Adverse Camber

I started this blog to get me through the London Marathon 2011. It was quite a challenge as I only started running on the 3rd of May 2010. I finished the marathon with painful blisters and quite a lot of money for a great charity!

This blog is now taking me on a new journey - to a fitter lifestyle aided by running.

Monday, 22 November 2010

My first half marathon

I have a new friend.  I didn't know him before 10am yesterday.  His name is Len and yesterday he played a very important role in my life.

The chip
Saturday my official bag carrier and I drove south to my parents' ready for the Gosport Half Marathon on Sunday.  On the day itself I was up at 7am and we left just after 8. It was a short drive to Gosport, although finding where to park took a while and my parents had the traditional 'should've gone that way' bicker. My dad finished parking the car whilst I went up to the HQ to register.  By the time my parents had made it to HQ I had collected and attached my chip, been to the loo for the first of many trips and stood around for a while.  It turned out they had been so long because they had to dig a man and his car out of the car park/squishy gravel pit.

People heading towards the start (all 1469 of them)
Gradually more people began to arrive and I looked frantically for another person like me - a bit overweight and with the nervous look of a new runner.  Nope, no one. What I did see was lots of club t-shirts and thin, athletic frames.  I took a deep sigh and braced myself to be what I had feared - the last person to cross the finish line.

The start was a bit further down the road from HQ, so I waited for everyone else to line up before I went, I wanted to be near the back.  As everyone left it also meant the queue for the toilets disappeared!

The start was a little after the planned 10am as I believe there were a few problems closing the road.  Within minutes of crossing the line I was at the back and looked for someone as unfit as I am to use as my pace setter, I found a likely candidate, but I soon lost her (she finished about 25minutes before me in the end with two other people between us).  Then I met my new BFF, Len.  Len was a member of Gosport Road Runners and being the nice chap he is he volunteers every year to be the marshal at the back with the last runner.  He said one year he had to help a guy in a rhino suit, so I like to think I was a little easier to escort as at least I could see the kerbs.

I adored the first four miles, although I lost my hat which the lovely Len went back for and then carried for me until the end.  I had planned on allowing myself a small walking break every four miles, but I was loving it so much I thought I'd try to keep going as long as I could which then soon became the ambition to run it all.

The first lap of Daedalus air field wasn't too bad, as I could see the other runners and we mutually encouraged each other as I went one way and they the other.  As I was near finishing my first lap of the airfield the elite runners raced past me.  They can run!

Leaving the air field I didn't see anyone apart from Len and the other lovely marshals (who all smiled and offered words of encouragement) until it was time to do another lap of the airfield.  That was pretty depressing, the airfield is like a ghost of the Cold War.  Tall, abandoned MOD buildings line derelict streets.  I was glad to leave it behind and make my way, with the trusty Len on his bike, towards the promenade and the seaside.

The beach at Lee-on-the-Solent is beautiful, the view of the Isle of Wight was clear and there were dozens of yachts sailing between there and Southampton.  I am not sure I really appreciated it as my lower back was aching (a lot) and my already pitiful running pace was a glorified slooooooooow jog.

The penultimate stretch of road.
Len told me how far it was and passing the 12mile marker filled me with hope.  With quarter of a mile to go my mother joined me and nagged me to "run"; I think she was worried I was keeping all the GRR waiting (to be fair, I probably was).  I tried to tell her politely I had done 13 miles and there was not much left in the tank.

I picked up to a sprint to cross the line and I think the cheer was more for the fact they could all pack up and go home, rather than for me!  It was good to hear that everyone had finished though.

My time was 3hours 22minutes, 8 minutes quicker than my best estimate and I am pleased that I managed to maintain a 15minute mile.

The marshals cut off my chip for me and gave me a lovely cloth goodie bag.  Inside was the best bit of cherry cake I have ever tasted!

It was a good race, organised and run by lovely people.  I will go back again next year, my mission will be to not be the last runner in!

I hope Len does not mind me adding this, but it relates to one of the matters we discussed in our three hours together.  We were talking about the excuses people use for not running or looking after their health.  Len took up running after a quadruple bypass ten years ago.  Now tell me you have a decent excuse not to put on those shoes and get out the door!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Things seen when running

I love history and all kinds of historical facts clog up my brain at the expense of anything actually useful.

Today whilst out running I saw something that made me happy.  Here is for you to see too:

Now, your trivia question is - why is this postbox so rare?  And - how can we date it so specifically?

To give you a bit more of a hint have a look at the detail: