Sunday, 6 June 2010
2 Castles - and several Peacocks!!
Today I ran the 2 Castles race from Warwick Castle to Kenilworth, which is where my running club is. I managed 45:30.... which honestly I felt a bit disappointed given my time at Oxford Town and Gown a couple of weeks earlier (PB of just sub-44 mins)...and I felt I was giving it all-out effort, especially with all the club there, but it was warm, and to be fair on myself the course was a lot hillier.... our club's men's captain won the race which was a great result for us as a team, but his time was a couple of mins behind his PB, which was reflective of the running conditions (his winning time today was 35:14... his best is 33 something...)..... a good 45 seconds ahead of second place too! Just shows though - looking at the times that the course profile and temps. did have an effect (Pete was around 40:49... so still chasing that 40!)
The race itself was tough - it was one of my first races I ran in June 2008 when I did it in 1 hour and 56 seconds! It has been an incredible journey since then as you have probably picked up... so this was a course PB for me of 15 minutes! I remembered how good the suppport was through the villages.. and how the steady incline from one town to the other was a real mental slog! I struggled today around 3km - I was working hard and feeling it.
I did have a little battle with another lady runner who I have become familiar with in races around the region... and I knew when I let her get just ahead of me on the worst hill at around 8km, I would try and save myself for a kick in past her towards the end..... which I did despite cries of support for her as we neared the end (this almost spurred me on more!) I was a few seconds ahead of her at the end...absolutely blasting round the Kenilworth Castle grounds like it was a cross-country race where I was fighting hard for position! I was 14th lady position on the gun-time (15th on chip) ....and that was in a field of 2,300 or so runners.
The start was amazing (obviously very strong feelings about the castle) - I did the warm-up.... felt really smug when a couple of marshalls advised me of where the 'elites' doing the Warwickshire Champs were warming up (I'm not doing the WC because of my training committments.... but I must have looked suitably serious/professional for them to show me where to go!) I did the warm-up running along into this amazing little well-pruned Victorian topiary garden in Warwick Castle grounds - with a dozen or so peacocks crying and perched on top of the maze-like hedges!! One of them ruffled its feathers open..... show off! (Just because I was doing McMillan running drills!)
There were loads of fellow club runners... so lots of chatting to ease the tension. The Castle is amazing - I felt so priveleged to be starting inside the grounds and then off to another one! My favourite view was across the river where there is a timber boat-house and next to this the huge trebuchet and a few wig-wam/tents almost as it would have been...
A couple of highlights which helped in the race - I past a couple of male club runners who I perceive as just ahead of me in races normally.... so that was a big boost! There was a moment when I was told by a marshal to stop and let a car turn out in front of me....... NO WAY. I carried on regardless (but then this gave me some real anger to move up the field strongly.) Also when I saw our old Club Chairman in the housing estate as we made our final couple of kms to the other castle - and he said 'Go on Ros'... that spurred me on too.... and I clapped thanks to bunches of supporters where I could! I tended to use the cups of water at the couple of water stations on the course to splosh over myself... I cannot drink out of plastic cups when breathing hard AT ALL.
So overall - good day... and invited a couple of my old school friends who did the race back to ours for a clean up and coffee - so that was nice to catch up with them.