Tuesday, 17 March 2015 22:15

Winter Woe

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Winter Woe

Forgive me for it has been far too long since my last confession…, I mean blog. I will attempt to peel back the layers of my memory and reveal what exciting things I have been up to.

A few weeks after Mallorca I found myself in a somewhat misty and murky York for a mimble around the streets and countryside of this wonderful city. I had no preconceptions about this race, just wanted to run and see how it went, and it went well as it happens. After several miles of running, with great support from the people of York and a brass band or two, I stumbled upon Michael Pate, a running buddy who I enjoy running with enormously. We normally catch up on our news and put the world to rights and in doing so encourage each other to tick along at a reasonable pace. Before I knew it we had blown past the 20 mile marker and so I decided to push on and see what I had left in the tank. I absolutely gave it my all for the last 10k, indeed this was the fastest 10k split that I ran for the whole race, and boy did I know it as I toiled up the last hill towards the finish line. I was chuffed though as I had equalled my best time for the season, although my legs were feeling somewhat goosed!!

As for Michael, well he ran a seasons best also. I thoroughly enjoyed the day, the support, the company and the course. I had been looking forward to running York again this year, but I seem to have accidently entered Ironman Barcelona, which is the week before!!!!

Two weeks later and I found myself in another wonderful part of the country, North Wales, Snowdon in particular. This is one of my favourite marathons with some spectacular views of mountains and coastline. It was to be a little different for me this time however, as I was going to escort my brother, Graham around the course. We had run together at school, both representing the school in the cross country team, but this was to be the first time since then and I was looking forward to it. I’m not sure Graham was as it was his first marathon but we were going to find out very shortly.

The start is very pleasant for a few miles and we ambled along chatting to those around us, and then it went uphill. This was the famous Pen Y Ghent pass, a gruelling climb over a couple of miles which really spreads the field out. Graham kept his head down and worked solidly to the top, impressive stuff for a first timer.

From then on it is several miles of downhill and flat with fantastic views, even on this drizzly day. We kept a steady pace until about 18 miles when Graham’s wheels started to wobble a bit, I was carrying spare gels and there were some at feed stations so he was able to try and keep his energy levels topped up.

The last hill before the finish can only be described as brutal, the weather was closing in and the wind had picked up, it was getting decidedly chilly. I think it is fair to say that Graham was looking for the finish line at this point, it was really tough on that track, the rain and wind driving at us and his legs not wanting to do much.

Finally we crested the hill and began the steep descent into the town, my knees were hurting as I had been on them for longer than normal for me and the steepness of the hill wreaked havoc on them. I don’t think Graham was fairing much better, but he still managed a smile and a sprint for the finish line to beat me. I would say, of course, that I let my brother win!!!

As is often the case after a marathon, we celebrated in style at the local burger joint, while Graham was wondering how he would manage to sit on a plane to India the next day with his stiff legs – he managed it but was a bit sore for a while after. I am pleased to say that he has entered Snowdon again this year. I shall have to get my own back this time!

A week later and Trudi and I flew to America, New York City to be precise, were we had both entered The New York marathon, Trudi’s first. A few days before the marathon we joined up with some of our running friends from the UK for a few miles around Central Park were Trudi finally managed to do her great impression of Phoebe from friends. So many boxes to tick-so little time.

The race day arrived; it was bitterly cold and very windy. We were up early, fed and watered and on a bus to the start before sunrise. Like many major marathons the start is split into a number of mini starts and becomes one main race after a few miles.

We found the blue start and settled down for the long wait as we would not be starting until the final wave at 10.55am, by this time is was only 8am. Normally, the organisers erect marques for the runners to shelter in but due to the wind they decided not to this year leaving runners to find shelter wherever they could. We managed to sneak in behind stack of bagel boxes and a van with a few others but it was still bitterly cold.

Finally, having stripped some of our clothing of to be sent to the finish we were called to the corrals. We were still both wearing 2 tops plus a jacket, hat and gloves, but with lots of bodies around it wasn’t too cold. Did I mention how cold it was?

Boom…..the cannon fired and we were off, over the Verrazano Bridge were it was absolutely blowing a right hooley. I tried to run interference for Trudi from the wind but it was just horrendous. After about 5 miles we started to warm up as the sun shone and the buildings gave some respite from the cold wind. There were bands playing and plenty of support from the people of New York which was great, and also from other runners who liked the tops that we had on. (see attached article).




Trudi did really well, keeping a nice even pace and only having a few wobbles along the way, the atmosphere was great, the volunteers were great and a police officer even took a photo of us on a bridge with Manhattan in the background. We saw water stations have tables lifted into the air and get blown over, we high fived loads of children, ate bananas and gels for fun when we could get them and finally arrived at the bottom of Central Park.

This part is a gentle uphill for a couple of miles before entering the Park for the finish, and we blitzed it. Every other runner was walking along this stretch, but Trudi was determined to run the lot and received lots of support for her effort. It was tough with 24 miles in the legs but well worth it. And then to the final mile, soaking up the atmosphere and receiving the medal at the finish, a nice chunky medal for a hard days work.

It was a long, it was a very cold day, the coldest marathon day they had had for over 40 years, but it was a great day and I was very proud of Trudi to have achieved her goal. Another box ticked!

I rounded of the year with a lovely run out at the inaugural Kirkstal trail marathon near Leeds. Lots of friends there as it was the 10 in 10 dinner in Leeds that night. There was some mud, some canal, some road, some cake and beer and Matt, my 10 in 10 roomy completed his 100th marathon. What more could you ask for.

Since then I’m afraid that work, injuries and colds have got in the way of any serious training. I am still suffering from the injuries I sustained back in May on the bike and know that it still could be many months before my neck is 100%. I need to get back on it though as I have some seriously tough events coming up this summer.

Promise I won’t leave it so long next time.

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