You should all know by now that I was running the Silverstone Half-Marathon again to raise money for the Helen & Douglas House hospice care charity. Now that I have completed my side of the deal you can still make a donation to this very worthwhile cause through my Just Giving page.
I knew from last time that the problem with arriving early is the race does not start until 12 midday and it was very cold out, so this time I stayed in my car, ate a bowl of The Ultimate meusli from Rude Health -which is the one which includes oats, rye flakes, raisins, sultanas, barley flakes, apricots, almonds, brazil nuts, dates, golden linseeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cranberries, quinoa flakes, apple, buckwheat flakes, goji berries, hazlenuts, puffed rice, blueberries, poppy seeds, sesame seeds and cinnamon. It is beyond yummy ! I added some hemp, flaxseed, chia and spirulina, used a mixture of yerba mate and green tea as the liquid for it, and listened to the Von Hertzen Brothers. And before you ask, no, they were not in the back of the car giving me race tactical strategy advice, it was one of their cds. I put the timing chip on my Merrell TrailGloves and headed off towards the circuit, over one bridge to cross Farm Straight and another to cross Wellington Straight, then followed the signs which brought me to The Paddock – it was not the shortest walk ever and was more than long enough to give an idea of how cold the day was going to be. So long as it did not start raining…
The cold weather meant that as last year I had decided to run in my long-sleeved Berghaus base layer with the half-zip front. I was carrying a proto pure orange flavour energy gel and a High5 energy gel in the back pocket of my Ron Hill running shorts, and was also carrying some dates in my hands. I was also wearing my 2XU compression tights, and my Merrell Trail Gloves, so it was all very familiar kit which I had been training in. It had been washed over the 13-week training programme, before you ask. I finished my yerba mate/green tea water, took my bag to the storage area and ate a banana about 30 minutes before the start time, and then headed off to the start line.
The race itself is run on and around the Silverstone F1 track. We start at Copse, run down through Maggotts, Becketts, Chapel and Hangar Straight to get to 1 mile, then round Stowe and through Vale, Club, International Pits Straight and Abbey to get to 2 miles, then through Farm, Village, The Loop, Aintree, Wellington Straight, Priory and Brooklands to get to 3 miles, which is right on Luffield, then once we are through Woodcote and National Pits Straight we come off the track and begin what they call the second lap, going inside the F1 track to begin with and coming to 4 miles near Becketts and Chapel, following Hangar Straight before coming back on ourselves, passing through 5 miles and going around Stowe Circuit, then around the Silverstone Wing and New Pits to get to 6 miles, down by Farm, Village, The Loop and Aintree before crossing Wellington Straight about half way up to get to 7 miles, then over Farm Straight to follow a route outside of the F1 track, going around the outside of International Pits Straight to get to 8 miles at Club, then passing the outside of Club, Vale, Stowe and Hangar Straight to get to 9 miles across from Chapel, getting to 10 miles at National Pits Straight before cutting back in at Luffield, joining the F1 track around Brooklands before veering off at Priory, heading off to Bridge and hitting 11 miles at the Farm Straight, going past Abbey and along International Pits Straight, round Club, through Vale, around Stowe to get to 12 miles, down Hangar Straight, through Chapel, Becketts and Maggotts to pass 13 miles, and finally making the 13.1 miles mark at Copse.
That put me in 6107th place (5571st last year), the 4020th male (3847th last year) and 361st in the 45-49 age category (I have moved up an age category). It was a terrible result which did not reflect the progress I have made in both my fitness and my running training so I will be back again next year to do things properly and beat it.
I walked into The Paddock to get my bag, put on some warm clothing, and eat some cachew nuts, but it all took much longer than planned because I was so cold and my fingers were not really working. I walked back to my car through the rain, following the route I had taken to get in which seemed to be longer going back and was certainly a lot longer than I wanted it to be, and I sat in the car for a while as I tried to get some real feeling back into my fingers. I could not go yet anyway because I physically could not turn the key in the ignition. A lot of the traffic had gone by the time I was in a position to move, so it did not take me too long to get out of the car park and from there to the M1 to head north to Derby to collect Debbie.
Positives – I finished it. The biggest positive of the day has to be the support given to me by others after the event to help me get over my disappointment with the result. To be honest, and to be fair with myself, it says a lot about where I have come over the last year that I am so gutted with the outcome.
Lessons learnt for next time – do not get a stitch/cramp/pain. With the exception of a couple of longer runs I believe my training and preparation were spot on, and as I will be continuing with it I very much expect to be coming back next year in an even better position to beat my previous times.
I should thank Helen & Douglas House for accepting me on to their team of runners and for being so helpful and organised, and to Debbie and all those on Facebook and at work who encouraged me through this. I could not have done it without you all. And a big thank you to everyone who sponsored me, it is very much appreciated.
You can see more photographs from day here.