Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Oxley Triathlon

Well it’s been a funny old year. Richard seems to have given up running except for occasional jaunts around the orchard and then complaining his hay fever is getting worse. So races have become a bit sparse. However I entered this as an early bird back in February (saves a few pounds) and maintained the cycling/running/swimming training until recently when my right leg was struck down by a mysterious pain. Stopped each of the above activities in turn but it made no difference, and after a month of no training except working on the allotment, was feeling more than the usual apprehension on Sunday morning.

So we had the usual panic about missing/forgotten equipment, and problems were only increased by the leisure centre moving the female changing rooms to the far end of the pool and then not labelling one of the doors. So after a last minute sprint to transition and back and a delay at the start I was ready to start my swim. Can’t say more than it went OK. I was slightly faster than the other two competitors in my lane (which doesn’t say much for them), and as I was in a middle lane had to flounder over the edge to get out. (Think penguins leaping out onto the ice and imagine the opposite). The bike section went well enough, didn’t want to risk the dodgy leg by pushing too hard, and only had one minor gear change problem. I wondered what the horrible noise was as I hurtled downhill with my legs trying to go as fast as Victoria Pendleton on a turbo. Looked down the chain was on 2nd gear and the indicator said 3rd. Sorted that and finished OK – no falling off this year, then off on the run.

Took this very steady as my last run had been in the rec more than a month before and I’d had to give up after 4 laps (1.3 miles). But it all went well enough. Some said the course had been changed but apart from the transition area being moved onto the field near the finish and the re-entry to the field being slightly different, it was all the same. As I came into the field ready to tell the next youngster charging past that I was old enough to be his mother, I looked over my shoulder and it was Dickie Wythe rushing past. I recognised him from Somerset Series races many years ago and by chance his finishing position was one place ahead of me.

I decided to have a shower before I left and headed back to the changing room to be met with a big space where I’d left my clothes & shoes. Panic set in, asked everyone I could see if the missing items had been found. Went back for a second look and found a man had mistaken the female changing room for the men’s. So looked in the unlabelled door and there were my clothes. Panic over. If that all sounds confusing, it’s because it was. But many thanks to the Wessex Wizards lady who helped me.

For the record I finished in 2:03:21 full results are here:  https://www.fullonsport.co.uk/fos/index.php?module=results&action=results&eventId=4119
Richard didn’t take any photos but there are some on: http://www.charleswhittonphotography.com/search.html?search=x13
Copyright prevents me from copying them here.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Late summer Madness

In June of every year Phil starts mumbling that he hasn't done anything about the Madness yet and we all avoid eye contact and someone quickly changes the subject.......but somehow by the second Saturday evening of August everything comes together and the Maiden Newten Madness is a resounding success without us having to do anything........it's magic!

This year the weather was perfect, the entries were up, we had a new results system which (phew!) actually worked, the cakes were fabulous, the marshals were outstanding.......and 128 runners hopefully enjoyed every inch of their 10k "and a bit" race.  It was great to see lots of familiar faces - support from Yeovil Town RRC and Egdon Heath has been marvelous every year - but also lots of new faces too in the 9th year of the event.

One of the new faces (I may be wrong, but I don't think we've ever had any Bridport Runners do the event previously) was Ben Renshaw - not content with winning the first of our Poundbury 5k series back in June, he proved that it wasn't a fluke and was the comfortable overall winner of the race in 40.01. Obviously now he has to come back next year and run it 2 seconds faster!

Alan Chiverton from Westbourne AC (or Wimborne if you're Phil doing the results without his glasses on) came home in 2nd place with Edward Gibbs from YTRRC taking 3rd place.

The winner of the ladies race was another new face, Jenny Guard from Leeds City who finished in an excellent 13th place overall and was only 27 seconds outside the course record set in 2009. In 2nd place was Lynn Hutchings from Wimborne AC and in third place, taking the FV55 prize was Carol Jones from Ealing Southall and Middlesex AC - who  also came 4th on a previous visit to Dorset in 2009. The other female vet category winners were Rose Harvey (FV35) from Yeovil Town RRC, just taking it easy tonight after winning last year's event and Sandra Hood from Weymouth St Paul's Harriers was first V45.  Weymouth St Paul's also produced the 1st junior female home in 53.39, Holly O'Flannagan.

The male category prizes all went to local clubs - Egdon Heath Harriers took the MV40 prize (Steven Horsler in 42.49) and MV50 (John Cook in 45.06) and Yeovil Town RRC's Nick Brooke took the MV60 prize in 43.42 despite the distance being about 40 miles shorter than he usually runs......

I must just finish by saying that despite my flippancy at the beginning, we all know that Phil and Jackie put a huge amount of effort into making the race a huge success whilst the rest of us just stand around trying to look as though we have some purpose in being there.  We have a lot of support from non runners/members who year on year get roped in to help us out and do so willingly and cheerfully - being a small (but perfectly formed!) club we would not be able to stage the event without their help, so a big thankyou to all of them too.

Next year will be an all-singing, all dancing 10th anniversary event, so please come back and run it again and bring some club mates and friends with you because in 2014 Phil is going to start that muttering at least a month earlier in preparation........................

Results will be posted shortly on the Full On Sports website (there will be a link from the MNR site) and we have a huge selection of photographs which will be on the MNR Facebook page later this evening...if they EVER finish uploading.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Plym Valley Parkrun

As anyone who reads Dave’s entertaining minutes or VFTBOTP will know, Martin and I have been on a 5k-fest over the last 2 months in a bid to regain my race fitness whilst recovering from a long term Achilles injury.  We’ve become Park run junkies and have added quite a few new races to the list of Park runs that we’ve completed.

Each Parkrun has its own character and they differ widely from anything between 1 to 4 laps of parks, sports fields, tow paths, cycle paths, tarmac, mud, stones, the list is endless. The three things that they all have in common is that they take place at 9am every Saturday morning, they’re free and they’re great fun.

Last weekend we headed down to Devon to take part in the most westerly Park run in this country – Plym Valley. Of the ones we’ve done to date it’s also probably the most scenic and rural.  After a night spent “wild” camping at Cadover Bridge we arrived in the National Trust car park at Plymbridge Woods at 8.30am, bright eyed and raring to go......Well that’s not strictly true, Martin had a splitting headache, a strange numbness to various parts of his body and a strong conviction that he had suffered a mild stroke overnight.  I was definitely raring to go -to the loo, if only there had been one................

The start is in a lovely flower meadow between a cycle path and the river Plym. A large clockwise lap of the flower meadow takes you back past the start and onto the canal tow path before a short steep climb onto a cycle path which leads you back to the start and a further, smaller anti clockwise loop of the meadow.  Simple right?

By 9am a (what is the appropriate collective noun?) pack of Parkrunners had gathered on the vaguely defined start line and it was apparent that we were not the only Plym Valley Parkrun virgins as we jostled for prime position (which meant trying to find the least rutted piece of grass to run over to the start of a well trodden path).  Some Parkrun announcements and jokes followed and then we were off.

As usual I settled in somewhere behind Martin and followed my usual strategy of judging my pace off him.  Unfortunately this didn’t work as well as usual – either he was taking it easy or I was going way too fast.  The field spread out as we reached the end of the meadow and turned back on ourselves and my GPS confirmed that the first 1km had been completed slightly faster than was sensible but not fast enough that I should still be so close behind Martin.   As we neared the point where we ran back past the start I heard a man with a couple of young kids say “there’s Mummy” and thought that I had a rival.....but it turned out that he had said “where’s Mummy?” because he followed it up with the very unsupportive comment of “miles back I expect”!

We came out of the meadow and turned onto the tow path for a half mile of fairly level easy running (as long as you avoided veering off into the canal) and I focussed on trying to keep up with a figure slightly ahead in a familiar Grizzly t-shirt.  At the end of the tow path section there was a very sharp climb up onto a cycle path which bled the speed from our legs but was followed by a slightly downhill section on tarmac where I managed to throw in a fast km.

With just over a km to go it was back into the flower meadow to complete the second, smaller lap and as I reached the point where the route divided the two lead runners blasted past on their way to the finish, both recording excellent sub 18 minute times.  I managed to overtake a couple runners on this last loop and was pushing hard for the finish, my target being to beat the vet 45 age category course record.  A final push for the finish line, taking one more male scalp en route, to finish in 10th place overall, first lady and a time of 20.36, beating the current FV45 record by a very satisfying 40 seconds.  Martin had also managed to set a new MV55 course record but was very disappointed with his time – 20.14, which was unexpectedly slow for him but at least he had got his excuses well publicised before the start.

As usual at Parkrun there was a lovely friendly atmosphere and we had a chat with the runner in the Grizzly t-shirt, who it turned out recognised our name and has been a reader of the MN blog in the past, and also a Poole Parkrun regular who recognised us and was also taking advantage of a weekend away to try out a new course.

Next week we’re off to Barnstaple for a second run round Rock Park, but if you want to do a Parkrun without the excessive travelling, don’t forget that Weymouth Parkrun starts on the 31st August and Yeovil (at Montecute) have their first event the following week.  For those willing to travel a little further Parkrun is also coming to King’s Park in Bournemouth on the 24th August.

All that remained on this lovely sunny morning in Devon was to find a suitable venue for our customary post Park run refreshment.......................................