Well it had seemed like a good idea, but on checking the Plymvalley FB page early yesterday and seeing messages like: it is -1c down there and white frost on the meadow where I'd be running in an hour or two, hmmmm, maybe I should just have stayed in bed!
However, as I hadn't run the previous night (because I was running the next morning!) I knew I had to get on with it and stop whining about having to dig out my winter kit. Nice warm leggings and jacket over a long sleeved top. I found my running gloves and hat in the pocket of the jacket so I was pretty much geared up. Water, check (for after, not during the run), Garmin, check, laces double knotted, check.
OH drove me down to the venue as we were going to see a friend after, plus a few bits to do in Plymouth. I left him in the car with his crossword while I got over to the meadow to the start line. Said hello and had a chat to another NHS C25K graduate that I know, and had a bit of a warm up jog up and down the road next to the field...it was very chilly and the meadow was still white with hoar frost. I spent about five-ten mins waiting for my Garmin to find the satellites due to all the overhanging trees and the fact that we were in the Plymvalley. Finally it picked up the signal with literally just a few seconds to go before the off whistle. Not that it really mattered as we'd be getting a time anyway! Bravely I take off my jacket, knowing it will be too hot with it on once I get the first mile under my feet.
Eventually we got started and off clockwise around the meadow we went. I didn't see the couple with their young son that I met last time (and had to play catchup with their nine year old who beat me by four seconds at the finish!)...I made some headway passing a few people but I felt that I was definitely making up the back of the pack. The freezing air felt like it was shrinking my lungs with every harsh intake of breath, and where the field wasn't white with frost it was brown with soft, slidey mud. I nearly went over once or twice in the field and then again, when we had looped around and across the road on to the Plymvalley riverpath I nearly went over on some lopsided granite slabs set into the gravel and packed dirt.
When you look at the Garmin at 16.40 you see a massive slow down - that lovely little piece of path is about 100 yards long and it is straight uphill at an incline of about 60 degrees! I had to repeat in my head "You will NOT stop to WALK, you will NOT stop to WALK!!" as I forced myself upwards and onwards. connect.garmin.com/activity...
The path loops back on the opposite riverbank and it's all cyclepath for a bit, then goes back DOWNHILL at almost as steep an incline as climb up was, and there's a marshall at the bottom shouting up to me to "Take it easy coming down; it's slippery!" ...as if I need telling twice! Very gingerly I take it as quickly as I dare, knowing that I'm already slower at this point than the last time I ran this course.
Back into the meadow again, but taking it anti-clockwise this time. The sun is getting a little higher in the sky and more of the frost has melted, making it even more slippery. I feel that my lungs are working very hard as are my legs. That calf niggle is STILL there, dratted thing, but I put in an effort towards the finish line and find it hard to slow up enough to collect the barcode tag being handed to me by the marshall.
A few stretches, jacket back on, a drink of water, and off back to the car to be driven to my friend who has promised me the use of her facilities to get cleaned up. One hot shower and change later I am drinking tea, eating cake and chillin'!