Sunday, 27 June 2010

Herts Hobble in the Hot

Ah, it's been ages since I did an LDWA marathon. I think there must be a rule book somewhere that states that each run must include at least 5 each of enclosed footpaths, stiles, footbridges, kissing gates, fields, woods, hills, ... though the majority of these are given their two-letter abbreviations in the four pages of instructions of course.

It was ridiculously hot which made it tough going across the open fields, but there were some great shady woods that were lovely to run through too. I ran in the top company of Rob, who I've met at lots of races before, though we'd never run together previously. Well, I say run. There was a fair bit of walking in the hottest sunshine of the year so far.
I managed to fall over about 3 miles from the end. I wasn't hurt: just scratched and grazed. But I did get what I though was a splinter and turned out to be about two inches of twig inserted into my shin. It was very odd pulling it out and rather sore for the next mile or so.

We got very lost in a field a couple of miles from the finish, covering over 27 miles in the end. It took us over 5 hours, but we'd both done longer stuff last weekend so were more than happy to take it easy.

Another pleasant day out in the countryside.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

My first 100K

The Boddington 100K takes place on a 2.2 mile lap course on flat country roads in Gloucestershire. I entered it as it's a new distance for me, so it seemed churlish not to. I was very wary of the 11.5 hour time limit, especially as the race was just 3 weeks after GUCR (and 5 weeks after 10in10) and I had no idea if I'd be recovered enough from those to be quick enough.

When I arrived (with a lift from Riel and Helen - both pretty amazing runners) there were plenty of people I knew there. The Boddington Marathon and 50K were taking place simultaneously (Helen won the women's 50K in a might impressive 3:35). Lots of 100 club folk and Fetchies in attendance so it was great to catch up with people I hadn't seen for a while.

The organiser took me to one side when I was collecting my number. She asked if I'd done the distance before and what sort of time I could manage. I could have said that while I hadn't done 100K, I'd done 3 longer races, another 5 races of 50 miles or more and over 20 shorter ultras. But as I wasn't feeling too confident about getting round in time (mainly because my knees spent all of Friday feeling just plain wrong), I think I just mumbled something about having done a few long runs. My running friends, who overheard and had far more faith in my ability, found it hilarious - "doesn't she know who you are?!". It's a good thing they were there as it was otherwise a rather disconcerting way to start the day.

I needn't have worried. I wore compression bandages on my knees - possibly their main purpose was to act as security blankets - and my legs held up very well throughout. I ran a relaxed first marathon in 3:53, went through the double in 8:13 and finished in 9:56. I am very pleased with that. I actually ran the first 70K (stopping only to fill my water bottle and grab gels or food from the checkpoint) and even after that only had a short walk every couple of miles or so. I think I'd had more than enough walking at the canal, so was far more comfortable just to keep running.

I like laps. A good thing as there were 28 of them. As the marathon and 50K were on the same course, all starting at the same time, it meant that there were plenty of people around. I don't mind being lapped by faster runners - I enjoy watching people who are good at their sport. And for a change I actually lapped quite a few people myself too. I ran with Lindley, who'd I'd met at a couple of previous races, for a few miles at the start, but spent the majority of the race just pootling along on my own. It was pretty warm, but with a pleasant cooling breeze. The race memento was one of those laser etched paperweight thingies. The 100K race was a Celtic Plate team competition: England v Ireland v Scotland v Wales, with 3 from each country to count. It was won be the English men and the Scottish women. As it turned out, I was the only English girl there who finished. Seemed like a missed opportunity - if there had been a couple more, I could have said I competed on the England team. Better than the football.

A lovely day out all in all.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

GUCR - active recovery begins

After the GUCR, there followed 9 days with no running. It felt a lot longer. For the first two, I didn't even get downstairs, let alone outside. But by the Thursday I managed to get shoes on to go for a couple of very short slow walks, then by Saturday was ok for a most enjoyable day trip to sunny Brighton. On Wednesday I finally went for a run - 2 and a half miles, wearing a huge idiot grin throughout. I did a bit more on the next couple of days to make sure my knees weren't complaining and decided I was ok to do the South Downs Way Trail marathon yesterday.

It felt like I'd been out of the running scene for ages and it was great to be back out there. I realise how ridiculous that sounds. (After all, I had only missed one race.) There were loads of Fetchies and 100 club folk there and it was a beautiful sunny day, but not stupidly hot. I was running with Heather, who's still recovering from serious illness a few weeks ago. We planned to take it very slowly (vaguely hoping for a sub-6), with her special needs lungs making the uphills a struggle and my special needs feet and knees making the downhills tricksy: perhaps not the best pairing for a hilly off road course then. But Heather is fantastic running company and we were both just happy to be there and spent the majority of the day chatting and laughing, walking the steepest uphills, but actually running the majority of the route.
My knees coped with the downhills pleasingly well and only one foot had hurty blister shenanigans going on (when I finally took the sock off it later, it was a case of "what the ...? oh I see, eeugh, that explains it...). Heather stayed strong and despite declaring herself too tired for any more uphills at mile 19, we nevertheless did run several more of the inclines. And finished in 4:44 feeling very happy. It's good to be back.