Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Mud after the party!

Oh dear what can the matter be?! The relentless rain is causing havoc!  Not least with the poor people further down the country in places such as Northampton & Devon.  The horrors of what the floods have caused portrayed on the news make our moans about running in wet conditions pale into insignificance.  My heart goes out to them. However, last weekends downpours made for terrible conditions at the first of the season's cross country races hosted by Ackworth Runners within the grounds of Fitzwilliam Park.Trawling through flooded roads to get there gave us an insight into what the running conditions were going to be like. It had, thankfully, ceased raining by the end of our hour long journey to reach Fitzwilliam.

People were seemingly undeterred by the weather, the queue for registration was very long and continued to get longer behind us. The wind whipped around our legs as we patiently waited to hand over our entry fee. Were we really standing in a queue to pay to be subjected to these adverse conditions?  Doubts began to surface as I yawned for about the hundredth time, having been out partying the night before at an 18th Birthday party, sleep had evaded me for the most part.  I had also done something I have not done a very, very long time, which is consume copious amounts of alcohol knowing I was going to do a race the following morning.  I had taken the fact that the race start wasn't until 11 am to be confirmation that I should be ok by that time, paying no attention to the fact that club members had agreed to meet at 9am to care share and travel over.

Thankfully club mate Dawn had expressed a wish to run a really steady race since she has been injured on and off of late.  I took the opportunity to keep her company, providing me with the perfect antidote to my 'hangover'.  Despite the most boggy, muddy and wet conditions I have ever had the pleasure to encounter during a run (beaten only by the conditions of the Three Peaks in July), we really enjoyed ourselves once our feet were well and truly soaked.  The initiation ceremony is always met with screams of fear, maybe we think our feet will fall off if they get wet! Wearing my new trail shoes for the first time caused me to shriek even more as the lovely pink decor and laces disappeared under the cover of mud!


Hope of ever getting those socks back to some form of white seem very remote! As Christmas is well and truly looming I think maybe I'll put that old favourite 'socks' at the top of my list!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Wading in butter!

With the blink of an eye a couple of weeks have passed me by, a culmination I think of being busy with work (not complaining!), family and running.  Training has continued with our usual mix of sessions since the Guy Fawkes 10 mile and on Remembrance Sunday weekend I took part in the last of this years YVAA races at Spenborough, which, at least since I've run them, the last race has always taken place here.  It's usually a big turn out from all the clubs possibly because it is the last one.  A very cold and frosty but bright morning meant I hoped against hope that it wouldn't be too bad under foot, since I had demoted my cross country trainers to the bin and failed to purchase any more, the only alternative I had to my usual road shoes was my Nike Lunarglides, I chose these simply because they are black! However, they were a very different shade of black when I had finished! Having negotiated mud which I likened to wading through butter - extremely slippy - my shoes were unrecognisable as shoes let alone what colour when I emerged back onto the track to the finish.  It felt like I had a whole field attached to them, much of which was deposited onto the track by mine and previous runners shoes!

We observed a minutes silence before the race
I really enjoyed the race and have to chuckle to myself as I recall the moment when having just exited the railway bridge (a highlight for me as not only are runners turned around and sent back from whence they came we are also treated to the now familiar sight of the metal sheep!), I came down and under a bridge, spying some spectators on my right out of the corner of my eye but concentrating so hard I wasn't listening properly to the marshal who was frantically shouting (I thought) 'Dan's here, Dan's here' - turned out he was shouting 'darn here, darn here' in his southern accent, actually meaning 'down here' - by this time I had completely missed the turn off and had to turn round and run back up the hill! Ha well it provided me with an excuse for being marginally slower than the same race last year!

So with the YVAA series over for another year we 'welcome' the start of the Peco Cross Country League next Sunday with race one at Ackworth, before that though the Abbey Dash which was the next race in the club championship.  For me though, it was to be as cheerleader yesterday, I missed out after leaving it too late to enter and upon logging onto the Age Uk website read 'RACE ENTRY IS NOW CLOSED'.  Sadly I have also missed entry into the Chevin Chase on Boxing Day - I find it financially challenging - if there is such a phrase - if not I've just invented it - to enter races so far in advance - meaning popular ones sell out fast.  It beggars belief how much we runners must spend from year to year on race entry and with rising costs for those hosting them these have to be passed onto runners, this one though will have to be selective in choosing which ones to enter with a factor being the entrance fee. I have also now got Marc who has stepped up to senior level running and can be part of the club championship so if he wants to enter too it's double bubble!

Party season is hotting up with invitations flooding in! I have a sneaking suspicion the social life is going to start getting in the way again! The YVAA Awards Dinner at Elland Road along with numerous coming of age (friends, nephews, neices) and (over the hill cousins, brothers) party invites and the club AGM on the 30th falls right in the middle of it all. Party on my friend........

Monday, 5 November 2012

Frosty Fawkes

Training is back on track after the Bridlington Half marathon.  I had a few aches and pains but as they say 'no pain, no gain'! I feel I am really back in the swing of things and am really enjoying my running at the minute.  It's always a breath of fresh air when the lighter nights come along but this year I feel exactly the same now the darker nights are here since the clocks have gone back an hour. We don't seem to get so much hassle as we run around slightly more anonymously! No doubt as it gets colder and colder I will long for the Summer months to be back with us but for the moment I'm happy!

The Guy Fawkes 10 mile race at Ripley proved to be an extremely cold one, I must learn to assess what to wear beforehand.  Arriving in the beautiful village all shrouded in heavy fog and a severe frost covering everything in sight, I began to shiver at the thought of having to remove my outer layers leaving me scantily clad in my club vest! I comforted myself with thoughts of being able to leave my gloves on, cold hands seem to be my worst enemy and have given me some funny turns over the years!

As us ERR girls tried in vain to warm up before the race we found ourselves at the start line, and a huge throng of people came up behind us - time to assemble for the start then! Stood amongst all the bodies, respite from the cold was short lived as the crowd began to move forward and off we set down the rocky road that is the unmistakeable start of the Guy Fawkes race.  Half a mile in and I began to feel out of sorts, I was extremely cold and finding it difficult to breathe, it was like an icy blast as we ran forward.  Thankfully after about a mile and a half I began to settle into my pace, my toes and arms though, were still numb.  Thank heaven for the gloves.  A short while later I felt much better as signs for Birstwith came into view.  Reminding me of the first hill of the race at around the four mile mark, the 'Birstwith Brute'.  I began to entertain thoughts that today I may well have to walk the hills at some point.

Reaching the top of the first hill I felt a sense of great achievement, it may well be the case that some feel they can walk it quicker but when I turned left at the top it felt like a weight had lifted from my shoulders and off I ran as fast as my legs could carry me! This was also the case after the next two 'named' hills. My efforts reaped me a course pb by a sizeable margin and the satisfaction that I hadn't walked at all, but not a 10 mile pb but that is to be expected on such a hilly course and my Askern 10 pb will take some beating even on the same course!  It's amazing what we'll do for a bit of chocolate, my goodie bag contained 4 Kitkats, 2 Aeros, a Yorkie bar and a Milky bar and with a bottle of water and a technical tee shirt thrown in I'd say we got our just desserts!

A foggy uphill finish!

Attending a bonfire tonight will round off my plot weekend a treat, a recovery run will have to wait until tomorrow!