Back in the saddle. Over a pretty sucky winter, I had a niggling knee strain that took a good while to fully shift. Emotionally too, that strain took me out of three signed up for marathons, in Luton and Liverpool. As I’ve only ever pulled out a single race before (the North Downs 30k, due to family circumstances – I’m still in for doing this again Cherryl!), was feeling very grateful for getting back to feeling 100% again. As I’ve plans to go to the Rotterdam Marathon in April and take a shot at this race again, following an excellent experience there in 2012, in the process of getting in shape for it I decided to test my fitness, by signing up for this race in Windsor. As I was due to be in London for a few days anyway beforehand, seemed to make good sense.
This was at Dorney Lake. Dorney Lake is the venue that, coincidentally, was the site for the rowing at London 2012. (I’ve enclosed a few photos). The women’s team GB rowing team was training on the lake that day. Unfortunately I finished a bit too late to make any acquaintance! There were a few other crews out there that day, and the rowing shot’s of one of these. The lake’s a pretty looking place, and I guess as good a place as any to row for the nation.
Note if anybody signs up for this race, they didn’t make clear in the race handout that if you arrive at the end where the Clubhouse is, you’ll have to walk 2k to the other end of the lake, where the race tent is to register. I had to do this, and winced a little bit at first! However, I ended up being grateful to arrive at this end. The clubhouse bathroom facilities were ok to be borrowed, and used. Whereas at the race tent itself, there were only portaloos, and no dedicated changing facilities. Yep, karma does balance out 🙂
The photos were both taken post-race. This was because ye old British wet, windy and cold conditions made themselves welcome pretty early on for the race start 🙂 These did get better over the course of the race, and things finished a lot brighter, which was nice. The race itself was laps around the lake (as it’s over 2km long on each side, worked nice). The race was well marshalled, and with a fun vibe, even in the wet and cold. If this was in slightly better weather (possibly moved to summer time) would be a real cracker. It’s probably scheduled as part of the pre London Marathon schedule calendar of halfs, but I think could be more than just this.
Came out with 1:42:33. Not my best race then, as about 8 minutes off my PB. Certainly though an encouraging one, in coming back post injury, and given the weather conditions. Part of being gutted at having to pull out of the races last year, and taking so long to do this one, was finding out that I was due to pass 500 miles – in my total race distances done to date – in the next race. Now, to some of the runners reading this, that distance is peanuts I know. But as somebody who, 5 years back, would never have thought to do ANY long distance race, let alone a number of them, it’s one that made me sit and reflect for a while.
For example: how it’s been great to meet so many people who have met their goals, across so many races and different contexts. It’s been fantastic to support, and yell encouragement, as other people have crossed the line, thinking they never would make it, and they did. And how great that first hug, laugh, handshake, and clink of glasses with friends, is after any and every race.
Yep, they’re the moments that make it all worth it. That’s why (sung in the tune of the Proclaimers!) “I would run five hundred miles, and I would run five hundred more”.
So here’s to (at least) five hundred more 😉