30 k in less than 3 hours. I was happy, as it took 1 hr 17 to do the first 10k. I was seriously deflated, why had it taken me so long? I did my calculations and thought there was no chance of finishing sub-3hrs as I had planned. Here I will sum up the main differenced between my ‘performance’ this and last year.
1) I had less sleep than before last year’s, I got about an hour, the night of it, but less sleep in the previous week’s also.
2) Definitely felt a lot stronger than last year, especially on the hills , got a faster time. Probably the compression socks’ psychosomatic effect
3) Didn’t feel sore during or afterwards. Possible the compression socks’ psychosomatic effect
4) Lunas were more comfy with socks for the night run, as was only about 17/18oC. Will still wear them without for summer running.
5) I left Mellieha Church at 130am, so arrived about 420am in Senglea. Then waited until 6am for a bus :’( I was wearing shorts and ran in a vest. I had a long sleeved top and a foil blanket with me, but had to borrow a bin bag and push some arm and head holes in it.
6) NO TEA!!! NO TEA at the end!!! I drank a bit of hot water and squeezed a bit of orange in it (contemplated dropping a salted caramel gel in and giving it a stir, thought that might taste tea-like, then I thought better of it). Then I burnt my tongue. Disaster. A very many people offered to bring me a coffee as I crouched by the church shivering, looking like a bedraggled Euroland Christmas fairy (white bin-bag dress and shimmery foil DHL blanket-skirt), wearing a hydration pack on top, and of course, long socks and sandals. Nice. I was just starring at everyone speaking in Maltese as I tried to work out whether I was even in the right place for buses.
Knowing that if I had had a coffee, rather than going to sleep I’d get home and write about a million far-too-intricate for a 4-yr old egg-hunt clues, I declined.
7) Just a bit not so greatly organised. Did I mention no tea, and no buses? Here’s last year’s report
8) Setting off early I didn’t have to bob and weave so much so that was a relief. Carrying my own stuff (water etc) helped also. Although I should have taken a tea bag.
9) Now I have a garmin I noticed that, as I have often thought, I settle into my run after 2 hours… I feel I drop into it at that point, or thereabouts, get into my groove. My pace got faster from then until the last 5k! Barkley marathons here I come ! Maybe in about 15 years… So many runners, mostly men overtook me in that first 10k. I smiled to myself and thought, no worries, stick to my comfy pace and kick it up later. I overtook almost all of them in the second half. Tripped over a rock in St Paul’s, but caught myself before a face-plant. From leaving Mellieha until exiting St Paul’s, it is not smooth road, from then on it’s cool.
It was such a different running crowd to Malta half-marathon, which was mainly corporate sponsored shirts or charity shirts. My favourite I saw was this couple, man in an 80′s tracksuit with mahusive over-ear headphones and a white-man’s afro, and the woman in some bejazzled jeans and sequined hoody, they had quite a good little pace going. Where have they been hiding? All the best types come out for this night run, it’s like when you go for a pee in the jungle at night and shine a torch at the ground. Fascinates me. My pace got faster from around 15k until the last 5k! Barkley marathons here I come ! Maybe in about 15 years…
9) Not as tired as last year, took the kids out all afternoon. Was not sore. Passed out at their bed time without even noticing falling asleep. Weird how the body has that over-ride, when you are thinking , yeah I’m going to get up and watch a movie.
10) Roads are boring. I found it miles easier than the half-marathon, maybe just because there was no pressure. Trail running has helped make massive improvements in road running, even if it doesn’t look that way when I go trail running
11) There is a Hard House God watching over me, and making sure that even though I did not do my hard house dues & arrange a playlist, I found just what I needed at the right times. (Bit of bounce when I was tired, bit of banging no-nonsense stuff when I had a bit more zing, etc).
12) Strange things happen after the point of a half-marathon. Firstly, I was overwhelmed with the desire for a kiwi. Then, really craved a passion fruit. I buy both for the kids, but never fancy them particularly myself. Peculiar. Now I’m home, I am on my staple bananas, don’t fancy kiwis or a passionfruit now. Not one tiny bit. Also not craving disgusting Adam food like I was after last year…
13) My takeaway point is, no effort is wasted. Although I always think I don’t train enough and I get frustrated with myself. I’ve made massive improvements this year. By doing the same race again this was the only way to measure against myself.
* ohhh and no porta-loo stops the whole time ! Biiiig improvement on last year