When running in the Valiants Half Marathon was first mooted my immediate thoughts turned to some sort of medieval run. Valiants sounded very Arthurian and I was starting to contemplate turning up in chainmail brandishing a broadsword. Come to think of it there was a guy who ran the London Marathon in chainmail. Running is hard enough…why complicate it?
As it was it turned out that Valiants was the name of an equestrian centre in Garstang which was where the race was starting off from.
The trip down to Garstang didn’t start off too well. Only ten minutes in and we were on the way back to my house to pick up my forgotten running trainers. It wasn’t as if I left the house in a rush either. I’d packed all of my stuff the night before and just happened to move my trainers to one side while I put something in my bag.
The signs were there for a bad day when I ended up deleting the email with the directions on that Kev had asked me to read out. Sometimes you’ve just got to read the signs.
Nevertheless we arrived there with 45 minutes to kill and went to pick up our numbers. The only downside was the large amount of hay kicking around. Hay is a trigger for my asthma so it wasn’t long until the breathing became an issue.
Once the race was underway it didn’t take long to get a sweat on despite it being a cold and windy day. I was aiming to beat my half marathon pb today and the plan was to get to the first 10k by about 48 minutes.
The first part of the job was done when I hit 1k, 5k and 10k and beat all of my previous PB’s for those distances. I was looking at finishing in about 1 hour 45 minutes all going well. The only downside was having to run with a guy who was pretty annoying. He seemed to be unable to go past a sheep without going baa at them. I was sick of him by five miles and sped up to get away from him.
The problem being was that things were about to go wrong. 7 miles in and I felt a little niggle in my calf. It was probably at this point I should have stopped and tried to stretch it out but I carried on thinking I could run it off. 8 miles in and I was in agony. My times had gone from 7 ½ minute miles to 9 minute miles. The next five miles were going to be a struggle. It was time for a revision…
NEW PLAN: FINISH THE RACE!!!
I could’ve pulled out. I could’ve easily have pulled out. But once you’ve ran the better part of 8 miles you want something at the end of it, even if it’s just a medal.
Five miles to go. Head down, man up, tough it out.
It wasn’t too bad actually, I’d slowed down enough to alleviate the pain somewhat but still finish with a respectable time.
Seeing the 12 mile marker was beautiful though. I still felt like I had enough in the tank to push the last mile and get it all over with.
With about ½ a mile to go a lady tried to take me down. Even with a bad wheel I wasn’t having any of it. I’d decided at 12 miles that no-one else was passing me. She got past me and in turn I got past her and took off putting enough distance in between us to make sure she didn’t catch me at the finish.
In a half-hearted attempt I tried my patented sprint finish but it certainly wasn’t at full sprint.
I finished in a time of 1:53:01.
Even with a tight calf I was still pretty pleased with that time.
The others had faired a lot better.
If I had got the time I’d wanted I would’ve probably jumped from 95th to 75th.
It was a good course and it was certainly a PB course so maybe we’ll see what 2015 brings.
The medal was a bit different to say the least. I’m guessing I won’t get many other medals with horses on.