It is a general rule that when one is ill that all endurance activity should be curtailed so the body can focus on getting fit again.
Now don’t get me wrong. I play by the rules. Sometimes I’m too much of a stickler for the rules and probably to my disadvantage.
However, having booked three days off work, and a hotel in Wales to race in Conwy this weekend, I was not pleased to be struck down by the second heavy cold in about 7 weeks having been bug-free all year.
So much so that I decided to throw caution to the wind and run the half-marathon regardless.
Just prior to the start I bumped into a few of the Winston runners (based out of Wythenshawe) who reminded me last time I raced at the same time as them at Rhyl and having stated I was broken (it was the first race since coming back from the sciatica) almost achieved a PB.
Despite this, I decided to be conservative about the run, knowing I’d spent most of the night nursing a red nose that would make Rudolph proud and coughing enough to keep much of the hotel awake all night as well.
The Conwy half-marathon starts on the quayside and is very narrow. I started far back and before I’d even moved they’d announced that 1600 people had already crossed the start line. Whether this was actually true (I guess the computing power for chip timing is there, or someone’s pretty good at counting people quickly) I’m not sure, but there were a lot of people ahead.
I’ve said before that I only have one running speed; that being the speed I’m running at any given time. And having the lurgy wasn’t going to change anything there.
So I got moving. And cursing slow people. And started moving forward, still unsure if a lung might fly out of my nose after any given sneeze. I even began to settle into a rhythm, albeit a steady one.
Due to essential repairs to the coastal pathway not having been completed, this year’s course went inland from Conwy through Deganwy to Llandudno and the Great Orme. This meant it was less flat, which actually suited me. Last year I flumped on the way back in and the endless flat coastal path didn’t do me any favours.
By the time I started the ascent on the Great Orme coastal path, I was running quite well. Last year I struggled with the climb and it was something I had been working on this last couple of months. Apart from a point just prior to the summit when I dropped back to a walk for a very short distance I got right up. And I kept the momentum going down and all the way back to Conwy Castle.
Out of a field of 2374 runners I crossed the line in 328th place which was surprising given how yucky I felt and that I’d started at least 1700 places back. But of course the race was chip timed, meaning that in terms of actual time since crossing the start line, I crossed the finishing line in 238th place overall, with a time of 1h34m26s. Ignoring the fact that the course was slightly different to last year, it was still 7 minutes faster than my 2013 time!
It seemed that once I actually got going, the cold didn’t seem to have any noticeable impact on the race. I’m pretty certain that I wouldn’t have been going much quicker (if at all) had I woken up feeling fully fit.
So no doubt the Winston runners will doubt me even more next time I turn up to anything with the slightest whiff of an excuse about predicted performance!
On looking through the available race photographs there’s quite a reasonable one of me which I’ve ordered. It is worth noting there is another one, taken seconds earlier with me in the background, which looked as if I was about to projectile vomit my entire respiratory system over the bridge tarmac in front of Conwy Castle, but we’ll ignore that one for now.
Needless to say, having got home afterwards. I felt DREADFUL!