Sunday, 20 February 2011

VLM week -9: The week of the Bramley 20 and success..

As you will recall from last week's post, I started on Monday having pushed it a bit far. So, I deliberately cooled off this week, and just put in two short runs in the week, by way of a mini-taper for the weekend race. This proved, I think, a lucky approach. There's no doubt a moral tale there that I shall let you work out for yourself.

Saturday was very running - focused in a way, in that Janet and I took our niece Annie to Up and Running to buy some new shoes and gear. There is always gear to be bought where running is concerned. I know Thoreau said "mistrust all enterprises which requires new clothes", however that misses the benefit of new clothes in making the enterprise splendid. Anyway, Annie is at Southampton Uni, and is getting into running, so we thought this would be a good way to add extra encouragement. After a very pleasing trip to the shop - and a few purchases for us as well - we then went to see The King's Speech - and yes, it deserved many more Oscars! Then a pizza - not exactly the perfect race prep food. All in all a lovely day, if a bit later to bed than planned.

So, when I toed the line at the Bramley 20 I was curious as to what the day would bring. The day was cold, a bit early for a Sunday get-up, though I love the race, and the legs were nicely rested and ready for the off. The intention was to go with a Marathon pace, and end with the sense of a bit left in the legs. Somewhere around mile 2 I though 'hang on, this is a bit faster than plan', but I ploughed on regardless. By about mile 5 I was making good pace, well ahead of my pacing plan, with a growing sense of the possibility of a very good result. Well, to cut to the chase, it was a corker of a race - I was so very proud of my pacing, my strength, simply my control of my run. a personal best of 5 mins 30 seconds, which is HUGE for me. More than than, a confident race. I always loved Bramley, and now I really loved it!

As if the weekend did not already have enough going on in it, on the Sunday evening Janet and I ventured to Salisbury to watch Sarah Millican. I had braced myself for a round of deprecating male put downs, but there was none of that - just a really comic set. All good stuff..though the legs were very weary (I was still wearing my recovery leggings under my jeans!) and the seats were way up in the gods - not what I really needed. I still floated, however, on a cloud of post-race glory.

Not a wine but a beer of the week today - a bottle of Old Hooky, 4.6% from the Hook Norton Brewery (purchased in Waitrose). I do love a fruity, malty and rich pint - not for me the real hoppiness of an IPA - so this was a great choice. Of course there is also the nostalgia element, from my days at Bloxham, where the dray horse used to arrive every week to bring the weekly stocks for the JCR from Hok Norton, 5 miles down the road. We were never allowed Old Hooky, though, just the Best at 3.6%, very much a 'session' ale. As I have matured in my beer tastes, these rich beers, my favourite of which is probably Gales HSB, are where I am at. Winter warming in a glass.

And, so I hear, beer after exercise helps the body rehydrate better than water alone. Fantastic.

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