Sunday, December 14, 2008

Three In One

Since the Westgates have let the side down - must be a least a fortnight since they ran a marathon - I felt duty bound to update the blog. So, three things:-

Maiden Newton Running Club Non Meeting - 11th December

Only the real hard core turned up for the pre non-meeting run. Phil, Martin and I slithered around the icy lanes of Cattistock and even Phil admitted that it was a bit cold. Personally I resorted to handwarmers after about half a mile...... In true Maiden Newton Running Club form our numbers swelled once the running was over and the pub began: Mike, Di and Dan turned up to join us in the nice warm pub for a drink.

No minutes were taken as we weren't sure if it was a meeting or not but we did a sort of past events - I whined about how hard the Colyton Five was and gloated about beating my previous Street 5k time by over a minute, mind you I was so slow the previous month it wasn't much of an achievement. Martin bemoaned his loss of race fitness which has resulted in him losing a minute over the 5k and blamed it on his recent weight gain. Yeah right - must have grown his toe nails or something. Di let slip that she is an experienced skittles player and I made a mental note to make sure she ends up on my team for the Xmas skittles game. At the mention of Xmas we discussed the possibility of having the do at the Fox & Hounds. Phil warned us that it might be pricey compared to the Chalk. Dan, with amazing speed headed for the bar to find out - possibly the idea of being able to stagger home afterwards motivated him. If he showed a turn of speed like that in races MNRC would have a new champion to boast about. Anyway, a couple of hot dishes and garlic bread for the very reasonable price of £6, with chips and salad thrown in for an extra £1. Unfortunately Saturday 10th is booked so a few alternatives were discussed and Phil undertook to e-mail everyone (still waiting Phil!!!). We glossed over future events - Stoke Stampede on Boxing Day got a brief mention, Dan told us that he almost went fishing but it was too cold and after confirming the ridiculously early start time of 10am for the Sunday morning run the non meeting shuddered to a halt and we all went home.

Reindeer Run - Otterton, South Devon

Unfortunately this coincided with the Yeovil Running Club Xmas do - so Martin and I spent a sleepless night on Friday in the van in the car park at the Halfway House in Chilthorne Domer (having considerably reduced our normal alcohol intake) listening to the rain beating against the roof. By the time we had negotiated the mud, floods and road closures to reach the start we were fairly confident (and it must be said, slightly hopeful) that the race would be cancelled. Fortunately (or unfortunately) runners are a hardy breed and although a large part of the course was completely flooded it had been re-routed so that the race could go ahead - but over a shorter distance of about 8k.

This is a pleasant, mostly off road run but with a tough uphill start. We set off quite conservatively, neither of us feeling particularly competitive. The off road sections were killing - struggling up sodden fields trying to keep your footing and a lovely section of lane which made the Grizzly bog look like a walk in the park - real stamina sapping stuff. The best part was the diversion at the end which made the last mile and a half take to the roads - an easy option you might think, but only until we reached the floods and ran the last half mile through ankle deep water. The shortened course was only just 5 miles, but it was really hard and took us just under 40 minutes. Mulled wine and mince pies afterwards and then an announcement that the road had been closed. It was OK for over a hundred runners to negotiate but way too dangerous for all those precious cars! Martin, he who is so overweight and must lose half a stone, succumbed to the temptations of the cake stall and bought a large coffee and walnut cake to take home with us, then we went to the pub for lunch and a couple of pints. No wonder he's such a blob........!!

Sunday Morning Run - Fox & Hounds

A good turn out. Phil, Dan and his non-imaginary friend Rob, Mike and Di, myself (Martin languishing in bed with a cold - that'll teach him to spend Saturday morning running through icy cold water), Andy and Charlie, and best of all, Tyson the Boxer joined us - with enough enthusiasm for the rest of us put together. Di decided that Phil's treacherous off road route was to be avoided at all costs so 8 of us set off up the muddy hill towards the A37. Interesting how Phil is the only one of us fit enough to keep talking all the way up the hill...................

A brief swoop down into Sydling where Mike and I both (secretly) considered sloping off home, and then the hard slog back up the Wessex Ridgeway to cross the main road again. The track down to Maiden Newton bore a strong resemblance to yesterday's route - Dan and Rob treated us to an impressive display of sprinting hard through the biggest puddles, not sure what that was about - reversion to childhood perhaps or possibly not having to wash their own running kit later..........

Charlie and Tyson left us at the station in Maiden Newton, Tyson with considerable reluctance - a new member perhaps? The rest of us headed up the railway path and Chilfrome lane back to the pub.

Martin & I are planning a 10 mile, mostly off road run from the Greyhound at Sydling next Sunday if anyone is interested in joining us. Course, I may have caught Martin's cold by then but being a woman I'll still be able to go out for a run..........................

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Bicton Blister

A very cold morning last Sunday found Richard and I at Bicton in East Devon. We were there for an off-road race of approximately 11 miles. The start has been moved half a mile down from the College to the Arena. This wasn’t a positive move as far as I was concerned as instead of a warm hall, registration area and showers, we now had an outdoor toilet block with showers attached, and a large marquee for everything else. The race itself went well enough. It was very cold and I saw very few who were brave enough to run in only a running vest (and shorts of course!). I had my coat, hat, gloves and wrist-warmers, and the gloves only came off briefly. The course was almost entirely off road, with mainly forest tracks, and a very exposed bit through a quarry, and a long grassy section at the beginning, and we re-traced our steps there at the end. Only two very small streams, which were almost small enough to jump over, and one or two boggy bits. Nowhere near as wet as the route I remember from two years ago. Richard finished well ahead of me as expected in a time of 1:28:46 and I managed a meagre 1:48:09 although I did overtake at least five runners in the last mile. Closer inspection of the results has just revealed another Maiden Newton Runner: Charlie Bladon who finished in 1:50:05.

Saw a few familiar faces while warming up, but as the warmest place after the race was in the car, there wasn’t much socialising. Needless to say, no trophies to take home. And even if we had deserved one, they weren’t there as they had been stolen from the organiser’s car on the previous day.