Half hearted, full pace

Harewood half: British Heart Foundation cross county race, Feb 2016


It’s definitely time to take on a full marathon.

I don’t want to admit it, because it creates more work. But 13 miles is starting to seem like just another run in the park. Not a particularly graceful, elegant or fast run in the park, but my legs aren’t as stiff afterwards as they should be.

However, being a wuss, rather than jump in to a full marathon straight away, I decided to see if going cross-country made any difference. I did so at the Harewood House half marathon, which I would say was a medium-difficulty course set to the backdrop of a beautiful countryside mansion in the Yorkshire dales.

It was a nice day out, and I enjoyed the atmosphere a lot. It was a well-organised race with a good atmosphere, and cookies at the finish (always helps). There were also the penguins at the manner house bird enclosure to visit afterwards. Knowing that I was running towards sugar and my favourite type of bird probably helped my time, but it was here that I also discovered I’m pretty good at running up hills.

This was a good confidence boost. I’ve never been the spindly runner built for speedy long flat courses, but having a cyclist’s bum helps in different ways. Those Land’s End to John O’Groats thighs might be a hinderance on the flat, but when everyone else was slowing down for the steep, muddy climbs, I was tearing on up. A bit like a mountain bike, though, I was caught on the downhills by the road racers – at least I know what I need to improve on.

However, distract myself with bird life, gingerbread hearts and confidence boosts on the uphills as I might, there’s no denying it. I just have to bite the bullet(/cookie) and book myself in for the long haul. No more half measures.

26-mile run training buddy, anyone…?


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