Friday, 24 August 2012

Oh crêpe!

A half-baked race report

When the alarm went off at 5.15 last Sunday morning, it wasn't to wake me up, rather to signal that it was time to stop trying to get any sleep at all. With France in the grips of the European heatwave, our budget hotel room near the race start would have made the innards of a Thermos flask look positively drafty. I peeled myself from the sheets and forced down some muesli before lovely boyfriend took me to the start area.

I wandered down towards transition, where my trusty bike had been stowed over night, and noticed that The Eagles' "Hotel California" was playing out through the darkness. How fitting, I thought, that such a relentlessly long song was being played ahead of what should be the longest race of my life. Completing an iron-distance triathlon, with 3.8K swim, 180K bike, 42K run, has been an ambition long before any actual committed effort to run more than a half marathon began several years ago. Today, after 8 months of training and a long drive from Oxford to central France, I was going to have a go at achieving this at Challenge Vichy.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Chrissie knows...

Last year, I entered a race: a great, big, long race. A race that dare not be named: the race that dare not be named.

Entering this race was relatively easy really, safe in the knowledge that an entire 12 months lay before it. Not naming it was all part of a complicated self-preservation plan; a plan employing a common technique, known in many circles as "denial".

With the start line less than 5 days away now, this plan has rather run it's course. This is no time for denial. Besides, look who's onto me...

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Stockholm Jubilee Marathon

Enough with yesterday's waffle, a race report is what I intended to write but, like a sensible marathon race plan, it's important not to rush these things.

Organised to celebrate the centenary of the 1912 Olympic marathon in Stockholm, the race started precisely 100 years to the minute at 1.48 pm because, on the day itself, things were apparently a little less precise and proceedings kicked off 3 minutes later than scheduled. The course began in the beautiful Olympic stadium, with 15 musketeers signalling the start in a cloud of gunpowder smoke, and continued along the original out and back route of the 1912 Games. Quite how accurate this was, I can't be sure; spending the first 10K following Stockholm's finest ring road certainly raised some questions. The organisers promised a demanding course, taking in the same undulations tackled by the competitors in the heat of 14th July 1912. Such was the challenge of the original event, of 69 starters in the 1912 marathon, only 35 finished; one non-finisher stepped off the course, only to return more than 50 years later and restart from where he left off, completing the course in the slowest ever marathon time of 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 8 hours, 32 minutes and 20.3 seconds. Conditions were a little cooler for our run, ensuring a better return on the 8000 competitors that started on 14th July 2012.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

When I decided to run an Olympic marathon

With all the excitement around that big sports day in London at the moment, I've completely neglected to write about my own recent medal haul. From an Olympic marathon, no less. I'm not even making this up*.

*Although I do reserve the right to exaggerate slightly.

Marathon running became an excuse for nice holidays several years ago when my friend, Hammo, got me tiddled enough to agree to a trip to Amsterdam. Last Summer, we decided it had been too long since our last mission to the Midnight Sun marathon in 2008 and so, suitably enamoured with Scandinavia, started to investigate Swedish races for the next adventure. That's when we stumbled upon the Stockholm Jubilee Marathon in July this year, marking 100 years since the marathon took place at the 1912 Olympic Games. All agreed, entries were done and flights were arranged.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Zip zip, hooray!

It has been quite a day for Olympomania with medals from the British cyclists, rowers and swimmers, and Boris Johnson dangling from a zipwire. Lovely boyfriend and I spent today on the streets of Surrey, where open roads and camping chairs offered the best tickets going to support the amazing Pooley, Armitstead, Va-va-Froome and Wiggo tackling the time trial. What a result!


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