Which would have been quite an achievement in the same race. Okay this is a very long post, so put the kettle on and settle down for a read!
I entered the Longhorn 5k last year and had a good time, even though it snowed. The bling is one of the best medals I possess, so when entries opened for this year's event, and they said they'd moved it to St. George's Day, and they were creating an even more extra-special medal, I signed up. Only I signed up for the 10k. I can only think I didn't have my glasses on and I must have missed when I was ticking boxes.
The event last year was very well organised, with free parking, free photos, good pre-event info, good number pickup on the day and very friendly organisers. All the same this year, except that with two days to go, we received an email to say that unfortunately, the extra-special bling had been held up by HMRC at Customs and wouldn't be available in time for the race. I wonder if they saw St. George and thought it was something political for the EDL Anyway, the organisers promised that as soon as they arrived they would post them out to us and not to worry, they had bought a generic medal to hand out on the day. A two-medal race! Woohoo!
I set off this morning with the usual checklist of things done and things packed. The first problem was an almighty fight with my satnav. I hate my satnav. I'm sure I have told her that I want to use A-roads, not goat tracks and green lanes, but she persists in sending me as the crow flies cross country. Well, it was me that was cross this time. If you were also on your way, and you were shocked by abuse coming at high volume from a small black car, I can only apologise.
I arrived at 10am. The 10k was due to start at 10:55am. I pottered down from the car park in lovely sunshine, and hit the first snag - a mahoosive queue for the registration tent. Aaargh! Did that though, then the next - and much more pressing issue - queue for the loos. Now, this needed a marshal. I was getting quite annoyed about this. There was a row of loos and two queues, but the other queue was not playing the game! They were loo-jumping! They were using more than half the loos! I ask you, is this fair? Is this the British way? Not only that, but there were people who were not running - and the clock was ticking - and it was getting closer and closer to 10:55... 'Wee faster!' the ladies in front of me were shouting as people strolled casually forward.
I was hoping to meet up with misswobble before we started but what with lack of signal, the queues for registration and the loo, it didn't happen. What did happen is that I missed the race briefing - and the official start! I dashed up to the start, curved round the corner and over the mat, still frantically pressing buttons on my Garmin - so no accurate start on that at all.
By this point I was in a flap and not at all in a good place mentally to run 10k. I don't much like trail runs anyway and I found this one really hard. The Canicross had officially started 10 minutes before us, but there were quite a few people with dogs, and I have to admit that I don’t like it when I’m running and suddenly a dog or two dogs appear and a runner brushes past me. Then there was a Nordic walker. Oh my goodness, did I take against this poor man? I’m sure he’s a very nice bloke, but he was walking at the same pace that I was running, and I was pushing it a bit (for me) at the start. All I could hear was ‘click, click, click, click’ – bloody maddening! Then there were the ladies from the same club who ran in a group of 4 – across the path. In fact, there were many people who ran together so that you couldn’t get round them. Because this was a trail run, and because it has been so dry recently, the ground underfoot was extremely uneven and rutted, so it was hard to overtake or to go round anyone.
I got to 4k, and I honestly thought I wouldn’t make it to the end. I was so tired, had no energy – so I walked for a little while and thought of all our Marathoners today. At 5k I thought about stopping completely, but it’s a circular course so that wouldn’t have helped! I decided to plod on slowly – and then I remembered that @misswobble had suggested that I take some jelly babies. It’s the first time I have ever bothered, so I dug them out and tried them. I carried on, running slowly and walking where I had to, and got to the next water station where I stopped for a little while, then rationalised that it was only another 3k and surely I could do that.
By this point all the marathoners and the ultras were whizzing past again (and again) with shouts of ‘Coming through!’ and ‘On your right!’, but then there was a lovely lady who cheered me up again when she spotted my t-shirt and said, ‘You’re doing really well – you’re well over 5k! Keep going!’ I’d settled down into a mindless stumble by this point and suddenly we were almost home, and there was the finish – hooray!
I did meet up with @misswobble as we were getting our goody bags (which were great) and that’s us in the photo at the top. Neither of us could see the screen which is why we look rather puzzled, and I for one would have looked slightly less revolting if we had managed to meet up for our photoshoot before running 10k, but hey – we made it!
I hung around afterwards and had a free 10 minute sports massage, which was nice. The chap gave my calves a rub down, and said at one point ‘You can relax, you know’ - to which I growled, ‘This is relaxed!’ Also, I mentioned the jelly babies, but I saved one for later just in case. I couldn’t put it back in my pocket while I was shuffling along so I wrapped it back in its clingfilm and stuffed it down my bra. OMG! Have you any idea what happens to a jelly baby if you smother it, compress it and then pressure cook it at 200C for 30 minutes? Eeewww!!!
I don’t like trail running. Apparently today I could have seen the largest herd of longhorn cattle in the UK, a massive flock of geese on a lake, a lake, an estate house, some sort of species of sheep and other interesting things. What I saw was the ground about 4 feet in front of me. I can tell you that there was reddish sand, black earth in very deep hardened ruts, huge potholes with big gravelly stones in, grey smaller hardcore, tree roots, tree bark and chippings, grass and dandelions, pinecones, small fine gravel, fine shale, tarmac, mole hills and dried mud, to name a few.
However, things I did like: bluebells. Finishing. Meeting up with another C25Ker in person. Oh, and the mistake with the official timing – you may be as pleased as I was to know that my current official time, until they fix it, is about 30 minutes faster than my Garmin time. I’ll take that