Archive for November, 2009

22
Nov
09

willow 10k race report

Early Mornings, Coffee and Stately Homes – Here Comes The Rain Again – Soaked And Steaming

After being woken up at a little before 5am by the sound of a) my kids waking up and deciding that everyone should also get up and b) the rain hammering against the window, I had real doubts about whether cycling 6.8 miles to Hatfield House for the Willow 10k was a good idea. By 8am however, the rain had all but disappeared, the clouds dispersed and there was even some sunshine. So much so that my big dilemma was not whether I should cycle to the race but whether I should bother with long sleeves or not. Deciding that I could wear a long sleeve top under my short sleeve running shirt and take it off if the sun threatened to make it too warm, I set off on the bike. About half way there, the clouds began to gather and the wind got up meaning that by the time I arrived at Hatfield House and found somewhere to chain my bike, it had become overcast and decidedly cold. I lurked for a bit and was very soon asked by a marshall if I knew where everything was – it was like being welcomed into someone’s home ” Bag storage is over there but why don’t you grab a cup of coffee in that tent there and warm up before checking your bag in”. Any organisation that offers you tea and coffee prior to the race (and complimentary too – just a polystyrene cup at the end of the table with”donations” in biro by way of a till) gets my vote. So, black coffee drunk, bag checked in and then listen to Bob Wilson (THE Bob Wilson) thank everyone for coming, hand us over to the warmer-upper and then form an orderly queue at the start.
By this point, it was absolutely freezing, the wind had really got up and my hands and legs had a bluish tinge. Everyone hunched up and waited for the off. Once the horn sounded, we set off and the first couple of kilometres felt relatively easy, the wind to our backs and the gradient mostly slightly downhill or flat. It made for some fast starts and it was difficult not to go off to quickly and regret it later. A left at 2k and then into the woods for a couple of kilometres. It had begun to rain now, lightly, and it was actually quite welcome as the chill before the race had been replaced by the warmth from the run. At 4k, we passed the start and went right, taking us off on the second circuit, the whole course being a figure of eight. By 5k, we were back in woods and also going uphill. The rain had made the ground heavy and my calves were beginning to ache… I was beginning to regret cycling to the race. 6k passed and I got into my stride, my calves back to normal and my breathing coming easier. A special mention must be made to the 2 marshalls at 7k who were like a couple of teenage girls gripped by Beatlmania, they were literally jumping up and down and willing us all on. This seemed to lift everyones spirits as we ran past but the euphoria was to be short lived because as 8k approached the rain sheeted down at 45 degrees, we came to a clearing, were running headlong into the wind and could see torrents of rain literally coming in waves from the sky. By now, any efforts to dodge puddles and muddy patches seemed futile so it was just a case of keeping going in as straight a line as possible. I could think of nothing but running, the rain and the music in my headphones at this point. At the 9k mark, the finish is in sight but you are shepherded left, uphill and away from the finish to make up the distance. This was undoubtedly the hardest part of the race, uphill, on wet and uneven ground and being buffeted by wind and driving rain. A sharp right and the finish line is in sight although a frantic last dash is unwise as the ground is so slippery underfoot. I go as fast as I can without falling over (don’t want to eat dirt metres from the finish-line) and across the line in 55:13. I retrieve my bag and shelter in the refreshment tent where all the runners stand around, soaked and steaming.
Although it is a small event and it was the first time it was held, I really enjoyed it. Had the weather not become so hideous, I felt I could have acheived a personal best as the course is fast. The marshalls were friendly, the goodie bag full of goodies (Gatorade, Maximuscle protein drink, £5 Maximuscle voucher, Dominos Pizza Voucher and, oddly “Country Homes” and “Hertfordshire Life” magazines!! amongst other things), even the 6.8 mile cycle home wasn’t so bad really. And if they hold it again next year, I’ll run it and hope for better weather.

Although, I’m sure the weather is small potatoes compared to the carnage that will be “Grim” in 2 weeks time.

Soundtrack to this post: Can I Kick It – A Tribe Called Quest

20
Nov
09

a good idea at the time

Man And Boy – Crashes, Fallen Trees and Time Lords – Impromptu Duathlon?

Last Sunday was going to be my final run before the Willow 10k this weekend. I was going to run 10k at race pace just to again get used to a race pace over the full 10k distance. I thought it might be nice to take SonNumberOne along on his bike with me for company. I run better when I’m not concentrating on running and listening to SonNumberOne’s observations on life always manage to lift me whilst we’re out.

The roads and paths were still wet from the previous few days rain and it was about a mile and a half in that SonNumberOne found out the hard way about mountain bike tyres and wet manhole covers not making good bed fellows. After stopping to pick him up, dust him down and get him hurriedly back on the pushbike, we seemed to lose momentum and began to get distracted. Fallen trees across footpaths, stopping to watch canoeists navigating a weir and his excitement about that evenings Dr Who special all served to interrupt the run. So eventually we abandoned the idea of running and instead settled for a run / walk / chat which whilst not preparing me for my 10k, was a very enjoyable way to spend a Sunday morning.

So, feeling guilty about not running my 10k training run on Sunday, I set off after work on Wednesday evening. It was one of those cool, clear evening runs that I enjoy so much and as the Garmin had sneakily decide to lose it’s charge whilst sat in the drawer (i.e I had forgotten to charge it up), I decide to run a route that I know without timing myself. So I’ve no idea how quickly I ran but it was 7 and a half miles and felt surprisingly fluid once I settled into a rhythm.

I am very much looking forward to the race on Sunday – it is about 6 miles from my home and as SonNumberOne is currently suffering with a particularly unpleasent virus, I’ll almost certainly have to go there on my own as Mrs Eatingtrees has volunteered stay home and look after the boys. If the weather is half decent on Sunday morning, I may consider cycling to and from the race. I dare say when I wake up on Sunday morning that it will seem like a very bad idea indeed, although it may give me a glimpse of whether my half baked idea to enter a duathlon (run / mountain bike / run) early next year is wise…

Soundtrack to this post: English Summer Rain – Placebo

10
Nov
09

back

Remember Me? – The Comforting Arms Of Regular Employment – Europa Again

Oh dear… It has been an awfully long time since I blogged. Perhaps the longest since I started. But it’s not because I haven’t been running… Oh no!! In fact I’ve done a few runs. And some free weights. And a bit of cycling. And I’ve secured myself a new job. So I have been very busy. Busy enough to not have the time to tell the world about it…

The runs have been slowly increasing in distance since a little sabbatical after the Royal Parks Half. But with a 6 mile, a 7.02 and an 8 and a half in the last 10 days, I feel like I am getting back into the rhythm of things. Chuck in a couple of hours picking weights up and down repeatedly and some more hours cycling around the streets of London on a pushbike and I can safely say that I am no longer slacking.

And this is my favourite time of year to run. When it is dry and cold, cold enough for you to want to keep moving and to not overheat if you do. And the evenings are dark too. There is nothing quite like an evening run in the dark -the 7.02 miler was carried out under these conditions and it was glorious.

So, I have a new job too, which has strangely also lifted my mood. As enjoyable as freelancing is, it has a sense of the unknown about it. How long will it continue? Will I actually get paid? And subsequently, you feel compelled to agree to everything and are constantly on the lookout for the next job. Having a “proper” job again takes away some of that uncertainty. And, from what I’ve been told about the position, it sounds pretty varied so will hopefully hold my attention and give me something to get involved in. There also seems to be a fair bit of travel around the country which should mean that I’m not just travelling to and from an office everyday.

And I’ve booked my first race of 2010… The Lisbon Half Marathon. After Hauling My Carcass and I did the Prague Half Marathon last year, we were on the lookout for another overseas adventure, perhaps with a nice climate and less cobbles than Prague. There are some fantastic pictures of 35,000 runners crossing the Ponte 25 De Abril suspension bridge and on 21st March 2010, I’ll be one of them.

Soundtrack to this post: Happy Birthday – Altered Images




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