Well hello there! Yep – I’m back. Did you miss me? Yeah, I bet you did.
It’s been more than a week since my last post, and the only excuse I have is that I have been busy working hard and playing hard. So…. that’s a crap excuse, and I’m sorry guys. But fear not: here is a race recap from the 10 mile Brampton to Carlisle race I did two Sundays ago!
Thanks to a confusion in dates, resulting in a late night bus home from Newcastle the night before, and a certain time of the month (sorry guys, TMI?), I woke up on Sunday morning feeling
like crap less than enthused about this race. The good thing was that, as it is about 2 hours from Durham, my running group organised a bus to take everyone there and back. So all I had to do that morning was get to the bus stop on time, which I could manage, and then chill out. Plus, I do love a good team bus trip.
The day itself was perfect for running. The morning started with low fog which draped itself just below the trees, but the sun soon burned it off to leave only a crisp and chilly day covered by blue skies. The race was very low key, which suited me fine: we were kind of ushered into the road, and a tape sort of penned us in, a gun went off, and we all started running – there was no ‘official’ start line that I could see.
I had heard this route was great for personal bests, and even though I hadn’t woken up in a race-day mindset, I forced myself into one as soon as we started. The route started in a small town called Brampton and took us to Carlisle by way of A-roads (did the race name Brampton to Carlisle give that away?). I must say, for a road race, this route was gorgeous. The roads weren’t too wide, and led us through the country side where there were plenty green fields, black tree trunks with golden Autumn leaves, and lots of sheep. I love running by sheep! They look so bemused at seeing hundreds of humans running past them aimlessly. Kind of like how we look when we see them run.
For the most part, the route was flat or downhill, and I running a steady average pace of 7:30 min/mile. Towards the end, there were some gentle inclines up, and by that time I was tiring. I hit low points at mile 4 and mile 8 when I was thinking ‘what the hell am I doing? How did I ever think this was fun? Is this really what I have chosen to do on a Sunday morning?’.
But in miles 3, 6,7, 9 and 10 I was thinking ‘This is amazing. Amazing! Look at that countryside! Look at those sheep! How fast am I running? Good, I can keep this pace up. Keep it up. This is the last race of the year, finish strong. Strong, I tell you! You’re an independent woman running to Carlisle on a Sunday morning for fun, Goddammit, and you’re proud!’ So, the conclusion from this little personal journey is that the highs outweigh the lows (again), and I’ll be running more races in the near future.
The end was fantastic because, after what felt like a never-ending gentle incline (the cruellest of inclines) there was a fabulous downhill where you could really pick up speed. By the start of mile 10, my calf muscles were crying and it was hard to push to go faster, so it was ace to have that downhill and finish feeling like a hero. I finished in 1:15:15, the second lady from my club, and got a PB not only for the 10 mile but for the 10k distance too.
I want to give a special shout out to one lady in our club: she fell over in mile 1, and really badly grazed both her knees and hands to the point that blood was pouring down her legs. Mile 1! Wouldn’t you be heartbroken? The race stewards told her there were medics at the end, and that they could either give her a lift or she could run there. And what did she choose? She ran. She ran the rest of the race – pretty much the whole 10 miles – whilst injured. I cannot imagine what strength that must have needed. To top it off, she finished with a smile, and didn’t stop smiling even when she admitted she was in loads of pain on the way home. Full respect to her – the real hero of the day!
And the best bit was that afterwards, we all got back on our bus and stopped off for lunch on the way home. We had a huge roast dinner, complete with chocolate cake, eton mess and berries for desert. It was my first proper team outing of this kind with the Elvet Striders (who do the bus + lunch combo a lot for races), and it was so nice to speak with people I’ve not met before and get to know them.
This race was a fabulous way to end my 2014 races (unless I sign up for another sneaky event). It had beauty, speed, good company, good food, a team bus trip and heroes. Can you really ask for more from a race?!