Hear Them Banjos Yet?

2017-03-12 13.41.03Ahhhh, Dorset. This time for the Larmer Tree Marathon, part of the weekend of races (a 10 miler, half marathon, 20 miler & marathon) based at Larmer Tree Gardens in Dorset. This being another White Star Running event we were eagerly anticipating mud, hills, gorgeous scenery, sweepers on brooms, badgers (I really must get around to feeling the badger), slippery car parks, people dressed as peacocks and great big burrrrling. Oh, of course an incredibly friendly and enthusiastic, encouraging bunch of runners, marshals and race crew as well as a veritable feast on the aid stations.

4.30 AM. That’s 4.30 AM. Half past four. In. The. Morning. That’s when the alarm went off. Luckily we’d elected to forgo our normal Saturday night down the discotheque, Nicky in her stilettos and me in my white suit, and were tucked up good and early with our Horlicks.

Porridge and pre-race emptying performed, we boarded the mini with our good friend Martin in the back. Were you at the Larmer races on Sunday? Yes? Then you’ll know Martin, because he will have spoken to you. He does like a chat does our Martin….

On arrival at the race, cars were being parked where they stopped slip-sliding across the field, ably directed by race director, Andy Palmer and his merry band. It didn’t half rain early on Sunday.

 

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Andy from Storm with Nicky

We bumped into Andy from Storm in Plymouth which was lovely, they’re always such good company at events, and later Caroline and some more of their friends and family. We also met Julia, their daughter, who by coincidence is putting together the WSR digital magazine and I had been conversing with her about possibly contributing, so it was lovely to meet he too.

 

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Never mind feeling the badger, Nicky gets Martin out of his tangle

Martin was having a bit of a wardrobe crisis, deciding in the end (wisely as it turned out) to remove his long leggings and don his trusty shorts. Unfortunately his draw string was a bit tangled and Nicky had to delve in to get him all straightened up.

Obviously this wasn’t the time to start taking piccies…..

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Martin’s personal sugar supply

In to the house itself for a coffee (tea for Martin, umpteen sugars) and a visit to the arc of portaloos and before long it was race time….. Despite the early start to the day it was actually lovely to be off at 8.30 amid the hubbub of excited runners ready to explore another part of Dorset.

We started, as is our wont, pretty much at the back (yes Martin “right at the back”!), lovely to be around all the guys and girls running with dogs, most of whom soon passed us!

Our tactic was to run steady and walk the steep bits and really muddy bits, with no time target in mind as we had a hard half the previous week and all our Sunday long runs are building towards us both having a crack at a time in the North Dorset Villages Marathon (although we’re not telling anyone that). I’d had a good old go at the Torbay Velopark Parkrun on Saturday, running a pb, yippeeeee, and was hoping my tired little legs would get into their stride early on.

As I’ve said in previous blogs, I’m afraid I don’t have the detailed photographic memory of some of the tremendous marathon bloggers out there but I remember the race a bit like this……..

Trails, mud, country lanes, pretty villages, friendly aid station, woodland, feckin’ great hill, urgent need for the toilet, sprint into the woods…… sprint back out again, more mud, some more woodland, lovely trails, friendly runners overtaking us, friendly runners being overtaken by us, friendly aid station, fields, mud, hills, not falling over (just).

Oh yes, we also bumped into a regular at these events, Malcom, from the 100 Marathon Club who we chatted to and asked advice about where to keep all these lovely medals we are acquiring, although his 200+ marathons makes this more of an issue for him than us. We probably won’t go for Malcom’s pile-them-on-the-sofa technique though, he says the job has become too big to know where to start!!

This was followed by, if I remember rightly, mud, great views, another feckin’ great hill, loads of incredibly helpful and friendly marshals, lovely aid stations, the Lovestation (WSR’s trademark 20 mile aid station laden with feasts and tipples) where we took the feast but declined the tipple and headed off for the last 6 or so miles.

Our tactics paid dividends as we kept the running going, still walking the challenging bits and before long we were at the infamous 400m to go sign, fully anticipating this would actually mean a further mile or so! But no, we could see the finish and we galloped (ish) across the field towards it, holding hands to cross the line for our first marathon finish of the year. That’s 30 for me and 28 for Nicky and the lovely bling was well earned and, as ever, quite beautiful.

I absolutely love running with Nicky and these uber-friendly off road  events are just what we need on a Sunday morning. We ran 5 hours 51 minutes, marginally slower than last year when it was certainly a lot drier.

So another one ticked off on our quest to reach 100 before Nicky’s, er, next ‘landmark’ birthday. Next up for us is another half, the Tavy 13 on Sunday, which is a beautiful course. Next marathon for us is the Devonshire Dumpling which sounds like a gorgeous route and a quirky event.

If you’d like to read about marathons we haven’t completed this yea because they were cancelled (Dover), or we only got half way (Portland), or about occasional snobbery in running, or the Arc of Attrition or my run streak, then click away……

Also posts of half marathons in Bodmin & Bideford and being tired whilst training, a look at my running log on Fetch.

My run streak ended with the marathon on Sunday (36 days) and started again today with a lovely early morning 7 miler.

On This Day In (Fetch) History

March 10th 2017 (and the previous 9 years)….

Ahh, the wonders of the internet. No, really.

When I started running in January 2007, I really didn’t know anyone who ran and, how shall we put it, wasn’t in the joyous, beautiful, amazing, dreamy, loving domestic environment I am now blessed to be in, to put it mildly!

So I just started sort of running. It was hard, as I imagine most of you who are doing me the flattering honour of reading this will know. The first mile was ridiculous, I actually thought I was going to die and building from there was painful. I remember searching the internet and finding generic training programs and wondering what on earth a ‘recovery run’ could be!

I found comfort, solace, comradeship and incredible encouraging support on the internet. Specifically a Runners World forum labelled ‘Inspire’ and the lovely people on there put me on to Fetch.

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My original fetch vest, just about hanging on!

 

Fetch, I here you ask. Well, Fetcheveryone is a wonderful website, community, online training log, forum, support network and generally awesome running thing. Started by the enigmatic Ian Williams, it celebrated it’s 10th anniversary last year and I joined the 10-years-a-member-club just recently.

It appealed to me for it’s homely, yet remarkably technologically advanced and informed content. It seems to attract a certain breed. Runners, naturally, but something more than that. Something to really belong to without needing to ‘go’ to.

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My Fetch vest worn with pride everywhere – Totnes 10k where Callum did the fun run

 

Strava may be the training site, app and world community of the masses, a slick machine, the mass production to Fetch’s home baked joys. I’m a member of both and have no truck with Strava, it’s an awesome thing. BUT, I could happily live without it, whereas Fetch has been a part of the runner that I have become.

I have religiously kept all my training on my Fetch log, including a diary of the way my life has unfolded in the 10 years (that’s 20% of my life!) I have been a member. It can be a dark read, in equal measures to it being an absolute joy. All of (my running) life is in there.

In 2007, I didn’t run on 10th March, on the 15th I ran 5 miles in 50 minutes and had very little to say.

Unlike in 2008 when I ran 20 miles and wrote “absolutely pissing down and blowing a gale, both calves completely cramped up in mile 20”! I was deep in training for the Paris Marathon.

In 2009 I was starting to do training sessions with others and on 10th March I did 4 x 1km with the training group, the fastest being 3m40s!!

In 2010, I was training on my own again and did 4 x (4x400m, 100m jog) in Youngs Park, quite a session!

March 10th 2011, I was training for Taunton Marathon and suffering man flu as I did a 7 mile ‘snotty’ run.

The following year, 2012, I was again training for a marathon attempt and on the Sunday of that week ran 22 miles at 8m20s pace around Torbay. Running away from the darkness by all accounts.

I raced on Sunday 10th March 2013. My Dad had recently had his hip replacement and was grateful for the ride out to Siblyback Lake in Cornwall where I ran 42m50s for a freezing, wild and windy 10k. I also plodded a 2.5 mile ‘recovery’ run in the evening. I know…..

On March 9th 2014 I did a monster 24 mile marathon training session, following it on 10th with a 3.5 mile ‘recovery’ jog! “On battered legs” apparently. No shit!?

 

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A lovely Fetch kiss – Oh My Obelisk 2016

AHHH, we enter the happy years! No running on the 10th in 2015. Nicky and I had ran the Imber Ultra on the previous Sunday. Running 50km together over Salisbury Plain as Nicky was preparing for her South Downs Way 50 mile the following month. One of the proudest days

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Fetch Anniversary Vest at Grizzly 2015

ever.

 

No running on the 10th last year either, but 2 days later we did the ‘beautiful and brutal Larmer Tree Marathon’ which, as it happens, we are doing again on Sunday. It was just so wonderful we couldn’t resist going back.

All of this and every single other run I’ve every done is on my Fetch training log.

Another of my favourite running accessories is the quite wonderful Marathon Talk Podcast (to be blogged about another time). The aforementioned Ian Williams was interviewed on Marathon Talk in November 2014, and it’s well worth a listen.

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Fetch ‘Proud Supporter’ Shirt On Brixham Breakwater, Nicky in her South Downs Way 50 shirt

 

 

Fetch has also had a nice piece written in the Guardian. But most of all, I recommend you go to the website itself for wonderful blogs, article, forums, training tools, online logs, a great race calendar, race reviews and previews, discounts on shopping and  bespoke Fetch goodies to buy. I did 10 years ago and it gave me the lift I needed to keep on keeping on.

As I said, we’ve got the Larmer Tree Marathon (another disappointed face today when I told someone (the building inspector) that, no, I’m afraid none of my 29 marathons so far have been in London!), expect words. About mud. And hills.

Previously….. Elite (attitudes), Elite (Mo), Elite (Ultra heroes), My running streak (now 33 days), Elite (Step-Daughter & Grandson) and remotely interesting stuff….

 

 

The Loan Shark

SharkI’m out on loan. I often wondered how those footballers, who ‘belong’ to one club but end up playing for another for a while, feel about their loyalty. I don’t technically work for one person as I’m self employed, but very nearly constantly, I have been working for the same builder for a year.cartoon builder And, I’ll be going back to him in a few weeks. Today was my first day for a rival builder. Actually, not a rival, a very good friend of my boss, who needs a second pair of hands for a while. It doesn’t feel dirty at all……..

Despite feeling like I’d ran good and hard at the Bideford Half last Sunday, I’ve managed to keep my running streak going. Up to 31 days, including a double day today.

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He loves running in the rain!

It does help having the dog, he needs exercising regardless of fatigue levels amongst his keepers. Jogged about 4.5 muddy miles with him yesterday and about 2.5 watching a glorious sunrise this morning.

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Charlie in the purple sunrise

 

To help keep my motivation levels up, I put my running kit in the car and stopped on the sea front before going home after work. I know full well that once I’m in from work the mojo to change and get back out of the door will quickly evaporate with the steam from the kettle.

So I did a session of 6 x 3 minutes hard running with about 90 seconds jogging recovery. My legs felt tired but I pushed through it at a slightly reduced pace and thoroughly enjoyed it, clocking up another 6+ miles.

Television receiver remote controls are something else aren’t they? Nicky and I haven’t turned the television on since the final of Strictly but we know full well it is the entertainment medium of choice for most and, for some, it is both company and a life line.

As the population ages, we find more and more medical advancements to treat more and more ailments and as a consequence we are, on the whole, living longer. Now, I’m sure we all have someone in our lives who gets a bit more easily confused as they age. Perhaps find it increasingly difficult to understand the intricacies and complexities of modern life. And us ‘youngsters’ need to be aware of this and make sure we give people the time they need to try and understand information presented to them.

Nicky and I support someone who is struggling with a dementia and witness this first hand. Most recently, the failure of a Freesat receiver. The person concerned was quite happy and capable of operating the basic, but adequate remote control for this box. Once, I’d established that it was the receiver that had failed I searched in vain to attempt to find a like-for-like replacement. This was utterly frustrating and ended with the purchase of the simplest unit I could find on the market.

Inevitably, the remote controller was a mass of buttons for functions which weren’t requested nor required and, to the user, just looked like a panic inducing blur of new technology. Despite our, and his, greatest efforts, it simply wasn’t going to be mastered.

Modern life can quite often be truly rubbish for some.

Just thought I’d mention it.

 

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Ducking essential at last year’s Larmer Tree Marathon

Anyway, we’ve got The Larmer Tree Marathon on Sunday. This will hopefully be our first completed marathon of the year. Our first attempt to run one was cancelled (Dover CTS), and we only got to the halfway point of the second attempt (Portland Coastal Marathon), so we’re hoping to get all the way around this glorious festival of mud and hills in a beautiful location.

 

Keep on keeping on.

Previous blogs covering such gripping subjects as bankrupt pubs, birthday treats, convenience stores, bare arms, being fully dressed and 5.20am alarms.

 

 

Pride (in the name of love)

Nicky (my wife, have I mentioned how wonderfully amazing, inspiring and quite beautiful she is?) and I ran the Bideford Half Marathon today. We are both rather proud of how we performed, more of which later……

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Alisa and Callum finishing their first Parkrun

Talking of pride, I seem to be absolutely bursting with it today. My lovely step daughter, Alisa, and grandson, Callum, did their debut Torbay Parkrun yesterday. I had the absolute privilege to go around with them. It truly was a pleasure and an honour to be there. Alisa is working so hard at getting herself fit, into shape, and healthier whilst juggling her full and hectic family life. Hopefully her knee pain will be nothing sinister and this will be the first of many family Parkrun outings.

So, as you can imagine, we were already full of pride and family love before today’s adventure. We collected our friend, Naomi at 7.30am after our pre match porridge and headed north in the wild wind and rain. Arriving nice and early meant we had prime parking position right near the start.

And with a top view of the queue for the toilets! 2017-03-05 09.59.53.jpg

It really was very windy (and not just in the portaloos), but the rain had thankfully blown away and we were lucky enough to dodge the heavy showers throughout the run too.

As we ambled to the race HQ for our normal warm up routine (coffee), 2017-03-05 09.11.39.jpg Naomi informed us that she had brought a flask of tea. A flask of tea I tell you. Outrageous and quite frankly mind bogglingly organised. Nicky and I are terrible with this – we even took a flask to one race, and bagels and other picnic style items. Yet we still ended up purchasing from the race catering facilities before and after the event. So, unsurprisingly we, unlike Naomi, DIDN’T have a flask. We have accepted our failings in this area and quite deliberately set off for races without sustenance.

Saying that, since we’ve been ‘training’ (no, really) we were equipped with a post race protein shake, just like them there proper runners. AND, and, and a banana.

So, in the HQ (having tried the roomy portaloos) we treated ourselves to a lovely hot and cheap (50p, again, I kid you not) coffee and eyed up goodies for later. Pasties only a quid. Cakes to die, well run at least, for and a friendly smile with the service.

Nicky quite insisted that if I finished in a good time I should head straight here and bag us some of this top nosh as she, quite ridiculously, believed there may be supply issues due to the number of participants. There weren’t as it turned out, but I did end up with TWO scrummy pasties for myself, so it all worked in my favour…

Naomi went off for her warm up whilst Nicky and I had a jog around the riverside in Bideford and made our way to the start line.

2017-03-05 09.56.09.jpgThere’s normally a footwear debate at the events we do, but this being all roads and footpaths, the choice was simple. We decided to wear some.

Previous episodes of this blog have pointed out that Nicky is not a fan of starting near the front of races, preferring to start at the back of the field and have the confidence boosting sensation of moving through the field rather than the demoralising feeling that people streaming past you. And today, this again was a very effective strategy for Nicky, as she overtook 350 of the 1100 runners and her final 3 miles faster than any of the previous 10. She looked so strong and powerful as she surged to the line to finish well inside her pre race target in the fantastic time of 2h03m55s.

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Proud husband alert!

I took the more potentially catastrophic approach of getting fairly near the front of the field near the start to see whether I could mix it with the young (and not so young) speedy boys and girls.

On discovering I had forgotten my running watch I was initially horrified. How can I POSSIBLY pace my run without a device on my wrist, receiving signals from a ball of metal far, far out of sight up there in the sky, making thousands of calculations in real time to produce essential and urgent information, without which I simply couldn’t put one foot in front of the other.

Hang on though, I KNOW I will go off too fast, I KNOW the distance to go will seem impossible if I carry on at whatever pace, I KNOW I will slow down as this prophecy plays out for real. And, Kevin, just bloody run, see what happens.

And we were off. The first mile is a loop around the football club and back past the rowing club to take us to the road heading out of Bideford. Felt good at whatever pace it was so why worry. Lovely. “What time did we do that mile in, mate?” I couldn’t help but question. “6.22”!

As predicted.

The out section is on a (closed) road and mildly undulating and I stuck with the group of runners containing the time keeper (although I didn’t trouble him for further updates) and felt I was running hard but not pushing my heartbeats into a debt that I couldn’t repay later in the race. We did reel a few runners in during the first few miles and, very gradually, I could see I was catching Naomi.

Before the course turned off for the gloriously flat, or even gently downhill Tarka Trail, Naomi became part of the group we were running in. I was absolutely loving this great course, pockets of enthusiastic support and numerous friendly and encouraging marshals, combined with enjoying the rhythm of my own running meant the miles seemed to be flying by.

As the miles approached double figures I passed Naomi again who told me she was experiencing a bit of stitch and I offered sympathy (with the small amount of available breath at this effort level) and pushed on. The group had splintered by this point and I knew I hadn’t held on to the early pace. Miles 11 and 12 came quickly though and soon I was turning to head back over the bridge towards the finish on the riverside. At this turn I saw Naomi was still close behind.

Now, I’m not competitive…….

So, I emptied the tank as we passed the markers telling us there were 800m, 700m, 600m etc to go and summoned what passes for a sprint finish from my 50 year old pins.

1 hour, 27 minutes, 30 seconds the great big digital clock on the finish line showed.

I really am rather proud of that and chuffed to have ran so freely without the watch. I’m also pleased with that as progress towards my target of running a ‘good for age’ time at the North Dorset Village Marathon at the end of April.

2017-03-05-15-51-56.jpgWe had our medals and tee shirts (although we nearly forgot to collect Nicky’s) and we availed ourselves of some ‘recovery’ food and coffee before heading to the car for a chatty and tired drive home.

The heavens opened driving home and we all agreed we had been blessed by the weather gods for the race.

A weekend to be self-indulgently proud of.

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The recovery fuel of champions

See my running on Fetch Strava

Previous blog posts include such topics as The Arc Of Attrition, Streaking, How tired Mo is, The Bodmin Half Marathon and a conversation starter about whether there is elitism in running at our level.

 

Streaking 

streakerI appear to be streaking. Not the type where I disrobe then charge across a cricket pitch, leap frogging the stumps at great risk to me dingly danglies, no not that at all, oooo no no no. No, I mean streaking, like a football club being on a winning streak. You know, like, say, Leicester City last season, not this season, last season. Amazing how my Facebook feed isn’t so full of people who were born and bred in Leicester lately! Streaking. In this case I could be described as on a run streak. Streaking.

It appears, as I write, that I am up to 25 consecutive days of running. It happened accidently really and I didn’t really notice until day 11 or 12. Problem now is……. how long will it keep it going?

I’m lucky, I know, that my running is so varied in pace, mileage, terrain, company that every run is feeling lovely and fresh, tired, naturally, but fresh.

 

My training log on www.fetcheveryone.com

 

The longest run in this streak was on Sunday just gone when I managed a whopping 27.6 miles! I did 10 at my target marathon pace and then caught up with Nicky to do 17 of her 20 with her.

 

 

The shortest run, just clicking in at 3 miles was a 1.5 mile out/back on the beautiful Cornish coast path on the morning we drive home from our amazing week in Cadgwith

 

 

 

 

We just love Cornwall

 

 

The nippiest  (should such a word exist) was on Saturday 11th February when I did a road out and back 10km run from our lovely holiday cottage. Clocking 41m33s. Pleased with that pace straight out of the box as it were.

 

 

 

And so does Charlie

The gentlest run was the beautiful 9 miles we did together with Charlie, again whilst on our beautiful holiday in Cornwall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back in Cadgwith after another gorgeous run.

Seeing as I never intended to start streaking, who knows how long I will streak for? Ron Hill recently ended his after a mere 52 years!

 

Having set myself, after a talking to from my incredible, inspiring and quite beautiful wife, some short and long term targets, then a run streak is definitely another way of staying motivated.

 

 

Next up for us is the Bideford Half Marathon on Sunday, followed by the absolutely stunning Larmar Tree Marathon the following week.

All my running from the last 10 years has been logged on Fetch and lately on Strava too.

We get it Mo, we get it

I’ve got nothing against Mo Farah. In fact my favourite ever television sporting moment was seeing him hold on to win the 5000m gold medal at the London Olympic games in 2012.

Actually, my FAVOURITE television sporting moment has got to be Keith Houchen’s flying header in extra time to win the FA Cup for Coventry City back in 1987!

“Play up Sky Blues”

 

Anyway. Mo had won gold in the 10000m the previous Saturday, on the night Greg Rutherford and Jessica Ennis were also flying the Union Jack on the highest pole. Rather than let the euphoria last and sink in though, Mo had to recover quickly and run a heat of the 5000m on the Wednesday before coming back to make it 50 hard hard laps of the track in a week.

Nope, I definitely have NOTHING against Mo Farah.

Elite sport in general? I’m becoming increasingly disinterested to be honest. The veil of secrecy, the omerta, the cynicism, the protective practices and apparent corruption protecting the commercial income at the top of many sports. There appears to be an unwillingness to seriously break the culture of corruption and the more sellable the performer the less likely they are to have deliberately taken anything that accidently ends up in their bodily fluids. Anyway, that’s for another day…

So then, Mo, why might he have grated my cheeselets? Well, I know I’m light years behind here, but that Mo documentary screened last year, showing his relentless schedule and commitment to  his craft. At one point, he was filming himself, in an eerie Blair Witch Project light, whispering that it was 6am and he was already up and off to train.

Don’t get me wrong, he reportedly trains as hard as anyone on the elite circuit and is willing to put in the hard sessions, the hard miles and the hard lifestyle choices needed to be a winner. Its the suggestion that by getting up before sunrise he is making a huge sacrifice. Presumably breakfast, laundry, massage, ice baths, recovery meals etc etc are very much, and quite rightly, provided for and arranged on behalf of such a superstar of the sport.

A good friend, to whom I have already referred in a previous post, was out at 6am in hurricane Doris (I’m a Secret Strava Nosey Parker), a bit like Mo. Only he had just finished his 10 hour shelf filling night shift in the supermarket and getting a 10 miler in before taking over parental duties from his wife, herself off to start her nursing shift. He was probably hoping for 4 hours sleep before starting the whole process again.

Anybody kind enough to be perusing this blog probably has at least a passing, more like participatory, interest in our wonderful world of running.

I imagine then that you will be impressed by the incredible performances of those, like Mo, at the very sharp end of sport.

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I also imagine that the runners among you are engaged in some or most of the following list; going to work, cycling or walking there, looking after children, grand children, partners, parents, pets, studying, shopping, doing the laundry, cleaning and maintaining the house and garden, juggling finances and banking, paperwork for the self employed, giving lifts to and from late night teenage antics etc etc.

You may too, quite like to find time to get and there and run.

We get it Mo, we too are tired.tired-runner

 

 

I’m a Vet 50…….. (just!)

THE CORNWALL FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE HALF MARATHON

I’ve become a regular in the Costcutter opposite Bodmin College. Cracking store, with friendly, fun staff and….. COFFEEEEEEE!

The lovely organisers of the snappily titled Cornwall Fire And Rescue Service Half Marathon had to move their registration and HQ, at short notice, from a hall where providing refreshments would have been possible, to one where it wouldn’t. Now, Nicky and I are rather partial to our pre-race coffee. In fact, it is essential, for Mrs Bonfield it is an integral component of her warm up routine. in fact, it IS her warm up routine.

So, after terrifying the nice young man who was dealing with on the day registrations, “WHERE CAN WE GET COFFEE???? please?” we headed over the road to said store. Fine, strong and inexpensive coffee it was too. Many jealous faces of runners plucking up the courage to ask “WHERE DID YOU GET THAT COFFEE!?”. Smug, and buzzing, I set off for that other aspect of warming up, running around a bit. I arrived back in the hall just in time for the race briefing.

Comprehensive, engaging and self-depreciatingly amusing,  the briefing was pitch perfect. Apparently there were grumblings last year after the course was deemed to be a tad short. No problem, they just made it long this year to balance it out. You get more half for your quids down Bodmin way.

This was a ‘run your own’ race for Nicky and I, so I took a position a little further forward so as to get a better view of the firemen starting the race. Or was it to be around people who looked like they wanted to run at my pace. Eithervway i was a little scarily near the front of the 300 or so runners. A jaunty count down and flashing blue lights and a blast of the siren, and we were off.

 

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The first mile was on the road and there was a bit of a squeeze into the first bend. Very momentarily I become alpha-male as an elbow connected with my ribs. I was soon over it though as we were just being concertinaed into the corner and collecting each other like a Tour De France peloton suddenly hit by a strong side wind.

We settled into that first mile and I knew full well I was running at a pace I was going to be unable to sustain. Having confirmed to myself that this was the case, I proceeded to, er, carry on at that pace. Although there was a sharp incline in that first mile, there was also a lovely crazy decent which led into Lanhydrock House and its beautiful grounds.

lanhydrock-house      lanhydrock-drive

There are some fantastic bloggers out there who beautifully describe every step of even ultra marathons. You must have read them, it’s like you’re there with them, the smell of the fauna, the variety of bird song, every inch of elevation, the timing of other athletes breath. Well, I tend to remember things in a more random order.

So some of these recollections may be chronologically incorrect, or just plain incorrect!

Anyway, I’m pretty sure that as mile 3 became mile 4 we had descended to the lowest point on the course on a fairly loose path which was terrific fun if a little daunting. (I may have taken a tumble on a similar descent on the Haytor Heller a couple of years ago!) A mile of steady climbing through the gorgeous woodland, before another descent took us to around the halfway point.

I’ve been taking advantage of slightly more spare time the last two weeks to start upping my mileage as my first ‘target’ race of the year comes into sight on the calendar. So, having ran 11 miles on Thursday, 13 on Friday and 10 yesterday, I knew todays run would have me approaching 70 miles for the week, having ran 55 last week.

It was around this half way point, as we set off to do the figure of 8 loop around the grounds for the second time, that my legs started to remind me of this week’s efforts. Suffice to say, the second half of the run was about 8  minutes slower than the first half. That said, I am chuffed as a chuffed thing to have ran so well at the end of a tiring week, on a properly tough course, and finished quite strongly. Friendly, snatched banter all the way with my fellow runners and the fantastic and numerous marshals, police and firemen, and the patient drivers who allowed us to cross the road at the two slightly awkward points.

I crossed the line in 1 hour 39 minutes and 58 seconds according to my watch. I’ll be chasing a ‘good for age’ time in the North Dorset Village Marathon in May, but, after a banana and two hastily guzzled bottles of water, I felt that I wasn’t too bad for 50 (and 9 days) on today’s showing.

Talking of which, and we definitely DON’T discus a ladies age, Nicky absolutely loved the race too and turned in a fantastic performance herself. I rushed to the car and grabbed some money, over to my favourite convenience store, bought myself a coffee and each of us a Mars Bar and rushed back to the finish line. An exhilarated Nicky initially declined the Mars Bar but we headed back to you-know-where and bought ANOTHER coffee and the remainder of their sausage rolls.

We both thoroughly enjoyed this lovely event and will be coming back for another beasting for sure.

costcutters
a branch of Costcutters!
2017-02-19-15-39-23.jpg
A lovely event, we’ll definitely be back.

 

Me on Strava

Me on Fetch