Sail on, good ship, sail on.

Posted on: 06 Oct 2018

How many ways did I love today?  Well, let me count them for you!

But first, let me tell you I was worried when I went to bed last night; there was only one way I could lie without cramping up – if I tried to shift at all, it was bloody agony.  And so it was with a sense of relief that I woke this morning to legs that felt curiously OK.  I shook them, I walked on them.  It was true; they felt OK.

As for the weather?  Well, as Fish sang, the wind and rain was auditioning at the window – it didn’t sound good at all, but a look at the Met Office webpage told me that actually the worst was blowing through already in terms of the rain.  The wind?  A different story.

Brekkie was a fab English again.  I felt confident with my decision to go in Group 2 again; I’d held my own on day 1, and thought that everyone would feel as depreciated as I did after day 1.  It was clear, though, that many had opted for the earlier Group 1 start – our bus to the start was only half full!

Yesterday, we finished at the top of a hill in Perranporth.  Today, we started at the bottom!  Oh, what humour.  I have to say, that first climb added to my curious sense of confidence – my legs were working, and the Cotswold Way yomp was in good working order it would seem.

The first few miles were great fun; the scenery was amazing, the wind was howling (at our back, fortunately), the rain was adding to the fun and the camaraderie.  The path was narrow, and so it was a bit of a procession.  Maybe I could have gone faster, but I was more than happy to trot along and break the legs into the day.

Blimey, but the first half was hard overall; there was very little respite until CP1 at St Agnes Head.  Actually, that basically continueduntil CP2 at Portreath.  I had been promised by a local runner that once I climbed out of CP2, it flattened out.  Whilst that wasn’t quite true, it was accurate enough.

I was spending as little time as I could, whilst being polite of course, at each CP.  As I still had my cagoule on (to my surprise!), I was able to stuff its pockets with goodies and treats before heading off like heavily laden squirrel.  Then, when I hit a hill, I would yomp and chomp; cheese and pickle sandwiches were going down particularly well today, as were chunks of Snickers (today, of all days, why are they not still called Marathons?!).  Conversation came and went; I was still running with Paul a lot (it was his mate, Ivan, who was the Pied Piper of Newquay) – he was a 2.34 marathon man in his pomp.  Blimey, esteemed company.  As we slipped our way around the course, we agreed that road running was vastly overrated and that the trails are the way to go.

With my cagoule on, I did feel rather like a galleon in full sail.  The wind would catch it and blow me on furiously.  I tell you, if the wind had been going the other way, I’d still be out there now.  With it at my back, though, I kept on ticking off the miles.  I kept on waiting for the inevitable feeling of brokenness that was bound to come at some point.  But it never did.  I just kept on chewing out miles, and the average pace got quicker.  Quicker, I say!  Every mile, I stared at my watch incredulously, smiled and kicked on.  I haven’t checked formally, but I am no doubt that I did a negative split today – I have the terrain to thank for that across the second half.

And so it came to the beach between Gwythian and St Ives.  After yesterday on Perranporth, I had been dreading it.  The tide meant that we had to go into the dunes for a bit; I found them fine.  Then, when I hit the beach, the sand was a lot firmer than yesterday.  So, still the average pace was fine.  We had a final checkpoint to dib into, essentially to ensure we didn’t shortcut up from the beach back to base camp, and then had a final climb up the road to HQ.  I stopped the watch (again, slightly short of 26.2 – but I will make all of that up, and more, tomorrow!) and registered a 5.05.  20 minutes quicker than yesterday, which was itself a fine time.  I have the wind to thank for today, I know that, but I also have the Cotswold Way.  When I needed to yomp out the miles, I could; yes, it was hard.  Indeed, there were steps that rivalled the evils of Blackquarries Hill, but I was OK. 

It’s going to be roast pork and all the trimmings, and then rice pudd, for dinner tonight.  And then, I shall start fretting about tomorrow.  Those who have run it before, use words like “shit”, “brutal” and “horrible.”  Oh, and “technical”.  I think that’s just runners’ talk for slow and rocky.  That’s fine.  Bring it on.

The good ship Gloshawk made good headway today; the skipper is pleased.  If that skipper was Thomas Bjorn from yesterday’s Ryder Cup blog, then he would certainly sleep easier than his rival.  But he knows that there are stormy seas ahead as he continues to plot a course south-westwards.  Tomorrow is a long day, and don’t forget it’s technical too.

Doing well on days 1 and 2 win nothing.  Here’s to day 3!

On a yard.

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