I have never felt so much like dropping out of a race before it even started. 6am on Sunday morning was not a pleasant place to be. I was out late the day before and didn’t get much sleep. On top of that, I ate nothing but junk on the Saturday, finishing off with takeaway pizza. (Never mind a T-shirt saying “Vegan Runners”; we need one saying “fuelled by Dominoes”.)
This topped off a couple of weeks of fast-tracked, last minute training, trying to increase mileage by too much, too soon. I also did a hard training session on the Wednesday before, which may not have been the best plan.
As if all of the above wasn’t enough, it was absolutely chucking it down so we started the event by queuing for the toilet in the rain. We weren’t surprised that the queue for the toilet was so long as we don’t have the best impression of 02:09 events. (See my post about the South Downs Marathon 2017, when they ran out of water on the hottest day of the year.)
The rain stopped a little while after the race started though, as it became small fragments of ice, then light snow.
The thing about running a longer distance is that it doesn’t matter how light the rain is, slow steady precipitation will always soak you through eventually.
I don’t mind admitting that after an hour, I was really quite uncomfortable.
That was around the time that my Running Buddy turned to me and said, “This is your idea of a Christmas present – thanks for that!”
(He conveniently forgot that running this race was actually his idea in the first place.)
The course showcased some nice parts of Farnborough, running alongside a golf course and a country estate. It was all on pavement though and I really felt that the day after.
Despite everything, neither of us dropped out; we just slogged it out to the end, sticking together to the finish line, which we crossed after 2h3m45s.
RB reckons I could have gone faster but the point of this race was to support each other and get a decent distance completed before the end of January. To be honest, I’m happy to get the time I did after my abysmal preparation.
It was when I finished the race that I really started to get cold though. Seriously cold, my hands were completely swollen up and it was all I could do just to walk back to the car (it felt like a really long walk) and sit there with the heater on, thawing out.
It has to be said that at Reading, they give you those little silver blankets to stop you from freezing at the end. There was none of that here, although they were handing out milkshakes and cool race packs.
The thing I would say about 02:09 events, is that they just don’t seem to be prepared for any kind of unusual weather. I have now run one of their events in a heat wave, and one in the snow.
Later on, once I was showered, changed and comfortable again, that was when I started caring about the race pack.
It had electrolyte drink tabs, decent snacks, vitamins for your immune system and a hat!
We went for a pub lunch after that; it’s become something of a tradition. My Running Buddy’s mum came along to support, as she often does. She is a qualified NHS nutritionist and, despite her telling me that she does not specialise in sports performance, I asked her lots of stupid questions about ketogenic diets, the fat burning zone, protein supplements, and so on.
I did all of this whilst tucking into a lamb roast and then a sticky toffee pudding with custard.
(I’ve been taking the vitamins by the way, as ever since Sunday, I’ve started sneezing throughout the day. That’s normally how colds begin isn’t it? Well, as long as I don’t get one of the nasty strains of flu going around the UK at the moment, I’ll be happy!)