Is it weird to be craving a run? To be specific, a lung-bursting, quad-burning, heart pounding trail run. The kind where you are dancing around the rocks and praying for the climb to end yet you are feeling so fully alive and in the moment. A run where you are not concerned about speed, simply taking in what's around and in front of you. Best of all, a run where once you reach the top of a hill it's not just the effort that has taken your breath away but the spectacular view laid out in front of you.
Besides I think it's time my Dirty Girl bombshell gaiters came out to play in the UK, I don't think I've worn them since the Sylamore 25k back in 2012. And folks, that is entirely too long.
It's been a while since I've done one of these, eh? Not sure I remember how.......
Flashing my Brooks Fanatics tee
Last year I ran the Stafford Half Marathon and I started to sign up for it again but stumbled upon the Newton's Fraction Half Marathon which was one of the top 10 as voted on by Runner's World readers in 2012 so thought I would give it a go instead. Unlike last year where the weather was so cold that runners were coming in to pick up their t-shirts and medal (I've never ran a race where you had the option to pick up the medal before it started until Stafford) and immediately going back home, Sunday was absolutely gorgeous--slightly too warm for a spring race in my opinion but I loved the sunshine. The winds, predicted to be up to 33 mph, I could have done without though.
The sideways ponytail? That's not from me tossing my head playfully
Miles 1-4 went well leading me to think I might be able to keep the 8:40 something pace I wanted to ensure a sub 2 hour. I'd skipped the first water stop at 3.5 because of a queasy stomach and drinking when I feel that way already leads to me needing to find a Porta Loo or some trees very quickly. Gross but true. Oh, I did have a garmin malfunction just past mile 1, it did the lost satellite reception thing then tried to freeze up. Fortunately I was able to shut it down and get it restarted with only losing .2 of a mile.
The tummy did do what I feared and started rumbling towards the end of mile 4 so between that and the first big hill at mile 5.5ish my pace dropped to a low of 10:33 for mile 6. I did find someone to chat with for 3 miles which got me back under a 9 minute pace but then around mile 9.5 I started feeling like the nail on my left big toe was being ripped away. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Going up the other big hill at mile 10.25 made it throb even worse and I was vowing to never enter another half marathon. It was such a relief to be told finally that the finish line was within half a mile but I couldn't even manage to pick up the pace once I got on the track. Actually I got slower, lol.
The end is in sight! After a lap around the track that is
Despite the toe and tummy issues I did enjoy most of the course. I love running canal trails and back roads plus the view of Belvoir Castle was amazing. The area of Denton that we ran through was quite pretty as well. The only complaint I would have was that the final 1.5 miles wasn't quite as nice as the rest of the course but you have to get back somehow on an out and back. This isn't a personal best course in my opinion and if you are a bling collector you will be disappointed because there were no medals, only finishers shirts which were a bit plain (no logo on back, small logo on corner of the chest). The goodie bag was also a bit sparse especially when compared to the one from the Rushcliffe 10k. The only extra besides food was a trial size tube of toothpaste--hmmm, wonder what they were trying to say, lol. A big thank you to all the course marshals and volunteers, everyone seemed to be pleased to be out there--that probably had a lot to do with the beautiful sunshine though :-)
Not happy about the 32 seconds over 2 hours but happy to be done!
So back to the toe. I was dreading pulling off my shoe because I was expecting a bloody mess but fortunately I (and everyone else on facebook because I would have taken pics) was spared that. Turns out that the Compeed callous plaster I'd placed on the side of my foot had started to come loose and when it did it was catching on my sock which then was catching the side of the nail and pulling it up with each step I was taking. Extremely painful yes but no permanent harm done this time, whew.
Click to enlarge
Mileage and time is off because of the Garmin issue