Wednesday 11 May 2016

Are We Nearly There Yet? Actually - yes, we are!

It doesn't seem five minutes since Cheryl started to wonder whether she could train for a half marathon.  North Lincs seemed to obvious choice - it's local, mostly flat and usually attracts a large number of CRC runners.  As noted previously, the original date was to be 1st May but it was rearranged for 15th due to venue availability.  When Cheryl realised that this meant she'd be running her first half marathon on the 21st anniversary of her breast cancer op, she decided to run in aid of The Pink Rose Suite at Diana Princess of Wales Hospital, in appreciation of all the help she received under their care.  She also runs in celebration of her own life and health as well as in memory of those who have lost their battle with cancer.

Once her Just Giving page was set up, she was committed and I think it helped to invigorate her enthusiasm in training and confidence in her abilities.  

Lincoln 10k - a new PB.

I suggested that part way through HM training, entering a 10k race would be a good idea to get a feel for running in a big crowd of people again. I was thinking of Gainsborough 10k as it is fast and flat, but as it happened, Cheryl was on holiday that week, so Lincoln was a the next best race, date-wise.

I explained that this wasn't necessarily the time to think about PBs, after all we had been training for distance rather than time.  However, we both knew that her pace has quickened considerably since her last 10k - the Sting in the Tail (Caistor 10k).  When we looked at some of her 10k times according to Strava, she had some times of 1:15 and 1:13, so I suspected she may match that in a race.

I wasn't prepared for her text on the eve of the race saying, "1:10 would be really ace but I suppose that's unrealistic!"  I sort of supposed it was too and between us we concluded that we'd just see how it went on the day.

At about 5 miles. Thanks John Rainsforth.
It went fantastically well!  It was a warm day, which doesn't suit Cheryl, but she over-rode the discomfort, just as she has done in training. She was wearing some super-bright skull leggings which looked fab with the orange tutus we wore. However, unfortunately, either they were a tad on the big side and /or the elastic wasn't very good, and she spent half the race pulling them up, which didn't make it any easier. 

However, I knew what the mile splits would need to be for her to make 1:10 so I kept a close eye on my Garmin  (my how I've  come on since the days of the Armin) and was delighted to tell her that at the 5k point, she was on track of 1:10.  It seemed to get hotter from that point onwards and at 4 miles, Cheryl's pace dropped off a little.  With encouragement she managed to pick it up again and at 5½ miles, she was back on track.  As we headed along the final drag towards the Cathedral I spotted one of our parkrun buddies Annelis Knight coming in the opposite direction in her finishers T shirt and medal.  I shouted, "Annelis - are we nearly there yet?" and she shouted back, "Not far, just to the end of here, round the back of the Cathedral and you're there!" As we carried on running, I heard her in the distance shouting us to keep going, which was really encouraging.

Encouragement to Sprint
 I kept jabbering on to Cheryl that she really needed to keep up her rhythm as she was heading for a really good time. Cheryl couldn't speak by this point. She was totally going all-out. Brilliant to see. I daren't say, "you're on for 1:10" because I didn't want to build her up, buttercup baby, just to let her down .... and mess her around....oh - oooops, got carried away there.  

Anyhow as we came around the back of the Cathedral and could see the finish line, I was shouting, just shouting anything, "come oooon, spriiiint, you are at 1:09:49 keeeeep gooooing" 

The time on the clock had no relevance to her actual time, as it took so long to cross the start line, but even that was a race 10k PB. When I stopped my Garmin after the finish line, it said 01:10:02 .... however, to our delight, when the text came through with the chip time, it was......... wait for it, 01:09:58.  

Crossing the Line. I look like I'm about to give her a shove! Pic Courtesy of Rachel.

I cannot tell you how pleased I was. It was better, so much better, than getting a PB myself! But if I was pleased, Cheryl was happy beyond belief.  I think this picture, taken in the pub afterwards tells it better than any words.  

Check out how the T-Shirt and medal ribbon match the tutu.  Mike Wells told me a long time ago that tutus make you invincible. 

There were good PBs from many of our CRC friends too. What a great day. 

The next post will cover Cheryl's last two long training runs, 12 miles and 13 miles and that will be the last time I write about this until after the event.

We're nearly there - the North Lincs Half Marathon is this coming Sunday 15th May 2016.  I am very excited to see Cheryl run this distance in a race.  I'm just hoping she doesn't hit me with a 'dream goal' the night before!

If you would like to sponsor Cheryl, you can do so by visiting her Just Giving page by  CLICKING HERE.  or you can donate as little as £1 by text by following the instructions below:

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