So, having alternately coddled and bullied the bad knee with no speed running at all and a hundred weighted squats a day, and having done a 10k on Monday, albeit on road, I was relatively confident of being up to the Pilton 10k. Felt a bit apprehensive when I woke up but couldn't put my finger on why exactly. In fact with good reason it would later transpire.
Things got off to a less than brilliant start as kids were far from co-operative about getting dressed and eating breakfast and Mrs Rignold was still in bed ten minutes before we were due to leave. Then my daughter stormed off shouting "I don't want to go and watch Daddy lose. It will be embarrassing. He's too old and fat and slow."
I really should have seen the writing on the wall then.
Anyway we managed to set off and got to the site and all seemed well. Got my number and chip and everyone was happy. Beaming Mr Eavis gave us words of encouragement, inaudible despite his loudhailer due to the chuntering masses.
And then we were off. Was quite a fast jostley start and fairly steeply downhill and immediately muddy, being on a working farm. The serious club runners all streaked off like muddy hares. Anyone in a group of more than three people ran at funereal pace all abreast creating terrible bottlejams. I have noticed this being quote a common thing and it puzzles me.
Around the Pyramid stage we went, past the pirate ship and up around the standing stones. It was quite a surreal experience doing the Glastonbury Festival without quarter of a million people and loads of music. It is strange as well how scale changes when you are running. During the Festival it takes hours to get around the site, today we did a double figure of eight sort of, in an hour.
It was very muddy. And very hilly. Very hilly. Constantly hilly. Which did my heart rate no favours at all.
At the 4k marker, the 5k and 10k courses diverged and it all became a lot less crowded. The flipside of this was that from having been around the bottom of the first third of the field, I was suddenly in the rearguard. In the rearguard and puffing along far from strongly. The constant hills were really taking it out of me. After 6k, however I quite suddenly found my legs. One moment I was really suffering, then a lady club runner came alongside me and asked if I was alright (I dread to think what I looked like to elicit this question). I thought about it for a moment and did a quick mental checklist and replied, without gasping that I was fine... and then I was. It was like a lightbulb over head moment. I was indeed fine. And with that that my pace picked up and off I went up the hill to the water station at 7k, which I ran through in my newfound whizziness, down through the woods, which was a truly beautiful bit of trail, to emerge at the 8k marker, staring up at hill all the way to the end. More $@&*ing hill. All the way to the end. 2k of it.
Most of the runners I could see ahead of me were walking. It was Glastonbury's equivalent of Boston's Heartbreak Hill. Even with my newfound strength I barely made it a third of the way before succumbing to a run/walk . I did managed to pass a good 20 more runners in this time though.
Then round the top corner and even pulled out a sprint finish. Lots of cheers and appluase from the finishline crowd which was a massive lift to the spirit. I would have been beaming if I hadn't been grimacing so much
Annoyingly I forgot to switch off my Garmin, being preoccupied with clutching my knees and not falling over. By the time I remembered it was 1:05. I guess I finished about 1:02 or 3 - the chip times have not been published yet. A bit of a bummer as if I hadn't walked on that last hillI would have been under an hour, but no biggie. I was glad to finish and given the terrain and conditions am quite happy with that time.
Sadly, that was where the fun ended. I staggered around for a few minutes looking for my family. It sounds crass in retrospect but as I pushed out my sprint finish I was picturing their excited happy faces in the cheering crowd. I felt proud of the pride they would be feeling seeing me power home.
Well, you know what they say pride comes before...
Eventually I wandered back up to the pavilion in the village where I finally found them. The kids were playing happily. My wife greeted me with frosty silence until we got to the car then a harangue until we got home about how she hates me running, hates my health regime, this race was the last straw and basically... well... this isn't really the place for the rest of it.
So. There we are. My first proper race. Quite a rollercoaster, topographically and emotionally.
Don't have any photos, for obvious reasons.
Wife has gone off to work now. Was thinking of foregoing evening pushups and squats and getting good and drunk instead, but am opting for a hot bath and mug of kefir and an early night instead.
Tomorrow is what Scarlett said it is.