Sunday, 8 July 2018

Doing The Double



What do sane people do on the hottest weekend of the year during a 31 degree heat wave? They decide to run back-to-back races of course.

On Saturday, we headed off to the Serpent Trail with friend B to tackle a half marathon through the Greensands of the Surrey/ Hampshire border. The coach (no air con and an almost-accident on the way that had all the runners gasping and being generally flung about) picked us up at the finish and drove us the 13 miles to Midhurst where it dropped us off at a pub by the side of a dusty road, leaving the 100+ runners to make their own way back along the trail to Petersfield....






It was bloody boiling. Lots of stretches with no shade. Even hotter than last weekend's ten miler along the south downs way and that was roasting. Did I mention the race started at midday?






It wasn't massively hilly, but the undulations were enough to make me walk (as was the blistering heat at times). I didn't expect to do a particularly competitive time given the conditions so was astonished to come home 26th. Dead chuffed with that, especially as in the second half I was overtaking lots of people who were groaning that the heat had finished them off. Thank you, long mile marathon training in the heat :o) 

There were also 50k (30 mile) and 100k (60 mile) ultras going on. Not surprisingly, most of the 100k runners pulled out leaving just 14 hardy souls who completed the distance, having set off at 6am. Four of our friends did the 50k, including one who was running his first ultra. They got home in 6-7 hours. Full credit to them. What an amazing achievement! M blasted his way round into first place, hopefully signalling an end to his recent period of injury. We were all pretty thrilled with our achievements.


Cheering on our friends who were about to complete their 30 mile race at 4.30pm, having started running at 10am.
A nice race t-shirt to add to the collection
Oscar, who was chief support dog while his uncle ran the ultra



Today, because we hadn't had enough of running through the parched countryside in blistering heat, we made our way down into deepest, darkest, Dorset to do WSR's Piggy Plod 10k. I am a complete convert to White Star Racing ever since they looked after me so well at Dorchester.

We met up with friends Richard and Jackie from New Forest Runners at the start. Everyone was laughing cheerfully about the heat (the best way to deal with it was to not be scared. Not admitting to it, at any rate)....


White Star medal collection


Then we were off, running out of the farm yard into the golden fields. Somehow, I found myself in ninth place as the field began to spread out. I could see M way ahead leading the runners along the side of the field and thought to myself he's on for another podium place but, more excitingly (not really, but you know what I mean!) there was only one other lady ahead of me. She was way off though so I knew I wouldn't catch her, but still, to be in second position for the female half of the race was very cheering.

The race was two laps round the farm's fields. Much of it was out in the open in the blistering sun with no shade and there were also two or three reasonable hills. I slowed my pace after the first couple of miles, remembering I had run a testing half marathon in 31 degree heat yesterday, but even so I was feeling pretty damn good, no sign of those 13 miles in my legs at that stage and all was going well (if baking hot). 

The heat was rising from the ground as well as hammering down on our heads and after a while I could hear breathing on my shoulder and a lady overtook me, panting heavily. Oh well, I thought, plenty of time to catch her.

I tried to settle down into finding my rhythm but it takes me 6-10 miles to warm up and get into my stride these days and this race would be over in 6 miles. My usual strategy with longer races is to start slow then when I've warmed up after a few miles pick up the pace and run the second half faster than the first. There just isn't enough time or miles in a 10K to do that, so the best I could do was to try and keep up the pace without killing myself with heat stroke. 

I had my water pack on so didn't need to stop at the water stations unlike the lady in front and twice I overtook her as she stopped to rehydrate, but each time she came back. Fair play to her. If I hadn't had the half marathon in my legs I could probably have fought back and overtaken her to claim 2nd place, but to be honest, a 10k race however lovely is not high on my list of target runs this year and to push myself too far in the heat for the difference between 2nd and 3rd would have been silly, so I contented myself with overtaking two tired chaps in front, checking to make sure lady #4 wasn't anywhere near and settled for 3rd placed lady which also turned out to be 10th overall.

Totally thrilled. 

Even more so when I discovered M had repeated his feat from yesterday and won the race! 

#goteamcountrysidetales!





Our prizes were a choice of WSR race shirts....



And a hilarious piggy buff each....



I think this is the result of all the marathon training and enjoying the longer distances. It's made me stronger, fitter and more endurance-proof than I've ever been.

Hope all have had a good weekend? What about England and the footie eh? Fabulous! (even to a non football watcher for 99% of the time :o). Come on, lads! 

CT .

30 comments:

  1. Sadly not so cheerful about the football in my Swedish corner of the world….

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  2. You are an absolute machine lady! Though I have been giving starting one of those couch to 5k app things. Just thinking mind...

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    1. Do it, Rach. I’ve just finished teaching a 9 week C25k course to 40 originally non runners of all ages from 12 to retired and all shapes and sizes, all of whom are now 5k runners and completely addicted to running. You won’t regret it xx

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  3. Your Piggy Plod medal is porker! My favourite fridge magnet from a restaurant in Triest is just like it. You'll be doing the 3 Pigs Race next!
    It's actually the Three Peaks of Yorkshire but that's what locals call it.

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    1. WSR are renowned for their funky medals.

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  4. Really well done (both of you) especially in this weather. I just love those medals. You must be building up quite a collection by now. X

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  5. Wow, your weekend sounds crazy (in a good way)! I barely made it to the beach for a quick swim. The sea in Denmark is pleasantly “warm” and it was wonderful to float for a few minutes. Have a lovely week x

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    1. I honestly think it's easier running in hot weather than walking in it, you create your own breeze! x

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  6. Wow, that is some impressive running. Well done M, he is a lean, mean, running machine. Oscar is rather divine, I like the look of him a lot. The countryside looks so parched at the moment, so dry and brown. How blissful the rain will be when it finally arrives. CJ xx

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    1. Oh, yes for rain! I've forgotten what it feels like. You would LOVE Oscar, he's the sweetest boy: all soft fur, waggy tail and big, soppy brown eyes. A dearheart if ever there was one. xx

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  7. I don't know how you do it! I love all the tee shirts and medals. You must have so many now. x

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    1. Got a fair few, will have to have a sort out over winter I think! x

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  8. You know what they say 'mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun' Me I hid inside through the hottest part of the day. Well done. I never did start my couch to 5k, but it's still on my list of things to do.

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    1. I was thinking that yesterday as we ran round the fields :o) Give C25K a whirl, you never know what you can do until you try x

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  9. Well done to both of you for your sheer determination despite the heat. Running has certainly taken a back seat for the last few days in this heat. I don't think you will be phased at all by hot temperatures for your marathon in August. That coach drive sounded a bit scary. B x

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    1. The problem with running long distances in heat is what it takes out of your system. You can be fine on the day of the run, but the recovery can take longer, if that makes sense. Will just have to see how hot it is. Mid 20s probably fine, high 20s into 30s probably not x

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  10. Well done to you both (but, frankly, bonkers in this heat!). Glad you had no ill-effects. S x

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  11. Thought for sure that I commented ?
    Love that you are always smiling, even with the heat !

    cheers, parsnip

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  12. Well done - as they say mad dogs and Englishmen (women) go out in the midday sun....you are living proof. Absolutely bonkers but if you are having fun...well enjoy. xxx

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  13. Congratulations, both of you! That's some achievement in that heat and I love your prize shirts. We happened to be in Stockholm for the Sweden/England match - it could have been a tricky situation, but they were all lovely. Here's to a bit of cooler running weather for you. xx

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    1. Amen to some cooler weather for sure x

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  14. Well done CT.
    I stopped running Half Marathons after doing so for about 25 years.
    Started it for fitness levels for my job, but I stopped while my knees were still OK. :)

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    1. Knee woes do seem to dominate but with the correct supporting exercises they're fine.

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  15. Oh wow, that is so impressive- not only running in that heat for that far (and starting at midday- I thought a 10am start was bad!) but to finish so high up in the placings both times- excellent work!
    I always see good things about White Star races- one day I'll have to book a weekend away to do one of their events.

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    1. Thanks Maria, I think I've acclimatised over recent weeks. You would LOVE a white star race, charmingly bonkers! x

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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