So my last Blog was on 3rd June and it was a milestone one as it was my 200th, sadly after then I lost my Blogging mojo! Interest in Blogs for some time has been minimal so I lost interest but recently this seems to have been revitalised a little and as I missed writing I’m back whether anyone reads them or not!
I may have lost my Blogging mojo but I have not been lackadaisical (what a great word!) during the summer months! So here’s a ‘brief’ catch up of my adventures!
Adventure [ ad-ven-cher ]
- an exciting or very unusual experience.
- participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises: the spirit of adventure.
I think that sums up my last few months, so here goes!
Throughout the summer I took part in the Lacock relays for the first time in I think 7 years! The relays are the other extreme to long distance running; 2.6 miles of lung busting running around Lacock! There are 3 legs; slow, medium and fast and from your latest parkrun time, or similar, you are entered onto a leg and then a team and then you run your heart out! Each month the legs move around from being 1st, 2nd or 3rd and your team changes; you never know who you are going to run with and once you can breathe again it is so much fun! The last event is a handicap where they take your fastest time and then instead of a relay it is a staggered start that in theory all the runners should finish at the same time; lots of heavy breathing chasing you down towards the end! I sadly wasn’t ever in the top 3 teams to win a pint & a packet of crisps but each month my time steadily improved.
The first event in June was the grand Buzzers reunion in Hawkesbury for the HU5K. Living close by I firstly ventured to Chipping Sodbury for parkrun and miraculously ran a new PB which having completed limited parkruns isn’t that much of an achievement to be honest but I was still thrilled. Then onto Hawkesbury and as always it was so wonderful to catch up with everyone; one of my favourite days of the year! For the first time I was actually able to race the 5km, normally I’m recovering or injured, however this year not so I gave it a blast and with some scary heavy breathing behind me towards the end was spurred on further, I was relieved to discover it was Hollywood Dave and not a nutter!! A wonderful afternoon and evening was spent refuelling and rehydrating; Hawkesbury hospitality at its finest.
The next day was a little trot along the Cotswold Way with the legends that are Jim, HOBS Dave and Hollywood Dave. It was a tad wet and with only road shoes with me there was some slipping, sliding and screeching! But a glorious 5 miles it was!
Next stop my favourite marathon of all; the Giants Head Marathon and my 5th outing at this event. What’s what not to like; the fabulous company of Cath & Gillian, the athletes camping village, WI epic catering, the hilliest of off course routes, stupendous views, a Lovestation at 22 miles with beer and snacks, the best ice creams ever at the finish, that medal and a barn dance! I loved every minute of it, I ran my 2nd fastest time and I am already entered for 2020 (the race sold out in less than 20 minutes!)
For the first time since my 112 mile bike ride in 2018, 50 weeks previously, I ventured back on my road bike for the Wasdworth Sportive event. Last year it was at the tail end of my training so I had to cycle the 50 miles but this year it was just for pleasure so I could just enjoy and relax on the 25 mile route. The weather was glorious, I had the fabulous company of Kirsty & Kevin, the stunning Wiltshire countryside to enjoy and a finish at the Wadsworth brewery. I actually loved it and I wish every cycling excursion could be like this one.
The Ten Foot Swim was my biggest challenge of 2019; a 5km sea swim from Tenby to Saundersfoot. I’d done plenty of training at the Cotswold lakes but nothing could prepare me for the waves, current, jelly fish, rocks and exhaustion this challenge presented. I’d completed the LCW sea swim at Tenby the previous 2 years which was 2.4 miles so I felt a little prepared for the open water, however once out of the bay everything changes! Before the event my main concern had been jelly fish, 20 minutes into my swim they were the least of my worries even if some of them were bigger than my head! The first challenge was to get to Monkstone beach within 2 hours, which standing on the beach at Tenby seemed not a problem, the reality was I kept swimming and at times I was not moving any further forward; I could see the beach but I just couldn’t get any closer! Perseverance and 90 minutes later I was on the beach at Monkstone enjoying some fresh water rather than salt water and taking a breather on dry land. I didn’t want to stay long as it would be harder to get going so when a large group went back in the water I joined them. The next challenge was going around the point at Monkstone; rocks and current being the issue. Along the whole route there were canoes, paddleboards and small boats ensuring our safety but at this point the whole route was lined, I still however got caught by a wave and ended up beached on some rocks! Luckily at the last minute I’d decided to wear booties so I was able to launch myself off the rocks without worrying about cutting my feet, somehow I managed to catapult myself around the point! That was good but now the waves were much worse and after swallowing a large amount of sea water when a wave and me taking a breath was out of sync I did have to tread water to get my breath back, I did mention to the canoeist nearby that the sea level must have dropped! The waves, jelly fish and fight against the current still continued with Saundersfoot harbour teasing me as I could see it clearly ahead. I had no idea how long I’d been in the water, I could still see swimmers so I wasn’t last! Finally the magnificent beach was within reach but now I could see the tide going out beneath me, I cursed but carried on until I realised I could stand up and walk the last 100mtrs; so that’s what I did! 3.5 miles later (you can't swim in a straight line in rough seas!) and 3hrs and 19 mins after setting off from Tenby I was on dry land at Saundersfoot absolutely thrilled beyond belief; one of my greatest battles yet I think. I spoke to one fellow swimmer and he said he’d taken an hour longer this year due to the conditions, so of course I’ve got to go back in 2020 to see what happens! A pint of cider and a packet of sea salted crisps after were very welcome; I was of course very low in salt!
Back to running and it was the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing so the perfect opportunity to earn the medal of all medals! Phoenix Running host races where you can run as many or as few laps as you like within a 6 hour limit and this one was run at Walton on Thames. I felt exhausted when I arrived so didn’t feel hopeful that I’d achieve marathon distance but you never know what will happen on the day. The plan was to meet up with Kathy and Richard to so that spurred me on, as well as running ‘with’ Mo Farah as he went past us on his training run and having Cola ice lollies as refreshment! Eventually after 5 laps and 16.5 miles I rang the bell to signify I was retiring, I had no energy. It was so lovely to see Kathy & Richard at the end and I can use my medal as a side plate should I run short!
Next race was Westonbirt 10K, not a distance that I normally run so in a way a bigger challenge than a marathon! The race was on a Friday evening with the magnificent back drop of Westonbirt School as the sun began to set. I can’t remember the last time I raced a 10k so thought of a pace just slightly slower than my parkrun time and would see how I held on over the 2 lap course. Towards the end of the first lap you come back into the grounds and you move from tarmac to grass which I thought would be easier on the joints but to me it was like running through treacle but I managed to regain my pace back on the tarmac and actually felt good, back into the grounds and then it was steps, not one set but 4 sets up to the finish line! I had visions of me tripping and sprawling on the floor before crossing the line but managed to stay upright and due to the lack of fast runners in my age group nab 3rd in the FV50-54 category! I’d actually finished before the prize giving and then had a prize to collect; it made my day! You’ve got to be in it to win it!
Next up was a Kerala reunion with Emma at Denbies Vineyard. First up was the Mole Valley parkrun which is held there; all I can say is hilly, I suddenly remembered that vines are planted on slopes! We certainly took it easy walking the hills and running the flats and downhills. Next up was Phoenix Running inaugural event at Denbies Vineyard, same format as their other events; 6 hours and run as many or as few 5km laps (this differed to the parkrun route) as you want. As always there was the most amazing array of sweets available every time you finished a lap and we both made the most of the variety on offer. The furthest Emma has really previously run was 10km so as we were in no hurry we carried on with our run/walk format whilst catching up and reminiscing about our Kerala adventure over the New Year. 4 laps later and a half marathon we rang the bell to receive our Lord of the Rings inspired medal. Not being a fan I had to check later with someone far more knowledgeable than myself that this is what the medal was all about; fabulous event but the medal although awesome was a little wasted on me!
Finally back to the Crafty Fox Marathon for another go, this was the hilliest but most scenic off-road marathon I completed last year. 2018 was their inaugural event and they had tweaked the route slightly this year; the pointless hill (a hill where you go up along and down the steepest climb but at the top you realise there is a road you could have just followed instead!) we only had to tackle once which meant we only had to run/crawl just over 27 miles this year! On the start line I started to chat to Milli and we then didn’t stop chatting until we crossed the finish line 6hrs 59mins later; it’s a really tough course! Milli was absolutely brilliant company and we certainly kept each other going through the tougher parts.
I then went on holiday!
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