Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Mad Monk and the dreaded cold

After getting my 20 miler and 31st Birthday out the way the week before, my training plan said to do a steady 10 miler with only 7 days to go until Berlin. However, having seen the Kirkstall Abbey 7 mile race online, I figured this would be more fun than plodding out the lonely miles, promising myself I would take it easy and just enjoy the ride.

It was a nice surprise to see Carla at the start line. I worked with Carla at Savvy until she left for pastures new but we have kept in touch since and she has been well and truly bitten by the ultramarathon bug. The KA7 was her first race back after injuring her next 3 days in to the Dragon’s Back Race, 200 miles in 5 days over all the mountains in Wales, totalling an insane 45,000ft of ascent:  
One of the quirks of this particular race was to ‘catch the Mad Monk’, with one mysterious runner decked in robes and an oversized cross in keeping with the Abbey’s original inhabitants. I set off towards the back of the race with no intention of chasing the Monk but once the air horn went, competitiveness got a hold of me and I gradually moved up the field, clocking two six minute miles which was well ahead of my sub-3 hour marathon pace.

After heading up Kirkstall Road, the route cut into the woods and then out on to the towpath by the canal, up to Rodley before looping back around and down to the Abbey for the finish. At mile three, the monk was well behind and I was towards to the front of the field, with only two more groups of runners in front, I had a battle for position with a young club runner who I overtook but he then drew level again, running (deliberately I thought) through a puddle in his trail shoes to give me a splash (I was running in road shoes having not looked at the course profile before the race). This fired me up and I quickened the pace, dropping him and reeling in another runner in front.

The race was starting to stretch out now and despite having runners in my sight, the race was all downhill after the last wooded section and I couldn’t make up enough ground, finishing 9th overall in a time of 41 minutes.
I was feeling pretty good with my morning’s work when I got home but became worried when I started to sneeze uncontrollably and I rapidly got worse so I got an early night to try and sleep it off. I woke up on Monday feeling just as bad and started to worry about recovering in time for the marathon that was now fast approaching. So I got home and made a chicken balti in an attempt to blow it out of my system.
Another early night and it seemed to do the trick as I woke up early on Tuesday and dragged myself to the gym. By Wednesday, I was feeling my old self again and woke up early for a good final treadmill/gym session. I also popped in for a quick massage at lunchtime with Leeds’ best sports masseuse, Jim Mason:

I now feel in good shape and am looking forward to the race and taking in the sites of Berlin. I have also reached the half way point in my fundraising, passing the £1,000 mark with three months to go:
Next stop Berlin....

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