CRUNCH.....OUCH...BIFF....BANG....OH, REALLY?

CRUNCH.....OUCH...BIFF....BANG....OH, REALLY?

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.

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44 Replies

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  • That's great iannodatruffle congratulations you should be well chuffed

  • It's another highlight in my brief running career. Good to see you are back out running with no problems.

  • Thanks & so am I , long may it reign .

  • Great time congratulations Even if you keen to run race again at least it's given you a benchmark well done

  • Thanks. I would have liked it to be a time for a straight 10k, not a 10.3k plus queues, but as I said, I could not have taken part in last year's race at all. So it is all progress.

  • I was with you on your run! (Not literally but your description was really good). I did giggle about the queues. Only us Brits would queue on a run! Really great accomplishment and your times are very impressive. Be proud.

    PS how do you open those ****ing gates? I've just moved to the sticks and am having a few problems with them. Seriously.

  • Would you believe it gates and stiles on a timed run.....madness. But you are right, everyone behaved very well!

    My ****ing gates are kissing gates, of both metal and wood, sometimes latched, sometimes not, but all equally annoying. Mme Truffe sees them differently, in that they give a few seconds recovery time from running. So what difficulties are you having with your gates?

  • Er........... opening them! I can manage the little gates but I came across one about 6 feet across the other day and could not, could not, open it. I think it was just stiff (my excuse and I'm sticking to it). Next time I'll take some WD40!

  • Lifting is normally the answer as they often sag on their hinges. Good luck.

  • Thanks. I'll try that. That particular path was closed this morning so I didn't get to have another go. Honestly, talk about feeling like an idiot!

  • Well done!!! We all knew you'd nail it

  • I swear I heard you cheering me on, thanks.

  • Congratulations! As a rather anti-social runner myself it's good to hear a similar creature write an honest review- lots of runners seem to think en masse runs are the holy grail.

    I'm very impressed with that time and would like to get there myself one day, but I do think it's generally considered bad manners to levitate across the finish line!

    Well done and happy running :)

  • Thank you, emkeenan, we mustn't stick together!!

    Other runners do tend to bring out the competitive spirit, which nudges one's pace upwards, but I am sure that I smiled fewer times on that run, than I do on any of my solo runs, when I am at one with my little world.

    Headphones were prohibited for The Crunch, but I don't remember reading anything about levitation being banned. But as you say, probably best kept for when nobody else is watching.

    Keep running, keep smiling.

  • Ha, brilliant race report, lannodaT. Congratulations on a sub-hour off-road (gated!!) 10K.

    How silly that the race directors hadn't negotiated with the farmer to have at least the first farm track gate open. It's not good to slow down the pack so near the start when everyone is still bunched together.

    On the Tiree Half Marathon we had 4 cattle grids to negotiate. It was raining and the metal bars were slippery, so I had to slow to a walk when crossing each one. No queuing, but it put me off my stride.

  • Thanks, swanscot. I was amazed that the first gate was not open. I must have a word. I reckon we lost about a minute of running with the two hold ups. The cattle grids all had boards over them, which was a simple idea and saved a few ankles, I should think.

  • Being an urban runner I had no idea about pesky gates, I think your time is FAB especially considering all those hold ups - and levitation as well. :-)

  • I was suitably smug and pink, but would have liked to have an official time under the hour.......I suppose there's always next year......Levitation powers certainly would have eased the congestion!

  • I thought you were the one doing the swearing Iannoda! LOL What's with all the *****'s did you mean k i s s i n g gates or something ruder?

  • You know what I meant, misswobble!

  • Excellent that you tried running with a pack. I'm also a very anti-social runner (a dog is plenty of company, and I will actively avoid people partly because the dog can be a little **** and partly because I like to be on my own). Reading your description made me think that one day I should try a race as well.

    And as for ****ing gates: some of my routes have a few of these. It never occurred to me that a race route would include them. Still, you managed a fab time despite all the hold-ups: well done you!

  • I think you should. Parkrun is definitely to be recommended, even though there are other people there.

  • That's an impressive run on a very tough course. Now that you are a fully socially integrated pack runner ;-) I'd really recommend trying a 'fast and flat' 10k (if you haven't already) because they are amazingly speedy and thrilling if you're used to hills and ****ing gates and the like, and a massive confidence boost when you knock 5 mins off your PB, just like that.

  • Funnily enough, I went into Exeter a month or so ago, to do 10k along the river and canal. I gave up out of sheer boredom after 7k. I achieved some quite good times, but with no hills or ****ing gates to encounter it just seemed so relentless and open. I am afraid that I will remain a solitary hermit, charging through the fields and woods and frightening the wildlife for many years to come. My PBs will be mine on my own routes and mean very little to anyone else......apart from Parkrun, of course.

  • Yay, I was looking forward to hearing how you did. Firstly, congratulations. Even with the obstacles, that's a great time. I have my first offical 10k next week, and I'm dreading, more because I know it will take me probably at least 90 minutes to complete the course.

    I do sympathaise about the gates and stiles & am very suprised that the race was organised over this route. I'm sure it was extremely frustrating, and I don't think I could have been as polite about it as you. Amazing location for a run though - I'm coming down to that part of Cornwall in September for a family holiday so may have to get some reccomendations from you on possible running routes.

  • Thanks for the congratulations. Don't dread it. I think that was partly my problem. I was quite tensed up and I know I run better when relaxed. It is so much easier on your own. Whatever time you set, is your time to be beaten, so it doesn't matter how fast or slow it is in comparison to others.

    It is a lovely run. My part of Cornwall is Devon.......which could get you hung, on the other side of the Tamar!

  • Yes, oops, or pitchforked by the Cornish independantists. Probably a good incentive to try and up my pace to run away when both sides find me and try and tear me to pieces for that more than embarressing gaffe. But yes, it is Shobrooke Park we are supposed to be staying near. Apparently I'm not supposed to know because it's meant to be a "surprise" honeymoon (albeit one with the daughter and spaniel coming along too).

  • Crediton is my home town, so if you want any advice about the area just pm me. This part of Devon is often overlooked, but has many parochial delights.

  • Thanks KittyKat. I have since heard that particular gate is always closed for the run. Truly unbelievable and a black mark against the event from me.

    The moral of my tale is that you should try (most) things at least once. Parkrun should not be avoided though. It really is a truly wonderful example of people power at work, through a common interest. You will enjoy it and have an accurate 5k time to gauge future progress.

  • Waaaaay to goooooo duuuuuude!! Amazing pic too. Well done Signor De Truffe on completing what sounds like a nightmare course with all those f&$$%ng gates to negotiate! AND......59 minutes! Not arf bad.

  • Ahh, monsieur Zargo, how jolly decent of you to congratulate me.

    Yep, the first photo of me running that doesn't look like I am about to trip over my own feet and chew the grass. I don't consider myself to be a competitive soul but you are homing in on my 5k Parkrun PB at an alarming rate, but I won't be pushing it any further for a little while, since I finished the Crunch unscathed, only to "do" my back while digging a courgette pit under the direction of Mme Truffe. C'est la vie!!

  • I like kissing gates as there aren't many of them where I live (living in a town). When Mr CrazyKitty & I go walking in the countryside, we always kiss when we go through them! However I will agree with you, I would not want ****ing gates on my run! Well done on your excellent time with ****ing gates! Totally Amazing!

  • I can only advise that if you come to run or walk around here with your other half, that you apply some lip salve or vaseline before you start! You shameless romantics.

  • Well done Tim ! That sounds like a great time ( certainly to an old plod like me) ....and very brave of you to face 10K alongside 249 others,plus the effin' gates and stiles.

    I think you made a really good point about a lone, early morning run being just as nice...and free (!) ,but at least you gave it a good go ...and you have a mug to prove it ...yep,the mug would probably been the deciding factor for me !

    Really well done :)

  • Thank you Carolecal, you are not a plod, just a member of the rational gender that doesn't have anything to prove with your running. Let's face it, being out in the countryside, by yourself, breathing deep and feeling truly alive is what this running magic is all about. That and mugs.

  • IannodaT, what a fantastic write-up. I laughed so much; you didn't have much luck yesterday, did you, with those ****ing stiles and gates! :D :D Sorry, I shouldn't laugh; I bet it wasn't funny at the time, especially given how hot it was, but what else can you do other than laugh?! The only time I'd expect obstacles like that on a paid, timed run would be if it was some sort of obstacle/adventure course. That'd be like having live gated railway crossings on a marathon: just unnecessary!

    Very, very well done; you had a great time and extra special WELL DONE is due for the heat and your having to deal with the infernal obstacles.

    Of course, you were duly compensated in the form of your cool new mug, which I hope you're enjoying! Well done, sir! :-)

  • Of course you should laugh......we did, with disbelief, but I bet there was some cursing amongst the front runners. The next Crunch is going to include minefields and coils of barbed wire lining the route with snipers posted at every kilometre distance marker......or did I just dream that.

  • 250 of you, wow, so many? (No sarcasm there at all) there were only 47 of us in the Hillcrest 10k yesterday.

    I did it as well, ran all the way apart from going up the hill on a single track behind two other people going so slowly it was easier to drop back into a walk for a few paces until the track widened sufficiently and I could get past than it was to try to run that slowly. Out of 47 of us I came in 16th, second woman to finish, missed out on a prize because the lady in front of me (5+ minutes in front) was also an "older woman", the first woman to finish NOT in the "older woman" category was 2+ minutes behind me (and the only one in her category, yay, go us wrinklies!, not that I'm wrinkly yet). Target time was 'anything under an hour will do me', as I crossed the line my Garmin said I was at 9.97k, so after pausing it and receiving 2 cups of water from the kids acting as water monitors (sorry to the other 2 kids, I had no more hands to take the proffered water) and my finishers medal I switched my Garmin back on and walked the 30m to make it a round 10k. My time, according to Garmin 51 minutes 0.6 seconds (MMR has rounded that up to 51:01, grumble, grumble), my official finishing time was 50:47!!!!!! As you say it means nothing on its own, but a good baseline to compare to next year.

    And we had two of those ****ing gates to negotiate! With a queue at one!

  • 50.47 would mean a lot to me! That is a brilliant time Beads and one I can only dream of. Gates on runs was something I hadn't expected but it is interesting to note that you had some too. It smacks of bad planning to me, especially after only one k of a race with 250 runners, which inevitably causes hold ups.

    Knowing in advance where the narrow sections are would be a definite advantage, having got stuck behind some painfully slow runners for about 500m at one point.

    50.47..........I am still dreaming. Well done!

  • Wow, Beads, 50 minutes is a brilliant time for a 10K, even more so for an off-road route. Very impressive!

  • An incredible achievement - even more so considering the heat. Enjoy your success and best wishes.

  • Thanks Fitmo. The heat wasn't that bad. I am always hot after the first three minutes of running, so didn't really notice it.

  • Well done that man; those gates are a bummer though. Next time, perhaps a carry a small pole with you and vault over them? ;) Think of the lead that would give you!!

  • Hiya OldNed. I am really not at all sure that there will be a next time. My solitary running is much more satisfying. I just have to accept that I am a miserable old anti social git. I don't have a problem with that.

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