Monday, January 18, 2016

Number 2

Yesterday was my 2nd event of the year. It was originally planned to be held at Jeskyns Community Woodland near Gravesend but a few days before the event the wardens made the difficult decision to cancel due to conditions underfoot. It's been so wet for the last few months that all the trails were very muddy and they were concerned about the impact of a 100 or so runners on them.

This of course gave Traviss a huge dilemma - to cancel or reschedule the event. Many Race Directors would just have cancelled the event and offered a transfer to whenever it was held again (which can sometimes mean never and thus you've lost your entrance fee) but Traviss is a different RD altogether!

As soon as he learned the news he put out a message to all entrants and then the next day he had offered an alternate route with several options for everyone:

i) Run the new route, which was on tarmac but in the vicinity of Jeskyns, based out of the Cyclopark.
ii) Defer to the rearranged date in June.
iii) Transfer to another of their events.
iv) Save it as a race credit to be used at another of their events in the future.

There truly aren't many, if any, other Race Directors who would do that and that is one of the many reasons why his events are so popular. I chose option i) and I'm really glad I did.

On the morning of race day I looked out of the window at 5:30am and saw a white curtain of snow falling. Worse still, it was sticking to the ground and there was already a 3" covering. As most of the little lanes I'd be using to get to the main road do not get gritted this was a worry and so I checked the BBC website for traffic updates and weather forecast. It looked as if it was fine elsewhere so I set off and within 5 miles there was hardly any snow at all, phew! In fact, my journey took less time than usual.

Of course, I got lots of teasing from Traviss about my snow worries!

As always it was a very sociable event so there was always someone to chat with en route and the support from fellow runners is wonderful. I was feeling strong and had already decided to go beyond marathon distance depending upon the time (the event had to start later than planned which meant the 6 hour time limit took it to 4pm finish and I didn't want to get home too late).

Many of the Usual Suspects gather at the registration tent

Greg, on the left, was in charge of car parking and the man on his right was a Marshall who stood around in the bitter cold for hours

On the face of it the route was not glamorous; running on a gravel track alongside a busy motorway, over a couple of bridges, across a railway line, along a road, but I really enjoyed it. I've grown accustomed to going round in circles or out-and-back and although my heart is in the hills/trails I am happy to do this sort of route.

This route plan showing the route elevations someone uploaded from their GPS device made me chuckle!

I made the decision again not to take loads of photos unless there was something I just couldn't resist so the next 3 photos came courtesy of Gary Groutage who was snapping away as he supported us:

I couldn't believe how much I look like my late sister in this photo

Kirsty had a brilliant skirt teamed with her fluorescent socks

Phoebe managed to sleep through a large part of the run. How Rik managed over some of the trail terrain I really don't know!

I'd decided from the start that I was going to go over marathon distance again, by at least one extra lap, and I'd also decided that I would adopt a run-as-I-feel plan rather than trying to do a negative split (that means that you run the second half faster than the first half) which never seems to work for me. So I just set off at pace that felt right on the day and was delighted that I felt really strong. In fact, people kept commenting that I was running well and I hoped that it wasn't going to be a case of pride before a fall!

There was lots of chatter en-route and I was delighted to share a few more miles with James with whom I ran last weekend. He was intending to do 10 laps so we parted company after a while. This young man has some amazing things planned and the good thing is that I know he will achieve them.

For marathon distance you had to complete 7 laps and 8 laps or more would get an ultra so I was aiming for 8. When I got to my 8th lap I knew I had could easily do another lap but decided against it because the later start (10am rather than 9am due to the Cyclopark's opening hours) meant that I'd be getting home a lot later than planned. Plus, the thought of a nice warm car and Mike waiting for me was rather appealing.

The next 2 photos were taken on my last lap and I couldn't resist because even though I'd run over this bridge 8 times I hadn't noticed the bunnies:

Aren't they cute. I've no idea what the story of them is as I can't find any mention of them but they certainly made me smile.

My finish time was 5:45:04 for 30 miles which is much faster than last weekend so I was both surprised and pleased in equal measures.

The medal was really lovely, I got an ultra badge too, and the goody bag was so full of goodies that Mike said I should give some things away next time or we'll both get too fat from all the chocolate!

I'll leave with a photo of one of our beautiful Amaryllis which is blooming now. It's rather different from the usual ones and is Amaryllis Cybister Rose. I love it's fine petals.


Lowcarb team member said...

That Amaryllis Cybister Rose is just lovely, such delicate shading.

I'm really enjoying reading about your runs, you so enjoy it.
Loved the pictures of you, Kirsty and young Phoebe ... and yes Rik did well with the buggy didn't he!

Keep warm

All the best Jan

Susie Hewer said...

Thanks Jan. I do love running which is just as well as its such an important part of my life now! Rik is a speedy boy with or without the buggy and on whatever terrain your throw at him. Susie x