Sunday, December 7, 2014

Marathon 40 of 60, a quiz and some Cows

Yes, there are indeed some cows, not real ones though - they're crocheted and it's all in a good cause. Here's Tilly inspecting the bull hat:

But first I must write about marathon number 40 which I completed on Friday. There are lots of photos of the sea and sky to tell the story, with a few people thrown in for good measure (not thrown into the sea, I hasten to add!).

The race was held in the village of Dymchurch which has a history of smuggling. It also played a huge part in the defense of our country and I'll write more about that in January next year when I'll be running another similar event, the Martello Marathon.

Rachel, Traviss and team handing out race numbers before stocking the table with drinks and goodies for the aid station. Traviss has run either 3 or 4 x 100 mile ultra marathons since I ran the first of his events the Fowlmead Challenge in October. How amazing is that?!!!
Runners beginning to gather at the registration point
The forecast was not too bad other than being cold with perhaps a bit of drizzle but at least there wasn't any wind which would have been horrible on the coast. I always think the sea looks mean and moody when the weather is overcast so here are a few photos to give you a feel for it:

It was another out-and-back route on concrete, along the top level, which we had to complete 5 times (with an extra bit at the start to make up the mileage) and I know I said it last time but I'm really enjoying this type of marathon for a change. This is the view to the East.

This is the view to the West

I went down some steps to the lower level and chuckled at this notice on the ground:

These pretty little birds (perhaps Sandpipers? I'm not good at identifying sea birds) flitted along the edge of the waves

Looking West towards Dungeness Power Station

Looking East towards Folkestone and Dover
After I'd registered and collected my running number I wandered off for a look around the immediate area. 

My wanderings took me along the seawall and around the back of this pub. I wondered how it got its name being that it is many miles away from the  City of London! A 16th Century inn, it was originally called The Seawall Tavern (which seemed a bit more in keeping) but during a storm in 1775 a ship named The City of London was blown ashore and collided with the inn, causing substantial damage. The ship's figurehead and timbers were used to repair the building and the name was changed to reflect this. It serves as a memorial to those who lost their lives all those years ago.

Here you can see one of the many beacons across the land. Nowadays they are lit for special occasions such as the Queen's Jubilee in 2012 rather than as warning signals for the defense of the country (see here for more details).

There were flocks of starlings balancing on the telegraph lines.

We'd been informed that it was international day of the Ninja (yes, really!) and Traviss had asked us all to wear black running gear. Here's a photos of us all at the start:

Can you spot me? I'm on the far right next to the man wearing a white tee shirt. I've got my face covered with my buff as the cold was affecting my asthma!
It was very strange not wearing my purple (well, it was purple once) cap with the crochet on and people kept saying they didn't recognise me without it. I wore my ARUK vest underneath my black top and I still wore mum's ring which made me feel better.

I was delighted to see some familiar faces at the start line. Best of all was spotting Claire who I mentioned last week and we were both doing our 40th marathon that day. After a couple of laps we realised that we were running at about the same pace and Claire suggested that we could run the remainder together to help each other along as we weren't trying for a particular time. 

This was an excellent idea as both of us were still feeling the effects of the previous marathon 5 days before (Claire with her hamstring and me in my left foot which objected to the pounding on concrete). Chatting with her really helped pass the miles and it was great to catch up. 

We were trying to remember when we'd last seen each other and I thought it was at the Beachy Head marathon 2007 (where Claire and a few other people ran the route twice, yes twice - they started at 3am!) but she reminded me it was at the Hastings marathon later that same year. Still a long time ago.

I love the light shimmering on the sea - very moody

The last lap and a half we ran/walked to help take the pressure off our sore bits. This is a really useful strategy if you're tiring in a long distance event as the change of pace seems to re-energise your legs. By walking I don't mean ambling along, it was a brisk walk and not for very long, just perhaps a walk break of around 100 metres occasionally. 

These next photos were taken during the last lap:

The turnaround point was adjacent to a firing range, surrounded by barbed wire.
Towards the end the weather brightened up and the sky turned from grey to blue. We had to run past this massive rock on each lap. Claire was being my artistic adviser and suggested I include our shadows  in the photo.

The view towards Folkestone was much prettier than first thing. Now Claire knows a thing or two about rocks (as it's her specialist subject) so I can state with confidence that these rocks, which form part of the sea defences, are known as 'rock armour' (more photos of examples here - Rock Armour). I also learned that the sparkly bits in these igneous rocks are a mineral known as Mica (see Claire, I remembered!)

Heading for the finish line

We crossed the line together in 5:24:25 and the smiles on our faces sum up our delight. So that was Claire's 40th marathon before she turns 40 next year and it was my 40th marathon out of 60 before I turn 60 in 2017. Only 20 more to go then! 

Thanks for your company Claire xxx

When I arrived home it was time for a cuppa and to tell Mike all about it. Just look at that medal (it weighs a ton and is serious bling!) and the giant Toblerone which was included in the amazing goody bag for all finishers.

The Quiz

Although there was a cup of tea in the previous photo we need something sparkly to celebrate my 40th marathon and it just so happened that it was the village quiz that same evening. So after a nice soak in the bath we dressed up and headed off to meet our fellow teammates Gordon and Judy to share some bubbles with them before we headed off to the quiz.

They were amazed when they realised that we'd walked to the village (it's only just over 1/2 a mile) and couldn't believe I was so chirpy. I actually like to park my car at least 1/2 mile away from the start/finish area of a marathon as I find that a nice walk after a marathon helps to stretch out my legs.

The quiz was well attended and it was a fun evening. We were on table 'K' and so called ourselves 'Team Koko'.

There was one very contentious question - who wrote the theme to the James Bond movies? The answer was given as John Barry who only arranged the theme which was actually written by Monty Norman (check out the link Glenys where it says 'James Bond theme'!). Of course Mike, being a composer, knew the correct answer but when he queried it with the quizmaster he was told that Google gave him the answer and of course most people have only heard of John Barry. Well Google needs to get it's facts right then!

Despite that debacle we managed to win the 'categories' section of the quiz which included General Knowledge, History and Geography, Christmas, Film and performance. There was an additional section which involved identifying small sections of the faces of famous people and recognising different items such as a 'Bit coin' (which we didn't know). Guess what? - we won that section too.

Hoorah for Team Koko! 

These are the lovely goodies we took home

What a great way to end the day!

Now, about those cows

I mentioned previously that I'd been busy knitting and crocheting things for various charities. This was a very fun idea which came about because of me typing "hoorah!" on a comment on Facebook! I love random things like that.

As a result of that I was contacted by Andy from White Star Running and asked if I could make something for them as a raffle prize, along with free entry to one of their races and other goodies, with the proceeds going to Alzheimer's Research UK. Of course I was delighted to oblige and we finally agreed that I'd make a cow hat because they organise what are known as the Bad Cow races.

Having scoured Ravelry for a suitable pattern I sent a few photos for Andy to choose his favourite and he chose this crochet pattern for a cow/bull hat. What fun. The pattern was well written and included a variety of sizes - I chose the 'teen/adult' size which fitted me and Mike perfectly. I used Red Heart 'Soft' which was a nice yarn to work with and is very soft.

I made the girl hat first and loved it so much I decided to crochet a second one for the boys so they had 2 to include in the raffle!

Every girl cow deserves a pink bow and curly ties.

For the bull I added some little horns and gave him a white flash on his nose.
Two moos 
Andy asked me if I could please add their logo on the back but I was a bit short on time so did an approximation which seemed to work OK.

The raffle started here on Facebook on Friday. A £1 donation gets one entry into the raffle to win entry to one of they races, a tee shirt and a cow hat and has already raised over £100. Thanks guys, excellent work xxx.

Now all I've got to do is catch up with all the other things I need to write about on here…...

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