The Chris Hills 10 in 10
Race number three of the campaign took me to Stratford Upon Avon. Nice place, full of Theatre folk and runners this weekend. Race day dawned, conditions were perfect. There was a half marathon going on as well with everyone setting off at the same time so I found myself going far too fast, just over 8 minute miles to keep up with the halfies. The night before in the pub I had heard hushed whispers from wide eyed locals of a killer hill at 7 miles and again at 19 on the second loop. I have done a lot of running up Shincliffe bank, The Honest Lawyer Hill and Sherburn Hospital bank over the years so when I saw the excuse for a killer hill I laughed at it and sprinted up, just to show it who was boss. 1st lap it was me, second lap I’ll call it a draw.
I crossed halfway and felt great so dropped the pace to 8.30/9 minute miles and embarked onto the second lap. Things were going nicely, a 3.42 pb was even on the cards, then the sun came out in a big way. The pace dropped and by 22 miles it was all a bit much, the last 6 miles are a long stretch of flat track and it was mentally tough. I lost a lot of time then and scraped in just under 4 hours.
It is the ugly side of the ‘death or glory’ technique I run my marathons by- hit the first 20 hard and deal with the rest later. If it goes well it’s great but when it doesn’t it really hurts! I’ve come to the conclusion that races in April and May are tricky- we train in wind, rain and ice of the start of the year and by the big day it is nice and sunny, we are just not used to the new conditions so struggle more that we would in hotter temperatures later in the year.
The upside is that we can sit in the beer garden for the rest of the day, so we did just that and watched the poets and limping runners going past.
I think Shakespeare must have been a runner: (I’ve removed a few non running related bits…)
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’