Having pranced through several streams, sloshed through numerous puddles and opened and closed one gate after another on Sunday and Monday, I was certainly hankering for a flat, tarmac outing today to put a bit of rhythm back into the run and certainly a bit of extra speed.
I drove down the hill into the valley, parked up and was just about to start my 7 miler when a former runner cycled towards me and shouted "What's the session today?" I replied, "Nothing special!" And of course a steady 7 is just that, nothing special. But I know quite a few local runners who wouldn't dream of running on tarmac as long as there is light enough to run off road and many of course even then don their head torches to keep avoiding tarmac! In my mind they don't MAINTAIN the feel for the unremitting pace the road run delivers and of course when the dark nights come the task is so much harder.
Of course, there is benefit in taking on the inclines in the Lakes on Sunday and Monday but still the difference in pace is interesting.
MONDAY. 7 mile OFF ROAD 11.39 10.03 10.57 10.52 9.39 9.27 10.26..........73.07
TUESDAY. 7 MILE FLAT ROAD 8.50 8.16 8.40 8.35 8.38 8.34 8.26..........60.03
So that was today......7 mile "steady" flat, road......a maintainance run!
We wish him well.
Of the near 700 races I've done the event which stands out as the most distressing was my 3rd marathon.
Milton Keynes. July 9th 1977. Run in hot humid conditions my 10K splits were 35.27, 37.40, 38.07....
but things really went wrong over the next 10K............45.55 with the final 2K taking 14.31 including a period sat on the roadside as extreme cramp hit one leg then another.........2:54.38 final time.
I was so utterly depleted that I could not keep down anything at all! Not even a boiled sweet! Pat eventually called the doctor to the hotel we were staying in Newport Pagnell, who reassured her that it was dehydration and exhaustion and I would recover. Very, very unpleasant.
Pat declared I would not be running any more marathons! It would have been so easy to agree with her that the marathon was not my event. However, in life we generally try to overcome setbacks, don't we, and try again. As with others I came to respect the distance, training longer and harder ,preparing better and went onto to run another 23 in much better times. I faced conditions like that again in Blackpool 1989 and was happily enjoying a drink an hour later.
I would like to think that young Alistair, as a real medal prospect for the London Olympics, will receive the very best advice about what went wrong and ensure it doesn't happen again. Some consolation that younger brother "Jonny" took second place. It would be fabulous to see 2 local Yorkshire boys on the podium in London in 2012.