So F****** Hard!

March 7, 2011

WARNING: This blog post includes a video clip containing both language, and running footage, that that some viewers may find offensive.

On Sunday I took part in the Bath Half Marathon as my final warm up race for the big one in April.  My official line to anyone who was unfortunate enough to ask, was that I was planning to take this one a little easier than my previous effort at Dorney Lake. I’d heard stories about the race being horribly crowded at Bath, and I’d also had a pretty rubbish week in training.

A few days ago, I actually skipped a run for the first time in my training schedule. I think the fact that I didn’t feel even remotely guilty about this gives an indication of how ready my body was for the rest. I really needed an extra day off.

Unofficially, though, I decided that if a) I managed to warm up properly, b) the crowds didn’t stop me getting off to a good start and c) I felt OK, I’d gie it laldy, as they say back home.  The walk to the starting pens was very busy and slow going, but there was plenty of space in my pen to warm up properly, and I was able to push myself to the front, five minutes before the start.  I was therefore also able to get away pretty quickly, and felt decent through the first few miles. I then realised all three of my conditions for pushing myself had been met, so I had no excuses. Bugger.

Bath Half - Solid Start

My PB two weeks previously at Dorney was 1:31:31, so I knew that if the stars aligned I could shave a bit off that. I also was all too aware that I will never be in this shape in the future as I don’t expect to be able to train like this ever again without risking death or divorce.  So, I had the added pressure of being convinced that this was my one and only chance to break the 90 minute mark.

The atmosphere for this race was superb. The crowds were brilliant, and the various musical acts along the course were great.  Except, perhaps, the really awful goth emo band. Strange choice for a running race, that one.Bath Half - Pushing Hard

Through half way I was bang on track for 90 minutes, but things were starting to get tough. My cheering party (friends Ben and Nick, and the missus) were doing a great job of darting round various viewing points and managed to see me four times.  It was at the third of these, around 8.5 miles into the race, that my moment of shame took place.

Watch the video through to the end, and listen very carefully….

Yes, that is me, on a Sunday morning, in front of thousands of strangers, confirming it is, in fact, “so f****** hard.” Normally, I reserve that line for a Saturday night.  Ahem.  And we haven’t even started on my “unorthodox” running style.  If any of you didn’t know where the “Pingu” nickname came from, I think we’ve cleared that up.

Anyhow, by about mile 10 things were starting to get pretty unpleasant, and I was just about hanging on to 90 minute pace. Then, from nowhere, at mile 11 my friend from work, Dan, caught up with me!  Despite his protestations that he was “dying” he looked pretty comfortable, and I struggled on alongside him for a bit.  Then, at about the 11.3 mile mark he left me for dead!

Somehow, I hauled myself into the last mile, and just told myself (literally, I actually spoke to myself) that if I wanted it, I had to dig in and work for it.

And the result…… a chip time of 1:29:12 – 469th place out of about 9,700 finishers. Woo-hoo!

Bath Half - The Finish

So, with six weeks to go until the marathon, I’ve got plenty of hard work still to come.  As ever, I’d like to thank everyone who has sponsored me so far.  Just in case you haven’t, I’m running for a fantastic charity who help sick and disadvantaged children by supplying IT equipment.  If you would like to sponsor me, all the info is here.  Thanks in advance. I really do appreciate your support.

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6 Responses to “So F****** Hard!”


  1. […] was all going so well!  I’ve gone from the high of a sub 90 minute half marathon in Bath, to the low of a nasty knee injury which is ruining my last few weeks of training for the London […]


  2. […] Right now, I would take that in a heartbeat.  Six weeks ago, when I crossed the finish line in the Bath Half marathon in under 90 minutes, without the benefit of a taper, and with several weeks of training […]


  3. […] into the race itself which didn’t entirely go to plan! To set some context, I ran 1:29 for the Bath Half Marathon six weeks ago, and although I missed some training since then due to injury, I only missed one long […]


  4. […] into the race itself which didn’t entirely go to plan! To set some context, I ran 1:29 for the Bath Half Marathon six weeks ago, and although I missed some training since then due to injury, I only missed one […]


  5. […] is achievable because… …last March I ran 1:29:12 for the Bath Half Marathon, mid training schedule, without the benefit of a taper, without taking nutrition seriously, and […]


  6. […] for a week. I certainly didn’t imagine that I would go on to complete the London Marathon, run a sub 90 minute half marathon, cajole 40% of my colleagues into running the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge, win an organised, timed […]


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