Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Race Report and Mini Adventures

Hey hey, you crazy kids!

Ooooh - where does the time go when you're not looking????

Anyway - I return after several days of crazy fun, to check in and see what everyone's up to.  Thank you sooooooo much for all your lovely best wishes and good lucks for the run on Sunday - I swear they helped! :-)

After a week of getting a bit nervous, and much stress at work, and consequently chucking the diet out the window and eating whatever the hell I wanted, I finally finished work for my week of holiday and met Jo at the flat on Friday evening.  We had a very chilled out weekend prior to the Run Bristol on Sunday, eating in (which makes a bloody change for me after 4 meals out in one week!!), and going for a last gentle 20 min jog and some walking on Saturday morning, so Jo could scope out some of the route.  Saturday afternoon was spent in some further walking, as we pottered around Chew Valley lake and tried to convince ourselves that we'd done enough exercise to merit a cream tea!  We compromised by sharing and had a scone with clotted and cream and jam each, and afterwards tried to work out how it was actually possible to eat two of those things on your own - they were amazing, but totally filling.  We rounded out Saturday evening with home-cooked pasta, a (large) bar of chocolate and a silly film, before heading for a pretty early night.

After a minor worry about the weather not co-operating, Sunday dawned clear with just a bit of patchy cloud and a breeze - pretty much perfect running weather.  Everything went smoothly and to plan, until I decided to update my recently refound iPod Shuffle 10 mins before leaving the house, and somehow caused it to go into spontaneous and non-recoverable shutdown.


There followed a short comedy tantrum of somewhat epic proportions as I chucked all of my available toys out of the pram at the prospect of running without music.  Jo very sensibly stood back and let me get on with it.  As it was now time to go, I eventually came to terms with the fact that, one way or another, I would be running, and I could either revert to my earlier intention of just enjoying the run, or let it ruin the day.  I shoved my main iPod in my bag on the offchance that I might find someone at the event village selling armbands for them so I could run with that, and we headed out into the watery sunshine.

And what-do-you-know?  There was.  And they were doing discounts for race competitors!  Shiny!

Eqilibrium restored, we did the nervous, pre-race, essential loo stops (oh good lord - the queues!!  10,000 runners mean a lot of people needing last minute loo stops.  Lucky we found a sneaky disabled loo with no queue - phew!).  Then a sneaky, pre-race cheese for the camera:

And then we were pretty much off.  I was in my starting pen with Kate (on the right above), and since she's a marathon survivor (Paris if you please!), she was a great person to keep the nerves at bay whilst we waited to be lead forward to the start line.  This was so different to the relaxed feel at last October's Race for Life 10k.  In the end, we went over the line, and within about 30 seconds, we'd parted company to run our own races.

And it went pretty smoothly.  I set out at a steady pace, and forced myself not to get sucked into rushing  as loads of people shot past me.  Whatever - they were running their race, and I was running mine.  I'd kind of known that this would happen, as I was right at the slow end of the expected finishing time for my pen, so I didn't let it worry me.  I settled down to plod out the first couple of km at a steady pace, and just enjoy things.

The first couple went quickly, and I was just settling into my stride, as we went out on the loop to the furthest point of the course, which was an out-and-back section.  That meant I could watch the elite runners pounding back into the city centre on the course, a couple of km's ahead of me ..... man, do those guys and girls go quick!

Km 4-5 seemed to take a while, but then we were half-way round and I allowed myself a quick time check:  32 and a bit minutes in - exactly where I wanted to be, as long as I could keep my pace in the second half.  No matter - now I just concentrated on maintaining my running and not stopping for a break.  Markers for 6 and 7kms slowly rolled past, no breaks yet, but the little up and overs on the bridge over the harbour felt tougher than you'd expect when you're running an otherwise totally flat course!

The 7km point was a bit misleading, because we'd passed that marker on our Saturday reconnoitre, and on a normal run, that would be a fairly nice, short run home for me.  But not now, because we still had to run in and round town.  For some reason, the last km and a half seemed to carry on forever!!!  Maybe, because that took me over the time of the longest continuous run I'd done to date.  Maybe because I was just expecting to be finished by then.  Either way, I was starting to wonder if my legs would keep it going, but the ever increasing crowds were lovely.  You can't stop and walk when there's people watching, can you???

Finally rounding the corner into the last couple of hundred metres, and I-swear-to-God those metres were getting longer and longer, as I tried to speed up to finish.  See the finish, see the clock, and go.  Just-a-bit-further-just-a-bit-faster-you-can-do-it-don't-stop-now.


Nearly throw up.



Keep moving.  Keep walking.

Nope, not going to throw up.  Or not right now anyway.

Oh bollocks ... forgot to stop watch.  Stop it at 1hr 6mins.  What's my real time??

Keep moving.

Mmmmmm, lucozade and more water.

Goody bag.


Find friends.

Cheeeeeese for the camera:

After that, a slow walk home, and a well deserved ice-cream on the way, hot showers and a late Sunday lunch which was a-may-zing!!!  Guilt free eating is the best .... note to self:  must run more.

A chance meeting with a friend at that pub also gave me a play-buddy for the next couple of days, so we've been adventuring! :-)

Yesterday saw us here:

A bit of Stonehenge culture, followed by a visit to Cheddar and a completely improptu bit of this:

Dan saw an advert with the words "adventure caving" and immediately dragged me off to the office to book it.  That's not either of us in the photo above, but they had us crawling through very similar sized holes .... eeeeeek!  I wish I did have a photo of us when we came out though .... covered head to foot in mud would be an understatement!  Caving is definitely something I'd never even have attempted pre-weight loss and it was certainly an adrenaline kick .... not sure I want to try anything much smaller than what we attempted though - tipping yourself down a black hole that just fits your hips, head first, arms out in front, and going downhill, is about as scary as I want to go, I think!

And we rounded out the mini adventure with a spot of culture today, here in Bristol at the SS Great Britain:

Oh yes - and I got my final chip time - 1:05:09, which knocks 7 mins off my last time (1:12).  I went into the race saying that I'd be happy with 1:10, but I'd really like 1:05.  So now the only problem I have, is that having met my lower time target for the race, I'm annoyed that I didn't get below 1:05.  Am I going to have to do it all again to try and beat that?  Bugger.

Not just yet though .... I have a duathlon in 3 weeks to get through first!


kate said...

brilliant stuff :) congratulations on your pb! i think that what ever the distance that last mile is always the hardest. you should be suitable proud of yourself. looking forward to your future running adventures ;)

Peridot said...