Thursday, 19 October 2017

New Forest Stinger


Morning all,

Apologies for my absence and if I've missed any of your posts. We've had no internet for a week, ironically because it was being upgraded to faster broadband! All working now and much faster than it was before so the delay was probably worth it. 

L is happy. He dealt with the absence stoically, making sure he downloaded piles of books onto his kindle while at college :o). He has a reasonably light timetable this year so is often home during the day. This is lovely for me; he is very independent but it's just nice to have him around. This week, however, he elected to remain in college from dawn to dusk because they had internet connection. How quickly it has become an integral part of life. 

It's damp here today and the dogs and I have already been out for a four-mile run round the misty, muddy fields, so I am feeling virtuous. Last weekend we raced in The Stinger, a run through the New Forest. I did the 5 mile and it was hard work! The course is off road and goes through some beautiful countryside around Acres Down and Minstead, and has a couple of good hills thrown in for good measure. We were warned by the race director to watch out for rutting deer (stags in autumn are dangerous beings) but we didn't see any deer anywhere, and only a handful of ponies who stared out as us from beneath dripping branches.

There weren't all that many competitors which surprised us, possibly because many had run in the Hampshire Cross Country League the day before. Romsey did well across the three disciplines of half marathon, ten and five mile races. It's been a good year for the club. Poor old Mark, a club member who ran an ultra marathon across Exmoor at the start of the year and then succumbed to Glandular Fever, is now struggling with post-viral fatigue. He ran the first five miles of the ten mile race then was forced to walk the remainder home. He still managed to do that in under two hours!

My race went well, although I didn't have masses of energy having upped my mileage last week. I kept a steady pace and managed to pull back some lost places by overtaking on the hills. The last mile contains the sting of the Stinger- it is uphill all the way (more or less). This is especially sneaky because the half mile before it is all downhill and therefore lulls you into a false sense of security. Not having run the race before, and making the school girl error of failing to check out the finish before we started, I happily flew along the final downhill, putting in my fastest km, confidently overtaking the man in front and then putting a good distance between us, before seeing the hill looming ahead.

It wasn't especially steep; it just went on, and on, and on. I ran quickly up the first half, then slowed down to pick my way through sections of mud and clay which really zapped my energy. There was one runner ahead who was walking and for a while as I trudged onwards, (still running but by this time at the kind of pace a child walking briskly could have overtaken), I did think I might catch him. If the race had been a mile longer I probably would have done it, but as it was I was forced to walk myself at that point or fall over and so the distance between us remained.

The final 200 metres was delineated by orange tape with the finish gantry visible as you turned the final corner. I managed to sprint over the line and although my time wasn't particularly speedy, I was thrilled to come second in my age category.

I'm now back to pondering a Spring marathon. You may remember I had Edinburgh all lined up and ready to go, but have more-or-less decided not to do it and to find a trail marathon instead. There are a few contenders: The Neolithic (if it runs) and Stroud, both in May, appeal to me. The first task is to get the training for the Grizzly underway (starts mid Dec), and see how I feel after the long miles start to kick in (my training programme has 16, 17, 19 and 20 mile runs in it), but it would be nice to have a focus for a marathon too. Luckily, now the internet is back, I can spend as many hours as I want researching interesting, gnarly trail runs :o)

Hope you're all well?

CT x







33 comments:

  1. I'm glad you enjoyed your race. Those long, gradual climbs are very testing especially then the terrain is difficult. Well done on finishing second in your category.
    No running for me this week as I am starting with a cold. I've previously tried to 'power through' minor ailments but quickly learned my lesson.
    When I'm feeling a bit brighter I might even look for a race to enter myself. X

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    1. Entering a race is a good way to focus attention on running. Hope you're over your cold soon.

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  2. Eek, I think I lost my comment. Well done on another good run, and what a lovely place to be. Good luck finding a marathon for next year, it will be motivating to have one to aim for. CJ xx

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  3. Hey CT,
    All well here, apart from my hair. Which I hate.
    Leanne xx

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  4. My boy would fall to pieces if we lost the internet,as much as I love it some days it makes me sad how much it has become a part of lives.
    Well done with another run and hope you manage to keep going over the winter months.
    Amanda xx

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    1. I think its probably quite healthy to have a break from it every now and then x

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  5. Lovely views even if the going was tough, a finish is a finish at any time.

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  6. Well done on coming second in your age category. What a perfect name for the race! I can remember my daughter's Classic teacher setting the students a challenge to see who could go the longest with no phone, internet, television etc. L actually won, but only because everyone else crumbled on the first evening! Well done to your L for thinking ahead and downloading lots of books. xx

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    1. It is a little worrying how reliant we've all become on it x

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  7. I wonder how I'd do with extended non-Internet time. Even when there's no available Wifi, I usually just default to my phone, racking up the Cellular Data. . . I've been trying to leave the phone home for an hour here, an hour there, but I'll admit to getting twitchy quite quickly. . .

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    1. I like to be phone-free every now and then, it does help with peacefulness. How are you doing running-wise these days?

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  8. Seem to have hurt my ankle slash achilles running last night, very sore and limping today. My legs haven't been right since the cricket season, just permanently stiff when I run. Rest my leg for a couple of days

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  9. I could pretend to myself I could do without the internet but as all bills and everything important happen there things would soon fall apart- only invisibly. What would panic me immediately though would not being able to download books onto my Kindle.

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    1. Ah yes, L feels much the same about his Kindle!

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    2. I've just noticed in your sidebar . . that you have a link to Loose and Leafy. This is great. (I'm really pleased.) But since it moved to Halifax, it has a new URL

      https://looseandleafyinhalifax.blogspot.co.uk/

      Dorset and West Yorkshire are so different from each other it seemed best to keep them distinct.

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  10. Phew I’m complaining about 6k and you will be doing 16 plus mile runs...scary. I’m sure you will cope. Glad you didn’t come across any rutting stags! Definitely don’t like the sound of that stinging hill. Hope you find the right marathon for you. B x

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    1. It's the same feeling regardless of how far you run if it's a new distance. It all comes down to the training. Remember when you thought 5k was a tough distance to crack? And look at you now, 5k well and truly in the bag and your sights firmly set on twice that far, and you'll do it, because it is doable and you have a great attitude. M always says marathons are run in your head as much as your legs. I think that's true of all running xx

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  11. Well done with the race. Glad your internet is back. Happy researching.

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  12. I quite fancy internet free time :-) Congratulations on becoming second in your race. x

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    1. I have to say it was OK going without it for a week (although I did sit in Sainsbury's carpark for half an hour trying to do various orders online!). x

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  13. Always admire your running ability but also your wonderful descriptive writing! I was in the New Forest with you!
    Glad you have internet! Hoorah!
    Happy running CT... only 8 weeks and I'm there! Wahoo! Xxx

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    1. Yay! 8 weeks! Looking forward to it. Dust off those running shoes, girl! (only joking. Tea and cake is better, I feel?) Lots of love to you all XXX

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  14. I'm waiting for some decent weather to try out my leg. Rest won't harm it. Today I raked leaves. Every morning and evening its foggy.

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    1. You'll probably find it's cleared by the time you get back out on it. Fingers crossed for you.

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  15. So many rules for running that I am happy you like it so much.
    Would you have seen the hill at the finish if you looked ?
    Has the bad toenail gotten better ? Or is it still black and blue ?
    How are the new shoes ? So many questions so much running.
    I love running along with you you write so well.

    One nice thing about running is you train with your gud dugs !
    cheers, parsnip


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    1. Usually, we run the last km or two of a race before the start to make sure we know what they look like (how much energy to hold back, what the gradient's like, when to start the final sprint etc). Bad toenail....I have four, although all old ones now. Expect they'll fall off in due course. No new ones since I changed shoes. New shoes are fab! Absolutely love running in them. Light a feather but waterproof, what's not to like? And as for those two doggy people, they really make my running. I don't know how I'd do all the training without them, bless their paws :o) Love to Winston xx

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x