I mooned up. I’ve been racing. You may, or may not, be aware that I am a little half crazy! By half I, of course, mean half marathons and by crazy I mean I do so many of them. There are crazier runners out there than me, but in my little world I am one of the crazy ones.
With that said, I am a member of the Halffanatics club. It’s an online club where your membership level is defined by the number and combination of half marathons you run. I joined at one moon (or Neptune) with 3 halfs within 90 days. I then moved up to two moons or Uranus with 8 halfs within 12 months. This year I wanted to get to Saturn or three moons by completing 4 halfs within 37 days. But lucky for me the races I registered for ended up falling in the next level up which was within 23 days. I managed to complete 4 halfs within 22 days, so I was able to moon up straight to four moons (or Jupiter).
Here follows mini recaps of the races I completed.
Welwyn Half Marathon – 20th March 2016
This race was just after my birthday. I had just turned 43 and was feeling proud to be still running. I normally do a paddys day 5k run. But decided to do my level up challenge instead. so 21.1 km it was to be instead. I was nervous at the start, as I usually am. The race started at the Gosling Sports Athletics track. It was not a huge race but the place started to fill up with runners. It was hard going. This was a disappointing race for me. It was a perfect temperature, at 5°C, and not too hilly either, but it ended up being far too slow for me. I was expecting to see some improvements due to my better performance at Parkrun. It just goes to show, that lack of training runs will hinder your performance. But I am happy to have been able to finish my 14th half and collect another medal for my stash. – Time 2hr 46m 07s
River Thames Spring Half Marathon – 28th March 2016
A little over a week later was the 2nd of the 4 races. The race route was to stretch along the scenic tow paths of the River Thames. As it was along the Thames the elevation map was flat, and so I hoped for a better finish time. However that week the weather had degraded. The day before was stormy, wet and windy. In fact waiting to start the race, the winds were so high they could not put up the tent that was going to be used for baggage check. They also postponed the start of the race twice. But it went ahead. It’s crazy how things work out. But with the aftermath of Storm Kate brought a very windy, wet, muddy race. I had to navigate through muddy pools, and thick mud at times, fallen trees and tree roots. It was much more like a soggy trail run then a road race. Other than that I myself felt good this time – and know that in better conditions I would have finished sooner. That’s just the way it goes. – Time 2hr 46m 32s
Reading Half Marathon – 3rd April 2016
Race 3 of 4 was the largest race I have attended since being back in England. It was the most enjoyable start for me too. I normally go to these races on my own, but this time I met up with friends who were also running, one of which it was her first race. It was great to spend time chatting before the race with them. Of course they were all much faster than me, all finishing between 1hr 30 and 2 hrs. With a bigger sponsored race, there was a huge crowd support, entertainment along the route – the steel panners were the best – cool water bags (instead of bottles) , Lucozade (similar to Gatorade) and a better medal! The course itself led through the city of reading, through residential streets and some green land. There was a huge hill at one point, and many smaller hills throughout. I was happy to see an improved time! The only thing to ruin the race was getting out of the Car Park to leave. It took over 2 hours!. – Time 2hr 41m 16s
Putney & Fulham Riverside Half Marathon – 10th April 2016
My 4th and final race of the challenge had arrived. I was happy to be still healthy to run it, gaining no injuries! This race was along another section of the River Thames. A sort of take two, if you will. Along the river would be flatter, the weather was better and it hadn’t rained for over a week, so hopefully no muddy puddles! My only problem was that as I was worried about getting there in time, and leaving slightly later than planned, I rushed off without my Garmin watch! Ahhhhh!!! I have apps on my phone that would be fine! I chose to use my Nike+ app. It was sufficient to capture the run – however it does not let you export your activities. I was not able to port the details back to Garmin Connect 🙁 Disappointing, in hindsight I should have used the Strava app instead! Oh well – I’ll know for next time! The run itself turned out really well. There were no offending deterrents through the race course – and nice views along the Thames. It was a little warmer than the other races had been too! They only had water on the course though! But I’m very happy to report that the last race was the fastest of them all. Only 20 seconds away from my PB. – Time 2hr 36m 07s
With that all done, I was able to achieve my goal of 4 half marathons in 23 days, it was 22 days in the end. This allowed me to jump from level 2 (Uranus) to level 4 (Jupiter). I am still chasing the sub 2hr 30 min half marathon time though! What I need to is get back in the habit of training, or at least doing so more mid week runs. Parkrun helps, as ever, and when I do get my bike commutes in, they help a little too. Nothing beats a run though.
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