The view was breathtaking and the hills were heartbreaking

MichaelDelMonteRunning.Com has begun! Check it out… it’s going to be one of two projects this year. Some really big things will be happening January 2011! Stay tuned.

Now, onto the weekend…

I departed Horsfall Stadium Thursday night and headed to the lovely town of York. York is a short train ride east of where I’m living: this was my second visit and it won’t be my last!

As I was walking from the train station to the B&B, I passed an Indian restaurant, a man came storming out and almost tackled me!

It was my dad.

My mom, dad, Vince and Flavia were in London for a few days prior and we had planned to meet at York. Although, it wouldn’t be very odd if my dad was there with any warning. We enjoyed a curry and a Cobra and the weekend began…

I woke-up early Friday morning and went for a 10 mile run at the York Racing Track. It’s like a flat cross-country course for horses. It’s my favourite place to run when I’m in York.

We had a huge breakfast and then ventured into the city-centre.

We shopped, visited the magnificent York Minister, pushed each other off the Roman wall and had a traditional English lunch at “Betty’s”.

I went for a shorter run in the afternoon while Vince and Flavia went to the gym. I got caught in a little bit of a downpour, but with the exception of that little rain, it was a beautiful weekend.

We went out for dinner and left York Saturday morning.

We took the train into Leeds, spent the afternoon walking about and drinking more tea. In the afternoon the four of them made their way to Hollins Hall Hotel. Unfortunately this picture doesn’t really do justice…

I visited them for dinner and at the end of the night I said, “Alright, I’ll see you at the finish line.”

Weeks ago I had heard about the Bradford City Half-Marathon and I wanted to do it as my Sunday long-run. Then I heard that there is no more than 200 metres of flat running (I sincerely don’t remember there being 100 metres of flat running) so I decided it probably wasn’t very smart to do.

On Wednesday I was looking through my training log and saw just how much hill training I was doing, I figured, “I can handle it.”

I got to the registration Sunday morning at 8:15am. By the time I got registered it was about 8:40. The race was in 20 minutes. I grabbed a quick cup of coffee, did a mile warm-up and then headed to the starting line. It was sunny and 6 degrees when the gun went.

The race was fantastic. Well run, well marshaled and overall a great event. They closed off EVERY road that the race covered. It was awesome doing my “long run” all alone on the closed country roads.

The run began in the city-centre (downtown) and after about 2 miles of gradual uphill running, we headed into the country and got to the real hills. There were lots of fans in the country and the cheering helped me run through the crest of some of the harder hills.

I ran with someone for about 100 metres, and then it was just me and the pace car, which was being driven by my friend Mike Moss!

The view was breathtaking and the hills were heartbreaking.

I’ve never run anything like it.

It wasn’t the steep 5 mile uphills but the 400 hundred metre downhills that killed me. You would go up for a mile or two and then do a steep downhill and then go immediately back up. It wasn’t unusual to have one mile at 4:40 and then the next one at 6:40.

Here is a picture of the elevation change, although the meet organizers said that this picture misses some the major climbs (like the “king of the mountain” climb at 11 miles):

I ended up winning in 1:13.07. The fellow who was second ran 1:16. His personal best is 1:12. This made sense; I figure that if I really race it I could run 1:07-1:08 on a flat course.

Although I really enjoyed The Half, I think I’ll stick with the other half (the 800).

As I entered the park for the final mile I saw Vince and Flavia and I just started smiling. It was simply amazing to have my two families there to watch the finish; the Nottidges came to watch, as well.

I was presented with some really fantastic awards: two bottles of champagne (one which I popped on stage), a large plate, a bouquet of flowers and a nice gift certificate to sport shoes unlimited (arguably the best running store I’ve ever seen).

My family and I then left for Saltaire and had lunch in Salts Mill. I showed them where I run, where I drink, where I read and write and where I catch the train. For parents, these little things are priceless pieces of knowledge.

We got a few pints, took a few pictures and walked a few miles.

After some tea and cake with the Nottidges, another little walk on the moors and a final pint at the Old Glen House Pub, we said our goodbyes. My parents were keen to ask me what I was going to do after Christmas and I told them I wasn’t sure. The plan was to go back to U of T to begin my PhD in January but I can’t see myself leaving this sort of lifestyle anytime soon… if it’s not the UK, I feel it may be somewhere else. Spain? France? Italy? Time will tell…

Categories: bleak and beautiful, Running

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6 Comments on “The view was breathtaking and the hills were heartbreaking”

  1. Luciano Del monte
    October 19, 2010 at 11:31 am #

    The trip was all Michael wrote about and more. Rosetta and I will treasure this memory with vince and Flavia, and of course our ‘cultured italian English son who is speaking with an accent which is really cool. I can still see the glen in Shipley where Mikey lives and surrounding moors.

  2. Linda
    October 19, 2010 at 1:44 pm #

    Fantastic…loved this one…congratulations on a fine showing…you are very blessed to have such a supportive family Mikey…

  3. October 20, 2010 at 11:57 am #

    Congrats on your half marathon victory Michael.

    No mean feat for an 800m runner!

    • October 20, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

      Thanks Tim,
      hopefully this means I can run a fast 1500 sometime in 2011.

  4. CJ
    November 1, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

    Congratulations on the half marathon. From the sounds of it you deserved your victory. It’s a good job the half marathon was organised as the Fun runs of 5k, 3k and 1k were the most disorganised race I have ever ran. I needed to run 3 miles for my taper of the full marathon a week later so thought this would be a good distance, so so unorganised it wasn’t even funny. Was never told how many laps to do so ran too many, was told I came fifth but got no prize as left before the prizes were awarded. My mum ran too but the kids running 3k were all over the start/ finish line so she got a DNF. All in all, pleased for you that the half marathon was not as terrible as the lower distances that day.

    • November 1, 2010 at 2:43 pm #

      Sorry to hear you didn’t have a good experience, Chris.
      I would voice your frustration to the meet organizers and see if they can tidy it up next year. Hope the full marathon went well.

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