Because of the ever-looming Herts Half next weekend and their new rule that you now must finish in 3 hours or get swept up, I was taken under the wing of the Ex-Clarke Sisters, who are also running the Half and the Marathon next year for the HMSTC. Just to see if I could keep up.
These hardened runners, were lovely, if just slightly mad I thought, when Karen said she would pick me up at 7.10am!!!! (Yes, that time does exist at the weekend), for a 7.30 start. So, at 7.10am!!! I like to add the am, just so you know, Karen’s there outside my house. We then proceed to pick up a lovely lady called Ruth, who I hadn’t met before, then onto pick up Angela, ex-Clarke number 2 and we finish up at Helens house, ex-Clarke number 3. So, we are all ready for the 7.30am start.
And off we go and then I realise I really need to sort out a waterproof running jacket. I have 3 layers on, so I should keep dry for a bit, even if my hair is sticking to my face and I’m wondering why I had a shower this morning. However, the pace is good and I’m thinking to myself this is okay, I can do this. The girls were lovely, asking if I was okay as we paced the streets of Letchworth and head towards Baldock. I can still run and chat, so I’m at a good steady pace, even if slightly wet now.
Poor Helen did start to struggle with her glasses, as the rain appeared to start getting slightly heavier or more in the motion of our direction. Someone really should come up with wipers on glasses for runners, they would make a fortune. So, we head into Baldock towards the traffic light crossroads and turn left up Clothall Road. Here is where I start to feel it and ask to walk for a bit, the top of my left inner leg is starting to hurt and so the girls walk with me for a bit and I do a few advised stretches. Feeling slightly guilty that I am holding them back we start to run again, it’s okay but I struggle to get back in the zone, but I keep going and we head down South Road and then down the High Street and back towards Letchworth. Hills are starting to hurt me now, I feel I have the stamina, but my legs are feeling heavy. As we head under the motorway bridge we stop and take our gels and walk for a couple of minutes. We head back towards Letchworth, jumping over puddles as we run and head up another hill, Green Lane. I keep going though and the girls keep with me. Once at the top we head for the last leg. The gel is starting to work but I wonder if I took mine slightly too late. We take a detour through the common to avoid roadworks and closed paths, where the puddles are big, and the mud is covered in wet leaves. One final hill ahead and I start to feel it, they keep running and I walk for a bit, but get back into the zone, even if slower them. Karen’s advice of not looking at the hill but looking down at where I’m running helped. When I reach the top, they are waiting for me.
The final bit and I’ve really slowed down, Karen stays with me though and I reach our destination in 1:57:59. So happy to be finished, so wet from the rain and my legs slightly frazzled. We did 9.21 miles, and this is a personal best for me timewise. I have probably slowed the girls down but I’m very grateful to them for sticking with me when I felt it was tough.
Home for a bath and a relaxing weekend, doing course work. A totally different story. Thank you to the ex-Clarke sisters and Ruth and Zoe who ran on her own today. I think I may be okay for next week’s half now. What’s the worst that could happen?? I get swept up at 3 hours and a free lift back to the finish line.
This week Zoe and I have an outside run planned for Tuesday and some Tempo Running in the gym Thursday, that combined with Hiit and Pilates on Wednesday, I am hoping I’ll be ready for the big race on Sunday.