As I continued to prepare for my debut marathon, my seemingly obsessive compulsive disordered approach to following a training plan created a bit of a problem in mid-March 2012. On the 15th March I just had to do a half marathon but a forensic search of the Internet failed to drum up any suitable events remotely near to where I live. One very long listed option was the first ever Worcester Half Marathon which just happens to be on its second edition today.
The downsides included a lonely 120 mile early morning drive, but one upside was that my West Midlands roots made it almost feel like a bit of a “homecoming”. Unlike previous efforts I ummed and ahhed about whether to sign-up for days on end. It was not until the eve of the race, in the middle of cooking a massive curry, that I finally decided to go for it. Therefore, instead of the traditional wholewheat pasta with tomato and red pepper sauce carb loading extravaganza, I prepared with chicken tikka masala, daal, home made naan bread and rice, not the worst pre-race option but one that would inevitably lead to some delicate TTT planning the following morning.
The Worcester Half Marathon recapped:
1. TTTs are comparatively easy if you set out early enough for a long motorway journey. Service stations oblige quite nicely thanks and allow you to stock up on post-race snacks (for more information on TTTs go here)
2. I discovered the concept of “event haterzzz” after this great morning spent in beautiful countryside flooded with spring sunshine. Rather than going home with a feeling of satisfaction and then putting up their feet, the haterzzzz have to log onto Runner’s World and slag off the organisation of the race they’ve just participated in. There were problems with queues for paid parking but curried up rundontrun was there at the crack of dawn, got issued with his last-minute race number without being charged (don’t worry, I pointed this out and coughed up) and got to the start way before the point at which some of the more laid back locals were still queueing in their cars to get into the venue. One of the haterzzz allegedly “froze” because of the 15 minute delay at the start. Other criticisms made by the haterzzz included the flimsy security of the bag-drop area (when they all had cars to lock their stuff in anyway), occasionally missing mile markers, marshals not being willing to give them a piggyback when they got tired and there not being enough for the spectators to do (race organisers bear this in mind when planning your event – remember to budget for a free fun fair for the kiddies)*
3. If the haterzzz hate Worcester then this race is a good option. It goes nowhere near The place.
4. Bad or no preparation doesn’t necessarily equal bad performance. I somehow managed to get a PB. I tried and failed to improve on this later in 2012, after weeks of planning and training for a half marathon deliberately chosen because it looked “easier”.
5. Missing mile markers I can handle but signs saying “Scrumpy” mixed with curry related dehydration could quite easily be my downfall in slightly different circumstances.
6. Races that double up as both half and full marathons (like this one did) are odd occasions. It’s possible to overtake people who look and are twice as fit as yourself, not realising they’re saving themselves to run the whole route again as your energy’s pretty much hitting zero. I also felt a bit of fraud wearing the otherwise rather fetching finishers’ t-shirt, constantly feeling the need to say “of course I only did the half you know” to passing admirers. No my time to finally wear a marathon finishers’ t-shirt with genuine pride was yet to come and will inevitably be the subject of Vicarious Runs #5…
*Okay, I made up one of these complaints