We were at Christine’s parents for a running themed weekend. On Saturday we watched her Mum complete a fell race at Llanthony Priory. Emma and Duncan thoroughly enjoyed playing around the ruins with some of the other children and then splashing in a small stream crossed by the course. On Sunday, her Dad and I ran in the Forest of Dean Trails Half Marathon. I had originally embarked on a training schedule for this race (a first for me) but was probably too ambitious and soon succumbed to a knee injury.
My half marathon PB was on a previous version of this course (it is now based at Speech House rather than Parkend) when I finished third in 1:19:06. This left me wondering what time to aim for given the intervening 6 years and lack of training. I had concluded that I should manage under 1:25 and at the last minute set my watch for 1:23. I then proceeded to ignore my watch completely and set off at a much faster pace but then the course does start on the road and then head downhill. There’s then a steady climb to the half way point before it undulates for the remainder of the course. It’s safe to say I was suffering on the way round from heavy legs, a stitch, and a blister under one foot (the trails were pretty solid). I seemed to be permanently slipping back through the field and therefore relieved when, at around 11 miles, someone counted me past as 21st. I lost a few more places in the closing stages and finished 24th in a time remarkably close to my target of 1:22:52. The results show that the field has improved somewhat over the years with the winner taking just 1:13:20 and my previous time wouldn’t have made the top ten.
An enjoyable experience? Not really (see the official photos for evidence!) but I was reasonably pleased with the time and even more pleased that I didn’t have a twinge from my knee on the way round.