A PB in the heat

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I had penciled in targeting a PB (sub 58:35) at the Milton Keynes 10k a long while back. I’d had a good season so far and had managed to maintain my stay in Group 4 at running club. (Long time runner in group 5 right here!) I’d been moved up twice before, but each time returned to the slightly slower group after marathon training when my confidence faded and I lost my legs.
Not this year!

When I checked the weather forecast earlier in the week and it was showing as due to hit 34 degrees on Tuesday I wiped all chances of a PB from my mind. I vaguely had the intention of downgrading my expectations to completing the 10k in under an hour but then when I woke up on Tuesday morning and there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky, my new target was just to survive the race without melting into a little puddle on the side of the road.

My beautiful new fan was stolen from my classroom over the weekend and with the weather the way it has been this week the kids are really struggling to stay focused in the hot, sweaty classrooms. Well, not just the kids actually. Us teachers are struggling too!

I hadn’t pre-entered the race on Tuesday so made sure to leave home nice and early so that I could sign up on the night. Despite my chances of an enjoyable race being rather slim I still wanted to give the race a good go. The course at Milton Keynes suits me as a runner. It is fairly flat, but with many, many redways dipping down and under various roads and back up the other side again. I like the variance of the course not being pancake flat and giving me the opportunity to relax a little on the slight downhills. The majority of the course runs alongside a dual carriageway but I can’t say I ever really noticed it. Lots of runners from our club hate that the course is very samey for the full 10k but I like to see it as broken into hundreds of tiny little sections from one redway underpass to the next.
And there were a lot of underpasses!

The race HQ is at the pavilion of the Open Uni, with an approximate ten minute walk across fields to the actual start line. The race didn’t start until 7:45 but it was no cooler than it had been during the day. My vest was already soaked through from sweat before I had even begun the race! I firmly planted a cap on my head and drank a pint of water between registering and starting the race (followed by a trip to the loo!)

On the start line it appeared that we were all stood in the wrong position and facing the wrong direction, so we were shifted over to the left a bit and angled to face the edge of the field. There was no count down that I could hear. A whistle was blown and we just started running!  Following our start, the whistle was blown repeatedly over and over again in short sharp bursts. There were mutterings of the possibility of a false start from runners around me and some even stopped running briefly before realising that the short, sharp blasts on the whistle were just meant as noise to encourage us on.

The first little section is over the grassy field. I didn’t like this at all in road shoes and was glad it was only a brief portion of the course. We were soon out on a little back road and then onto the redways.

My first mile was a little quicker than I thought I would be running at, ticking over in 8:46. As is usual lately, I didn’t display my pace on my Garmin but instead, my heart rate and overall time. Last night it was more important than ever to stick to heart rate rather than a pace so that I knew I wasn’t overdoing things and using up too much energy in the heat before blowing up later in the race. I decided to count to 100 over and over again (a little tip from Paula Radcliffe that I find helps me with consistency and focus!) and soon I was checking my watch against the 2k marker.  This was out by Willen Lake. The lake that features on the marathon course and was the point I really struggled from when I ran the marathon back at the start of May this year. I put my head down, stuck to 165bpm and just kept pushing on. I overtook quite a few people along this section.

At the 3k marker we came past a marshal, turned right and immediately headed underneath a bridge. I could see a lady Redwell runner had semi-fallen into a seated position out on the course here so shouted ‘Runner down!’ back to where the marshal was stood. I’m not sure he heard me but another Redwell runner was by the lady’s side by this point and said that she was OK. I felt a bit guilty for not stopping, but there wouldn’t have been anything that I could have done anyway.

Mile 2: 9:05
Mile 3: 9:27

I found it very confusing with my watch giving me mile splits alongside trying to check the km splits on route which I then compared to the overall time shown on my Garmin. When I got to the halfway point in 28:44 I worked out that I was on target for a PB if I continued at the steady pace that I was currently running at so chose to skip the drinks station.  It was tough, but my HRM told me that I was capable of running in the heat it so I just kept counting to 100 over and over and putting my feet down one in front of the other.

Mile 4: 9:45
Mile 5: 9:39

I continued to have problems working out whether I was on target or not.  My watch was showing 40minutes something at the 7k marker. Would I make it? Surely I was well over a third of the way now? The 8k marker came and went. I thought I was still on target…but I couldn’t work out how far 2k was in miles! What minute miles would I have to run? OK, the 9k marker was right in front of me. I’ve misjudged it. It’s still a really long way to the finish and I’m never going to get there to hit a new PB…

A little after the 9k marker you head out onto a road that runs through the University. From memory it wasn’t far until the finish from this point so I extended my stride. Despite it being so warm and draining out there, I’d paced myself well and was able to stretch out and pass a lot of runners here. The sign appeared in the distance for 200m to go. No, it wasn’t 200m to go. It was 500m to go! What?! I’d never make it now! All thoughts of a potential PB left my mind as I succumbed to being so close but just not achieving what I had initially set out to do. I almost slowed my pace right down but caught myself and kept the rythym. I can’t imagine I displayed a very attractive face at his point though. There was a lot of scowling going on!

Mile 6: 9:36

As I turned onto the field where the finish line was visible in the distance I just caught sight of the clock on the line. It had just turned over to 58 minutes. My legs and arms pumped away and I powered towards that line. I WAS getting my PB after all! For a brief second I thought the sign by the clock read Finish, 200m and I could have cried!  Luckily the sign actually read Finish Line.

Nubbin (0.25m): 8:16mm Sweaty Milton Keynes PB face

Woop woop! My watch read 58:25. The official time showing on the website this morning was 58:27. Not a huge PB but still a PB and a massive improvement on my course time from last year. Position: 430/487 Gender position: 111/144 Category position (SF): 29/40.

Because Milton Keynes 10k was the last of eight races in the East Midlands Grand Prix series, the overall prize giving took place as the sun was going down.  Bed time for me last night was gone 11:30pm.  I was a sleepy teacher today!

Open University balcony in Milton Keynes

Do you prefer running in the heat or the cold?
Have you convinced yourself that you haven’t achieved a PB only to discover that you have?!

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Pilates, Whole Foods, bloggers and Coombe Abbey

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This weekend was a busy one. I do love busy weekends but really struggle with getting back into the working week again afterwards when I haven’t made time for the housework, schoolwork and admin stuff I would normally slot in over the weekend.

On Friday evening I headed to Wellingborough Rugby Club where one of my old coaches was holding a charity race night (all races were pre-recorded and shown on the big screen).  Dan and I didn’t have much luck with the actual betting, but we did pick a winner in the raffle!  Dan graciously let me have the free one to one pilates session (I really couldn’t imagine him giving it a go!)Pilates win in the raffle

I’m a little nervous about somebody seeing just how weak and inflexible my body is, but at least in a one-to-one session I won’t be able to compare myself against lots of super supple people.  This week is a little busy with a 10k race on the calendar tomorrow evening, trail run with friends on Wednesday after school and then a parents evening on Thursday but hopefully I shall manage to book my pilates session for the start of the Summer holidays and it will work out as a nice way to wind down at the end of term.

On Saturday morning I headed to London to meet up with several other foodie/fitness/running bloggers. It was something I had both looked forward to and been incredibly nervous about for a long time. Some of the bloggers that I knew were going I regularly communicate with over blog comments/Twitter/Instagram but there were a few bloggers that I hadn’t heard of before, so most likely would not know who I was either. My biggest worry was that when we met up (outside Whole Foods at 1pm) that I would be stood right next to other bloggers without noticing and then there would be that awkward realisation a little while later, followed by an awkward silence coming from the embarrassment of not realising…  Awkward!

In the end I decided to give parkrun a miss in the morning rather than rushing back home following the run, showering and changing super quick, leaping in the car and storming off to London probably leaving my directions on the kitchen counter and forgetting my purse – which would without a doubt have stressed me out.
Instead, I decided to give myself a lot of extra time, enjoyed a little lay in and went through my directions in great detail with Dan. I decided it was probably easiest to drive down to Camden and so Dan found me directions to a parking lot not far from the station and I ended up arriving with plenty of time to kill at a little before 11am, long before our meeting.

Whole Foods was easy to find and after some brief stressful moments pushing through the crowds in the city I decided it would be best to find a pub with WiFi and perch up with my iPad until a little nearer the time. I am really not a London fan and much prefer to live life as a country bumpkin!

I hate London screenshot(As you can tell from my phone screenshot I’m rubbish at responding to social media alerts!)

Just before 1pm I headed back over to Whole Foods. There was someone outside.  Should I recognise them? (I didn’t!) I panicked, rang Dan and continued to walk round the corner on the phone. Turns out I shouldn’t have recognised them (unless they repeated the same ridiculous panic procedure as me but then instead of returning, left completely!) and as I turned back onto the street a few minutes later I spotted Anna. I recognised Anna from having read her blog for the past few years and so immediately felt a bit more relaxed.  As I got closer I could see that she was stood with Pip and Cat and not long after Ceri joined us as well.  I felt very silly for having a moment and being shy. I’d been looking forward to meeting up with the other bloggers for ages.

Our first task was to grab some lunch from Whole Foods to take to the park. This should be easy right? Apparently not! It did make me smile that all five of us spent a long time deliberating over what to choose. There was certainly much more choice than when I pop to Tesco on a Saturday lunchtime! I walked by as Pip was ordering a burrito box without the burrito and decided to follow suit. I am all about the variety when it comes to meals and so I got the guy behind the counter to throw everything in that box; rice, black beans, guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes, sweetcorn, red onion, sour cream… My box was overflowing with delicious food and I made a mental note to recreate this box for some of my lunches this week. I also picked up a pot of mixed fruit salad.

Whole foods burrito counter

Claire joined us before we headed to the park and the six of us found a nice half-shady-half-sunny spot out on the grass.  It was so hot out there on Saturday, the shade was a welcome break.  The chat was nice and relaxed over lunch. Mainly food natter with a bit of running thrown in. Anna had brought along her Cakeathon medal and my jealousy grew for how beautiful and HUGE and heavy it was in real life!

Anna and I blindly followed the London-based folk back out of the park and to inSpiral, a nearby vegan cafe, to meet up with a couple of other bloggers a little later.  I was glad it wasn’t just me that was a bit overwhelmed with navigating the streets of London!  I was amazed at how many runners were out on the streets in the middle of the afternoon.  It was so hot outside and the streets were so crowded I couldn’t imagine that getting a very consistent run in would have been particularly easy.  I’m glad I live where I do.

Once in inSpiral we met Laureen and Lily for drinks and cake.

Blogger meetup in inSpiral

Despite the eight of us having all blogged regularly for a while now we only managed to take one photo between us which included actual people.  (Picture above stolen from Cat!) But, we did all manage to take photos of our meals from the day.  But of course(!)

It was a great debate over what to drink.  In the end I settled on an inSpiral shake – ‘Made from a tub of our raw vegan cashew-based ice cream and blended with your choice of milk and a dash of agave nectar.’  I went for mint choc chip with almond milk and it was lovely and refreshing.  I do much prefer almond milk to cows milk since I have begun drinking it.  If only more places offered a choice like this!

My cake of choice was a Raw Hazelnut Tart - ‘creamy hazelnut and vanilla filling on an activated buckwheat, cacoe and hazelnut crust topped with a raw chocolate ganache.’

inSpiral Raw Hazlenut Tart

…I made the right choice!

I had a great day and chatted to so many lovely people.  I can’t believe how nervous I had been at the start of the morning now and wished I had chatted more.  With so much in common with everybody I’m not sure how I expected us to have nothing to talk about, because there was not a moment of silence once we had all met.  It was just a shame that the day seemed to go by so quickly.  I shall definitely be putting my name down for another meet up! :)

The drive home was a little eventful, as the fuel gauge display in my car would not display anything and I had no idea how much petrol was remaining in my car, or at what speed I was driving!  Once out of London I managed to pull over and turn off my car.  When I started it back up again the display seemed to work so I asked no more questions!

The following morning I was up bright and early to marshal at the Coombe Abbey running festival for Go Beyond.  The day was completely different to the Saturday and this time I had awoken to grey skies and constant drizzle.  The A14 being closed off and adding an extra 35minutes to my journey didn’t brighten my mood at all. Coombe Abbey running festival start line Go BeyondI was managing the registration tent on Sunday; directing runners to the right queues and running over to the chip guys with details of runners entering on the day.  The weather did pick up a lot later on in the day and I’m pretty sure my face got a little burnt in the afternoon.  I did get a few odd questions whilst chatting to runners before they collected their entry packs.  One runner had forgotten his money and wondered if he could pay in euros?!  (The answer, for anyone thinking of doing the same in future, was ‘no’ I’m afraid.)  Apparently the day before someone had asked the question ‘If it doesn’t rain this evening, will the course be dry?’  ?!

After seeing the last runner off over the finish line (10 minutes after the marathon had begun, as he had misjudged how long it would take him to get to the event!) I broke down the registration desk and moved over to the finish line where my next station point was at.  I do enjoy being on the finish line – giving out medals and seeing people achieve what they set out to do.

Go Beyond Coombe Abbey running festival medals

One runner really stood out on race day.  Rosanna Andrews from Northampton Road Runners was running the half marathon and won it.  Outright.  First lady, but also the first person to cross the finish line for the half marathon distance!  Her Mum was also the third lady over the marathon finish line. I’ve never watched a race before where a woman has come first!  There was actually less than two minutes between the first guy and the first lady for the marathon as well.  With the course set on loops (12 loops for the marathon distance) it was really exciting to monitor the current placings as runners started each new lap and to keep track of who was in the lead.

I was absolutely knackered by the end of the day though and enjoyed a little nap back at home before tea!

How do you prefer your weekends?  Busy or relaxed?
Have you ever met people through their blog before?
Favourite random question you have been asked as a marshal?!
Have you ever witnessed a woman beating all of the men in a race?

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Six Snippets Saturday

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It was really draining trying to write three race recaps back-to-back last week.  Probably actually more draining blogging about them than it was running them!  I haven’t felt very inspired to blog much else this week but in fact, lots of stuff has happened just lately.  Summer is coming (three weeks and three days away to be exact) and I’m hoping to improve my time management schedule – some sort of routine for both the blog and life – as once again, life has been all over the place just lately!

Anyway, here are six snippets from my week…

#1.  Colworth Marathon Times.  On Thursday evening I got into a discussion with a couple of other runners from my running club about the Colworth Marathon weekend.  It seems to be the general consensus that the cumulative time achieved by runners at Colworth over the three days (5miles, 8.1miles and 13.1miles) is roughly what they should be achieving in an actual road marathon.  Although the Colworth ‘marathon’ is run over the three days of the weekend and your body has time to recover slightly before attempting the next distance the following day, the courses are challenging, with plenty of hills and technical, rutted ground in places so the difficulty of the event almost cancels out the fact that it is run over three days.
This made me quite happy.  4:37:49 was my collective time for the weekend challenge, a long way under my current marathon time of 5:00:28.  Obviously, the Colworth Marathon Challenge does not count as an actual marathon time as it was run over three days but it gives me an aim to work towards for my next marathon – Mablethorpe in October.

#2.  My Mother-In-Law has lost more than 30lbs so far with a combination of Weight Watchers, C25k and using her FitBit.  I’m super proud of her for sticking at it and she has really noticeably lost the weight over the past couple of months.  She has mentioned hoping to go for a run at some point with Dan and I and I intend on holding her to that!  She has actually lost 33.5lbs in total now since the Spring.

Weight Watches 30lb loss

#3.  House move progress?  On Friday we had a phone call from our estate agents to say that the mortgage had finally been approved for the woman that is buying our house and that we should get in touch with our solicitors to find out more.  Our solicitors didn’t know anything about this yet, as the other set of solicitors hadn’t contacted them directly.  I feel like I’ve been quite pushy with the whole house moving thing – I often ring several times a week to check on progress, but it hasn’t seemed to get us anywhere!  As I left it on Friday afternoon, our solicitors were going to get in touch with our buyer’s solicitors and suggest a date for completion.  I suggested the 23rd July as it is three weeks away (hopefully giving them plenty of time to organise the exchange!) and the first day of my Summer holiday, so hopefully preventing a melt-down from me as it won’t involve moving one night after work.  Dan would happily have signed up to move on Monday if they would let us.  He seems to be oblivious to the amount of work that is required on the actual move day itself!House sold sign

#4.  Running on my own.  A couple of times this week I have headed out on an easy run on my own and really enjoyed it.  I run with others so often that sometimes I forget how nice it is just to head out with my own thoughts and come up with my own route for a run.  I’m still feeling strong (touch wood that this continues!) and was hopeful for a 10k PB at Milton Keynes on Tuesday night.  Obviously it goes without saying that as I am aiming for a PB the weather begins to heat up…

Milton Keynes 10k weatherAt the moment, the temperature is showing as only dropping to 21 degrees by 10pm that evening.  I think I need to wipe all thoughts of a good race from my head immediately.  I don’t hold out much hope of it going well if the weather is as hot and muggy as it appears it is going to be.

#5.  Places were released for the EnduranceLife Gower events this week.  A shout out was made on our club Facebook page and we already have more than twenty members with their names down for one of the cottages we rented out last year.  I had such a good time last year that my name was one of the first back on the list for 2015!  We’ve worked out that the three cottages will probably sleep about 30 people between them at a push (with a few runners crashing on the floor/sofa).  Quite a few runners are bringing partners again this year, but Dan was perfectly happy to let me go on my own and had no intentions of even entering the 10k event to keep him occupied whilst I was out running the marathon again.  He’ll probably spend the weekend at home playing football, watching football and choosing food I would never cook!

Gower marathon crew

#6.  Co-op £10 meals are a life saver.  The majority of our kitchen items are packed away in boxes and have been for several weeks.  It seems a long while ago now that I planned out the last of our food into meals for the week so that we could make sure we had eaten it all before we moved back in May.  Back before the estate agents decided that May 29th would no longer be our moving date…!
Washing up is now done on a nightly basis, sometimes twice a day as we only have two sets of everything left in the cupboards.  Lots of kitchen items we didn’t think we would be using again (such as scales and roasting dishes) have been packed and so I have gone from enjoying planning and cooking our meal each night to desperately working out what is the least effort and requires the least amount of utensils/space in our now tiny living space that is filled with boxes.

We’re not big takeaway people, but a couple of times over the last couple of weeks on nights we haven’t fancied turning around and washing up, using every remaining pot and pan in the kitchen and then clearing space for us to eat we have turned to our local Co-op.

We live in a very small town, but we do have a Co-op within walking distance.  Co-op have been running a £10 meal-for-two deal for a little while now which includes a main dish, a side, a dessert and a bottle of wine.  (Non-alcoholic drinks are also available but I find, if it has been one of those days, then often the wine is what is calling!)  There are usually about three or four varieties of each course to choose from.

This week we went for chicken coated in cheese with crispy sliced potatoes, carrots, green beans, chocolate melt-in-the-middle puddings and a bottle of rosé.Chicken, green beans, potatoes and carrots from the Co-op £10 meal deal

I do enjoy cooking most of the time, but sometimes it’s nice to have something completely different and be told exactly what to put in the oven and when.  I am hoping to try out Hello Fresh as recommended by Anna when we finally move, although I’m a bit wary about doing so yet, in case we need any utensils or more than two plates for the meals!

So, that is my week, summed up into six bullet points!  Work has been rather busy just lately with term winding down and all assessments needing to be marked.  I am so looking forward to the Summer and filling my days with non-school related things.  My weekend this week has been/is in the process of being just as jam packed as the week was and much more fun so I shall recap it in another post.

Do you get many takeaways/meal deals?
Tell me a PB success story from a hot day.

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Colworth Marathon Challenge – Day 3

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I had meant to get this recap up earlier in the week, but taking a weekend off from completing housework and schoolwork so that I could run has it’s repercussions and as a result, I was up working until 11:30pm Monday and Tuesday evening, followed by being completely knackered last night.

Yesterday I managed to slot an easy 5 mile run in with Dan after work as my head was telling me that schoolwork was very much over for the day once I got home!  I was rather useless afterwards and headed to bed not much later.  Now it’s time to complete the final day of my recap of the Colworth Marathon Challenge I ran over the weekend.  The half marathon.

I didn’t have the best of races on the Sunday.  I could probably sum this post up in a couple of short sentences and move swiftly on, but the Colworth Marathon Challenge is one I would like to take on again and therefore, I need to document and learn from my mistakes!

I’d had great runs on both the Friday night and Saturday afternoon, leaving me feeling good and filled with confidence for the final race of the weekend.  Unfortunately, the added confidence meant I ended up going into the final day a little too relaxed.  I’d run the five mile race on day one at an average heart rate of 166bpm.  I’d run the 8.1mile race on the Saturday at a 160bpm HR.  I didn’t stop to work out what I needed to be running at for a half marathon, I just knocked 5 beats off from the previous race and roughly aimed to be working with a 155bpm heart rate.

The first mile was spent chatting with a friend who is a much quicker runner than me, as he had wanted to ensure he didn’t start off too fast.  We kept things steady but as we wished each other luck a mile up the road and he pushed on, I realised I was yet to check in on my HR.  Luckily, I appeared to be a good judge of effort and I was bang on the target I had set for myself.  I was finding things relatively easy.  The terrain was much easier going than it had been the day before and as I had started off perhaps even slightly slower than my target HR I was picking people in front of me off one by one.

Confidence boost.  My legs felt strong after racing the last two days and I didn’t think twice about reassessing my pace.  155bpm seemed easy.  I was cruising along and I picked up the pace slightly.

By mile four a lady had fallen into step with me and commented on what a nice, steady pace I had.  That I just ‘looked comfortable’.  I certainly felt it at that stage and mentioned that I had been running to a consistent heart rate throughout.  She mentioned that she had struggled to get into a rhythm so I said that she was welcome to stay with me if she liked and continued to run alongside or just behind me for the next couple of miles.

Mile 1: 10:17
Mile 2:
10:34
Mile 3: 10:05
Mile 4: 9:59
Mile 5: 10:45
Mile 6: 10:56
Mile 7: 10:28

(Although this doesn’t appear  consistent, it was over a very hilly course, so the effort levels were consistent.)

The half marathon course was two laps and it was nice to see a hoard of club support back at the start line as we passed through ready to take on the second lap.  I was yet to take any drinks on from the water stations.  Water was passed out in plastic cups like it had been on the day before and so when I decided that I did infact need some water at the halfway point, I made the decision that I was going to slow to a walk to drink it, rather than gulp it and choke myself like I had done on the Saturday.  The first sip still went down the wrong way.  I walked for long enough until I had finished the cup and then broke back into a run again.  Why does running feel so much harder after a walk break?!

I soon realised that my 155bpm target was too high and lowered my expectations to 150bpm, dropping the pace substantially.  The half marathon was never too much but I should have planned better beforehand to have worked out my pacing more successfully as the second half was not as enjoyable as the first!

I did feel as though there were a lot of water stations on the course.  About four each lap I think?  Some were positioned in really random places as well.  One was half way up a steep hill that I really just wanted to power up, not stop and have to restart again (I skipped this station out!)

Mile 8: 10:57 
Mile 9:
11:40
Mile 10: 10:59
Mile 11: 11:47
Mile 12: 11:08
Mile 13: 12:33
Nubbin (0.33m): 9:46mm

All in all though, the race was a good one.  I still managed a sprint finish at the end, although not quite as speedy as it had been on the previous two days.  Not only were my legs a little more tired but this was the one day where I had no-one to race against at the end.

Colworth Marathon Challenge mug

After collecting my prize of a Colworth mug at the finish, I sat with the rest of the club relaxing in the sun and waiting for the other runners to come in.  Sunday was the first time in a long while I had run over ten miles without any food or drink other than water and my shorts were a little salty.  I wasn’t disappointed with my time.  I had estimated previously that I would come in at around 2h 30m and my official time was clocked as 2:25:27 (and 196/221 position), so I beat my estimate by almost five minutes and in the process gave myself a new target for next year! ;)

When the rest of our club had come through the finish line we headed over to the marquee where we could claim our prize for competing in all three of the events over the weekend.  This year the token was a slate coaster with the race marked on it.  I really like it.

Colworth Marathon Challenge slate coasterRunners started to drift off one by one.  I was then saying goodbye to a few others when I looked up to see Dan heading towards me.  He had come to see me race but missed me by about 40 minutes.  Clearly his expectations of my time were too low! :P  When I first started running he used to come to all my races but now he often stays at home instead.  I guess I race quite a lot!  He did stick around so that we could cheer our club at the prize-giving though as they had achieved first female team.

I was hoping that some pictures would be available for me to add to my posts by now, but it appears not.  :(  The Colworth Marathon website seems to have uploaded to their website pictures of each runner from the half marathon at the finish.  But the last photo is the runner before me!  Hopefully they were just interrupted mid-load and the rest of the pictures will be added later today…

Overall Colworth Marathon Challenge time: 4:37:39.
Overall Colworth Marathon Challenge position: 135/150.

Do your parents/partner/pets come and watch you at races?
Have you ever misjudged the pace required for a race?

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