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Maidenhead Half Marathon

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Maidenhead Half Marathon

There are a handful of races for which my attendance copybook is blotted and for the Maidenhead Half it's just all blots.  This is the 4th time the race has been.  I've entered all 4 but have yet to show up.

Reasons have ranged from the acceptable 'injured' to the unacceptable 'couldn't be bothered'.  I can't remember exactly why I missed the 3rd event, so let's say 'injured' and prevent further reputational damage!

If you're running an Autumn marathon this one is ideal for a hard effort to maybe try for a pb or at least see where you're at.  My training has been patchy at best, mainly due to the battering I gave myself at Thunder Run so I thought I'd use this as a 'see where I'm at' race having already decided to pass on Berlin. 

I'm always pushed for time it seems before any race and the more local it is the more acute the problem seems to become.  I've been 10 minutes late for a half marathon 6 miles up the road before and joined in after half a mile.  This one is closer if anything and having ditched the car, managed to run to the start and make it with about 2 minutes to spare which, given past performance, counts as a triumph!

It's a two lapper around the streets of Maidenhead and Cookham with slight variations between the two laps, all on roads and pretty flat.

Having managed to squeeze into the starting funnel and ineffectually touched my toes a couple of times (as you do) the gun goes and we're off in an anticlockwise spiral of a route which is pretty sharp-cornered before heading out on the course proper. 

I'm trying the Adidas Boost shoes for the first time in a race and I'm still dubious about them.  They do feel springy I'll give them that but I'm not convinced they are stable enough for me.  I don't mean there should be a medial post etc, rather that they seem to be a little unstable as the foot lands as the cushioning absorbs the impact.  I've been getting issues on the medial side of my ankle with the ligaments around the joint and I'm very suspicious of these shoes and their role in it. 

But of course I have n pairs of shoes on the go at any one time, pretty awful posture as I slouch working on a laptop on a sofa most of the day, don't drink enough water etc. etc. so there are no certainties.  However, I used a brand new pair of Saucony's Kinvara yesterday and all pain vanished.  But I digress from the race.

I wasn't having a great time out there with persistent ankle niggles and a grumbling stomach and found myself stopping just before the 5 mile point through Cookham to (as ineffectually and inexpertly as with the stretching) poking at the site of the injury with a finger in the vague hope that might miraculously shift it.  I was in about 25th I think by then though not as fast as I'd hoped for.  There was a small headwind and small gradient probably worth a few seconds a mile so it's a shame I didn't at least complete the lap when those would have been reversed for a proper mesurement.

Further pauses ensued throughout the race to let the ankle subside - I've been paranoid about this sort of injury since limping out of the Frankfurt marathon at halfway last year - and it became a race just to get round more than anything. 

I finished in 1:25 and something with a good 6 minutes of that wasted stationary by the side of the road.  Even that was disappointing as I'd have hoped to be in more 1:17 shape (without the pauses).  I've decided to put at least some of that down to mentally reducing the race to a fastish effort rather than a flat out run.

I thought the course was a good one and you can certainly go well here - it's very flat.  It's also not one of those outrageously expensive races that proliferate these days so I would certainly give it another go.  There's no goody bag (which gets a thumbs up from me, they're so wasteful) and you must collect your number both of which keep the costs down.   But the medal is a good one, there's a banana and a bottle of water and what else do you want really?

Next up is the Farnham Pilgrim trail marathon on the 21st after which I'll decide what to do about an Autumn marathon.  Whether to run Florence or instead start the hill work early for next year's testing ultras.

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