First, and most importantly, the new header is the beautiful legs of some moorhens in Sydney Botanic Gardens, courtesy of the Moorhen Photographer in Chief. The original photo does show all the two moorhens, but I loved their feet so much I used the header crop to focus on their feet, one of the reasons why I love moorhens so much.
Secondly a race report. The most important thing to note is that in honour of my Personal Un-Trainer’s very big birthday tomorrow, I fell over. More of that later.
The Greensand Marathon has been going for a few years, and this year was the first year that a half marathon was added to the frisky stable of Trionium races. It takes the route of the Leith Hill Half which I have done, with varying levels of speed, three times (but clearly only blogged on this blog once…). Trionium races are invariably hard, hilly, dirty and fun. Everyone is nice, talks to each other, sings the anthem at the start etc etc. I forgot I had entered this, and was therefore only trained up to 10 miles on the road, which wasn’t ideal, but wasn’t bad enough to DNS (they print your name on the t-shirt and the shame of having my name there but me not there is too much for me).
The weather here is vile. I sat in the car at the start of the race watching the rain wondering why I was there.
And then realised that I don’t think I had ever regretted starting a race, I had regretted not starting, weather conditions, poor shoe choice, forgetting various things, eating, not eating, the existence of gravity, not doing any training; but not actually starting.
So I did. And I was actually last for a while (small field….cough), until the people in front of me got lost and I appeared to be the only person who had done the route before, not that that had stopped me blindly following them for a while.
It was a hard run, partly because the route is hard, partly because I was undertrained and partly because it was staggeringly wet. Walking through puddles became boring ( I walked the biggest ones, just because I wasn’t sure what was under the water to trip me up), and the water got higher, from just over my shoes to half-way up my calves, and once up to my knees. Most of the route we were running in little rivulets or streams of water. You have minimal photos because I just didn’t dare take my phone out of my waist-pack (it was wrapped in a food-bag but still got damp).
Made it up Leith Hill, very slowly and down the tricky bit, then nearly tripped over going up a sandy rise. Recovered and was pottering along reflecting on the fact that I am so clumsy and that I must remember to pick my feet up properly when I tripped and went flying full length onto the ground. I hit base so hard my pack and baseball hat flew off. No major harm done, no-one around. Phew. Got up, hobbled a bit, then started running again. Felt much better after about ten minutes, and remembered that the hit of adrenaline combined with the nice endorphins would act as a pain-killer and add some much needed oomph to my running till I stopped. Wondered if it was worth falling over at the beginning of every race, just to create these enjoyable running conditions.
Stopped for a jelly baby and a chat at the bottom of the hill (I wasn’t really on track for a pb, but I was pretty certain I wasn’t last), and then pottered back to the start. No real incidents except for more wading (if only I had those lovely moorhen feet), when I remembered to be grateful that I did not have waterproof shoes or socks on, and hence would not have to lug foot-fulls of water with me. Until at about mile 12, just commencing the heartbreakingly vile last hill, which is difficult to walk let alone run, I was passed by the leading marathon runner (they started half an hour earlier) who proceeded to spring up something I could barely walk, even if I was fresh. I did just stop and stare (after congratulating him, obviously).
As the field was so small I was the only person finishing at that moment, so I got a lovely reception of cheering and shouting from the 4 or 5 people brave enough to stand in the rain. I then went and picked up the lovely finishing goodies, and had some (free) beans on toast for breakfast.
Another random thought, I have an oozy hole in my knee, but perfectly unscathed tights, so how do they survive? I am glad they did as they were quite expensive, but I just don’t get the logic.