In the Heat of the Marathon 20th July 2014

Fairlands Valley Challenge 26.3 HOT miles – Sunday 20th July 2014.
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My 22nd marathon in total and my 9th marathon in 2014 – not including NDW50.
A not so early start to pick up two marathon gals on the way to Stevenage Sunday morning. We arrived in plenty of time to register and do the usual pre-race pee without rushing. You can’t rush that pre-race pee or you’ll be needing a pee just after you start. The horror!!
Kelly and Julia – The marathon gals – were already on form and instead of dreading the hot, humid day I was looking forward to a laugh on the trails. My kit was ready for a hot day as well but looking back I could have done a bit more to keep myself hydrated better. The start was different to last year and the course was apparently different too. This was made very clear not long after we started out on the course. We were playing follow the leader until it was necessary to start reading the instructions and after a few minutes we were greeted with runners who had split and gone the old route at the start. Oops! Best keep an eye on those instructions then!!
Most of the start was similar to the 13 mile route I followed last year. Kelly, Julia and I kept up a decent pace until we started hitting the hills at about mile 4. That and the need to check route instructions kept making me stop to check where I was going. The day was already warm and I was determined not to push myself to hard because I wanted to save everything I had for the following weekend. I know this slowed us down a lot. Sorry girls. Sweat was pouring off us and we tried to keep hydrated as much as we could. As the miles ticked by these are the random things that amused me greatly. We met and laughed with other fellow runners – slower runners seem to have a deeper sense of humility and humour that always makes me feel welcome. My purple leggings were a hit, one statement of “I could really get into your leggings” was awesome haha!! The jokes of the Queens Hoo Hall nearly had me crawling rather than running.
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Kissing gate humour – “mwwwaa!! Darlins”. A one liner that had me stumped until I realised what Kelly meant – “Where’s all the Spartans?” Me “They’re over there….eh?……ooooooOOOOO!!!!!” Buff men in cloaks and underpants. I get it. Took me a few seconds, sheesh!! Another Kelly moment – “These fields are killing my legs” Me “Nope, don’t feel a thing” Kelly “I’m wearing shorts” Me “Nope, still can’t feel a thing” Kelly “RUN, BEAR!!!!” hahahahahahahaha!!!! That’s one way of dealing with my sarcasm! The “Are we there yet?”, “Mum, she’s doing it again” and so on. Vass up! Julia, that’s all I’m saying on that subject!!
The temperature throughout the run just kept creeping upwards. The fields were sauna’s and the few moments through trees were a welcome relief to the scorching sun. I’m really glad I managed to carry a bottle of coca-cola for each of us for mile 15. This perked me up no end, BUT!!! It stopped me from hydrating. I should have sipped at the cola and not drank the whole lot leaving me feeling filled which made me forget to keep taking on water. 5 miles later and I was suffering, a queasy knot of a stomach and other signs of heat exhaustion – reduced sweating and headache. This was not good and the day was not getting any cooler. I could push myself to finish but that would finish me for the following weekend. Instead I slowed myself down and started forcing myself to drink more. Kelly and Julia kept me occupied on far more amusing things and step by step we all got closer to the finish. My right knee held out until mile 20 which I was pleased with. A few more stretches picked up from the physio are working wonders as always. My only pain was my shin after rolling over on my right ankle not once but twice, G’AH!! No sprain thankfully but one sore set of muscles and ligaments that will be looked after this week. Dimwit!! Haha!!
It was a stupidly hot day for a run but I’m walking around today as though I’ve just done a bit of gardening in the heat of the day. My head is a bit sore from the heat yesterday. That’s it. I’m very pleased with my body glide spray that’s reduced bra and running pack chafing to nearly nothing. Even though I suffered with heat exhaustion I managed the symptoms well enough to keep going.
So am I ready for Lakeland 50? I’m much stronger than I was last year, much stronger. My kit choice is getting better with experience. Each event is different and I’m getting better at bringing just the right amount of kit along. I’m slower than last year but my ability to just keep going is getting better. After Lakeland 50 I have a hill training plan to “Love Hills” ready to go. I’ve picked my hills and I’m going to beat them!!
A positive weekend for me. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and will very likely be back next year.
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Photograph credit goes to Kelly. Yes we are that bonkers haha!!
Keep on running.
Helen

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