Sunday, 16 October 2011

Holiday Runnings

Whilst planing to visit my sister in law down in Yorkshire we decided to have a look around for any local races to run and plumped for the Spires & Steeples Challenge, a 26 mile run from Lincoln to Sleaford on Sunday. But then, Vikki decided she quite liked the whole parkrun thing, so we pencilled in a visit to Hull on Saturday morning, and then we found out there was an orienteering event on Saturday afternoon which might make for a fun family activity. It was looking like a very busy, active weekend.


As it turned out, Amy and Dave (who had agreed to look after the kids during much of this nonsense) arrived at East Park in Hull, only about a minute before the parkrun was due to start by which time I'd decided I couldn't really be bothered running so I mucked about with the kids and cheered when Vikki went past.


We all went up to the orienteering event in the afternoon which was jolly good fun - we did a couple of the available courses to rack up about 3km of running and about 1km of wondering around undergrowth thanks to a navigation error. Lachlan did one of the courses with us while the others mucked about and then everyone went for ice creams :-)


At some point on Saturday it also occurred to me that I possibly hadn't trained enough to run 26 miles and hadn't actually thought at all about what I might eat/drink during the run. Not exactly ideal preparation.


We had to get up early on Sunday to drive to the end (right past the start) so we could get a bus to the start so that we could then run to the end and then drive back to where we'd come from (right past the start point of the run again) which all seemed terribly complicated but was probably the easiest way of doing things, despite the worry of getting stuck behind a lorry on the way. After the bus ride (on which we chatted to someone who had done even less training than me), we found ourselves at Lincoln Castle, shivering in the cold, although it was fairly obvious it was going to get warmer later, and after some milling around it was time to set off over the cobbles and down the imaginatively entitled "Steep Hill". We set off a bit fast (the "plan" was to run around 10m/m pace to finish under 4:30) but it felt good and we were keeping pace with "100 mara Andy" and his mate, "Salomon Guy", although we did get slowed down slightly by "farty woman" until the path widened and we skipped past her. The route passed through a number of nice little villages, separated mainly by turnip fields, and it was a pleasant run with Vikki and me sticking together, but I started to feel a bit sore in the legs around mile 15 (at which point there also seemed to be an awful lot of stiles to climb) and was obviously slowing a bit by 17 where my pace was in the 10s and 11s. It became a bit of a struggle from then on, and when I realised that 4:30 wasn't on, I slowed to a walk for the last few miles - a part of me felt I should push a bit harder but the rest of me just wanted to enjoy a walk in the sun with the wife, and to make sure I didn't overdo it and hurt anything.


In the end we trotted over the line after about 4:49 which wasn't too bad for 25 and a half miles, all things considered. Yes, 25 and a half miles by my garmin, so not actually a marathon. To be fair, the organisers never referred to it as a marathon and pointed out it was a non-timed event, but someone had entered it on Fetch as a 26.2. In fact, the organisers route notes had it down as 26.75 miles, but I think that just came from totting up each sections mileage which was rounded to the nearest quarter so there was a bit of a discrepancy there. Not a problem as far as I'm concerned but a wee warning to any marathon chasers out there. The "hot and cold snacks, including soup" available for a small charge at the finish turned out to be soup and bread, but it was good soup so I won't complain.


Overall, it was a good day out. Nice weather, good company, nice route, well signposted and marshalled so little danger of getting lost. Slightly disappointed with my fitness but looking forward to the mile this weekend, and then the OMM after that. Hopefully, the DOMS will have passed by then.

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