Grand Union Canal Half Marathon 2012 – Purple Patch

Today was going to be tough.

I had chickened out of a half marathon last week due to the weather and hadn’t been out running since the zombie invasion run. To make things even more difficult I had not been taking my asthma meds for the last two weeks either. Basically I’ve been a complete lazy dog for two weeks.

So how did it go?

Weather was very cold but very sunny. The car was parked as Cassiobury Park in Watford and I had paid for coach transport to the start in Uxbridge. At least I was warm for a little while whilst the coach took me to the start with lots of other runners. What to wear on that type of run? Arm warmers, calf compression, T-shirt and camalback – that’s what I chose. Yup, I was shivering like crazy until the race started.

It was TOUGH! I’ve not felt like that running for a while. My lungs felt tight, my legs were stiff from the cold (or not running) and my feet were killing me by mile 5. Argh!

The runners started in two waves after we held a minute silence for Remembrance Day. I knew we were travelling down the canal path but I naively thought that the canal path was going to be wider from Uxbridge to Watford for some reason. Nope, it wasn’t. It was a standard canal path that had sections of completely slippy slidey mud to make things interesting, plus lots of holes, lots of branches trying to catch you unawares, lots of tree roots, lots of parked canal boats with tether lines to jump and finally – a few bridges to swap sides of the canal and a few locks to remind those legs what a hill is all about. This all made passing other runners very, very interesting and risky. So most of the time I didn’t which probably didn’t help my time. We did get a reminder that the canal was only 4 foot deep so no one would need to swim if they fell in.

In summary, I made it to the finish in one piece. I didn’t trip or fall or slip, very pleased with that score. However, my lungs were useless, my legs were blocks of lead that just would respond to being pushed for extra effort and I’d had to stop several times to recover. Back to my usual old running self that made running frustrating.

Never underestimate the need for consistent training. Over this year I had been very good at going out regularly on short runs to keep my legs fresh, keep my lungs free and to remind myself to look after myself. Being a lazy dog and resting when I should have been getting out into this cold dark wintry time had made today far more difficult than it should have been. I consider myself told and will endeavour to get of my comfy comfy sofa to go out into the cold dark nights to run!

On a good note. I now know how far I can push myself through sheer determination. At mile 5 my legs/lungs were just not responding to anything I was asking of them. It was thoroughly frustrating but I didn’t give in. I kept on pushing. I kept my legs moving even though I wanted to just sit down and stop. I pushed myself through 8 miles of pain and still managed to keep myself going and run up the hill at Cassiobury Park!!!!! Utter, utter, down right determination can work wonders. Even when I hadn’t trained at all for this event.

Now all I have to do is put that sheer determination into getting me through 26 miles in December! Eek

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