Today I started training for the Urban Hill Climb, an 800m cycling time trial race up the steepest public road in London, Swains Lane in Highgate.
I’m attempting to do it on a unicycle, which is probably completely mad, but I thought it would be an interesting thing to do, and a good way to raise some money for my favourite charity, The Anthony Nolan Trust!
I’ve just set up a JustGiving page and if you’d like to sponsor me I’d be really grateful, and so will the charity!
So today I managed to get half-way up the hill (to the entrance of Highgate Cemetery), which may sound like a good start, but it’s at the halfway point that the road starts to steepen beyond belief!
Here are a couple of pictures of the sad effort:
Will I get to the top of the hill by the race day?
With a race as long as the marathon, you’ve got 26.2 miles for things to go wrong. I thought that, since it was my 10th marathon, I was seasoned enough to sail through, maybe not with a PB but at least in a respectable (for me) time of around 3.40.
But, although I had more energy than I needed to finish the race, my legs at mile 22 decided otherwise. The cramp started mildly in my left groin, then the right, then right quad, followed closely by both calves, and then the left buttock, by which time I could literally not even walk properly let alone run!
So I turned off my stopwatch in anger, and walked for the next two or so miles, trying to run every couple of minutes. By mile 25 I was able to lurch like an elderly gorilla for the last mile – I didn’t even look at the finish time, my pride was too hurt!
Of course, a day later, I can see the wood for the trees, and can see that a number of things hampered my training.
One was that I was severely dehydrated about 5 weeks before the marathon (my fault entirely!) so I sabotaged two of my longest runs. Then I had tried a strategy of 3 runs per week, instead of the normal 4 or 5 in training – obviously didn’t get the mileage up high enough. Lastly, I did next to no speedwork in training, just a few tempo runs here and there, all in all a pathetic attempt at something which I should know by now requires dedication and effort to train up to… a classic example of being smug!
Never again will I take my fitness for granted. I’ve promised myself the next marathon will be a good one – if it’s not, at least I’ll have trained properly for it!