Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Retro race report: Flashbacks from the Dam Part Two

Enthused by my exploits at the Kingston Breakfast Run I immediately set about finding another event to enter. I'd struggled towards the end of the 8 miles so I thought a 10km run (which is a little more than six miles) would be just the ticket. It turned out that there was one on the second May Bank Holiday in London- the Bupa 10k. Not only was it right on my doorstep but it took in part of the course of the London Marathon, so I could experience what it would be like to run the London Marathon - the crowds, the atmosphere, the home straight down the Mall - without having to put in any of the effort required to run the London Marathon. It was a win, win as far as I was concerned. Seeing as it was also a mid-morning start I even had Mrs Trihard and Toddler Trihard to cheer me on. I finished this one in 54 minutes 47 seconds below my target of 55 minutes. I was very pleased with myself. However this is where events took a sinister turn.

I'm the one in green
 A friend of mine who I have known for almost 20 years, and who had got into running a year or two before, had by then run a few half marathons. Since I started writing this blog he has asked if he can run with me next time he visits so he can appear in the blog. He however voiced some concern that he might come across as "a smug running guy." A couple of weeks ago he completed his second marathon in three hours and 17 minutes. I shall refer to him as Smug Running Guy.

Anyway, Smug Running Guy was quite impressed by my new found appetite for pain and asked if I had ever thought about doing a half a marathon myself. "No freaking way!" was my response. However I did agree to take part in a marathon relay in July 2010 which involved a team of us covering 26.2 miles without having to run more than 10km each. It is a bit of a cliche that many people who were not exactly renowned for their sporting prowess in their younger years take to running in their thirties. Out of the team of six, four of us had known each other since we were 16 so had therefore spent many years going to festivals and doing the sort of unhealthy things teenagers (and in our case people in their twenties and thirties) do at festivals. And here we all were pushing our bodies to their limits again, but this time by running.

Olympic training village Reading 1996 with Smug Running Guy (centre) and Mr Trihard (right)
Not long after this race Smug Running Guy slyly sent me an email about a half marathon in Norwich later in the year. He'd got me. The thought of running with a friend greatly appealed to me, I had massively enjoyed the buzz of running with people I knew in the relay. I had a lot of family in Norwich so I could expect some good support, probably topped off with them carrying me shoulder high around the City once I'd completed the race. So I signed up.

But then I had another thought. Why stop there? Whenever I'd seen the London Marathon on TV it had caught my imagination. What must it feel like to cross the finishing line? I had often thought I'd much rather be telling my grandchildren in my old age that I'd once run a marathon rather than thinking I wish I'd run a marathon when I was capable of it. If I'd signed up for a half marathon in November then I'd technically be half way towards the fitness required for a marathon. If I was ever going to do it I might as well do it now. So on the same night of signing up for the Norwich half marathon I went for broke and also signed up for the Brighton Marathon for the following April.

"What?" I hear you ask, "The Brighton Marathon?! I thought you were talking about the Amsterdam Marathon?! Why have you been wasting my time with this drivel?!" Sorry dear reader, this is taking a bit longer than I thought to tell my tale but, as you'll find out things didn't quite go to plan...

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