|The Mighty Running Daff (but more of that another time)|
So, first up was the MK Festival of Running Half Marathon on 8th March. Training had gone well and I was feeling strong and well-prepared. For the first time my peak weekly mileage had got to around 40 miles which felt like a big step forward in terms of running maturity and experience.
Race day was cold and grey. There was a lot of hanging around because to be sure of a parking spot I got to the city centre about 2 hours before the start. Still, that meant plenty of time to warm up with some drills, a bit of a run and some kata practice. The latter resulted in some very odd looks from passers-by, but I find it really helps me focus my mind as well as really get hips and legs going. There were well over 100 people from my club running in the various Festival races and it was good to have friendly faces around. I get sick with nerves before a race and being around friends really helped me get a grip until I could start the race. Once I'm running nerves vanish and I feel fine.
|Feeling strong still, helped by the fact that this was around the Redway Runners drinks station and I could hear friendly and encouraging words being yelled in my direction.|
|Almost at the finish. It was hurting so much to keep going the last few 100 metres. And it felt very lonely with no one to cheer me on. One day I'd like to have family or friends to cheer and shout for me at a race.|
The route for the half wasn't too bad although not as scenic as the Winter Half. (If you've never been to Milton Keynes you need to know it's a fabulous place to run- there's a lot more to it than roundabouts and concrete!). The least pleasant part was the last couple of miles coming up through Campbell Park. Running up Beacon Hill when your legs are knackered and it's mile 12 is seriously no fun at all, not even for me. (Did I tell you that I do like a hill?) However, I completed the race in a smidgen over 1:38. A new PB for me and I was really pleased with that.
I was especially pleased because for the first time I was running under a time pressure and that was not a nice feeling at all. I HAD to run sub 1:45 because my girlies and I were scheduled to do the Shinri Karate 100 Kata Challenge straight after the race but I'll tell you more about that shortly.
So after the race it was off to the dojo to perform 100 katas in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital. I'd just graded to orange belt at the start of the week so it was a chance to get to grips with my next kata and have a go at learning one or two new ones. It was a great event but seriously challenging even for those (ie everyone apart from me) who hadn't just run 13.1 miles. I think there were some bleeding feet by the end although not mine.
I tried very, very hard to learn Tekki Shodan (a black belt kata) but I guess I was mentally so used up it just wouldn't stick even after 20 repetitions under the watchful eye of one of the black belts who happens also to be a runner. I was very proud of my girlies who stuck at it the whole way through and didn't miss a single kata. Their concentration did wear off about halfway through but I'm impressed they stayed focussed for that long. It was a tough thing to do for anyone, especially the younger ones. But we survived and had fun and were even still able to stand at the end:
As well as kata to learn there was plenty of cake to be eaten at the event- we'd decided to raise extra money we'd bring cake to sell. I made chocolate courgette brownies, spiced butternut squash and choc chunk squares, and something else which escapes my mind. (I'll have to post the recipes another time as I don't have them to hand this week.)
Typing all this and reliving that day has been quite exhausting! Time for a cup of tea and a piece of cake I think!