I’m putting these two races together as A) they were in the same weekend and B) I don’t think they warrant two separate posts.
This post has taken me forever to write, not because it was particularly traumatic or any issues; just down to life getting in the way. I’m trying to get back on track now though!
Cuerden Valley Parkrun Saturday 12 January 2019 – this was the first Club Championship race of the year and the first one ever for me. I love a parkrun (as regulars will know) so was looking forward to a new challenge. And I wasn’t disappointed! I travelled there with two of my lovely running partners and we had a lovely time trying to figure out where to park! I think Cuerden Valley thought they’d get a few interested people that frosty, cold morning and then 200 Ramsbottom runners turned up and all hell broke loose! Photos were taken, no-one could hear anything and then we set off! We’d said we wanted to do under 35 minutes for this one as it is classed as ‘hilly’ – mountainous would have been accurate. The first hill was not as steep as I expected on the first time round so we powered up that and came to another slight incline. It was like that pretty much the whole way round; until we came to a steep downhill. The faster runners were practically flying down it – we went down a bit more sedately! Then, we had to do it all again! I have to say, the support was phenomenal – some of the best marshall’s and volunteers I’ve ever come across at Parkrun, each person was clapped, congratulated, cheered and encouraged. One of our own, who is injured, was waiting on a corner near the finish to cheer us all round the second lap and then again to the finish. I finished in 31:24 which is extremely respectable seeing as how I could barely run at the end. People were cheered in at the end which was amazing, I’ve heard us lot at the end of a race cheering people on but never seen it at a parkrun. It was rather emotional! More photo’s were taken and that was it. My first club race was done, and I was extremely pleased. It was only running the next day; I realised that running a hilly parkrun might not have been the best idea!
Tatton 10K 13 January 2019 – At approx. 6am, Sunday morning I got up, dressed in the dark and left my lovely warm bed, my partner and our son and drove to Tatton. It was pitch black and I was starting to wonder what on earth I’d got myself into. I pulled onto the grass and settled down with my audiobook and a porridge bar and watched everyone else set up. Eventually, the tent opened up to collect numbers – I nearly got blown away doing that but stupidly thought the race would be a bit less breezy. Well I’m an idiot. The warm up done, there wasn’t really any clue as to what happened next. They asked people to line up in terms of their times but there was no clear definition and I ended up starting with people wanting to run 1 hour plus when my time is slightly quicker and I was pretty much at the back having to overtake a lot to try and catch up with someone I knew was doing under 60 minutes. It was bloody freezing, and windy. Oh, so very windy. The first 5k was okay, I did just fine but the small hills were starting to take their toll and I was getting blown about by the wind screaming round me. First race of the year and I was giving up. I walked for about 100 yards, got some water and started the little incline back up to 7k. I walked again, I’d done so many hills over the weekend, I was hilled out but knowing I didn’t have far to go spurred me on a bit. I caught up to someone I’d seen run past me and overtook her, it didn’t last long! I dropped back again and she sped past me! The last km hit me the hardest. I knew I was nearly done, I knew I probably wasn’t going to PB at my first race (which I was fine about) and I just wanted to get home to have a hot shower, a hot cup of tea and a cuddle with my boys and then….I looked at my watch and I could do it. I could technically PB if I had a bit of push. I ignored the growing pain in my knee and the ache in my head from the wind and at about 400 metres, I started to run. Actually run, like I’ve not run for months. This wasn’t a little shuffle, or a slow jog. I wanted to get under the hour for definite and hopefully under 59 minutes. I must have looked rather demented; as I have a serious running face at the best of times never mind when I’m trying to get a PB! I crossed the line with a gun time of 59:17. I was happy, I’d done it under an hour and I was done. The only downside to the whole thing (apart from the early start, the biting wind, the fact I couldn’t feel my fingers) was that there was no proper goody bag or signs of where to get medals and the banana and flapjack on offer. As it happens, the medals were handed out immediately after the finish line. Fair enough, I got one of those. Then I looked round for a goody bag or a queue of people etc, I couldn’t see one. I was promised a flapjack, and I want my bloody flapjack! Where are they? I noticed someone walking away from a table where I had picked up my bib number, with a flapjack and a banana! Hooray! I’d found them! Damn it, that flapjack was delicious so totally worth the cold, wind, slight bit of rain and an hours running. My chip time eventually came through at 58:29 which was a new PB after all! I’ve said it the last 3 races I’ve done, I’m not bothered about a pb, I just want to get round and have ended up PB’ing at all of them so I know what I’ve got to do for the rest of the year now!
All in all, I’m glad I did it and that it was the first race so I’ve got it out of the way. I did say that if I was struggling for races in the year, I could just do that race as they run once a month. I don’t think I’ll do it again though, it’s a lovely little route (now I’m sat on my comfy sofa in my pj’s) but I think it would be a tough one even on a mild day with no breeze or wind!
Next race is MAD DOG 10K on the 3rd Feb. I am so excited about this one, it’s meant to be amazing and although it’s not flat (it’s tough to find a flat race in the North West where you don’t run through an industrial estate in Salford) – I’m hoping there’s a bit more support and I’ll enjoy it a bit more!