Handy Cross Runners Grant and Stone Wycombe Half Marathon

The only, only thing wrong with this race was my epic lack of preparation. 10 weeks post op, I have gained about 2kg, and utterly failed to do any meaningful running since, well, the referendum (and the only thing that I did do was the Vitality London 10K). I’ve been too busy trying to keep units running, getting over jet lag, and losing weekends to guiding. I really am not on form: there have been two “long” runs in the run up to this. 10 miles last Thursday, and 8 miles while in Indianapolis. Neither of which involved hills. Mid week runs have been 2 miles at best and speed work has not happened. I cannot wait for term to end so I can get to running club sessions.

Oh wow. The hills (N tells me a total of 1000 ft climbed. And, looking at the race profile on Strava, I can well believe it). I walked most of them. A muggy July day, and I was most determined to keep moving. This I achieved. N ran with me, and we got round in 2:16:59. The last couple of miles were mostly downhill and flat (we’d run up those hills on the way out), other than something described as Hell Hill. Nothing like as steep as the one at the end of the Leith Hill Half, but it went on rather longer. There was motivational music half way up it. I didn’t feel very Rocky at that point, but it actually helped.

And I loved this race. It’s got a really friendly atmosphere. It’s very hilly: the pressure is off. It was trails in places (could have done with my trail shoes, really), and road. It went through West Wycombe Park: one of the landscape Gardens of the 18th and 19th centuries, purportedly designed around the female form. Not quite Stowe, you know. Bit more base. Moving on from the Italianate terraces that Pope adored, but still full of symbolism.

“What’s that?” Asks N, as we jog through some sheep and past a sort of temple thing.

“I think it’s supposed to be a representation of a clitoris…fairly abstract.” Not exactly what you expect to discuss mid race. I wrote an essay about English Landscape Gardening at uni. Unsurprisingly, given my occasionally gutter mind, that bit stuck.

So. Aside from lack of preparation, it was great. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I got to spend 2 hours with my husband without having anything to worry about. We got nifty medals, and bananas, and a Mars Bar, and masses of water, and nothing really peculiar in the goody bag. The last mile lacked the beauty of the rest of it, but given the difficulties of finding anywhere to host the race (and the football stadium had way more loos than Wycombe Rye, so there was no need to queue, which was a massive improvement on last year), I’m not sure that really matters.

So. Back next year but with more training. Because it was all down to me that I didn’t do better.

I did well enough.


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