Sunday, May 31, 2009

Meeting up with virtual friends for the White Peak Swift half was great and a bit surprising. Somehow my pre-conceived notions really didn't hold up to the brush with reality. From the podcast of his epic Hadrian's wall run, I envisioned Gary Wall as an ascetic hardcore runner - and I discovered that he was funny, genuine and a natural story-teller, really not the ultra-marathon purist I expected. Steve Chopper has such a magisterial voice on his podcasts, I expected him to be commanding... but I was surprised at how engaging and sincere he is. He's still an natural spokesman, but he's also a really good listener. Phil's un-likeness of a twitter photo and the intensity with which he talked about Runcast TV on the Runners Round Table made me expect some sort of tech-nerd, and I was surprised to meet up a gentle bear of a man, with self-deprecating modesty and a bubbly sort of warmth and laughter. It was also great to meet Mark Wheeton who I'd only exchanged emails with. Petra I'd met at the London Expo and it felt like we were old friends. She insisted on buying me a bacon sandwich (a "cobb" in Derbyshire-speak) after the race which was heavenly, and will henceforth be my gold standard of bacon sandwiches... or maybe I was just REALLY hungry.

I was really pleased with the race time 1:58:59, five minutes faster than I ran it two years ago. But nothing great compared to Boo's 14th place at 1:27!! Ali and Billy really made the logistics easy for us, and their cheers and hugs at the finish made us feel like stars. Thanks guys!!!

For the week following the race, Billy and I scouted for wild campsites as we made our way through the Peak District, to the N Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland, stopping at National Trust properties when the days were rainy. We had a memorable night in a farmers field watching lambs prance like kittens - while we worried that we'd have to be towed out after the rain. The coastal path between Ravenscar and Robin Hood's Bay claimed my new GPS watch, and the badgers must have taken it, because it was gone when we retraced our steps... oh well.

Finally Ali flew up and met us in Edinburgh and I flew home to work while she and Billy walked in the Highlands before Boo came up to run the Marathon on Sunday (in an amazing 3:20!).

I guess I feel a bit deflated now with no clear running goals until October WWFOR half. I need to practice the paper I'm giving at a conference in Amsterdam on June 8th... so I still have something to worry about!

I guess its time to re-focus on resistance training so that I can be stronger in the next cycle of training in a couple of months. I'll still keep running the 3 mi across London in the mornings - I love that!

Finally, a video Phil edited of the race! Check it out here.