The Great Chalfield 10K

What a beautiful night for my first race since the London Marathon!

I wish it had all been as flat as this, but great for a finish line sprint

It had been warm and muggy all day, definitely not the best racing conditions for me. Thankfully as the afternoon drew on the temperature dropped a little, and a blustery breeze was making it feel a little cooler.

On arriving with about 25 minutes before the race started, I had plenty of time to park (about 10m from the start line) and walk to the Race HQ (the Scout Hut). I collected my number, queued for the toilet, and then still had time for a little warm-up jog. Gotta love this little local races!

Starting at the back means I missed most of the pre-race briefing, but I did catch a bit about “having to run on the common for further as the original route is like a swamp” and “the grass is so tall we’ve lost the footpath”. Such a change from London!

I found the footpath okay, it was a little soggy in one patch, but all okay. The lanes were mostly quiet, a few of the kilometre markers had blown down, and the water was at nearer to 6K than 5K (and by then I was desperate for a drink!), but it was a great race. For most of the way round I was following (in the distance) 3 ladies. I was determined to catch at least one of them before the end. Sure enough, I was gradually catching them up, until on a nasty little slope just after 5 miles I overtook two of them. I was delighted!

On the final run in along the Common towards the Finish line though, I could hear someone coming up fast behind me, and could see a shadow of someone approaching. Curses! I thought, but sportingly moved to the side so they could overtake. Yes, it was one of the ladies I’d overtaken doing a magnificent sprint for the line. Well done, Corsham!

Understated Finish Line – but I was still very glad to see it

On this straight I saw my lovely husband, and ace race photographer on the other side of the road. What a good photo from his new phone! Also my son who was determined to beat me to the line (another sprint finish!)

What a lovely little race. Lovely to know the race fee is going towards the local Scout troop with their lovely little Scout Hut. Great to run in a small race where you can park 20 seconds from the start line. Fantastic to run with such friendly runners, who even apologise for beating you on the final straight. Oh – and a great medal too (always a bonus).

Medal – All worthwhile!

Oh – and didn’t I mention? 59:26. Under the hour, which I wanted. Not a true PB, as I ran faster last October. However, since that race is run around the Castle Combe motor racing circuit (completely flat and smooth) its always felt a bit of a cheat. So I feel I have an official ‘road’ sub-60 PB now.

The proof! 59:26

Roll on the 5K race on 11th July!

10K Tonight – already nervous

Having convinced myself that I was quite capable of running this sub-60, just need a little help from the conditions. That would be why it was 26C when I stepped out of the car then

However, the sunshine does mean I can wear my lovely new Cebe sunglasses which I won in a competition from Sport Pursuit. Maybe I should pose round for a bit longer in than to help take my mind off tonight!

Things I saw today on my Long Run

Lovely long run today, all of 10 miles, up to Chippenham, then down to Lacock by the old canal. Haven’t been down here for months, as the last time (back at the start of February) was when I did for my shin. Time to exorcise (exercise?) some ghosts, I thought.

As ever, I spotted lots of interesting things whilst running:-
– A deer on the other side of the river,
– 4 young squirrels on the path who haven’t learnt to be afraid of people yet,
– Lots of tourists in Lacock, many of whom now have photographs of the beautiful village with me in Lycra ruining the view. Sorry about that!

However the only sight I got my phone out to capture, was a road sign. A small path down between what was once a factory and the river, “Lovers Walk” conjures up, for me, gentle images of courting couples strolling hand in hand. The best bit about this sign though, is the graffiti neatly added in blue capitals (just visible in the photo if you look really hard). With this addition, the sign now reads:-

“Lovers Walk BUT NOT IN A GAY WAY”

Torn between speechless and giggling, all I can say is Mary Whitehouse is obviously alive and well, and living in Wiltshire!

I think I was a bit keen entering this one …

So I only run one 5K race a year, and I was keen to enter again this year as I’m determined to crack that sub 30. Think I was rather keen, as you can see from my race number above!
Sadly, not a chance of it being my finish position, but if if I beat that 30 minute barrier I won’t care. Its a lovely route, along the river in Chippenham, up the cycle path and back through a housing estate. Last year’s problem was that the path is narrow in places so its difficult to pass people. Myself and my running partner weren’t paying attention before the start either, and as we chatted most of the field shuffled in front of us. We won’t let that happen this year! Mid July is the race – fingers crossed!

Lazy girl running: Awesome Autumn Marathon Motivation

Lazy girl running: Awesome Autumn Marathon Motivation: Running a half or full marathon this Autumn or thinking about it? Want some company training and an extra kick up the backside when it gets tough? Well step this way because I’ve got something you might just like…

I’ve been following the ‘Lazy Girl Running‘ blog for a while now (and she doesn’t sound at all lazy to me!) I’ve just signed up to her ‘Awesome Autumn Marathon Motivation’ e-mails to prepare for my 2 half marathons in October. Hopefully will be good motivation! I’ll let you know ….

Name that Flower!

So when that LSR is getting you down, when you’re feeling tired, and you’re still achy after that hilly run 5 days ago, when you need a sneaky excuse to have a little stop, what finer excuse that to take a photo??Not sure what is planted in this field, but it has very pretty blue flowers. If anyone knows what it is, please let me know so I can casually drop it into conversation and appear knowledgeable!

Oh and I found another ‘Secret Garden’ gate …

Don’t you just want to see where it goes? Or is it just me who’s so nosey? (That was a rhetorical question – no need to answer, thank you very much!)

Running and Geocaching. And mud. And hills. And a Cup.

So as a keen geocaching family, its always exciting to see a new geocache* pop up close to home. Even more exciting to see one just off one of my running routes. Slightly less exciting that that particular route is the muddy and hilly one I usually only brave before the annual ‘Marshfield Mudlark’. Add in the fact it has been torrential rain for the last week means that you would have to be seriously deranged to be looking forward to this.

So that’s why I set out yesterday, on the first non-raining day for a week, aiming for the woods and the river. Because its a long walk to get down to the By Brook here it is usually very quiet, and apart from the 2 dog walkers I met, the whole area was silent apart from the river and the birds. Despite the clouds, the deserted farm simply looked sad and abandoned, rather than eerie and spooky.

Deserted farm
It’ll be this way, then

Despite my mud warnings, the path wasn’t too bad. Squelchy in places, but nothing a good ‘wade’ couldn’t get through! I was wearing my shorts as I thought if it was really muddy it was easier to hose my legs off when I got home, rather than struggle through with wet and muddy trousers.

As I got closer to the cache location I had to pull my phone out to follow my progress with GPS. Crashing through the woods, I found the obvious spot and then spent around 10 minutes rummaging in the undergrowth getting muddy hands and knees to match the rest of my legs. Found the tupperware, opened it up, and discovered that I had got the FTF (‘First to Find’) and my reward was a little silver cup. Lack of a pen to write in the log book didn’t hamper this intrepid geocacher (that’s what twigs and mud are for!)

My prize!

With my little silver cup stashed in my waist belt I set off for home, all the way back up from the river (the route goes up 100m in 1 mile. Is that steep? It felt it!)

4 hardcore miles – DONE!
Geocache – DONE!

*If you don’t know what geocaching is, its basically a treasure hunt using GPS. It has been described as using technology costing millions of dollars to find tupperware hidden in woods. Sounds geeky (okay – it is pretty geeky!) but its a great way to get out into the countryside and find paths you never knew existed!

Jubilee Weekend

Too good to eat? Apparently not!

Wow – what a busy (and long) Jubilee weekend! I’ve had a mostly lazy time, too much telly & wine I’m afraid. However I did think I ought to get out this morning, so set off for my 4 mile route thinking I’d take it good & slow.

Rain started just as I set off so felt cold going slow, then I had to go through the centre of the village which was full of people setting up marquees, tables & chairs for our Jubilee party, so I sped up to get past them with out anyone noticing (yeah, right!). Then thought I might as well stay speeded up and call it a tempo run. Well I don’t know if it was the wine-as-fuel, or the cooling rain, but it all felt so easy. 4.21M in 40:26, average pace 9:36 🙂

Good job it was a good run, as I managed to eat a goodly portion of Jubilee cakes at the party, and also bring home a doggy bag for later!

The sun has got his hat on

This week, summer arrived. Big time. We’re talking about the temperature shooting up from around 12C to 26C in the space of a week. People are smiling, summer dresses and sandals have been pulled from the wardrobe, the Olympic Torch came though Chippenham this week – and all’s well with the world. Hmmm – all is well unless you are a runner who doesn’t like the heat (that’d be me then). My tempo run and 2 easy runs were okay, although heart rate was higher than normal. However, Friday’s LSR was something I was dreading.

I deliberately planned a route with as much shade as possible, and even decided to run the loop in reverse as it meant the steep but shady hill would then be uphill, and the long, rough field of sheep with no shade would be downhill.

Entrance to the Secret Garden?

Started off okay – out at 9am (which is impressive for me on a Friday morning!), temperature was just right. Warm but not hot, a cool breeze, and gentle sunshine. Ten minutes later, it was as if someone had flicked the thermostat up and it was suddenly HOT! Took it very slowly, sipped my water, and just ploughed on. Mantra for the day “if I keep running in this heat, eventually I’ll acclimatise to it, won’t I?” I felt very sorry for the sheep still with their heavy fleeces on. They were crammed together under the trees seeking the shade, and if I ran too near they just looked at me with their little sheepy eyes as if to say “Please don’t make me have to run away from you!”

The best part of run, was the lovely old wooden door on the edge of the Estate. It always reminds me of the entrance to ‘the Secret Garden’. It only leads onto the road, but it means you can then run through the gates and down through an avenue of tall trees in blissful shade.

Ran out of water on the last stretch back into the village, which tells me its time to start hiding bottles of water en route again. I don’t often go past shops so can’t just pop in and buy some more. How does everyone else manage with water on long runs?