Oh hello Monday, back so soon?
What a quick weekend that was. I feel like it was just half an hour ago we were dropping the dog off at Craig’s parents and hitting the road down South for a very quick weekend of running, meeting new people and spiders. Yes, spiders! Craig is an avid tarantula keeper and has been frequenting the BTS (British tarantula society) show in Coseley, near Wolverhampton for years now. I originally was going to join him just for a weekend away and to help out at their stall, but when he suggested I look to see if there were any races near by that day, I wondered why I hadn’t thought of doing so already! So a quick look on Runner’s World lead me to booking into the Cobra Classic 10k in Hagely, just 12 miles down the road from where the show was being held. Brilliant.
On the Saturday morning we were up bright and early to pack up the car and head over to Stirling to pick up some of Craig’s friends. By 11am we were on the motorway and come 4pm we were settled into our hotel and ready to catch up with others over dinner and drinks. I devoured my dinner of scampi and chips, had a good laugh and got to put many faces to names that Craig had mentioned many times over the past few years. I headed home way before the rest of them to try and get an early night, but ended up getting sucked into watching the farce that is Eurovision. Oh my!
Race morning arrived and I bounced out of bed, feeling really good and ready to run. I had my usual pre race breakfast of cereal with a banana and a few coffees. I opened the curtains and the room flooded with sunlight – this was going to be a glorious run. It was 8am and already roasting!! We checked out of the hotel, I dropped the guys off at the show and then made the few mile journey down the M5 to Hagley where the race was being held. As I drove along the leafy dual carriage way I started to spot ‘caution, runners!’ signs, and thought to myself that this course was looking nice and flat. I really, really wanted to get a PB in this race as in the few weeks I have been training with The Wee County Harriers I already feel stronger and more confident in my running ability. And if the course was as flat as I thought it was, we were laughing!
I got to the rugby club just in time to see the 3.5k fun run start and sat in the sun to watch that. After a few toilet visits and a quick dash back to the car to get my sunglasses I was ready to go. We all headed down to the end of the car park and then around about 10:30am we were off! There were loads and loads of club vests around me and I started to worry I’d be left behind, but to my surprise and delight I took off really quickly and felt really strong. The first few miles were along a narrow path that ran along side the dual carriage way and I was glad I’d got a fast start as there wasn’t much room for overtaking for quite a while. The first 3 miles were FAST and I’m sure I clocked around 22:xx but my timing was completely messed up so I can’t be sure. There was a drinks station at 5k and I tried desperately to drink from a cup and run but failed miserably. I usually run with a sports bottle but in my panic to find where I was going I forgot one and on such a hot day I really regretted it. I wasn’t stopping or slowing down to drink it properly so after attempting and failing to drink it, I launched it at my face and carried on. And then I hit the hill. I have no idea where I read, or thought I read that this course was flat, but I now know I must have made that up or imagined it because in the heat and with these hills this was probably one of the hardest courses I have ran. The next 2 miles were slow and sluggish and as I came off the the first big hill my legs just sighed and started to drag. I could see the road was long and flat ahead of me so I tried to pick up the pace but then came the next hill. I could see lots of people walking ahead of me and again this surprised me but soon found out why. This hill was much steeper than it first seemed! The marshall at the top of this hill directed me across the road and into some beautiful lush green fields that seemed to go on forever. I could see lots of multi coloured dots bobbing around in the distance and realised I hadn’t fallen that far behind the guy I had chosen to pace me so that cheered me up a bit!
The final few kilometres were along single track farm roads and with a final push up another hill I heard a marshall shout “come on Bab!” (love that in their accent!!) “this is the last hill, I promise. It’s all downhill and flat from here!”. And it was. Apart from nearly getting run over by a tractor as the farmer obviously wasn’t going to stop or slow down for anyone, especially a few hundred runners!! Soon enough I could see the finish line at the other side of the rugby pitch but by now I was all out of energy, feeling like I could possibly melt into a puddle of sweaty goo at any point and didn’t even have a second thought about talking myself out of a sprint finish. I happily plodded across the field at a steady pace, through the finishers chute to collect my medal and goody bag and straight over to a shaded area to get as much fluid back in to me as I could. Immediately feeling better, I looked at my watch to see what time I had stumbled in at and to my surprise my watch said 51:14. I know I had problems with buttons right at the start and didn’t get my time right on the line, but when I looked at the official results I apparently came in at 53:16. It wasn’t chip timed so I have no idea what has happened, but I am more than slightly confused. However at the time I was just too hot to care!
Over all it was a great race with a mixture of road, trails, hills and fields to tackle in a blazing 22 degree heat. I know that’s not very hot at all, but when nearly every race and training run for the past year has been in the rain, snow, hail or winds so strong I get blown off my feet, it was a welcome change but also a challenge. Can’t wait for more of the same, however next time I’ll be better prepared!
After the race I hung around for the prize giving and then sat in the sun to eat a cake or two which had been kindly donated by friends and family of the running club. Cakes after races are always good so many thanks for those!! Eventually I felt I’d had enough sun and got into my hot box of a car to head back to Craig at the show in Coseley. The show ended about 4pm and the guys had a really successful day, both buying and selling and Craig also won first prize in the photography competition for which he was awarded a lovely plaque. Hoorah!!
After all the excitement and awards of the day, we hit the road for another long journey back to normality.
Normality is boring. Bring on the next challenge…..