It’s been another erratic week. Poor N went down with a horrible chest infection on Tuesday, and has been either sleeping, or coughing, since then. We both had a dreadful night on Wednesday – he was tossing and turning, and I was unable to settle. Last night he was still struggling to sleep and, bless, wandered downstairs to watch TV instead of disturbing me. I never noticed. We do have the most awesome sofa for TV watching when ill – it’s a corner chaise thing, with heaps of blankets and cushions. So you can be quite cosy at 4am, watching Castle on Alibi.
Meanwhile, I’ve been interrupted so many times with things at work for the past few weeks (all, apparently, disgustingly urgent, although it turns out that different people have different ideas about what that actually means. Folks, April isn’t urgent!) that I don’t quite know whether I’m coming or going. Running has happened, but interval sessions have been entirely thrown over in favour of the Coach Jeff Lunchtime Quickie Half Hour Interval Session Podcast (no longer available on iTunes, I found it in 2009 or 2010). This involves a warm up, stretches, some tempo running (2×3 minutes), then 30 seconds (with 30 seconds recovery) at full-speed-Linford-Christie pace three times over, then the same, but for a minute with 30 seconds recovery, and twice over. Then a meander back to the office. It is Brutal. It is also remarkably effective – rather like Tabata.
So. Bath Half. I was not feeling the love. I was not wanting to take the train down simply because it involved two and a half hours on the train (this was actually quite easy. We went to the mini-station round the corner from the house, changed once and lounged). I wanted to be at home. We had a room in a hotel that’s practically on top of the race village – but had a shared shower-and-loo, which was like being in halls. Warm enough, though, unlike the place we used to stay in, which had the coldest bathrooms known to humankind. A former colleague bumped into us while we were waiting for the start: my face, apparently, said I was not looking forward to it. Even with the promise of a Creme Egg in the five minutes before the gun.
Last year, Bath was 1:55:40, or thereabouts. It was half marathon #2 of Molto March Mezzo Marathon Madness (aka run five half marathons five weekends running, all in the name of charity). This year, it marked the third racing weekend on the trot…and my 21st half marathon. I was rather wanting to do the 20 miles that the marathon plan told me about, feeling the love for the longer distance and the slower speed. I was doubtful at my abilities to get round in anything faster, and felt that a PB (1:53:33 would have done it – remember Reading last year? 1:53:36?) was not going to happen. Jealous of a friend who’d achieved sub 1:50 at Brighton while I was chocathoning, I’d had a complete fall-to-bits on the subject of running last Monday and ended up spending the evening eating chocolate ice cream rather than doing intervals (I did intervals on Tuesday).
This year? I had N running with me. We started way back – the queue for the loos at the start was immense and, it turns out, slow moving because two of the cubicles were empty and no-one had realised. It was six minutes before we crossed the line, and our first two miles were 8:49 with a lot of weaving. And then something happened. We broke free, and N decided that I was perfectly capable of pushing myself a bit. In fact, pushing myself to something in the vicinity of an 8:20 min/mile. I knew things were going nicely when we hit 10Km at about 53 minutes – a fairly respectable time for me on that distance. I didn’t quite expect that it would keep going so well (was it love? adrenaline? both?).
People, I finished that half marathon in 1:50:24, N in 1:50:22. And it *would* have been sub 1:50 had it not been for the error in loo timing. On the other hand – it wouldn’t have been 1:50:24 had I needed the loo all the way round, so, really, I’m pretty happy.
OK. Very happy.
Couldn’t have done it without N, though. It wouldn’t have been half as fun, either. I think this chest infection has wrecked his chances of a sub 3:22 marathon in Manchester in 3 weeks time, but I’m optimistic that he might be able to run, and that he might run with me, and that I might crack sub 4 hours. He’s sounding a lot better today than yesterday, but it’s a nasty bug this one, and he refuses antibiotics (and who’s to say it’s not viral anyhow?). We shall see. He wanted to be better by now – but chest infections take time, vitamins, chicken soup, liquid, and, in our case, curry and chilli.
Here. Have some pictures of Bath – we had a bit of a wander on Monday, having taken the day off.