Windsor trail half marathon chaos.
Massive epic mistake, iv'e been having real strong cravings all week. I think my body just wants some high calorie junk to help recovery. In hindsight pigging out on a big takeaway curry the night before a semi long race was a really stupid idea. Even by my standards.
In my defence I'm really picky about the takeaway restaurants we use and have never had a problem with this place before.
There was a proper fight for our only bathroom this morning!!
Luckly for me Emma walks with crutches and I'm a lot quicker on my feet.
Eventually I managed to pull myself together and get myself ready. Em decided she would drop me off and return later when she felt better and had time to get ready.
Wow I was feeling shite but on the plus side my Achilles and ankles were feeling better. I didn't feel like eating breakfast but managed to choke down a clif bar and an energy drink. I'm addicted to them clif bars and really did not want to run without some form of carbs in me.
I found the start line and Ivana (an ex fitness competitor with a fantastic passion for running) with very little time to spare. Our plan was to wait for the elite wave to get out the way and head out in the second or third wave with the club runners. There was no second wave. We must have missed the change as it became a free for all start. By the time we realised what was happening we were stuck in the middle of the slower fun runners. Normally this is not a big problem but about a hundred meters after the start. The course bottlenecks into a single track dirt road.
weaving between runners was near impossible as a lot of people were in groups or wearing earphones and oblivious.
I got stuck behind a gaggle of friends (coven of hags really) talking very loudly about house prices.
Instead of the euphoria of finding a good pace at the start of a race I was rapidly losing the will to live. The pace was painfully slow and I was fantasising about throwing myself in the river. If I'm honest pushing them in crossed my mind a few times too.
The trail opened up slightly so I made a quick break to undertake them. Oblivious to the obstical they were, they actually started to space out to occupy the extra room. I almost went crashing into the river. Buggered if I was going to be stuck behind them for any longer, I almost broke my ankle getting past.
My right Achilles was now screaming and my left ankle throbbing. I was fine to keep running but a decent speed was out of the question. I really need to do a lot more trail running and toughen up them joints.
I really did not want to chance over taking anymore so I kept myself tight into the left and tried to keep a couple of meters between me and the next runner. Big problem, other runners were getting frustrated and doing anything they could to get a extra space ahead.
I was getting people cutting infront of me now. There was nowhere to go but they were frustrated and trying anyway. Having to dodge some douche bag because they have jumped to close infront of me was sending shockwaves up my legs. The urge not to pick them up with a wedgie was getting uncontrollable.
Luckly we got to maidenhead before I started to cry or started to wet willie people. (A wet willie is when you spit on your finger and poke it in someones ear.) Nice big flat roads were heavenly and I longed for my more cushioned road shoes.
Not more then a couple of miles and we were on the jubile river trail. I was loving the extra room and the weather was glourious. I was really struggling to keep moving at around the 8 mile mark. I decided to perk myself up with a caffine carb gel.
Not a good idea my Achilles was still unhappy and now my belly was churning. Honestly I was scared to fart!
All I could think of was i've already got a ton of medals and my emergency services (emma) was only a phone call away!
My phone started ringing; so I used this as a excuse to walk. Stupid junk emails. Might as well get my headphones out and see if I can distract myself. My times are going to be crap but at least I could finish.
At that moment Ivana came blasting past and slapped me on the arse. "come on you; you're not giving up!"
Ivana would not leave until I started to run again. There was no way was I going to spoil her race so I started to run again.
We set of together, nice and slow. She had been up most of the night with her restless baby, Vivienne so just wanted to finish too.
We happily plodded on for another couple of miles when all of a sudden I got a popping sensation in my left calf. At first I though it was a tear. I almost shat myself in more then one way. concerned Ivana would not leave. If I had not been with her I would of had a little cry and Em would of been called. Walking was okay but felt wrong.
I was exhausted and sore as hell but Ivana really helped me to keep moving. Gingerly I started to slowly jog, well more like a really camp skip and we were off again.
Even slower this time but we were getting close. I was finding it absoulty exhausting to keep running but really did not want to chance a second gel. This part of the race the ground was mostly downhill and even. All I had to do was keep moving and not chance a fart.
We passed the finish line together in two hours 18. The course was absoulty stunning and you could not ask for a better day. Thank you Ivana THere is no way I would of finished without your help.
Hopefully with a lot more trail work i'll enjoy it a lot more next year. I will make sure I'm a lot closer to the start line next year too. The free for all at the start was very frustrating.
A few hours later and my calfs and ankles are stiff but not in nearly as much pain. My Achilles are still swollen but not nearly as bad as earlier. I think its down partly to dehydration but mainly doing too much volume on the trails. It was stupid of me to go from road running to trail running and keeping the distance the same.
Firstly I think i'm going to do some bike work next week and let my Achilles heal. I need to start doing a lot more calf work in the gym and foam rolling to try and get them loosened up. I also need to reduce the distance when i'm doing trail running.
Got to avoid takeaways the day before a event. Or wear a nappy.
The Thames path challenge is only a few months away I really need to avoid injurys at this point if I want to make it an enjoyable experience.