Unfortunately, my reputation around Marathons is not for great times but for total ineptitude around planning and organisation. The fact that I am sat in my sweaty kit at the Xcel Leisure Centre in Walton on the Thames less than an hour after finishing writing this report clearly indicates that even for me, with my first marathon of the year, I have taken running incompetence to a whole new level! I am becoming the Frank Spencer of the running world. (For our younger club members search YouTube.)
It didn’t bode well from the start… Not today but this week when I received the last minute instructions for the marathon from Rik. The instructions were great, comprehensive and informative. It is just that I didn’t remember entering the race! A quick search of my e-mails did indeed show I had and as I had no plans in my diary (would you believe I actually have an online diary that I put events in – okay Mary sends me notifications) so I decided that it would be fine. I just ignored the fact that apart from parkrun I have done no running for 2 weeks due to a persistent case of Manthrax. (like Manflu but worse!)
So after our parkrun adventure to Poolsbrook and then writing the weekly report, Mary left me to pack for my marathon as she took the children to her Dad’s apparently that was in the diary! (Not mine!)
As it was getting late I felt that my Pizza and Cheesecake ritual was critical to my success – I went to Sainsbury’s! On my return I looked for my comprehensive kit check list. It has moved! I think Mary may have ”tidied” it away… She keeps doing that to things I leave strategically around the house so I won’t forget them.
So I decided to use my marathon race experience and guess! All was well and I only forgot two items… My Garmin – I left it on charge! School boy error!
And more importantly running socks! I did have 4 pairs of suitable shoes for any terrain – old road shoes were the perfect choice. The lack of socks was easily overcome… I wore the pair I strategically left in the car!
Ok, I forgot to take them out with the other dirty kit from yesterday’s parkrun so not even 24hrs old! Just slightly moist!
Rik’s Phoenix races are known for their bling normally linked in some way to a film… Until I properly looked at the medal as I waited outside the Leisure Centre for an hour I realised – Dirty Dancing!
As with these 6hr challenge event one 3.28 lap gets you a medal… 4 for a half 8 for the full. More laps for top bragging rights – I mean an Ultra! The course is very simple run out 1.64 miles to a turn around sign (a marshal the first lap or two) and run back. Keeping the River Thames in sight at all times – DON’T LEAVE THE PATH. Being a tow path it is relatively flat until the blue bridge of doom (16 times over it! A total killer from lap 6 onwards)
The aid station at the end of the lap was well stocked with an array of tasty sweets and cake to power you on to another lap.
Without my Garmin (HRM was packed!) telling me my pace and HR, I went off far too fast however for 4 laps I was fine then my lack of running fitness and training and being well above my racing weight meant I slowed to a walk – run strategy but that was fine as I just needed to log a decent long run.
The joy of out and back laps is you see the same people and greet them as they pass which really motivates you when things start to hurt. So despite my disturbing lack of organisation I finish and collected a lovely medal which I am still wearing.
After a chat with some friends at the finish I wondered back to my car to put on some warm sweat free clothes before the drive home. Sitting in the boot I put back on my socks, tracksuit bottoms and driving shoes. With a clean cotton t-shirt and hoody I was good to go. So I closed the boot and went to the driver’s door – locked. I reached into my pocket and found only snotty tissues.
I then remembered I put the bag with the key and emergency money on top of the box of shoes so I could get myself sorted. I went back to the boot… LOCKED! A security feature of VWs.
So I started writing this report waiting for the AA! And I finish it waiting for Mary to make the trip with the spare keys – modern cars are very hard to break into without smashing windows. I found this out after freezing in the cold with the AA man as he tried to pick the lock and other unsuccessful methods.
I feel that I might be in trouble with Mary when she arrives but she will have 2 hours to calm down!
As I post my report I just wonder what time the leisure centre closes as it is really cold outside!