October – Tonbridge Half Marathon

Out with the old (September) and in with the new (October) in rather quick succession – just one week apart – the closest-together of our twelve halves this year.  We wondered how we would manage with just a few days to recover.  Just one short training/recovery run each during the week and some walking to stretch out tired muscles.  As it turns out our experiences last week meant that it all went rather smoothly…………………..

An eight o clock departure from Heathfield – we are travelling separately as Gill is meeting an old friend for lunch after the run (Tonbridge is her old stomping ground) – so no banter along the way – and we are parked at West Kent College just after eight thirty for a ten o clock start.  Our numbers are pinned on our vests and timing chips are on shoes…… So we have time to visit the very pleasant indoor flushing toilets as many times as we want before the off……………. and have several trips back to the cars………… and pop to the Running Hub’s stall for a chat with Cheeky where I could even have bought Shot Bloks – but I didn’t need them as I had my own bag of Percy Pigs with me.  And Valerie is organising the sports masseurs for the event – so we pop in for a chat with her too!  As I say – we had learned from last week…………..

The weather is almost perfect – cool with occasional light drizzle – nothing at all to moan about.  The race is well organised – so 10 am arrives and we’re off.  I remember Tonbridge being a hilly one – but it’s actually not too bad.  Gill and I run the first four and a half miles together and then our paces begin to vary so we gradually separate.  And to my surprise I feel very strong and begin to enjoy the run – quite a lot actually – it is great to run through 5, 6, 7 and 8 miles and know that you’re going to make the distance comfortably – the last three miles are my fastest (well they are mostly downhill at the end).   I’ve run Tonbridge twice before – this wasn’t my fastest or my slowest.  At first I thought the medals were the same each year – but careful comparison shows that somewhere between 2014 and 2017 more runners have appeared. 

And it’s interesting to compare how it feels in October with the blog from January this year – when the Farnborough half marathon wiped me out for the rest of the day.  This time I’m fine – I barely notice that I’ve done it.  I have learned a lot thins year about pacing myself for repeated long runs ans I’m tempted to start reflecting here – but instead I’m going to wait until all twelve are done to bore you all with my thoughts on the matter………..

One thing that has struck me this year though is that regular running keeps you outside and connected with nature and the changes in the seasons.  I remember the cold and wet of winter, the joy that spring and then bluebells brought – and outdoor yoga – and then how hard it is to run well through the heat of summer…………. And now autumn is with us – this year is all about fruit and berries – how prolific they are – and how beautiful the cuckoo trail looks at this time of year!

So now there is just two to go – November will be at Bedgbury – a bit of trail and a few hills.  Training will be light and warm in Southern California – so it could be a tough one – we’ll have to wait and see!

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