Monday, February 24, 2014

Turkey trots and windy trots

Some recent knockabout on twitter reminded me that I hadn't mentioned running in a little while. Well, I haven't blogged at all for some time, due partly to a lack of material and perhaps more to a lack of computers and internet. Our second computer arrived safely in one of the boxes a couple of weeks ago (we had a mild panic when we realised that it was not listed on the manifest, but it turned out to be disguised as a bit of padding in the bottom of the box with the monitor) and the internet problem has been addressed (I hesitate to say solved) for now by a mobile phone on the 3 network. This can just about pick up a signal at home in the deepest Lune Valley and broadcasts wifi throughout the house, though it grinds to a halt with tedious regularity whenever jules and I are both surfing working at the same time.

I thought I should take advantage of my marathon training by entering some other events while I was still reasonably fit. In particular, I'd had my eye on completing a 10k in less than 40 mins for some time, but had not really had a good racing opportunity. Given that we were going to be staying about 15 mins walk away, the Ayrodynamic Boxing Day Turkey Trot up and down the seafront seemed like an obvious choice. All the packing and moving meant that we weren't really well prepared, and the horrible weather had further limited our running, but amazingly it cleared up for the morning of the race and both jules and I ducked under our optimistic targets of 40 and 50 mins respectively. Oh, I just see on re-reading this post that this was my New Year resolution for 2013, achieved in the nick of time!

Encouraged by that performance, and still without our full complement of tandems, jules set her eyes on improving on her previous half marathon performance, which had been a soaking wet experience in Tokyo. Blackpool also has a flat promenade, and a half marathon event in February seemed to fit the bill. We gradually built up running distances on the local lanes and looked nervously at the weather forecast, which alternated between predictions of moderate rain and heavy rain, with occasional spells of really heavy rain. On the day, the rain actually held off for the duration of the event, but we had a "strong breeze" (which seems rather an understatement) to contend with instead. Like Ayr, the course was up and down the promenade, so there was absolutely no shelter from the strong southerly. This made it a much more tactical event than we are used to, as the only (sensible) way of running into the wind was to attach to a peloton of people going at about the right speed. On the second lap, I actually waited for some people who were a little way behind me, and hopped on the "bus" as it went past. It turned out to be the right choice as we ended up catching up one or two people on that upwind leg. I finished with 1:28:42 (Garmin here) which is a couple of minutes off my best but I thought a decent outcome in the conditions. I barely had time to pull on some warm clothes and have some food before jules appeared, rather sooner than I'd expected and several minutes faster than her previous best in 1:54. Here's her Garmin track. She's now got her sights on catching a Stoat :-)

The UK events have been an interesting contrast from the Japanese ones we have participated in. There's been rather less in the way of organisation and marshalling here - the first sign we saw yesterday was after we had already arrived at the race HQ, and even once inside the building it took several attempts to find the seemingly mythical changing area, due to the combination of plainly incorrect directions which we were repeatedly given, and a complete absence of any signage. Hardly anyone else found it either, it wasn't just our incompetence. The start time was also rather approximate, with the starter choosing to give a eulogy to some local footballer for reasons unknown, while we were shivering at the start line. But the races themselves went smoothly enough, and the courses have both seemed to be a touch on the short side (according to our Garmins) in contrast to the Japanese ones which were invariably long.

No pics, I'm sorry to say, as we were both running and there was also nowhere secure to leave stuff.


William Connolley said...

> She's now got her sights on catching a Stoat :-)

She has a way to go: 1:36: Or 1:43 if you insist on one in 2014.

I saw your trace, its quite amusing, and guessed at a stiff wind.

Come rowing if you ever come down to Cambridge... or come down next Sunday and you can have my place in the Boundary Run.

James Annan said...

Oh, we didn't realise you had gone so fast. Maybe one day when you're injured :-)

I had forgotten to link to our Garmin traces, but I've done that now.

Steve Bloom said...

Maybe the three of you should do one of these together. Stoat can overstrain himself trying to keep up with James, then Jules can pass him. :)

EliRabett said...

Entertain us damnit. Nic Lewis and the GWPF are afoot!