Day 90 – The Newton’s Fraction Half Marathon (Five Hours Too Late)

It was quite a race day.  With something of a lie-in, not needing to be up until 4am to cover the Australian GP, it meant that I was thrown right in – working flat out non-stop until just a few minutes before 3pm. If you want to know how the race went, I’m probably not the best person to ask. Head down, working away, only really know the skeleton details of what went on.

No sooner had the work ended then I was donning the running kit ready for the last run of a long old week. To my chagrin working on the Australian GP meant I was unable to take part in the Newton’s Fraction Half Marathon, which is Grantham’s main (maybe its only) road race of the year. In 2013 I took part on a bitterly cold, windy, snowy day. I had a bad race, hampered with injury, but ended up finishing sixth. Had I taken part this year, looking at the results I would have surely finished second and, who knows, depending on how this year’s training has gone, maybe come within a sniff of victory.

In stark contrast to the conditions in 2013, the weather today was simply gorgeous, sunny, pleasantly warm with only a relatively stiff breeze spoiling the idyll. From the off the legs felt better than yesterday. Stiff, but the calves much less tight. Whether that was helped by the decision to wear compression socks we’ll never know as I refused to take part in a one leg long sock, one leg short placebo experiment.

What was continuing to ache though was the left hip / left upper thigh. I’m sure this is stemming from the back but the net result is discomfort in the upper thigh that feels a little like a dead leg. It’s not really slowing – indeed after the opening uphill miles, I was comfortably into sub seven minute miles, but it is annoying and not the kind of problem I want to be racing with.

The scenery over the half marathon course is in places simply gorgeous, especially the run on the canal path towards Woolsthorpe.  A quick pit stop at the pub and I was back into my running. The first of two steep hills I made relatively swift work of and I was running faster as the headwind became a tailwind for much of the remainder of the run.  The miles went by quickly enough as the sun began to slowly set. The second hill into Barrowby was a killer, but I knew that once tackled it was all gently downhill back to home.

I  went though 13.1 miles in 1:31, not a bad effort considering by then I’d already covered 100 miles for the week. The am I losing my pace doubts are in full swing at the moment; I should look at the facts that I am running just outside 3 hour marathon pace after a 100 mile week covered when I have been getting up to work, on average, at 2:30am. With proper tapering and the smoothing away of any niggles, hopefully I will fly.

The run was over after 16.4 miles. Shattered and stiff, at least I could relax for the rest of the evening safe in the knowledge there should be no early wake up call for Monday morning.