Cool Runnings

April 14, 2013

With the warmer weather apparently just around the corner, it was time for the start of the running season which saw me donning a race number not once, but twice in one week with events at both ends of the running spectrum.

The first race saw me and another member of Team Thursday head up to Parliament Hill in North London for a track meet with the Highgate Harriers. We’d both entered the 800m with me being the definite novice of the two. Due to my lack of track experience, I’d entered a rather pessimistic time as an estimate which saw me seeded in the last heat, alongside what can only be described as a year 9 PE class.

The other runner from Team Thursday put down a solid marker in an early heat, only 4 seconds of their PB before it was my time to line up. With the rain spitting and making the track a bit slippy I took my place on the inside lane, looking comfortably over the heads of the runners in front of me.

The gun went off and I slipped as my lack of spikes put me at a clear disadvantage, however luckily a false start was called and we returned to our lanes. On the second start I was more cautious  and kept my footing, I managed to take most of the other competitors on the first bend before everyone cut in from the lanes with just one competitor in front of me. I kept right on her heels despite calls from the sidelines urging me to overtake and take the wind but I just couldn’t! Realising that this was my race to lose and face never hearing the end of it, I managed to find a burst of strength coming round the last corner and broke away on the home straight, saving my pride and winning the heat, just…

Seeing as this was the first time I’ve done an 800m, I was guaranteed a PB and was pleasantly surprised by my time of 2:31.

Photo: Martin Addison

Parliament Hill Running Track. Photo: Martin Addison

At the weekend it was time for another round of the ongoing battle between me and my main rival in such sporting events. We’d entered the Unity Fitness Half Marathon up in Hackney which consisted of a 6 lap course around the Marshes. This was the first time that I’ve done this distance that hasn’t either been at the end of a triathlon or off-road along the ‘undulating’ Dorset coast, so I was keen to get a good marker down.

With the heavy rain the night before, the start of the course along the side of the the football pitches was quite muddy and difficult under foot, but for the majority it was along paths which were fine. On the back end, the course turned and we followed the canal back to the start with a unhelpful wind to run into.

The event was very low key but really well organised, with a great atmosphere and a view of the Olympic stadium and park to provide inspiration. I was aiming for 1:40 but a stitch on lap 2 slowed me down and I never could claw it back. I found the distance manageable but I’m definitely not fit enough to run any further at the moment! Despite the distance taking its toll I managed to find the energy to spot and track down my rival over the last mile to pull off the steal of the century in the last 10 metres finishing in a time of 1:45 which I was pretty happy with.

We both agreed that it was a tough race and in less than ideal conditions which definitely made us pay. I’m glad I’ve now done the distance and can think about where I go from here. So now the season has started, let’s see how we improve!

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