pretty much spot on 8 minute miles but somehow I manged to gain a minute between mile 8-9, then again at 9-10. Surely the markers were on the wrong place? I didn’t feel like I’d slowed down? Without the pace setting on my watch I was pretty much lost! I didn’t go over 9 minute miles until mile 18 at East hull! I knew I was tiring but I didn’t know how much more effort I needed to put in!? I didn’t want to put too much more in and exhaust myself too soon but I didn’t want to slow either! I think if I had had my Garmin fully functioning I wouldn’t have slowed so much on the last few miles.

7, Heat. It was hot. I wasn’t wearing my cap as it was soaking wet through from the water bottle accident, don’t like it hot! Did I mention it was flipping hot?

8, Hills – Memory is a strange thing! Wilmslow is quite bumpy with a notable hill at 6 and 11 miles (ish, I think!?) I was hoping, being more used to hills these days, they wouldn’t feel as hard as they had felt before. Somehow I had forgotten about all the bumps in between which felt more pronounced today than in previous years, zapping more of my dwindling engery!

9, Tooth ache – I’m waiting to have my wisdom tooth removed and spent Friday in bed in too much pain to move, talk or eat! Luckily today felt a little better but the nagging pain in the side of my face niggled at my mental reserve.

10, People – this was the most congested race I have run in a long time, I couldn’t find my rhythm or pace and had to keep my wits about me to prevent me from crashing into less considerate runners around me.

The last couple of runs I have done, I have really benefited from falling into pace with a small group of runners – max. three or four, and attacking the race together. Today was really difficult, all the other runners rhythms and different paces really threw me off. I didn’t feel like I could open up my stride or run my own race. I’ve decided I’m going to stick to smaller races in future, oh hang on, I’m running the busiest marathon there is in a few weeks! Oh poo! After London I’m going to stick to smaller quieter races!

One positive is that I haven’t moaned about any repercussions of the DVT today! I had a little bit of cramp at the end of the race but it was completely over shadowed by everything else that went wrong!

This isn’t just a list of moans though, I feel like today threw everything at me but I kept going. A lot of the issues I had to face today I’m going to potentially  have to deal with at London in a few weeks such as the congestion and possibly the heat. There is also every chance that there may be a kit malfunction, I could forget my hat or worse my watch and I will just have to get on and deal with it. Sometimes bad races teach us about how to deal with things going wrong and can be better preparation for a goal race than a confidence boosting great race.

There would have been points in previous years where just a few of the mini disasters above would have floored me and completely ruined the race, putting me in a bad grump for the rest of the week but I’m learning to take the rough with the smooth and accept that some races just aren’t my race and there are other chances to smash PBs.

Full race review coming soon…

runhelenrun Wilmslow 16.jpg

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