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Sunday, 4 March 2012

Hobble With The Herd

I won't forget Milton Keynes Festival Of Running in a hurry. For starters it was a miserable day, raining and cold. The event was well organised, although with a rather small and soulless event village at the Xscape Centre.

We walk the dogs around for a bit but then as the weather gets even worse we shelter in the car until start time when we will 'Run with the herd', which is the race slogan. A reference to the legendary concrete cows of MK I assume. The race starts off on coned off sections of the main roads, which are dull and narrow but flat. Congestion is quite bad due to the narrowness and this gets worse when we catch the 10k runners who started twenty minutes ahead of us. A bigger time gap is required here.

They divert off our route at around five miles, so from there I could get some space and get a good pace going. So far so good and I’m on a 1:38 pace, which would be very pleasing for this stage of the season. Water is in bottles, which is good but often left unopened which my, by now, cold fingers struggle to deal with.

Then things go spectacularly wrong. My calf becomes quite tight, probably due to the lack of warming up and perhaps I should have stopped to stretch it. Then though it clearly tears and that is quite simply race over. Only problem being that I’m over six miles into a half marathon, e.g. around half way and therefore pretty much equidistant from the start and the finish.

A marshal confirms there are no short cuts and no prospect of transport back to the finish, so it’s basically time to walk to the finish. At least I’ll get my medal I suppose. Problem is I’m now really starting to feel the cold and have to jog sections to keep warm. I hobble along with the herd, more than likely doing further damage to the leg.

So a nice mixture of pain, disappointment and annoyance as I get overtaken by a lot of people I didn’t want to be overtaken by. Then it started to snow. Not the best of days.

I have to say everybody, both supporters and runners, are very encouraging when they see me walking and struggling but it wasn’t really what I wanted. Somehow I still manage to come in a little ahead of L due to my good start and she still does a good time.

She finds me hiding in the car, trying to get dry and warm which I’d just about managed. So at least I can help her do the same.

It all means for me that the Liverpool Half won’t happen, nor Stafford and probably not Reading. Woe is me. It’s a good job I don’t have a voracious spreadsheet to feed. The biggest problem is that somehow I have to attempt to ski next week.

L drives us home, where we decide to skip our usual Sunday film and limp down to one of our locals to get drunk instead.

We’ve been avoiding the Wheelhouse since it was refurbished and rebranded as a ‘Hungry Horse’. Which isn’t a name that even whispers the word ‘quality’ to you. It sort of bellows the opposite. The menu has indeed been dumbed down and it was hardly high brow before. It actually seems to have been copied wholesale from Wetherspoons and they have no Sunday lunches at all but at least the Abbot Ale is on.

(Sunday 4th March)

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