Crikey, four weeks passed since the London Marathon, so, in a nutshell (quite a big nutshell – maybe even a coconut shell), what happened next?
Les, my mentor at Egdon Heath Harriers had suggested that the two London marathoners in his little group, Nancy and myself, might feel up to an easy run around town on the Tuesday. No way. Instead, I drove down with my newly acquired large item of bling. Another chap there had a medal from the first ever London marathon. That must have been a very different event. The medal was tiny.
I had heard about the “post-marathon sniffles”, and I knew I was coming down with them. But I reckon that there are times when if you give it a stiff ignoring, a cold will just go away. The next weekend (Easter) I was down on the Kent coast visiting my elderly mother, and had planned that my fist post marathon run would be the Pegwell Bay parkrun, and decided that, in the circumstances, this would be a key element in driving the cold away. I took it fairly easy, and thought the run went pretty well all things considered. I chatted to another #VMLMer on the way around, and then found two more at the end. This is certainly a good ice breaker. I feel my perennial search for an effective chat-up line is maybe at an end. I was actually a little surprised to be given the exact same time as my last Pegwell Bay parkrun (a parkrun Personal Worst), since this was a much better run.
But by the middle of the next week it was clear that the post marathon sniffles had developed into a serious man flu, requiring time off work. Les had earlier indicated that, once you had recovered from the marathon, you should be able to give it a pretty good shot at a parkrun, but clearly that would not happen the next weekend, so instead I ended up supervising the handing out of the finish tokens. Easter weekend had seen a new attendance record for Weymouth parkrun (about 140), and the next weekend the numbers were only a little down on that. We were kept busy.
The next week was spent attending a Sonar course at Bournemouth University. I was starting to feel better, and by Tuesday was up for the around the town club run. On Thursday, a bitter-sweet day with the funeral of one of my favourite people, my (now estranged) wife Marion's father. On one hand a sad day, but he was well into his 97th year, and up to the last month or so was still enjoying a good standard of life.
So on Saturday I determined to really go for it at Weymouth parkrun. I hoped to crack 23 minutes for a parkrun for the first time, and had strategically identified a couple of ladies to stalk, who I was sure would be in the 22s (hmmmm – something of a pattern emerging here). A quick sprint at the start and I was soon close in their tracks. Indeed as we headed off on the first one and a half laps of the mini-golf course, I had to hold myself back from overtaking them.
After that we head slightly uphill, past the rugby club, and around one of our “welcome pineapples” by the park-and-ride. As we headed uphill, I could feel that invisible length of elastic starting to stretch. But as we headed back downhill, they remained very much in my sights. The course winds its way back into the country park, and as the final half a lap of the mini-golf unravelled, I knew I had lost them (hmmmm – yes definite pattern emerging).
Well, for the record I came home in 23:18, a new PB for Weymouth (but 10 seconds slower than Gunnersbury Park in London last November). My two stalkees were both comfortably in the 22s. Something to aim for next time.
Happily right back into the swing of things now. With a 10k run on the Sunday and the first ever 'Ackney 'Alf at the end of June, back into the routine of going out Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. A fairly easy club run on Tuesday, some thresholds on Wednesday, and a gentle 10k run on Thursday. Saturday a new experience as I volunteered the be tailgunner at Weymouth parkrun. It's nice that you don't need to run flat out to get plenty out of these events. I always enjoy marshalling, and we are always encouraged to be always encouraging. And equally enjoyed tailrunning, with a chance of hopefully inspiring people going through what I went through a year and a bit ago; starting to run, starting to recover long lost levels of fitness, and starting to feel good about themselves. Today I was the one hundred and first and final finisher, and the one hundredth finisher insisted on a hug at the end :-) And (officially) a new Personal Worst, so Pegwell Bay is now expunged from the record books.
And tonight I am back at an old haunt, the Hilton, Newbury (North). I rather like this place, and because it's not the most attractive location (slap bang next to Chieveley services, between the M4 and the A34) there's some pretty good deals to be had here. And it's pretty well sound proofed too. I reckon the last time I was here I was celebrating my 50th birthday, and at the time Marion was recovering from a cancer op. (another reason why I was pleased to support a cancer charity in London).
And tomorrow off to the city of the dreaming spires for the Oxford Town and Gown 10k. Originally hoped to be doing this with elder daughter Madeleine, but now she's rehearsing for a production of “The Producers” so it's just me. I'd love to be able to go under 50 minutes, but after the huge meal I've just had, not so sure …
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