After my usual extensive internet research, January’s mission was to find and buy a pair of hiking boots for all the walking I’ll be doing this year. My parents guessed exactly what was top of my Christmas list and kindly contributed towards the purchase.
I found myself in Cotswold Outdoor in Covent Garden after work one day, and even though the sales assistant almost put me off with some patronising comments (“trying to compare those two boots is like trying to compare Chanel with Dior”), he was helpful and patient while I tried on four different styles in a variety of sizes.
I had decided leather would be the best option for me and Gore Tex was a must, and in the end I bought the Meindl Toronto GTX – the last pair I tried and instantly the most comfortable for my very fussy feet.
I’ve been wearing them around the house as much as possible (our neighbours in the downstairs flat must love me!) but I was at first undecided on whether I should keep the boots. The top of my foot was feeling a little tingly after a while of wearing them, which is not surprising as I have a high instep and this is the same place that all rental ski boots hurt.
Then I came across an article on SectionHiker.com that included this video on different methods for tying laces, and relacing the boots suddenly made them feel like they were made for my feet.
I think “Lacing Windows” may be my new favourite thing!
So now I’ve decided to keep the boots, the next step is to actually test them outside as the ten-pace loop of my living room is not going to break them in very quickly!
I decided to enter an organised 10K as a beginning-of-year training incentive / halfway to half marathon assessment. The Votwo Eton 10K jumped out as a good choice mainly because the course is pretty close to completely flat and also I hadn’t been to Dorney Lake since rowing there when I was a teenager when the lake had only been dug out to 1500m.
Early January seemed a good idea at the time but Saturday wasn’t quite the cold, clear, frosty day I had envisaged and instead turned out to be a typically English, wet, grey one.
The run itself was actually quite enjoyable, even though I started off with numb feet and hands the rain was not too heavy and became quite refreshing. It’s a great course, starting at the far end of the Dorney Lake (the end where rowing races start), heading along a path through the fields and sheep next to the lake and then back along the “island” in the middle of the lake. Each lap is 5km so it was two laps for me, and surprisingly I found the second lap easier even though it was slightly slower.
With my distrust of Strava’s timing I wasn’t paying much attention to the timing updates, so I was pleasantly surprised to find the official timing chip recorded 59:27! While that didn’t rank very highly amongst the other runners, it’s over 4 minutes faster than the last 10K run I did, and I had wanted to do it in under an hour, so I was pretty pleased. Strava recorded a time of 58:20, proving that it thinks I’m quicker than I am (I think this must be to do with the auto-pause function that I assume stops the timer but not the distance if you walk for a short distance).
I have to say though there is no way I could have managed another 2 laps, which tells me I have quite a lot of work to do before the half marathon in March! But still, it’s a nice feeling to get home on a Saturday afternoon having braved the wet weather and set not only a new PB but a precedent for an active and challenging 2015. To top it off, this run earned £30 towards my fundraising target, thanks to my Mum who text me in the morning after seeing the weather to incentivise me £10 to start the run, and Jason who promised £5 for every minute I knocked off my previous time. That takes me to 3% of my target with nine months to go – time to ramp up the fundraising activities!