This was my first race since moving to the UK, which was 18 months ago. I cannot believe it! I have never really gone this long without racing since i started running. I forgot how much I missed it! Plus, races in the UK don't start until around 10:00a.m. - LOVE. You have to race criminally early in the morning in the US because everyone is such a freaking pantywaist about the roads being closed. Get out of your effing car you whiny jerk (sorry, I am tired of unhealthy cars dictating everything in the US from urban development patterns to environmental policy - getting off my soapbox now).
All that car bashing aside, I had a bit of a harrowing journey out to the start in Watford on this cold February day. The Tube is undergoing a lot of work right now so many lines are closed on the weekend, including the one that went right to the race start. Grrrrrr. I had to take a bus to a random overland rail line. I knew I was on the right train when I looked up and realized I was being enveloped by neon and spandex (seriously, ALL running clothes here come in black, neon green, or neon orange). It was at that moment that I felt I was with my people, the runners and not the neon spandex, that is.
OK so 1:48 is definitely NOT my fastest time, but this was a HILLY freaking race. I know what you are thinking, yeah right "hilly" - you live in England where the highest "mountain" is like less than 3,000 feet tall. Have pity people. I train in Hyde Park, which is flat as a pancake. There are no foothills for me to work on speed and strength like in the Bay Area, hence the rather slow pace. Plus I am wussy.
I also blame Typhoid Dave. I really haven't been able to eat properly all week. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I couldn't eat anything at all. I didn't run all week either. At least I was well tapered......
Anyway, I actually was cranking for a sub 1:40 for the first 9 miles. Then I fell apart from about 11.5 until the finish. Such is life. Better racing in 2 weeks at the Barcelona Half Marathon!
Two things I noticed today, 1) the Brits are very reserved spectators and racers. Aside from the occasional "well done" (the weird encouraging words of choice here), the course was silent. And there were 2,000 runners on a very narrow course. The runners didn't really talk to each other, or joke, or yell encouragement. If I run a half in San Francisco, I will end up running a few feet in front of the guy that talks about himself the ENTIRE race.
And 2) I miss my tri/running friends. I have never done a race in the Bay Area where I didn't know someone on the course or where I didn't hang around after the race to chat. Except for that one race where I had to lead the crowd in the freaking Star-Spangled Banner (yes, it was an Envirosports event) thank god no one I knew was there that day.......Well, I didn't know a soul today. I talked to quite a few people in the warming tent, oh thank god for the warming tent, but otherwise it was just me at the finish line looking for a familiar face in the crowd that I never saw. Boooooo.
More running action to come. Stay tuned!