Saturday, 12 June 2010

Calmly finding another way to stay on track

There could be so many themes that surround my run today... if I was voice-over man I would introduce it something like this...

One woman. Some of the hilliest terrain in Warwickshire. A dodgy map. A wrong turn. An offer of a lift from a running mate rejected... For no challenge is too great ...for... this Kenilworth Running diva.

OK so I awoke with a neck stiffer than a pubescent male's 'netherlands' first thing in the morning.. Good Lord...could I do a long run... let alone a tough one! Of course I could. Pete was doing a race - the first of the Threshold Series, which I competed in last year when it was called the Wedgenock Series (first lady overall in the series) so when I arrived with Pete the race organisers were expecting me to register. I was 'raced out' though....following a few week-end's racing. I needed to get back on track with the long run, to start cranking up the weekly mileage. So I used the facilities wash room - put on my I-Pod and Pete did a short warm up to show me off in the right direction before returning to race his 10km - whereas I had about 15 or so planned around the hilly area of Illmington, where one of the legs of the Hilly 100 is set. My neck had eased up but it was warm, and a night of consolation with a bottle of wine and my friend and I discussing the woes of job hunting was also poison in my veins - crying out for more hydration!

So I set out through the beautiful village - little tumbling limestone cottages fronted by proud foxgloves and acanthus in well-kept gardens, being tended by keen early-birds. the friendly smiling gestures and the warmth of the sun on my shoulders was comforting as I made my way to the first savage hill. A tough one but early on and I had strength in my legs, continually checking my little map print-out which only had a few road names (one I had already had concurred by a friendly looking villager!) So that done I continued on a long track towards the next Village. My continuous checks of the map, turning it in my hand to work out my direction, was confusing me somewhat as I got to the vilage but a couple of miles quicker than on the map... so I had missed a turn (the fact I entered the village via from the East rather than the West was a giveaway!) So what to do... I was supposed to be heading back down the route I had come in on... so I did that - just ignoring the 2 mile short-cut and continuing with the plan, back up the now familiar route, until an intersection took me back round to the village I started at and through to my second big hilly challenge... this one was painful - almost stood proud in front of my face it seemed! I took light short steps to master the hill without walking. My loose plan was to circle back around to the route which took me back to the village where I had missed a section which from the map would give me the extra couple of miles back. I did this, passing a group of D-of-E walkers, a couple of runners gone astray from the 10km race Pete was doing (asking me the way back - to which I offered them run with me but they seemed to feel bad they had interrupted my run and went in the opposite direction!) I then caught up with the route I had doubled back before so I could store the map away and get on with it - tackling the more minor hills again... also waving off the race organiser, Rob, who could see I was warm and struggling and offered a lift, but no - I would complete my 15 (now looking more like 16!) So I soldiered on... feeling the need for some gel sustenance.. but alas no gels on me (preparation fail!) So I steadily now used what I had left in me to get back, muffled pace and the intermittent stitch which I had to keep stopping to allow to pass. I was almost back when I saw the car... Pete was on a search and save mission as I was over my eta from my long run.. apparently my mate Rich was also doing the same somewhere else on the course! Pete had won 3rd place!!! His first 'podium' finish... I pathetically congratulated him with the tiny amount of enthusiasm I had left in my weary body! He praised me to powering through and coping with my slight navigational upset (it was bound to happen!) So 16 or so miles in the bag - another 2 in the morning to make it to a lovely round 40 week!!

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