June – How to run a Virtual Half Marathon

So the year is ticking by – and June sees Gill and I taking on our sixth half marathon of the year.  The challenge this month has been to find a half marathon to run!  They are really thin on the ground through the summer and we found one relatively local run – but then I was away……….  So we decided to “go it alone”.  It’s a wonderful thing the internet – and a quick google of “virtual half marathon” will find you a host of websites that will accept your proof that you have run the distance and then send you a medal (well I’m still waiting for that actually – but fingers crossed).

And the extra challenge this month is – can I run a half marathon on only two 7 mile training runs?  Followers of this blog will know that I hit the deck quite hard on the Weald Challenge half marathon in May and managed to injure a rib (cracked I suspect) – making moving, sleeping, breathing and running pretty tricky.  I did a couple of jog/walks in the two weeks following the injury – but more walk than jog if the truth be known as – as soon as my breathing became deeper it made my chest hurt – quite a bit……………………….  Then week three saw me heading out to Greece for a week – plenty of walking here in the early morning with a bit of downhill running – but it was really too hot to do anything in the way of a distance run – or anything too hard.  Some cross training with swimming and snorkelling – but my chest was still feeling pretty sore.  But the rest and relaxation – not to mention the wonderful secluded footpaths in northern Cephalonia made up for it –  I really can’t complain.  But I returned from Greece with just a week to go until our June half marathon and next to no training done.  But there is nothing to do now except a couple of middle distance runs to see how the chest holds up and fingers crossed………………………

The next issue is what route and how to organise our 13.1 miles.  Fortunately (sic) our club – Heathfield Road Runners came up with a plan for us.

Niki: “Why don’t you run 7 miles and then do the Heathfield 10k?”

Me: “I think Gill may have a view about that……………..”

Niki: “We’d all be there at the end to cheer you on…………..”

And surprisingly Gill agrees – what those of you that don’t know Heathfield – or the 10k – or Gill for that matter need to know is:

  1. Heathfield is hilly
  2. The 10k makes rollercoasters such as “the big one” at Blackpool pleasure beach look tame.
  3. The 10k is run in midsummer (and the week before saw the highest temperature on a June day since 1976 – remember that? I was 17!)
  4. Gill does not like hills………………

It is a relief that the day is cooler than it has been, although still warm,  and we start early (8.30am) over a 7 mile – flattish – route in order to be back for the start of the 10k.  A bit unorthodox – a 20 minute break before the rest of our run – we were concerned that we would stiffen up and not get going again – but we kept moving and actually it worked fine.  We line up at 10am with the other 318 runners for the roller coaster run.  It is good to be surrounded by friends and other runners – we know most of the marshals – Rosie is there and Gill’s husband Colin and son Jonny.  The run is hard and hot – I am going pretty well until the last two miles – which are uphill all the way – finishing with a run round the Heathfield and Waldron rugby field.  No negative split today!  I finish in 1 hour and 4 mins – not too bad after the first 7 miles – 3 minutes slower than last year – but then I was fresh as a daisy back then!!  And true to their word the Heathfield Road Runners cheer us in (most of them have been back for a while!) which is a fitting end to half marathon number 6!

IMG_1621
Gill has found the cake!

WE ARE HALF WAY THROUGH

Me: 6 done………

Gill: 6 still to do……………

A runner’s version of glass half full or glass half empty?

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