Burn Baby Burn-ham Beeches

August 19, 2012

As you all know by now, I like running. I actually enjoy doing it. I realise that many people find this quite hard to believe. I used to be one of those people.  Some days, however, no matter how hard I try to convince myself, it’s just not fun.  Today was one of those days.

The Burnham Beeches Half Marathon was my final major warm-up race for the Loch Ness Marathon in six week times. I chose it because of the timing and because a few hills would be good preparation for the big one.  I did not expect the temperature to be pushing 30C.

The four half marathons I have done before have been fast flat courses and in cooler conditions.  On the flip-side, I’ve been performing better than ever in training. So, against a previous PB of 1:27:22 I decided to set off at about 1:30 pace and see how I got on.  Badly, it transpires.  The hills were tough, but not ridiculous, but the heat was savage.  If the course hadn’t been mostly shaded I would not have been able to get round. I reached half way in around 45:40 and faded in the second lap to finish in 1:33:25, 60th out of 710 runners.

My biggest disappointment was slowing in the second half. The course consisted of two laps and my coach Sam and I were keen that I ran the second lap more quickly than the first.  I still don’t what time I would have managed in better conditions or on a faster course, but I’m not too concerned ahead of Loch Ness. I can guarantee I won’t face similar conditions there.

Aside from the weather, it was a very good event. Well organised, a beautiful setting, a strong field and a cracking race HQ featuring an outdoor swimming pool. A quick dip to cool off was just what I needed. My only complaint is that all but one of the drinks stations were handing out water in plastic cups rather than bottles. By the time you get hold of the cup you have spilt half of it’s contents, and as soon as you try to take a drink, you lose the other half. This wouldn’t have been a huge problem on a half marathon were it not for the heat. Did I menton it was hot?

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