Also, this would be my 20th marathon this year (always nice to finish on a round number) and the mid-point in my counties challenge (24 marathons completed out of 48).
So I really needed to do one last race and this seemed like the obvious one.
So - ten laps of a Grand Prix race track. Let's do this!
Somewhat inauspiciously, my Garmin decided to die the night before the race and refused to come back to life, so I had to use Strava on my phone to do the recording. I was a bit worried my phone would get a bit stressed out doing that AND taking pictures AND playing music so I tried to keep the other stuff to a minimum, also each lap was surprisingly similar to the one before (!) hence there aren't as many photos as usual.
It was an extremely cold day, even by December's standards, and I had to de-ice the car before setting off. It was a short journey and I arrived about 50 minutes before the race started. I parked and went to fetch my number from the race start area. It was pretty small so I wandered over to the race track first to take a look:
Then they shamed us by asking everyone to make their way to the start line in finisher order: "will everyone planning to complete in 3 hours please make their way to the start? 3 hours 15?" The floor suddenly becomes very interesting. I lurk resolutely. Eventually I shuffle to the start in the 4 hours 45 minutes category. Ouch!
The race begins. It is a beautiful, crisp winter's day, and there's frost on the grass making the track look stunning:
Although my watch was in kilometers, so then I just needed to convert that into miles, 10 km is 6 miles, so six threes are 18 miles so that makes 30km to go... and so on and so on. This kept me busy for most of the race.
Here's a photo of the dreaded camber! It doesn't look that bad but it really was horrible, I remember thinking cars weren't supposed to cross the white line but you were almost being tipped into the ditch as you went round. By the halfway point my calf was really quite sore. I was also very, very, very bored.
We ran together for half a lap or so which was nice as I hadn't had much company, however we soon realised that I was a lap ahead of her and she needed to slow down a bit. On another race I might've slowed down with her but I was keen to get this one finished as soon as possible. I got my speaker out for the last couple of laps, which helped, as there were increasingly fewer and fewer people left out on the track. Even the band had packed up and gone home!
Here's a finish line picture I wasn't even aware was being taken. I don't look all that happy! The race provided free photos (always nice) so that's where this came from:
And here I am looking slightly happier now I have a medal round my neck! There was a decent goody bag and a van in the car park selling tea, so I didn't hang around for long at the end. I did some stretches (rare for me, but I was sooo stiff I thought I might seize up in the car!)
I met a guy in the car park who told me this was his first marathon - yuk! I told him his next one would be a lot easier! Here's the elevation profile, actually not that much total height but all grouped into that one steepish hill repeated 10 times. I think I'd rather just climb a single 300m hill...
My Apple Watch battled through it, managing to not run out of battery by some miracle and rewarding me with a dazzling array of badges: