Monday, 12 March 2012

Silvertone Half Marathon - 2012

12/03/2012 - My Silverstone Experience.

This was a race I had not been looking forward to as much as I'd hoped. An ear operation last year had taken me out of action for three months and just when I was getting back into my fitness I developed a chest infection in January that stopped me doing anything for six weeks.

So I was not as prepared as I would have liked to be but I knew I should be able to get round but thoughts of beating last years time were right out of the question. Mind you at least I could just relax and enjoy the run without trying to better last year.

The weather the previous Sunday had been horrendous so I was watching with interest the weather forecast and it looked like it was going to be OK. My wife, who never comes with me to these races, decided to come along. This still worries me. The decent forecast obviously played a part but still .... Does she have an alterior motive? Am I about to be asked to accompany her to, heaven forbid, something like an ABBA night??

The only photo my wife took on the day

Anyway putting aside my foreboding about my wife's motives I was pleased to see it was a lovely morning; excellent, I thought, sunshine on a chilly day - perfect. I had no idea as I stood outside that morning, about to get into my car, that the day would turn out to be such a warm day and lovely day.

We set off and got to the track in good time, got parked and started the long trek to the starting pavilion. Once we got in the place was buzzing already, I'm not sure but it did seem busier than last year. I started with a nice coffee while my wife teased me with a full breakfast bun, bacon, egg, mushrooms, while I could only dream and hope that they would not run out of bacon before the end of my race. I did pop into the Adidas shop and got myself an Adidas climaproof cap which proved to be one of my best ever spur of the moment purchases. Apart from it actually being a great cap the job it did protecting me from the sun was priceless - and it only cost a tenner.

Time was getting on and my wife said that I should be making my way to the start but I waited a while longer, knowing that Silverstone never starts on time, but I was eventually standing on the track by around 11:50. As expected the start was delayed but only by 5 minutes so not as bad as it could have been. I noticed a little in front of me a chap holding a 2:11 sign, cool a pacemaker and with all my hopes of a better time than last year I though this was the chap I should stick with.

We're off !
The race starts, no wait... wait, yes..... no .... yes, and we're running..... walking, no we're running again and I can see the start line in the distance. As I cross the start line a very pretty young lady starts to run at my side and after a while it feels like she's going to be staying at my side because whenever I move and pass someone two seconds later she's at my side again. Just as I think to myself "You've still got it Stu" she drops back, no doubt having finally got a proper look at me - oh well. All was not lost as up ahead there's a very tall chap that looks very much like RF's own Gruff Eddie. I follow for a while but can't decide for certain if it's him, stupid really as I'm not sure who else it could be, and so decide to pass along side. As I did I hear "Hello Stuart". It was indeed Mr Gruff.

So I had a very pleasant 5 miles, 5 miles'ish, chatting away to Gareth and keeping the pacemaker in sight. I knew Gareth lived in the same village as myself but was surprised to learn that if we, OK I, stood on a ladder we could probably see each others houses. Nice bloke and really helped me pass the time and looking back was, with the finish, the highlight of the run for me.

Chase me !!

After about five miles I started to feel I might actually be OK on this run and, in chatting, Gareth and I had dropped a little off the pacemaker so I overtook a few people until I was just behind the guy. Looking round I could see that Gareth had not followed so I waited for a minute to see if he would come along side. He didn't and so I wondered if I should drop back a bit and find him or carry on. By now though I was interested to see how I could run the rest of the race and set myself the target of staying in front of the 2:11 pacemaker so I allowed myself to run a little less restrained.

I crept up on the miles and surprised them with a "boo" as a ran past laughing manically all the while admiring the Lycra clad derrieres of the many ladies running ahead of me. This was something I had enjoyed doing last year and it's been a fulfilling and enlightening hobby ever since, if a little creepy - my wife's words not mine. It still amazes me the range of shapes and wobbles the female bottom can achieve. At this point I'd like to thank the inventor of sunglasses. Mind you the woman in the Baywatch swim suit had a horrible bum, almost manly, and she could have shaved her legs.

So the run was going well, I was really enjoying it, though the sun had got rather hot - not what you expect on a Sunday in March. At least the organisers kept my fluids topped up with fluids with regular water and Lucozade sport drink stations. At one point I came to a water station and as I still had half a bottle of the Lucozade drink left I grabbed a bottle of water and poured it over my head. Oh it felt good but I was later to regret the decision as my watered t-shirt gave me a sore nipple. A nipple that despite the soreness and my quite obvious discomfort my wife shockingly refused, actually refused, to kiss better after the race.

The end was in sight so head down I pushed to the finish and managed to spriog home - spriog is a cross between a sprint and a jog. The finish clock I think displayed about 2 hours 13 so I went to have my chip cut off and get my goodie bag surprised that I'd finished somewhere in spitting distance of last years time. I found my wife settled in a little sun trap near one of the places that sold beer and fancying a beer myself was saddened to find they had run out, something my wife swears she had nothing to do with. So I had to go with a cider, which was OK, and a bacon roll, which was damn lovely.

And I'm done.

Last year I finished the day with a lovely big hug from Barnaby Bear but she could not make this years race so I held out my arms to my lovely wife, who grimaced and pointed out that I'd dropped my bacon roll into my lap - crap.

While sitting in the car waiting over an hour to get out of the car park I got a text to tell me I'd finished in 2 hours and 9 minutes - exactly the same as last year. 13.1 miles and I'd finished within 10 seconds of my previous time - consistent at least.

2012 Placings/Results:  Overall: 3597     Gender: 2763     Age: 250      Finish Time: 02:09:48
2011 Placings/Results:  Overall: 3938     Gender: 3045     Age: 229      Finish Time: 02:09:39

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