Sunday, 9 November 2014

Monkey Marathon

I entered the Thames Meander Marathon about 11 weeks ago fully knowing that I was not going to be pretty.

Training in the past few months has not been great and I could list a whole page of excuses from depression to it being too hot or I was overworked. I don't go in for that nonsense these days, I have nothing to prove to others but only myself and to be frank, I had lost interest in running as I was distracted by other things in my life.

I challenged myself to run a marathon with very little preparation but a burning desire to feel as though I was running again so chose the Thames Meander Winter Marathon which is not too far away . Do not be distracted by the word Winter in its title as we are having a very weird weather in the UK at present with usual averages at this time of year being 13 centigrade and were hitting 21 C when I approached the start line in Kingston, London. 

Before I start, my Monkey Feet got first place in the Barefoot running category, sadly there was no such category.

Mr Annoying

In all sports, interest groups or offices there is always a few characters who are obsessional to the point they see themselves as the "Expert" and need to tell everyone of their escapades, how what you are doing is wrong and everything they do is the right way. I tend to hang back form these people but I was just leaving Kingston station when I saw a man dressed in running kit and mentioned to him whether he was running the marathon, he was and boy did he want to tell me about every race he had done and "how experienced he was" He asked me if I was in the 100 Marathon Club and how many road marathons I had run, I said "No I am not and I have only run four road marathons" Oh, did he love that as he happened to mention he had done 4 road marathons that week already and chose to give me advice on drinks, shoes and nutrition.

His face was an absolute picture 30 minutes later when he approached me to see I was wearing my Centurion Winter 100 shirt and my Vibram Monkey Feet, he said "You told me you had only done 4 marathons mate", I said "Yes road marathons but have done over 50 trail ultras"..... he visibly shrunk 10 cms and scuttled away to probably advise people of his endeavours"

 The Race

The Thames Meander is a must for any runner with beautiful scenery, loads of distractions on the river which was very busy that day with a very big boat race such that we had support cyclists racing close to us as they bellowed support, dog walkers and race enthusiasts for about 5 miles (out and back makes 10 miles) along a stretch but we seemed to work well together.

My choice of Monkey Feet were not the best decision I had made as in some places the path had deteriorated such that there was no tarmac on it and my feet were taking a beating as my heel clonked on jutting rubble.

The checkpoint staff were great and signs were great , after all, all we needed to do was have the river on our left on the way out and on the right on the way back. I was pretty well pleased with my fitness and had run the first 14 in good pace but the continual beating and clonking of my heels on the poor running surface eventually found me walking long stretches but running the normal tarmac and/or woodland paths which effectively destroyed any good chance of a reasonable time but I kept reminding myself that this was not about time, it was about getting through it without difficulty and that is what I did, a very slow (for me) marathon on hobby running training and I got through it to meet my racing friend Fiona at the end.

 Lessons learnt

  • Try and stay away from Know It Alls
  • Do some proper training runs before entering a marathon, at the age of 49 years the fitness is quicker to lose than when you are 39
  • At least think about your shoes sensibly
  • Enjoy it 
Well done Hermes Running, great race

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