Sunday, March 21, 2010

MNR 25k Recce - Part 1

Phil, Jackie, Lin, Martin, and Dave did all or some of the 25k anniversary celebration route.
Click here for details of most of it - not including the bit past Cattistock that only Phil did.

Garmin Connect - Activity Details for MNR 25k Recce

Phil has a load of pictures which he will be uploading to Facebook, or the blog, or perhaps both.

We'll be running the missing bit next weekend.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Grizzly 2010 - Beauty and the Beach

This was the best Grizzly of the 7 I have done, for a number of reasons, not least the perfect weather. Although it was pretty cold when we arrived at the seafront in Seaton at 8:00am and had breakfast in the van, by the time the race started, it was a toss -up whether gloves would be necessary.

We met up at the start with Ironman Phil, who made us feel even more tired before the race, when he mentioned that he had cycled the 30 miles to Seaton! Our feelings of tiredness were probably mostly down to nerves, which for me, lasted through the half-mile of beach (which is always a bit of a shock to the system), and the first hills and a lot of winding around the holiday camp on the west of Beer. It wasn't until the cliffs above Branscombe that I really started to feel that the race was going well. I was being passed frequently on the uphill stretches, but making up those places and more on the downhills. The steeper the better!

Branscombe Mouth itself was a great experience, the spectators/supporters there creating an amazing level of sound and encouragement. We sped out of the area along the valley on the way to the major hills to the north.

The hills arrived all too soon, and for the next few miles, if we weren't climbing we were descending, apart from the bits where we were negotiating a bog or the skirting the side of a hill with one leg a foot higher than the other. Or at least that's what I remember, I think there might have been a few hundred yards of flattish road or track in there somewhere.

One place that definitely sticks in my mind, and in my shoes and socks is a field which started as fairly churned up muddy grass and ended up with foot deep liquid cow manure - no other way out or around! I passed one unfortunate groping beneath the surface for a misplaced shoe. Wonder if he was using that hand later to grab a jelly baby from one of the many plates that were on offer around the course.

The bogs were great as always - probably my favourite feature of the course. I have learned that no matter how tired you are, you have to keep moving and try to skim over the top, it takes much more effort to go slowly. I overtook loads of people, and started to think that I could finish in the top 100 which has always been a goal for me, only attained the year when the numbers were drastically reduced due to the shipwreck-induced postponement.

Great encouragment from the race-supporters and marshalls helped tremendously as I continued to push hard, and especially through the Fountainhead pub area, and down to the coast again. The beach at Branscombe was hard, but not as hard as the path up the cliff at the other end, but I was still overtaking people.

Down into Beer, and again great encouragement. Up the steps on the other side, and I was even catching up runners from the Cub race who pulled over to let me past and cheered me on. Then the track back down to the coast road, a steep path down to the sea-front, on to the beach for a quarter-mile of crunchy shingle ( I took the wetter, but firmer seaward route) and up the ramp to the finishing straight. I heard footsteps from behind and managed a sprint to the finish, and congratulations from the race-director Garry Perratt.

I was tired, shattered might be more accurate, but I was also on an incredible high. To finish under 3 hours, and in the top 60! Things only got better when very shortly I heard the announcer saying that the third lady was finishing and it was (none other than) Lin Lascelles! Wow, what a great performance from her, also in the top 100, and her best result since she won first place in the Corfe Beast last year. Also a tough, hilly race, and clearly the kind of event in which she excels.

After a mandatory, but admittedly brief dip in the sea to wash off the worst of the mud, and who knows what, we changed, and then strolled back past the finish to help support the runners still finishing. The warm sun and almost carnival atmosphere seemed really special.

The weather, the terrain, the scenery, and most of all the people supporting the event made it a truly memorable experience. Thank you to all who made it possible. It doesn't get much better than this, and we felt really lucky to have been involved with the Grizzly - long may it roar!