3:22:20 got him in with room to spare.
It’s taken 16 months of slog and disappointment to get here. Three and a half marathons between us (we both did Berlin, then we were both meant to do Manchester, but only I did, as he had flu about a month before and was sooooo ill, then Tallinn marathon was scuppered by his Achilles and I did the half). It has been physically and mentally exhausting for both of us.
And he’s going to Boston!
Fast, flat, beautifully scenic and smelt like Southend on Sea at times. If you need a qualifying marathon, and fancy a short break with amaaaaaazing and cheap food, this is definitely the race to go for. The marathon course is the half marathon course twice over, and has the benefit of starting at 9 am, so you don’t get too hit by the midday sun. We halfers started at noon: and it was very warm, and there was a lack of shade from miles 3-12. I still came within sniffing of a PB. 1:50:43 by the chip… Once I made it into the shade I was able to kick up 10 seconds per mile for the last couple of miles. Just imagine if I’d had more shade?! Or if it had been a tad cooler, like the day before and the day after… 21 deg C in the shade is no fun for running. 26 deg C in the sun is definitely a challenge. My heart rate (enhanced by ventolin) was about 180+ for the duration and briefly peaked at 200.
And, please remind me, when I get unsure of my running. Of 3216 finishers (1365 women, 870 in my age group, which was basically under 40) I was 844th over all, 137th female, 90th in my age group. By gun time… It took a minute and a half to get over the line from pen III.
And the food in Tallinn is sublime. And very cheap compared to the UK. We did fine dining and loved it.
I’m lazy: most of my photos are in the Instagram feed on the left.
In short: if you like a hilly trail run with a sense of humour, do this race. If you like cake, do this race. If you do this race: either drive or book a taxi from the station.
I entered on a whim: my running club randomly posted that they had a couple of people going, I could get there via public transport (OK, that took the better part of two hours, but was still feasible), and it’s just the sort of terrain I like. Hills. Killer hills. Bog. Streams. Forest. Grass. All the sorts of things that are just enjoyable.
I cannot remember anything useful about the actual route, other than lots of water stations, even more marshals, jelly babies and funny names for the different sections. I particularly liked “Watership Up” and “Bugger me that’s deeply steep”. “Cheeky’s Bog” was a particularly fine, deep, stretch of mud with a pair of legs and shoes sticking out of it. It was a loop, with chip timing (ankle bands, so we all felt like criminals on tag) although it was a gun time race.
And afterwards there was beer, and cake (so much cake. And even more cake. And did I mention the cake?), and we came in third ladies team. Not too shabby for a Sunday morning. Tough going; I finished in 1:47:12, 12th in my age category 28th female, and 180th overall (field of 282). And golly, was I stiff the next day! Calves of steel, and not in a good way. Given that on a road, I can do a 10 mile race in 1:28:something, you can see how the terrain makes a difference. It also makes it much more fun.
Definitely one to return to.
Oh my. I think I’ve found my new Wednesday thing – which means I’m quitting morris dancing at the end of the season (mid-September. So, about 3 weeks time, essentially). I’ve been struggling between morris and running for some time – but it is getting clear that I’m just not putting the effort into morris, and I really ought to stop.
Two parks, or three parks, with the Serpies. We meet at the club room, pootle half a mile down to the corner of Hyde Park (but not quite Speakers’ Corner), and then beetle round the parks at our own pace. Generally, someone is at more-or-less your pace. Last week, I was on a 9 min/mile. This week, 8:30 min/mile – it being about 10 degrees cooler, and less humid. There’s someone to talk to, or not, depending on how sociable you feel. There’s no chance of getting lost. Two parks is 4.1 miles by the Garmin (I think we missed a bit off, it was supposed to be 4.3 miles), three parks is closer to 7 miles (not been brave enough, or on time enough, yet, for that. Next time perhaps). Back to the club house, drink some water, go to the loo, scuttle to the tube, and then I’m on the 8:39 train home (as opposed to the 9:39 after morris, which gives me half a chance to see N, sort myself out for Thursday, and maybe watch some tellybox).
I intend to get organised, and start volunteering for the Club lunchtime last Friday of the month runs. Marshalling. I can’t get there and back to run in the lunchhour – but if I take a couple of hours volunteering leave either side of lunch (and we’re encouraged to take volunteering leave – we get 7 days each year), then I reckon it’s do-able. And you always need marshals. And it strikes me as being less convoluted than a lot of what I do Guiding-wise. No less useful. Just more peaceful. It depends on what my boss says, but he is a runner, so I think he’d be OK. And – being out of the office for an extended period on a regular basis is much less disruptive than being out sporadically. Fingers crossed.