Posts Tagged ‘Maidstone Half Marathon

17
Oct
11

up, up and away – maidstone half marathon race report

Sunday morning. 6am and I am slowly heaving myself out of bed to get to Maidstone for 8.30 where I have planned to meet Hauling My Carcass and our mutual fried Paul. Paul is a Maidstone native and had turned 40 the day before the race and decided that it might be a nice idea for us to run a Half Marathon to celebrate. When it was originally suggested about 6 months ago, it seemed like a fine idea but in the dark and cold of a Sunday morning hours before the race, I was wondering what I had let myself in for, particularly as I had not run a Half Marathon since March and had also had almost 3 months out with an injury.
Still, it was off out into the fog for a jaunt around the M25. It was cold and, arriving at the race HQ, I wondered if I should have perhaps opted for a long sleeve top. I found HMC and we quickly picked up our timing chips and race numbers, met up with Paul and, after a chat, we set off on the 10 minute walk to the start. The start itself is odd, placed in a non-descript road in a residential area, hundred of runners standing around in the road waiting for the off. Soon, a horn sounds and we are underway, firstly in a loop around the streets nearby – it is odd to pass the 13 mile marker after only 10 minutes running but soon we are venturing into the outskirts of Maidstone. We run along the side of anonymous “A” roads and the route seems to be a constant series of slight inclines – not enough at this point to tire you but noticeable. The first 6 miles or so is OK – not much to look at but the smattering of supporters dotted along the route offer encouragement as you pass. There were water stations at approximately 4 mile intervals but I had opted to take a bottle of Orbana with me whilst I ran so just sipped from that every few miles. The hardest part is around 7 miles where the road rises and rises… and rises passing through a few small villages as it continues to rise. This was the first Half Marathon that I had run without listening to music so distratcted myself from the hills by listening to the (very loud) conversation of the group running just behind me. The route then flattens out and undulates along the top of a ridge, giving you views of the surrounding countryside on this now blue-skyed day. Somewhere between 8 and 9 miles I was aware that I had a companion running alongside – she was quicker on the downhills than I was but I was faster uphill so we had an unspoken agreement that she would take the lead on the way down and I would on the way up. Having a running buddy at this point was great – we exchanged a few words every mile or so and generally kept each other motivated. Soon we were nearing the finish – looking at my watch, I could see I was close to a sub 2hr time. I asked my running pal if she thought she could manage a sprint finish, she politely declined and said she’d see me at the finish so I just went for it. The last 500 metres was a flat out sprint – shouts from the crowd urging me on. I finished in 1:59:17 which I was delighted with. I picked up my goody bag, medal and very, VERY bright race top, saw my running buddy, congratulated her on her time and thanked her for her support and went off to find HMC. Turns out he had run an absolute stormer and bagged himself a new personal best (you can read his account of the day here). Paul struggled in a while after, the hills having taken their toll on his knees which began to give up around the 10 mile mark.
The race is a good, testing Half Marathon. Smooth organisation, a friendly bunch of runners, good marshalling and crowd support. On a personal note, I had a great day… it was one of those rare races where the organisation, weather, atmosphere and my training and race preparation had all come together to make it very enjoyable event.

Soundtrack to this post: Funkadelic – Cosmic Slop

09
Oct
11

time flies

My thoughtless employers have seen fit to give me loads of work just as I begin to ramp up the training for the Maidstone Half Marathon. Training should have actually began “ramping up” quite a few weeks ago but my hesitancy to go hell for leather after such a long lay off meant that I was taking it slowly for fear of an injury. Plus I was finding even 10k hard going after not running for nigh on 3 months. Oh, and I wanted to transition back to running in the Vibrams. So an impending Half Marathon, tons of work coming at me, learning to run in the Vibrams again…not too much to deal with, surely.
Subsequently, in a nutshell, I have been trying to cram my runs into any small opening in my diary. And I have been trying to increase the mileage with each run. So my first run in the Vibrams was 2.5km, the next 6km, the next 8km and the final one 10kms. Interspersed with this have been training runs in the marvellous Saucony Kinvara 2’s – 10km, 13km, 17kms last Sunday in the balmy October heatwave we had (and which saw me run/walking the last 2kms, dry mouthed and pissed off), then a 12km, a 15km and finally todays 18.1km effort. I have been averaging about 40-50kms a week and am still no more confident about Maidstone next Sunday.
I do, however, feel I am back on the road to regular running. I have tweaked the schedule and listened to my body – if I don’t feel like a long run, I may do a shorter one in the Vibrams. I have also bought some more Orbana to save me from another parched and painful run and have to say that it is great. I think I may have round the energy drink for me. I reviewed it here when I did the Suffolk coast cycle ride but have found that it really comes into it’s own when I run… 500ml before I set off and I’m good for about an hour and a half. Perhaps, looking at the elevations involved in Maidstone, I shall have 500ml before I set off and run with a bottle to keep me going for the duration.
So that’s it. Blog up to date and as prepared as I can be for Maidstone (it won’t be fast or pretty but it should at least be enjoyable). My work here, for now, is done.

Soundtrack to this post: Ohio Players – Fire

27
Sep
11

two things at once

After my little run around Ashtead common, it was time to get down to the serious business of training for the Maidstone Half Marathon. If the truth be told, the prospect worried me a little. I’ve not run more than 10k(ish) since June and the Ashtead 10k felt like a long way on these under-used legs. The other dilemma was that I desperately wanted to get back into running in the VFF’s. I wanted to combine the two, but knew that going out and immediately running longer distances in the Vibrams was a recipe for disaster.
So my initial couple of forays were in the Vibrams – the first a trifling little 3kms to see if I could still run in them. Yes… no pain, no blisters and no sore joints in the feet. So feeling a little more confident, I set off a couple of days later on a 6.5km run which took me out into the country, up a huge hill and then back down the otherside. Still no ill-effects so I was feeling pretty pleased with myself and my little body that has fixed itself.
But still there was the worry that in under 3 weeks I am supposed to run a Half Marathon and the kms were still lacking. Nothing for it but to get up early and head out first thing for a (not very) swift 15kms. Not being brave enough to attempt this distance in the VFF’s just yet, I pulled on the lovely Saucony Kinvara 2’s and went for a scamper around. It was foggy out so had to pair the bright yellow Sauconys with a flourescent yellow gilet so motorists could at least see me if they tried to run me down. I must have looked very fetching. It was a good run, but all the while I had iliketocounts cautionary tale floating around in my head. Fortunately, I returned home intact 1hr and 26 minutes later with 15kms in the bank. Another run in the VFF’s planned for later in the week (perhaps upping the distance to 10k this time) and then a longer run on Sunday…

Soundtrack to this post: Polar Bear – Tomlovesalicelovestom

06
Mar
11

never mind the ballots

Ah, what a week! Firstly, I received an e-mail from a friend of mine who is training for his first half marathon and was going to be in the area so would I like to go out for a run on Tuesday evening. And as much as I enjoy running on my own (or with Mr Palin – more of which later), I jumped at the chance to have a run and a catch up chat. We gossipped and ran and still covered over 7 miles at an average of about 9 min miles although I reckon we could improve on that if I could actually stop talking for long enough on the uphills to draw breath.
Also, plans are being finalised for this years Great Eatingtrees / Hauling My Carcass Road Trip: he has sorted routes there and approximate timings as well as supplying us with a race route complete with elevations (total elevation approx 18metres… over 21.1kms -so pretty flat!), Mrs Hauling My Carcass is in charge of finding us sights to see and places to visit in the few hours that we will not be running, sleeping or eating and I am in charge of post race meal and My Birthday Lunch en route on the journey back. It’s all looking fairly splendid and the fact that we are driving there turns this into a bit more of an adventure which I think we are all looking forward to. Prague in 2009 had cobbles, shisha and belly dancing into the early hours. Lisbon had a beautiful but ill-fated race for us both, bad transvestites and fish being sold from car tyres outside our hotel. I can only imagine what The Hague will hold…
The tail end of the week brought 2 e-mails in quick succession: The first informing me that I had been unsuccessful in my application for this years Royal Parks Half – the first time I will not run it since the first one in 2008. The second was a lovely reply from the Kenyan restaurant in The Hague that I’d tried to book for our post race meal, confirming our reservation. A quick text informing HMC of these two facts elicited a pragmatic reply that basically said that the £45 we’d saved by not being able to enter RPH could now be spent at the Kenyan restaurant post City Pier City. Then I posted a comment on Facebook about my RPH no-go and was met with many replies and suggestions for alternatives I could enter (thanks Adele, Shaun, Susan and Paul). So it now looks like the Maidstone Half Marathon could be the new RPH, falling as it does, dangerously close to my friends 40th birthday… and what better way to celebrate his impending Mid Life Crisis?
And so to todays run, run as last week, under the influence of Palin. We’re now in and around Hong Kong and Shanghai and, once again, I got to the end of my run feeling as fresh as if I’d covered half the distance and not the 19.4kms that I had actually covered.
This time next week, City Pier City will be in the bag and I will be “refueling” Kenyan style.

Soundtrack to this post: Paradise Circus – Massive Attack




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