Cambridge Half Marathon


There is no photographic evidence of the finish, because I was too tired to lift my arms above my head to take a selfie. Finished Cambridge Half Marathon today in a chip time of 2:21:42 which is Not Exactly Speedy, but Pretty Acceptable. Bearing in mind my all-time PB was 2:04 and that was when I was two and a bit stones lighter and five years younger, and I was running 6-10 miles regularly – I don’t think it is too bad. I have really struggled to find time to run for more than 30 or 40 minutes this term. The downside of being a vicar-in-training is that Sunday mornings are no longer available for a long run… and I now live too far away from my parents to be able to run ten miles and have Sunday lunch with them. Mum’s roast chicken was always a good incentive 8 miles into a 10 miler.

The course around Cambridge has the advantage of taking you past some very scenic parts. However, it’s pretty twisty and narrow in places, making it hard to keep a consistent pace when you are running with the ‘run two abreast and have a chat’ kind of crowd. And it’s two laps. So I’m not sure how much I liked it on the second lap! It was quite fun running part of my normal commute to lectures, though. And the sun was a mixed blessing – it made it cheerful, but much warmer than I had expected. What I really hated was the finish – getting on to Victoria Avenue knowing I still had a mile to go, but being able to see and hear the finish, was tough. I knew there was a lot of zig-zagging, but it was a bit soul destroying.

It was great having Viv here and running with her again, I have missed that a lot. Even if we didn’t stay together after the first three miles… The crowd was encouraging, and the samba band was lovely… And I probably would apply to run this again next year, if I get a better routine of term-time running and energy. It’s hard to say.

I have always found the analogies between running, and ‘running with perseverance the race that is set before us’ as the Christian life. I don’t want to lose the actual running part of running life. It feels like regular long runs and half marathoning belong to a different life now. I want to keep running; I know it keeps me fit and sane in times of stress and runs are going to be a key part of my revision timetable next term. But perhaps I need to think carefully about what is achievable in the long run (pun intended).

Anyway, here are the split times from today. I’m pleased with the first 10k, actually, wasn’t expecting to be as close as all that to 10 minute miles. It is good to know that that is still my general comfortable running pace. But my long standing inability to run negative splits rears its head again…

1 (actually no idea. Had Runkeeper going for ages before the start. It said 15:29, my watch says 11:41)
2 10:23
3 10:02
4 10:07
5 9:59
6 9:50
7 10:25
8 10:42
9 11:12
10 11:34
11 11:38
12 11:27
13 11:34

Janathon: game over

Quick note to say that the Janathon challenge is over for me this month. Am quite gutted – I do actually like getting out and getting my trainers on before 7am (I know. Weird. One impossible thing before breakfast). And it was lovely getting back into the swing of things after not running much in December.

I’ve gone and done something painful to my right calf muscle. Don’t know what I did exactly; might have been Saturday morning when I slightly missed my footing landing on a kerb, might have been the shin-pain inducing fast walk across London on Thursday or the painful lunchtime run on Friday where I had to keep stopping to try to relieve the shin pain. Or it might be completely unrelated and just sod’s law.

Tried running on Sunday – got about 3/4 mile in, generally warming up nicely and all the other aches easing off when the calf pain kicked in again and brought me up short. Ended up having to walk home and depriving Viv of a 6 mile run round the block.

Much ibuprofen is being taken, a lot of stretching of all of me plus some particularly painful things with a tennis ball (who knew just how much of all my calf muscles were that sore? Ow!) If its not better mid-week I will contemplate attempting to take it to a GP to get a referral to physio (yes, yes I know I can self refer but I am hoping to not have to pay).

In the meantime, I’ll be the one sitting in the corner with a large consoling G&T.

A marathon a month

Since my New Years’ Resolutions started in September, I have been making a real effort to get out for a run at lunchtime. So far I’ve managed two a week. My 20-minute run (once round Smithfield and back) is about 2 miles. My next effort is to ramp this up to three a week, giving me 6 miles just in my lunchbreak. If I manage that for a whole month, that’s almost a marathon: just in bite sized pieces.

Friday reflections part 1 – running

Last night was the final 10 miles before next week’s race. I didn’t time it or take any heart rate readings; I just wanted to run the distance however I felt like it.

It went well, despite straying onto conversation topics that rile one or both of us. Running and ranting tends to have the effect of speeding me up, that’s how come I could do a 10k in record time a few weeks ago. Mark even changed the subject at one point onto something controversial just to speed us down Ipswich Road on the power of the rant.

On average we seem to have stuck to 10min miles. It’s slow, but a good companiable pace I now know I can maintain over a fair distance. I don’t suppose Paula Radcliffe gets much conversation in on her training runs, but then I’m not doing this for a living. I am content to know I could retrieve a piece of case law from a legal database faster than she could, and that’s what I get paid for.

It’s only 8 weeks since my first faltering two mile circuit, when I had to walk part of the way. However, that was along the horrrendously dull part of Ipswich Road so in retrospect I am not surprised. What I am surprised at is how I’ve been able to increase the distance without suffering any of the aches and pains I have developed in the past, and even how some niggling pains have gone right away from running and strengthening different muscles. It’s the benefit of keeping it slow, I suppose.

What’s also great is that my perceptions of distance have changed. Last summer I struggled on a 2-mile there-and-back run from my flat whenever I tried it. Last night the first two miles felt like a warm-up. Now I am confident that I can jog up the hill to the park, run for a strong 20-30 minutes and jog home. And that’s great for a trivial reason too. I love the park, but when I’m walking there by myself I always feel somehow that I ought to have a dog with me…


London run

I went for a 2-mile run at lunchtime, partly to just get me out and moving and partly to figure out how this will all work from my new office, especially whilst the gym is stuffed full of January joiners. I ran from Houndsditch down to London Bridge, across the river, along the South Bank, back over Tower Bridge and up to Aldgate. It was cold and windy (not much effort needed over Tower Bridge with that amount of weather behind me!) but I managed to avoid the rain. Could have done with gloves/ hat, but otherwise was OK. Had a good stretch on the back stairs of the building, too.

It wasn’t the longest, or fastest, or most challenging run I will ever do, but it was fantastic to run past some of London’s best landmarks. It beats the 2-mile lap around St Johns estate in Colchester into a cocked hat. I hope one day I will run over Tower Bridge as part of the marathon crowd.

Slow cooker, slow runner

Just back from this evening’s running shenanigans. I discovered that the hat I received as a Christmas present is far too efficiently warm (great for long walks, though, so still a brilliant present Mum!) but that the new socks prevent blisters.

We did four laps of the two-mile circuit, taking 1.28 – including a Paula Pitstop back at Mark’s house. (My watch isn’t good enough to have been able to pause the timer). So I reckon that we did fairly steady just-over 10min miles which I am pleased with.

It was great to come back home to a big pot of bolognese sauce that has been cooking in my new slow cooker all day. Granted, the 13hours was a bit longer than normal but it was still very yummy and really showed the difference between instant food and that which has a chance to have a decent amalgamate…

I may have to think a bit differently when I shop for food – from ‘what can I have ready in less than ten minutes?‘ to ‘things that can happily simmer all day‘ but I am looking forward to cooking up some very interesting things to come home to.