Friday, 11 November 2016

A slight change in the conditions - overhead and underfoot....

I realise that it is "normal" to have a break and enjoy some downtime after a big race (such as a World Champs) but unfortunately I don't have that luxury as the World 100k was scheduled for a mere 4 weeks after the trails.

A few days of gentle jogging had me thinking about how to try and find my road legs and some sort of leg turnover. I knew the Derwentwater 10mile road race was on at the weekend, as I've run it on several occasions before, so decided to enter it on the day, as it's a hilly course (which has been slightly varying distances in the past) and so my time on it wouldn't mean anything to anyone except me.
The new course

I rather regretted having decided to run as Sunday rolled around - the weather couldn't have been more different to Portugal. It was about 3 degrees, with icy rain (the snow/sleet level wasn't far above the road) and a freezing wind. I stripped down to my club vest and shorts not long before the start, but was seriously cold even before the race briefing had finished, even though I tried huddling in with friends and clubmates.

It had been noted that the race was slightly short in 2015 (measuring under 9.8 miles on our watches) and also that the start was very congested (we had started at the Moot Hall in the centre of Keswick and ran down narrow streets congested with shoppers). Taking both of these things into consideration, the route was changed slightly for 2016. There was a new start just at the edge of town, and an extra little loop was added between 6 and 7 miles, in order to keep the finish in the same place.

I managed to slip rather a long way back in the field as we were walked to the start so I started the race dodging round people up and down off the pavement but soon settled into the run. The first four miles are out along the Borrowdale road, which can be a little hairy at times as the road isn't closed, but luckily most people were indoors enjoying a warm Sunday lunch.

The second half of the run is known to be rather hilly, but it's easy to forget just how many up and downs there are along that road, and so it always takes me by surprise......this year being no exception. However, by the time we turned off round the bottom of the lake (through Grange), I still couldn't feel my fingers and wished I'd worn gloves! The next couple of miles involved climbing up the side of Cat Bells (so I could definitely feel my glutes) so my fingers actually came back to life (owwwww!!!!).

The "new loop" actually adding in some more climbing (on a road with potholes) where we would have originally started to descend, then a steep downhill with a sharp switchback through a farm (never the easiest but wet leaves underfoot added to the fun!!) and a further run down until we were turned abruptly by marshal onto what I recognised to be part of the last section of the Bob Graham Round.

Coming into the finish
Somehow the race managed to coincide with sheep dog trials in the 9th mile, so although I was tempted to look over to see what was happeneing when I heard whistgling in the neighbouring fields, I had to keep my eyes looking ahead as the trials meant that there were extra cars coming towards me on the single lane road.

I definitely remember thinking the run in was a long one last year, and this year seemed just as bad (well, actually longer as the race now actually measured as 10.1 miles). You think you're in Portinscale, but then the road keeps twisting and turning before you actually enter the village (then you must run through it out and out the other side to find the finish line). It was easier to be more sociable at the finish last year as it was lovely and sunny, but this year the conditions meant that after a short break for a drink and to wait for my next clubmate, I then ran back to Keswick to get to the showers before I lost all feeling in my fingers and toes again!!
Although my finish time was slower than last year, the change in course meant that my average pace was only 2s/mile different so I was really happy to have done the race (to start my roadleg rediscovery) and I did actually enjoy having braved the cold and run (despite my ongoing minor irk of their being unequal prizes for men and women)!! Now, I just need to remember not to overdo it (though there's little danger of that as I am innately a sofa-lover!!)

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