Still streaking ……. But days 19 to 24 have been a bit of a rollercoaster. An early meeting finish on Thursday meant a joyous 7 miles while it was still light and still sunny. Finally a pleasant run to enjoy the colours of Autumn and the great outdoors rather than a 6.30am skulk out the door for a 5km shuffle round the block. If you ever needed proof you can run half asleep, it took about one mile and the headlights of an oncoming car for me to realise it was absolutely pissing it down on Wednesday morning when I’d gone out. Ironically at the point it dawned on me just enough rain had accumulated on my face to start dripping off the end of my nose !
It was double disaster on the Friday natter run, I thought the date must have been Friday 13th!
Dare I admit I had been to the local pub quiz on Thursday night and played bingo….oh yes, even the West Bridgford wives can be tempted by the odd game. I felt quite a frisson of excitement at the thought of a £150 prize pot. The quiz was accompanied by a nice bottle of Malbec ( I’m much cleverer after a glass or two of red) and after myself and Varsha equally shared the bottle , we topped up for the bingo with an additional large glass and some chips. Red wine and chips ……I’m all class, I know! Sadly scoring 28/60 ( red wine clearly does not = clever) on the quiz and not winning the bingo my only momento was a slightly sore head the next morning. LCA status should also mean Limit Consumption of Alcohol as I used to drink much more and be fine.
It didn’t deter me from the natter run, I crossed the road to meet Ellie and Susie on route and just didn’t put my foot on the kerb properly. Do I blame feeling ‘dull’ or was it just one of those things? But I banged my heel downwards on the kerb edge and jarred all the force back up through my knee. It was one of those rare moments I actually felt sick. As my run buddies hadn’t made it up the road at that point I had moments to compose myself. I carried on but it didn’t feel quite right.
Off we went into the woods, admiring the lovely colours of Autumn once again. Problem with all those falling leaves are all the tree roots you can’t see on the paths. I tripped, I hurtled forwards and somehow sprinted out of it……ever done that ?
Friday night was spent icing my knee hoping it wouldn’t blow up and stop the final days of the streak. I planned a Park Run. Egged on by the Colwick Improvers, I said I’d try a hilly Park Run so it had to be The Forest or Gedling. I thought I’d try the Forest Recreation Ground as a new group of NWR beginners were ‘graduating’ ( ie running their 1st 5km) . It’s nice to feel the buzz from the new runners and I still feel better rocking up somewhere new and knowing there’ll be faces I know.
After 7 years of running, its lovely to now be self assured enough to have the confidence of knowing that if it’s a 5km or 10km, it doesn’t matter what the terrain or where the start line is or even if you’ve done much running or not recently, you know you’ll do it, you won’t need the loo, you won’t need any water (OK to any smart arses shouting out some of the worlds most extreme races at that distance ……there’s bound to a Himalayas 10km……..I’m talking more generally………runners, you get what I mean). The nerves from those on their first ever 5km was palpable, I wished I could have taken it away for them. The group support of NWR is amazing. It overcomes the barriers for older ladies and larger ladies and that’s got to be a good thing, ladies who would never contemplate getting their running kit on and taking part in a timed event. Many fall by the wayside over time but the majority ‘get the bug’ there was already talk of half marathons.
Knee or no knee, I lined up near the front of the pack, I like a good start, I know now I am so much faster than the start of the year. The course starts off flat and downhill, all good, but I knew the climb was coming, long and steady climbing the width of the hill not straight up. It actually wasn’t as bad as I thought but you flatten out and climb again, that bit was hard. I saw a purple vest just ahead, not an NWR vest but I wondered if it was an ‘homage’ to the purple ladies. I had my London mara tee on which is purple as my own nod to the purple ladies. I do have an NWR vest but I didn’t want to crash the newbies party as I haven’t been out with them. Anyway the other purple vest looked the right pace for me so I thought I’d keep going with them. They slowed on the first hill so I crept past, only to be taken by them on the next downhill. They said ‘hi’ as they passed, I had no idea who it was …….and was there a ‘na na nee na na ‘ mixed in with that passing greeting?? This is Saturday morning Park Run, it’s not competitive so naturally I decided that purple vest wasn’t getting away.
Diane was a marshal, another club and NWR runner who I see here and there, we’ve rocked up at Sweatshop Sunday runs on the same day and met on lots of start lines. She shouted both me and purple vest round the first bend. She shouted ‘Jackie’ and still my brain had no idea who purple vest was……so I must have been working hard!!
We came to the hill a second time. She slowed again and I could have passed but I didn’t want to be taken again on the final downhill so I nestled in right behind. Now you know I can’t stand ‘breathers’ , if you’ve ever raced and had a heavy breather come up on you its so off putting. They put you off your own rhythm. It’s odd you can’t hear people in front of you breathing but behind, you hear it clearly. So perhaps it was a good tactic, to purple vest, I must have sounded like Darth Vadar we were going at a relentless pace ( by our standards) I knew, she knew I was there. Even marshal Diane, had spotted it ‘was on’ and I didn’t yet know the identity of purple vest.
Back down the hill and the gap widened between us, I can’t speed up like that down hill but can push harder up hill. So the final straight was in sight, not knowing the course it was hard to see quite where the finish was, I glanced at Mr. Garmin, could we be on for a 22.59? I closed that gap on purple vest but not enough to get passed. We crossed in touching distance. My time 23.14…….. Still a PB.
Purple vest turned round, Jackie Welburn …….HPP runner, running mate, how the hell did I not realise who it was ! We are so alike, very competitive , similar standard runners, I’ve beaten her a couple of times this year and she’s beaten me (not enough so I recognise her rear view) and we obviously push each other to great things, it was a PB for her too. In a previous blog I described someone else as a running ‘frenemy’ but that’s too strong on reflection. Jackie and Abigail are runners I admire greatly and who have pushed me to do way better than I thought I could, competitive during a run, mates after……I should use ‘frival’ as my new term. It’s like Seb Coe and Steve Ovett all over again ! ( now who’s proving they’re an LCA)
Once composed, I cheered in the new ladies, many overcome with emotion at their achievements and rightly so. Much home made cake was passed around. I couldn’t resist a bit of cranberry and banana flapjack ……awesome fuel.
Best bit, unexpected coffee afterwards. I’ve never gone to the greasy spoon near Colwick Park after running and I assumed the Forest Rec facilities would be the same, it’s not a great part of the city. I’m old enough to know you should never assume, I was staggered to find the ‘Homemade Cafe’ on the Forest Rec site is a little chintzy gem of stunning cakes ( and I am a recognised cake expert). Shame I’d just eaten flapjack. Real coffee too. I was planning a cup of tea because I don’t drink instant coffee, yes I’m a massive coffee snob, I like it strong and black. Jackie and Diane went for the bacon butty options and my word what glorious butties they were, Diane’s was as big as her head, so never say runners don’t eat! I’d had breakfast as well as flapjack, I couldn’t justify it. I’ll remember for next time though.
Without the sophistication of chip timing going to 10ths of seconds, Jackie and I had been given the same time, but I have to hand her the victory, she crossed first…….but it’s Park Run, it’s not competitive, until next time.