LOOK.........Both feet off the ground!!
Thank you to all you lovely C25kers who wished me well in my Crediton Crunch run yesterday.
I did it......and I did 10k in under one hour.....but it was hard.
My main motivation for this run was to register an accurately measured and timed 10k against which I could measure future progress, in exactly the way that Parkrun does so wonderfully for 5k. That, and to discover whether I was an irredeemably antisocial old git, having said that I didn't want to run with other people, but persuaded that without trying it out, my curmudgeonly conviction was baseless.
So I lined up with 249 others for the 10.30 start, setting Runkeeper running as a tracker a while before and relying on my stopwatch to give me minute to minute timing. It was warm in the hazy sun, but the breeze took the edge off it, making conditions very pleasant, along with the congenial company. The first kilometre was the scenic route out of the industrial estate and climbing up a shady lane, with me assessing the pace of other runners and noting those who seemed to be starting at my sort of pace, for future reference.
Now, I have posted on here in the past about the eighteen ****ing gates on my home 5k run and the minor inconvenience they cause me. Never did I expect to encounter a ****ing gate on this organised 10k run, just one k from the start. The lane had a farm gate, closed across it and a ****ing gate for pedestrians alongside it. I could have given a master class, with my eyes closed, on how to negotiate a ****ing gate, while out running, having refined my techniques and committed them to instinctive muscle memory reactions. But no, here I queued with everyone else as we politely allowed one another through, while the brave scaled the five bar gate. I don't believe it!!!!
My whole race plan was based around making up a few minutes in the first six k, knowing that there was a series of steep climbs, to just beyond the 8k mark, which if I could get to in under 48 minutes, then the final downhill home run would see me across the line in under the hour. So having negotiated the “I don't believe it ****ing gate” I strode off comfortably, on the next downhill section, knowing that I now had to make up even more time. We had barely done the second kilometre and were passing the front windows of Downes House, the grounds of which are specially opened for the Crunch to pass through, (that's big of them!) when lo and behold another queue was forming in the shrubbery “ Is this a pee break?” I queried. I DON'T BELIEVE IT!!! A ****ing stile this time!!!
The scenery was delightful, but my schedule was slipping. The next 3.5k was level, in fields and on lanes, so the pace was not too bad, although the freshly mown grass was not a good running surface. On the road an acquaintance, Keith, slowly came alongside me and we exchanged some pleasantries for half a mile or so, before I said, “Don't let me hold you up, Keith” and he moved on. He is a good ten years older than me, but has been running for centuries, while I only have eleven months on the clock.
Somewhere around 6k we hit the first real hill. I can't remember last time I had to walk (while out running, I mean: I walk every day, when not running), but I did today and was relieved to see that so was everyone else in this strung out bunch, including Keith 100m up ahead. Eventually we all picked up again and I played tortoise and hare with a very athletic looking guy, half my age, who would pass me, then slow to a walk allowing me to pass him again, all the way up to the 8k marker. As I came up to it I checked the time.......48.09 and I am not quite at the top of the hill yet......touch and go methinks.
There were two water stations on this run and the second was at the top of the long hill down towards the finish, through the grounds of Shobrooke Park. I splashed a mouthful of water into the approximate region of my mouth and the rest went over my head. Now I had to push. I hit the 9k mark at about 54 minutes and some, knowing I couldn't let up my pace now. Then I heard cheering and clapping from below and in my head a whole throng of enthusiastic C25kers were urging me ever onwards. One last stretch of road, another ****ing gate, across two more fields and there was the 10k marker, but that was not the end. The Crunch is sold as a 10k(ish) multi terrain run and there was still another 300m to go. Two runners in front of me stopped running, but not this curmudgeonly old bastard, I was going to run till I dropped!
I had passed the 10k marker at 59.28 on my stopwatch and my official Crunch time was 1.01.28. So I sort of did it, which I am pleased with, but also slightly dissatisfied. The official time can only really be used as a basis for comparison with.......another run on the same route, through the same ****ing gates and stiles. So will I do it again? To be honest, I could have had an equally enjoyable run, in the cool, at 6.30am, on much of the same route, without having to part with £13. But let's face it, a year ago that run would have been unthinkable and the tea did taste good out of my Crediton Crunch mug.
Off to analyze my Runkeeper stats......
Keep running, keep smiling.