Chalk and cheese

Ray Sievey Monday, 5 March, 2012
Last week Barcelona, this week Eastbourne! Now, these two places have quite a bit in common, they are both on the coast, they both have the letters a, b, e, n & o in their name and er, I’ll come back to the rest. Monday was a rest day, which was handy as I was travelling back from Barcelona and Tuesday I did a couple of miles at lunchtime as a loosener. Wednesday was another recovery run, this time 4.5 miles. It was from this run that I decided what my intended (note the word intended) marathon pace will be. I gave Nick some feedback and he agreed. So based on recent runs and the fact that I am getting fitter and losing weight, I am going to aim for an MP between 08:30-08:40 minute miles. So all being well that would give me a sub 3:50 marathon. Well that’s the plan anyway!? On April 22nd, hopefully I will be saying in A-Team Hannibal style “I love it when a plan comes together”. But minus the cigar, of course. Thursday I ran to work, which is 10.2 miles. Nick’s plan meant I had to include 3 x 12 min threshold sessions within the run, with only a 3 min recovery jog in between. The first two elements I averaged a 7:50m/mile and the 3rd was 7:54. So I was very pleased with the pace and the consistency of the three elements. Saturday I ran the Bromley Park Run and was joined by my mate Fat Pants. I took the opportunity to wear my very subtle running t-shirt! Ray 5 March 2012 Sunday was Eastbourne, I had been keeping an eye on the weather and the forecast was wind and rain. The forecast was right. I woke with a bit of a sore throat. If I had my 100% sensible head on, I maybe would have considered not running. But I am not Worzel Gummidge, so I don’t own alternative heads and to be honest a 100% sensible head would not be in my repertoire. (Nick will probably chastise me when he reads this). I am one of those people who hates being late. Eastbourne is approximately 60 miles from home, so I gave myself two and quarter hours to drive down there. I hadn’t planned for a closed A22 and an almighty diversion, and then getting stuck behind a horsebox. This resulted in me managing to park the car in Eastbourne at 09:55 with the race starting at 10am. Not the ideal prep. So I had to leg it to the start. So back to those Barcelona/Eastbourne similarities. In Barcelona the start was under a magnificent monument, in Eastbourne it was in a muddy field. In Barcelona it was sunny, warm and I was running along wide roads, past plazas and fantastic architecture. In Eastbourne, it was tipping it down, windy and I was running along gravel paths, through parks and past the local chippy. So you are probably thinking that I enjoyed Barcelona but endured Eastbourne. This is not the case. I enjoyed Eastbourne just as much, but in a different way. For me this was a quintessential British half marathon. British weather, traditional seaside resort, lot’s of hardy souls showing the stiff upper lip attitude standing in the rain supporting the runners (not all were clapping, but that is because it is hard to clap when holding an umbrella). A madman standing in the pouring rain playing the bagpipes, who managed to appear in three different places. Volunteers that were just as wet as me, but had to be a damn site colder, handing out water, picking up discarded cups, marshalling the route, all with unrivalled enthusiasm and whom without these events wouldn’t happen. I saw a woman running in motorcycle leather trousers! And a bloke who, in addition to his trainers, was only wearing a pair of boxer shorts (he needed to pin his number somewhere) and a Borat mankini. I think what I am trying to say is that the beauty of running is that you are with likeminded others, you get to see places and things you possibly wouldn’t see and you get an immense sense of satisfaction when you finish. I know I have been fortunate to be part of Project 26.2, but all you need is a decent pair of trainers, a few items of clothing and a little bit of determination to enjoy a run wherever it may be. Incidentally I finished the half in 1:51:53 which equates to an 8:28m/mile, so maybe my intended MP will be possible? I have attached the link to my Garmin stats http://connect.garmin.com/activity/154947789 and you see that there was a significant hill (well for me anyway) that climbed over 300ft. Just thought I would give you an insight to what goes through my brain while running. At the top of the hill there was literally a u-turn and then you ran back down, when I saw this I started singing to myself “Oh the Grand Old Duke of York, he had 10,000 men, he marched them up to the top of the hill and he marched them down again” Lo and behold the name of the road we were running back down was ‘Upper Duke Road’ That last bit was completely random I know, maybe my brain is waterlogged. Until Next Week The Hippo P.S. Another thing that the Eastbourne Half Marathon had which Barcelona didn’t was people standing at the water stations with large tubs of Jelly Babies. Nice touch!

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