Sunday, 3 March 2019

Sand, mud, puddles, wind and rain!

 On Friday morning, year 9, in an attempt to delay starting to do any actual work, asked me what I was doing this weekend.  "I'll be at parkrun on Saturday and I have a race on Sunday," was my reply.  Apparently this is the answer I give nearly every weekend, and I guess it is probably true.  It doesn't make it any less enjoyable though!

The parkrun was a new one.  I know that 'inaugural chasing' is discouraged, but I was invited down there by a friend who is local and this weekend was the only one I could make for ages and ages.  I needed a chauffeur though, so took a friend! We arrived early at Mountbatten School parkrun, so had no problems finding a parking place.  Mountbatten School is an 11-16 school that opened in the year I was born and converted to academy status in 2011.  The parkrun is 3 laps around the school playing fields.  I am sure it will become an easier run as the path gets worn by hundreds of feet running the route, but on Saturday it was a really tricky run!  It felt like every footfall was at a different angle, the ground was soft to muddy (and therefore slippery) with some very tight turns and long stretches with a real camber on the path.  I think my left leg is now longer than my right one.  For a flat course it was very slow!  I passed the finish, at the end of my second lap, at 17 minutes - and there was no sign of a first finisher!  I think he came in about 40 seconds later.  The parkrun ran smoothly, barcodes were scanned, results were processed etc. but there was no cafe.  I always feel a bit sad when there isn't a cafe that loads of people go to!  As there had been no cafe announcement (and nothing on the web page) we asked, and were told that they were hoping to be able to persuade a nearby coffee shop to open earlier (than 11am) and that this week the volunteers were going to the Costa in a local leisure centre... so that's where we went.   If I recall correctly, Paul Sinton Hewitt was always very keen on the post run coffee part of parkrun.   This is where the community part of the parkrun magic happens.
Pre race hydration

Saturday night was spent with friends 'planning' our trip to Paris to run the marathon there.  We seem to have a lot of meetings that involve food, wine and maybe about one useful planning decision, but they are a lot of fun - if not ideal in terms of pre race food and hydration!  Paris is my 'target marathon' for the spring.  The one where I want to run a good time - at the beginning of the year that would have been a sub 4 hour marathon, now I would like to get a good for age time for London.  Every year I pick a target marathon and write this on my laminated training plan, the one I have used since my first marathon in October 2012, and then sort of follow it.

Note the Sharpie attached to the laminated sheet
- you can take the teacher out of the school...
By 'sort of' what I mean is that I do the mid week runs, pretty much, work permitting, and make sure that my long, slow run is at least as long as the one in the plan.  And then I get click happy on the internet and enter races, lots of long races, or races that have the potential to be long races.  This year, and in a previous year (2016 I think) my running has been going really well.  The temptation to run all the long races as fast as I can is huge when running is going well.  In 2016 this did not end well, I ended up running the Paris Marathon in 4hrs 01 minute - utterly gutting!  So this year, having run two marathons, one sub 4 hrs, and an even faster paced 20 miler already this year, I have decided to stick slightly more closely to the plan so that I don't arrive in Paris with nothing left to give on the day.  

Today's event was another one from On The Whistle.  I love this company and not just because, being local, I don't have to get out of bed at sparrow fart on a Sunday morning!  They run excellent, low key, multi lap events with a six hour time limit.  The venue today was Hogmoor Inclosure - a former Army tank training ground.  I woke up to rain and wind - thank you Storm Freya - and a little bit of me was hoping that the event might have to be cancelled (we had been told that the situation would be kept under review because no one wants trees falling on them).  It wasn't cancelled.  I had to get ready and get to Bordon.

I arrived and bumped into a teacher I know from a school I used to teach at... I didn't know he had started running and to find that the gazebo had blown over!  The rain was coming at us horizontally, if you could find a sheltered spot out of the wind and rain it wasn't actually too cold, but it is hard to run while sitting in your car!  There were lots of friendly faces out today, but it was hard to recognise people as they hunkered down inside coats and under hats!  Once we got running we felt a bit warmer, until feet met puddles...

The route was an out and back with a small loop at one end which went in a U shape around the Hogmoor Inclosure - we got to see a lot more of the place than we see at parkrun and I am tempted to go back (in nice weather) to explore more.  Lots of the route was on firm paths (with puddles) but there were long sections on sand - of varying degrees of wetness!  I can't over emphasise how sapping running on wet sand, in the rain, with a cross wind is!  Out and back we went.  Six laps would give me 19.8 miles - which was as close to 18 miles as I could get it, so that is what I was aiming for.  At one point it stopped raining, and I thought 'f*ck it - may as well run a marathon,' but then it started tipping it down again so I was happy to stick to six laps!

I had lots of chats with friends.  I knew that one of them was planning to run a half marathon (four laps) and knew that I was slightly ahead of him.  I hadn't seen him for AGES, so thought I would put in some effort and catch him up.  I thought I was on my fourth lap and that he was on his third.  I arrived at the aid station to see him with his medal - I'd got my lap counting wrong!  Oops!  But on the plus side I had finished lap five and only had one more to go!

After finishing and collecting my medal (my younger daughter thinks it is the most adorable medal ever) I peeled off some of my wet clothing and went home via the supermarket.  I was hoping that some of the mud would fall off my legs before I got home (it didn't - the photo shows my legs when I got home).  Standing in the shampoo aisle I suddenly regretted not running the extra two laps, but not for too long!

Thank you to the On The Whistle team for another great event, it was great to see you out on the course today... roll on the next event!

1 comment:

  1. Wish I'd done it. Although 17 Road miles for me was tough. Not sure if have made the 19. That medal is wonderful .