Sunday, 24 January 2016

The long and the short.

Thanks to Sarah Self for posting in the Ultra Dafties facebook group the link for The Winter Wonder Run, a no frills race organised by the North East Marathon Club on the Town Moor, Newcastle. I was looking for an early race and this fitted the bill, a 3.77mile lap with a six hour time limit, it was up to the individual to do as much or as little as they wanted as long as it was full loops.  

So after a planned wee break from running at the end of December, (it’s nice to take time out occasionally for no other reason other than to feel raring to go at the start of a new year). The week before the race Pauline and I went for our first long run since Glen Ogle 33, the fourteen miles felt a bit of a slog, but no worries, no pressure, we were aiming to do eight laps whatever the time, just a fine steady wee ultra.

Then the thing that made the weekend special, Sharon Gaytor invited us to stay with her and Bill the night before, we hadn’t seen Sharon in ages, it was lovely to catch up and the bonus of staying with a runner, (besides talking running all night) we had pasta for tea and there was no hassle finding the venue as we just followed their camper-van in the morning. It was freezing cold, minus three when we left but the sun eventually got up too, it was bright and clear and the sun eventually raised the temperature up to a balmy two degrees! 

I was dressed for it though, two pair of tights with my kilt to keep my bum warm, a cosy fleece over my thermal top, I was surprised my vest fitted over that! Woolly hat and gloves, and after a couple of laps I stuck a peaked Buff under the woolly hat to keep the sun out my eyes and freezing wind out my face.

photo from Phil Owen
There was quite a lot of icy patches on the route, but it was flat and it’s fine running on ice as long as you don’t push it, change direction or speed but after a few laps there was a skim of water covering the ice so I moved on the rutted grass verges, they were marginally less slidey. After the third lap I was on my own, everyone running their own pace so I plugged my playlist in, just the one ear, I’m not anti-social, although it felt a bit wrong listening to music in a “short” race. I placed a bag beside the table at race HQ with a selection of stuff to pick up as well as an extra  jacket if needed but with it being so cold all I had was two gels, a wee Yazoo milkshake and 300mls of water, there was hot water available but I didn’t bother stopping to make a hot cuppa.

It’s a lovely concept for a race, stick a number on and do what suits within the time limit, there were over fifty runners, the majority doing a marathon, a fair few getting a long half marathon, six of us making an ultra with two doing nine laps. Pauline and I finished our eight laps eleven minutes apart with just enough time to do one more lap if we wanted to push it, but with a three hour drive home up the A1 to consider, a smidge over thirty miles was far enough for the first ultra of the year.  I was pleased I managed a steady pace throughout and a it was a great reminder for running constant on the flat, good practice for Perth at the end of March.

Six days later I was standing on the start line for the Bucklyvie 10km, I was meant to have an easy-ish run with some folk from work, not runners but fit with youth on their side. In the build up to Christmas they put off entering until it was too late and was full… (not to worry I’ve now suggested we do the Donkey Brae in August instead “Mmwwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!” )  So anyhoo I was heading over to Buchlyvie Fiona-nae-pals but Pauline came to watch and keep me company, she wasn’t jealous at all not running but did say it felt funny being at a race without either running or marshaling.   After a longish warm up, I knew it wasn’t going to be a easy run, but an excellent exercise in the push-hard-on-tired-legs category. Also after years of perfecting my ultra-shuffle to the extent I can practically tie both my shoes with one lace trying to get a little leg lift and length in my stride is flamin’ hard work but ultra runners benefit from speed work too!

Time wise it wasn’t anything special but a great quality run with a lovely goodie bag, and to show my appreciation for Pauline’s company I gave her my orange from it, not giving away the cosy beanie though!

I haven’t covered a lot of miles for January but what I’ve done has been quality, a great start for the year, hopefully February will follow in the same vein, my next race is the club’s Devilla 15km now what can I do the week before…

1 comment:

Amanda Hamilton said...

A lovely start to the year!