My first binbag jacket – works!
Well it’s been quite a week, newbie running-wise. More big learning curve stuff.
Eight days ago (nine days, given that this will publish the day after the race) I went down with the beginnings of a chest infection … here are mid-week musings…
OMG am I even going to run the GSR (not gunshot residue, which, as a CSI fan, I can’t help but run through my head). This week has been without exercise, at all, and with a lot of sleep, going to bed early, getting up later. It’s involved a trip to the docs (thanks L, what would I do without you!) for antibiotics … colds have a propensity to bypass my head and go on straight to infect my chest, oh joy.
I so want to run. I’ve been googling ‘running with a chest infection’, ‘running on antibiotics’ etc. I know the above the neck/below the neck rule of thumb. I’ve been taking my resting heart rate when I wake up. Back to its normal level by Friday, from about 10 beats above (which I’ve also read is the number above at which one shouldn’t run).
Actually where do these rules of thumb come from? Is there any scientific basis to them at all? Or do they just gain currency by volume of repetition (which of course wouldn’t necessarily make them correct)?
I shall do a 2 mile jog on Saturday, probably with the dog, just to see if can cope on two feet, or actually one foot (at a time), and I guess make a decision based on that.
Is there a difference between running and racing? Could I just run in a race? Or would I be compelled to race? There’s a question to which I already know the answer. Hmmm.
Ok, I jogged the dog for a couple of miles on Saturday morning, to see if my lungs might cope with the race. Well, I reckon I can run, but I’m not sure about racing (hideous, windy weather forecast not withstanding). So I’m going to turn up and see what happens (see previous par…at least I know in advance, I guess).
The forecast (24 hours in advance) isn’t great: winds at 25 to 30mph, humidity 70%, chance of rain about 50%, temperature about 14°C. What do those conditions do to one’s running capabilities? On Southsea, there’s nothing to protect against those south-westerly winds whipping up from across the Atlantic. Layer up against the wind? Or dress for a muggy, mild temperature? Oh, it probably won’t make any difference. Is it going to be so windy one of my dreams becomes reality – where I’m trying really hard to run, but I don’t move forward, at all. I’m just stuck on the spot?
So now it’s Sunday evening. I ran.
It was windy. I walked out to recce the start position, right on Southsea common, no protection from the elements. It was blowing a gale. Actually it might have been blowing an official ‘near gale’ on the Beaufort scale. Flipping windy, anyway. And about 30% of the course was straight into the wind. The first mile, and the last two miles (sadistic route planning, or what?).
Southsea Common – sports field of my schooldays
My blog has come full circle today. In my very first post I wrote of my only experience of running – at school – “in the freezing cold to get BACK from the sports fields which were exposed to icy blasts and razor-rods of rain off the English Channel at Southsea.”
I’m relieved to report it was temperately warm, and NOT raining. I think running into the headwind would have been simply ghastly if it had been accompanied by horizontal rain to the face.
The first mile was into the wind. Actually I don’t remember it being so bad. It was the beginning, you’re finding your feet and pace and position. For me the wind from the side was the worst, worse even that the headwind at the end. After I toed-off the ground with my foot, the wind side-swiped my leg, so that bringing my leg forward for the next step had to be a sort of diagonal then forward motion. Never needed to do that before. Probably only a couple of different half-mile stretches when that happened.
As for those last two miles into the core of the sou’ wester, they were something else. Even some bits of salt spray reached my palate from what looked like quarter of a mile to the water.
I decided it was kind of like running up hills. And I do plenty of hills running round Winky. Can’t not. I tried tucking in behind a couple of people to draft, which is completely legal, I’d like to add. But if I tried to tuck in they weren’t going fast enough. And I couldn’t keep up with anyone in front to draft off them. I run hills on my own in training. Lot of folk overtook me though.
At the start of the race, I got a position right at the front. This is SO much better than having lots of folk in front of you. I’m really happy about having people overtake me. I’m not tempted to try to speed up or race with them. I know I’m only competing against myself. Well me and the clock. Folk can overtake, and leave clear space in front of me so I don’t have to worry about being tripped up. I think later on I might have overtaken a couple of people back.
I do rather begin to think I’m a one pace pony though. I ended up doing almost exactly my Bournemouth 13.1 mile split time, calculated over 10 miles. Within a minute of it.
I suppose what is encouraging is I did that time with 30% of the race into a fierce-feeling headwind. And whilst still taking antibiotics coming out of a chest infection. So overall, I guess I’m pretty happy with my time; can’t complain.
Interestingly my lungs felt better here than they did three weeks ago running the Bournemouth marathon. I know it was 20°C in Bournmouth, and about 14°C at Southsea, but I’m beginning to wonder for how long one can gestate a chest infection before it presents. Could I have been harbouring it then for it to present two weeks later? Am I clutching at straws for a disappointing performance at Bournemouth? At Bournemouth someone even turned round to me at about mile 11 and asked me if I was alright because I was breathing so noisily and raspily. (I’m typically not the quietest of breathers). Oh well.
As for my stats. Either I’m not using the search function well enough, or they don’t provide simple figures such as the size of each category. I’ve emailed the organisers to ask them e.g. how many women in my age-group were running. Fourth out of five would be pretty useless, but if there were 100 in that age group, that wouldn’t be too shabby. These things are important. Well, actually, not that important, in the scheme of things.
Anyway: stats that I can find:
5k split: 21:43
10K split: 44:40
Overall position: 1079th
Of women in my age group (45-49): 4th
Of all runners in my age group: 105th
Of all women runners: 74th
Surely these stats make much more sense / have context only with the total numbers in each group?