Posted: 25/07/2014 at 08:59
My watch was preset to a 3:1 run/walk which, before the event, I thought I’d be able to maintain even given my lack of run training. That delusion lasted about 5 minutes. Kept walking while I changed the setting to 2:1. Nope, can’t even manage that so turned off the run/walk setting just walked. Through the park thinking I’d get a boost from Happychap and Toucs who were bound to be on the lookout by the hotel. Passed the hotel and not a sign of them. Cue a mix of uncharitable thoughts and hoping they were both still in one piece and keep on walking.
First feed station, lovely refreshing watermelon and some coke. Keep walking and start trying to calculate what pace I need to maintain to beat the cut off. Faster than I’m going at the moment; brain to legs, ‘run’. Legs to brain, ‘fur cough’. Keep walking. Next feed station, perhaps something savoury. Take a small, salty looking cracker, take a bite and wish I hadn’t as it instantly absorbs every molecule of moisture in my mouth. Slurp water and keep walking. There’s a pirate ‘arrgh, Pugsley’, brief chat, go pirate. Keep walking. Greet pirates, chat to other walkers. Finally reach the turn around, check time and decide it’s time to try to speed up a bit. Try 30s/30s run/walk; that works so stick with it. Reach the hotel and hear a shout. Relieved to see Happychap and have a brief shouty exchange to hear brief version of her story. (Last member of team Run to Live so now I have to keep going). Counting repeatedly to 30 kept my mind occupied and eventually I reach the town centre. Around the square and back we go again. Half way and time is looking better. The run/walk strategy had improved average pace from over 16:30 m/m to a more acceptable 15:15m/m which meant I should finish within the cut off, as long as I could keep it going.
Slow and steady out to the far end of the course, round the loop and head back towards town again. Then it started to rain, light and refreshing at first, then proper wet rain. Turned down the offer of a poncho by one of the water stations on the way into town ‘cos I was still feeling quite warm but about half a mile further on, as the rain got heavier and the thunder started rolling around overhead, I wish I’d taken it. Fortunately, in anticipation of maybe feeling cold as I got tired towards the end of the day, I;d tucked a buff and armwarmers into the pocket of my monaco so I put these on which improved things slightly. Shortly after going through the town centre for the final time my brain rebelled and said enough and I physically came to a standstill. No point standing in the rain so started walking again and was joined by a cheery Irish volunteer who escorted me along to the last feed station where I stopped briefly to pick up a poncho even though I was wetter than I’d been when I got out of the lake and trudged onwards. Finally back through the park and the turn along the lakeside towards the finish. Tore myself out of the poncho and dumped it before summoning up just enough energy to jog down the red carpet.
6:37:45 – I’ve been slower!
And all that added up to 16:15:30 which was about 40 minutes quicker than I was expecting