Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hot Day For A Half Marathon

English: Looking towards Menston and Burley in...
Looking towards Menston and Burley in Wharfedale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So, I ran a half marathon.

Half Marathon Route

I didn't want to go to all the palava of entering an organised run and with it the possibility of having to do another round of charity begging so I just jumped in the car with Meg to Middleton and ran from there.

I started the run with a lap of Ilkley Golf Club's practise field which added a mile to the run. I had not actually really measured the route beforehand but I did have Runkeeper switched on to track my progress. Predictably, Runkeeper would fail at the halfway point leaving me to guess the distance for the rest of the way round. As it turned out, I ended up running 14.5 miles, so the grassy circuit at IGC was a pointless addition.

Monday was a really hot day, perhaps not the most sensible day to have a crack at such a strenuous project, but I'm back to working in a kitchen again and it looks like I'll be getting traditional chef's weekends - Mon and Tues.

Heat aside, it was a glorious day to be running around the Wharfe Valley. I tried not to get under 10 minute miles but I'm used to running at a faster pace now so the run out to Addingham was reasonably speedy. I did a circuit around Addingham then headed back along the riverside to Ilkley where my tracker suddenly added an extra three miles to my distance covered and kept telling me I was running at 5 minute miles. This rather disrupted me, I reset the tracker and set off again after a five minute break for buggering about with the app but sure enough Runkeeper failed a second time, and then a third at which point I turned off the distance reminders and just had to guess my distance by my time.
English: Fields Near Hag Farm Spring Sunshine ...
Fields Near Hag Farm Spring Sunshine in Lower Wharfedale near Burley-in-Wharfedale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My pace suffered after the break, I kept moving along the A65 but as 10 and 11 miles crept by I was really feeling it. The bounce had gone out of my gait and I felt incredibly heavy legged. Even worse, I had already stopped running and reverted to walking in parts, and this was on the flat! I still had the upward climb towards Menston and Derry Hill to go.

At Burley-in-Wharfedale I guessed that I must be about on track for distance if I took the shorter route home, so I turned up Station Road heading for Hag Farm Road and Bleach Mills. I managed to lumber up the tarmac roads but as Hag Farm became unmade and pothole filled I was walking again. I must admit I was feeling distressed now. I was fine for water having bought a second bottle in Ilkley, I stripped my running top off and used half the bottle for a cooling shower.

I knew I was only a mile and a half from home but I really wanted the run to be over now. I struggled up the rough uphill sections of Bleach Mills Lane and out onto the streets of Menston where I managed to plod the short downhill section to the Malt Shovel before turning up Derry Hill.

So far in my running regime I have twice managed to run up Derry Hill, today was not going to be a hat trick. Although the tree lined lane was noticeably cooler than the open sections, the steep climb was awful and I was ever so glad to get out on to the top and stumble through my own front door.

I had a fairly large blister on the inside of my right heel, my legs were leaden and unresponsive - I literally had to crawl upstairs to get a towel and some dry clothes.  It was half an hour before I felt safe enough to be able to raise my legs to step over the sides of the bath for a well deserved soak. After a hot bath and a little nap I felt a lot better. I was expecting my legs to be terribly stiff, but with increasing fitness comes increased powers of recovery it would seem and by early evening I felt pretty good, even managing to go to WeightWatchers.

So I have done a half marathon, not an organised one with survivor's medals and cheering onlookers but just a hard fought grim battle pitching myself against the sun and the route, and I came out on top, just.

What's next then ? This running thing is highly addictive, when you've done a bit you always want to be able to go a little further, or to run the same route a little faster. I suppose the next big distance target should be a 20 mile run, and after than a full marathon distance.

I'd better keep in training then.
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