Running & Fitness
‘Make sure you pack the sun lotion’ said my ever positive partner Chau as we were getting our running stuff together before setting off to the New Forest for a 10 mile race.
Turns out that was was actually needed was umbrella, wind cheater and thermals - yes, this event was on July 10th therefore maybe unrealistically I thought there could be a chance of summer type of weather.
I was looking forward to this race as it was my first event since my knee injury in February and having been gradually increasing my milage so I am happy running up to 15 miles now so this should be nice and relaxing shouldn't it? Well not really as although I say I am not remotely competitive apparently I am... Outwardly I am calm and relaxed but inwardly I am winding myself up into competition mode. I have run half marathons but not 10 milers so I was not sure what time I would be aiming at so I was subtly questioning Chau (who is a marathon runner) on when he could expect me to finish. Not that I cared what time I would get back in (honest). I was just there for a relaxing run and enjoy the scenery.
Arriving 2 hours early (as is the case with Chau everywhere we go) we had plenty of time to sit in the car lined up with all of the other early arrivals and look out of the steamed up windows eating banana and peanut sandwiches watching our fellow runners battling against the wind and rain to collect their numbers and do all the necessary preparations. I am an avid people watcher so this was actually as good for me as watching TV! So much to look at, peoples outfits, their race preparations and warm up, I love it. One lady ran past the car so many times I am sure her warm up was as far as the race itself!
I have a problem that starts an hour before the race. I don't fight it any more, I just go with the flow - literally! Every time I go to a race I average going to the loo about 5 times in the pre race hour. This really should not be possible or necessary. I have been known to queue for the porter loo, go, and then join the end of the queue again and repeat until its time to go to the start. I have turned this negative into a positive and make it a social activity and now is part of my pre race warm up chatting with my fellow runners who many have this same problem plus the joys of the British weather and how hilly the course might be.
My warm up for this race consisted braving the elements by getting out of the car, running to the porter loo and running back to the safety of the car and repeat 5 times. (actually I managed 6 as I found a suitable bush for a final empty of the bladder!)
5 minutes to go, wished Chau good luck and left him at the front of the pack as he would be finished in about half and hour (well just over an hour) I go to a suitably appropriate place in the group as I don't want the embarrassing situation of being too far at the front and be flattened as the gun goes off with the stampede of elite runners.
Getting to the right place to start is essential for me. Its my most stressful part of the run and I am sure my heart beats faster than it is when actually running. No indication of timed sections today so I have to judge it by what the runners look like to see if I am in the right spot. Generally about middle is good for me and avoids too much of the initial bottle neck which gets me frustrated (not that I am competitive) not right at the back with the gel bar runners. Each to their own but do you really need 5 gel bars on a 10 mile race? Honestly they will weigh you down in more ways than one. Total calorie intake of 5 gel bars in one race surely must be more energy than you expend in the race? I will save my calories for a bacon sandwich and brown sauce after the race thank you very much.
OK finger poised on the Garmin button and off we go. Really its such a relief to start and get cracking enjoying the beautiful scenic views (that is so not going to happen!)
Mile 1 is all about establishing yourself, not a lot of rhythm as its stop start until the runners draw themselves out. Aways a little bit of ducking and diving to find space and places to overtake (who me? I never do that!)
Mile 2 and 3 - most difficult for me as I never get into a rhythm until mile 4 (therefore no Park Runs for me!) this is my mind over matter miles and believe me there have been many races where I seriously contemplate heading back to the start as my mind thinks that running is just ridiculous and stop it right now.
Mile 4 - now I am ready to roll and get my game face on. Looking at my Garmin I see that I am about a minute quicker than my training pace so I may as well give it all I can and see who I can overtake (not that I am competitive)
Mile 5 - Trying to stay behind a larger man to slip stream the wind which was full force on a very open area of the course. I hope he did not think I was stalking him as I was pretty close but it does work!
Mile 6 - Attack the hills and actually pick up speed I see hills as competition as well. What is wrong with me? Slightly scary moment for some New Forest Ponies who emerged from the bracken to be faced sweaty grunting runners coming to the brow of the hill.
Mile 7 - Having a wardrobe malfunction. I usually wear compression leggings but recently I have been wearing running shorts, cooler and quite impressed that I have managed to get to a weight where I can were shorts although I still do have legs like a weightlifter Problem is that the inner lining rides up and gathers in the buttock area which is irritating and uncomfortable. I call it a 'Buttock Buncher' On training runs I can rectify the issue without the worry of having 300 runners behind me. How do I extract the material from my buttocks without causing undue attention and distress to other runners?
Mile 8 - Legs are feeling the strain of my faster than usual run and now thinking I have overcooked it somewhat with my overambitious 8.20 min miles. Lets look at at mens bums for a bit. Take my mind off the pain I am inflicting on myself. Always helps and I know I’m not the only one so don't gasp in shock!
Mile 9 - Feel a bit like I might vomit a little bit and getting a stitch in my shoulder but I am going to over take that lady if its the last thing I do. I have been tracking her down for the last mile. Overtake her, she passes me, cat and mouse for a while but I am going to get her on the hill, hurrah - did it (not that I am competitive)
Mile 10 - Well I might as well give it a go now I am this far in and see if there is anything left in the tank. I am as purple in the face as my shorts and why was I so vain as to wear mascara which has mingled with sweat and stinging my eyes? I see can see the marquees and crowd in the distance, nearly there and can I manage a sprint ?- OK , here we go! I honestly have no idea where it comes from but I am going for it and God Forbid the embarrassment if I fall over now! Finish line and we are done, although not a pretty sight I do admit!
1hour 22mins, 15 seconds - not that I looked at my Garmin or check to find out I was 9th in my age category as I am not competitive, just was out there for a nice scenic run. That is so never going to happen, who am I kidding!
Time for a bacon sandwich and a non competitive walk around the New Forest after I change out of the Bottom Buncher shorts to something a little more comfortable!