Round The Reservoir, Northampton – 30/31 March 2013
Round the reservoir, Day 1. 30/03/2013. Easter Saturday.
Day 1 arrived with a little bit of Plantar Faciitis. (Heel pain, with the first few steps in the morning being particularly painful).
So I thought “why don't I cycle there? 15 miles from Rushden to Northampton, should prepare me for it, and the cycle home will be like gentle recovery?”
Except that it dawned at -3°C, with winds and snow showers forecast. So off I went on the bike, having repaired two punctures in the week and put fresh tyres on the day before. Well the ride was bloody freezing and going up the hill into Cogenhoe was interesting being 15% with ice from gutter to gutter. Even more interesting was Little Houghton to the A428 going downhill at 15% with ice from gutter to gutter. So my toes were froze before the marathon even started.
The course was simplified from last year's “run round the reservoir” to remove a swampy flooded section. Essentially the route went from the Holiday Inn, up the footpath alongside the A45 towards Billing, turned down Weston Mill Lane towards a marina, back towards the footpath, then up to the Flood Storage Reservoir, then round the reservoir clockwise, back to the Holiday Inn. Simple. Repeat 6 times. Simple. Flour markings on the floor, for idiots like me to follow.
The going was firm, on the tarmac. Soft to yielding on the grass. Road shoes did fine, if a bit muddy. I did the first 3 laps in 2:28, in slight discomfort from the PF. Lap 4 was walk/jog with slight pain, 5 was definite pain, 6th lap was a fair bit of pain. Interestingly, for the first 5 laps, when I had the wind in my face, the sun shone. when I had the wind on my back it snowed. I thought I was blessed somehow. Lap 6 showed I was wrong and it was horizontal frozen drizzle/snow all the way round. Total time was 5:28:08. Not bad for injury/weather/cycling. And fairly enjoyable. no one overtook me after 3rd lap, although I got lapped by most. I lapped someone on my 6th lap. Got back to my bike to find a flat front tyre. Bummer!. Changed it then cycled home into a 15mph Easterly. Bummer!.
Day 2 arrived with excruciating pain. In fact, It was the pain that woke me up. Actually it woke me a few times in the night and at 3am I looked up the video on how to tape for PF on YouTube . So, at 7am the first 3 or 4 steps were agony. Comfy slippers don't do it for PF, so on went the trainers before breakfast. I drove to the venue, “no cycling for me today”, it thought, “that's a mug's game”… I had sorted out some zinc oxide tape, and after registering I taped up the foot. On went the double layer socks, as normal. On went my newest trainers. Walking to the startline was interesting. Where was the pain?
The course was the same as the first day. So after walking to the startline I figured I didn't want to go to far to the back – there would be less distance to run, and it kept me out of the wind, as it was more sheltered at the front.. When the start whistle blew, I got out in front and for the first 5 seconds - I lead the marathon! How cool is that? Then the 100 club chairman barged past saying something about age before beauty, or maybe I misheard that? On this route, there is a kissing gate after 200m and I was still in the first twenty when I got there, so I reckon that saved me a couple of minutes of hanging around in the cold wind, unlike day 1 when I was at the back of the pack. The foot felt great with the tape, so, to my surprise, I ran the first 3 laps in 2:28, same as day 1. Laps 4 and 5 had more jogging, less walking than day 1, and lap 6 seemed to go very well, obviously no cycling home to face, only a warm car and flask of hot tea… My time on day 2 was 5:20:04, an improvement of 8 minutes! Not bad for someone that could barely walk in the morning. The weather on day2 was sunny first thing, clouding over about 20 mins after the start. Cold bitter wind, but no snow. There were much fewer participants, but good company. I got lapped on my lap 3 and double lapped on my lap 5, so there was some speedy folks around. One guy was loaded up, both days, with 7days worth of food and kit, in preparation for the MDS the following week. Another guy speed-walked his way to 5:17 on day1 and 5:23 on day2, quite an amazing display. Most who did the double were quicker on day2 than day1, and I reckon half of them had done another marathon on Easter Friday.
Next day, my PF was much better than it had been before the first marathon????
Ah, nutrition – before I forget. Six self-supplied Cadbury's Crème Eggs, one per lap, is not such a good idea as it sounds. Day1 it was do-able, but day2 and by lap 3 the blackcurrant caffeine Go-gel was very appetising… Flat coke, squash, jaffa cakes and sweeties were provided as standard..
Day 1, was 5:28:08 of pain and discomfort in bitter cold winds with frequent snow showers.
Day 2 was 5:20:04 of recovery and pleasant company in bitter cold winds, oh yes, and I lead a marathon!!!!
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