Saturday 28th July 2012
Race interrupted for a “snog”!
It is now post race, the morning after so to speak, and I have finally done my race cool down…… a circuit of the house with the Hoover and duster. Feeling less achy now, and I have a nice large mug of freshly brewed coffee at my side. Chocolate already devoured.
Yesterday was to be my third visit to the Tywardreath Trotter, a multi terrain 7 mile race, which this year has become a MTRS event and not the fun event it has been previously. Having said that, how many race entrants actually treat any event as “FUN”?
I had spent the morning and part of the afternoon at work, so I decided to try and fuel my body carefully and sensibly for this race, something that is very hard for morning races. I indulged in a large bowl of Porridge for breakfast….yes Tony Porridge with fresh blueberries on top, Scrummy. Then mid morning I was my usual sinful self and had two Bakewell tarts, (you know the ones with icing and a cherry on the top) this was washed down with a pot of fresh coffee. Lunch was salad and then prior to driving to Tywardreath I had a mug of Red bush tea and a slab of my homemade coffee and chocolate chip cake. So, I was carb loaded, hydrated, sugar saturated, fat overloaded, now all I needed was some enthusiasm to actually run the race.
Sadly my travelling companion, Julie, was out of county so this was to be a lonely journey with no chit chat to pass the time away and steady the nerves. I had checked the map before leaving, as Julie has always been the driver to this event and then set off in “Sidney Skoda” for the sunny trip to the race.
I had no problems finding the race car park with signage in the last mile being quite good. This year the field they use was baked hard by all the sunshine we have had, so getting into it and out at the end wouldn’t be a problem, which is always a plus point in my book. Should I ever change “Sidney” it may have to be a 4×4 next time to cope with some of the parking we have had.
I walk down to the race HQ, The New Inn and the fun run is about to start. A large gathering of excited children all eager to set off. The sun is still shining and there is a pleasant warmth to the air. I head for the little hall next door, where the race numbers are being given out. I’m 8 today. I get younger each race, but having a single number always concerns me. People might think I’m a good runner, and not realise that the number is only so low, because I sent the application that arrived 8th through the post to the race organiser.
I hang around the outside of the pub looking like a spare part, but before no time at all, fellow TRC runners arrive and kept me company. I have to say, my reputation as a TOILET REVIEWER is starting to get out of hand. I mean, when a man you have never met comes over and asks me if I am Hana the toilet reviewer, I start to think I may have to adopt a new style of critique????? (he turned out to be a relative of a fellow TRC runner visiting the county and joining in the race….no names mentioned but you know who you are!)
Isobel also arrives and sits in the sun with us. She isn’t running today due to recovering from her last epic race. Not the distance covered I hasten to add, oh no, just the loss of two toe nails which she had great delight in giving us a step by step account of how she removed the them herself. I’m pulling an “oh my god you did what” face as I type this. So any of you runners out there, should you have any toe nails in need of attention, she’s your girl.
So after a very long time chatting and basking in the sun, it is time to go to make our way to the start line. A distance of about 10 feet was all it took to get there and I thought I was well positioned in the middle of the field. Sadly the keen and fast runners had assembled far to far forward, so everyone had to shuffle back. I couldn’t. I was trapped in a tightly packed huddle with road closure signs stopping us going anywhere. Next thing I know, I’m stood right behind Sharon Daw….ahhhhhh…..one row back from the “Elite Runners”. I’m going to get crushed, trampled, run over, if in stay here, so I squirm my way back a little…BANG…we are off.
Garmin activated, but I have decided to not look at my time during the race, just note the mileage. I’m not going to go out too fast, I’m going to relax and enjoy this run. The sun is out, it’s the time of day I like to be sat at home with a glass of wine in my hand and what am I doing. Bl—dy running!
Down the Hill at the side of the pub we race. I manage to miss the trip hazards (temporary road closure signs, cones and fellow runners) then it is a left turn into a small housing estate, which we follow the road around, and out again onto the road we have just run down. It’s back up the hill to the pub, crossing the finishing line (if only). This is cruel trick by the race organisers, as all the locals/spectators are stood there with pints in hand, whilst we struggle past and my mouth is already parched.
Left we go along the narrow pavement, and again I manage to not collide with any car wing mirrors and keep in time with the runner ahead of me.
Now it is a right turn to a dead end road and down a rough path which if you look at the ordinance survey map, shows the contour lines quite close together. This then takes us under a very low bridge which a railway line passes over and this path is part of the “Saints Way”.
I’ll digress here for a minute just to say that I have walked the entire length of the Saints way from Padstow to Fowey with my “daughter who doesn’t run”. It is about 31 miles long and with several refreshment stops, took us 11 hrs. So Isobel it would be a walk in the park for you girl, perhaps it could be a Sunday challenge sometime to run/walk/stagger it?
Anyway I’ll continue with the race. At the bottom of the path we make a left turn along a level track by a leat full of water. I note the tree roots and other ankle snatchers that line and cross this path which at any moment could turn this race into another version of the “Max” for me. The going is firm under foot, so at least we aren’t ploughing through mud and sliding all over the place. This section usually ends up grid locked by the volume of runners, but I’m in a free flowing section and progress is good.
At the end of this path we are back onto tarmac and head up hill to an area called “Porcupine”. Whatever possessed someone to call this area “Porcupine”? This up-hill appears to go on forever, but I can smell honeysuckle in the breeze and decide I will not walk any hills, just relax and the top will be reached and it is.
Another rough path with close contour lines is upon us, the hedges are high and there is a lot of grunting and puffing from the runners around me. I just continue with my irritating cough, which attends every race with me and thankfully this hill isn’t too long but it continues out onto a road, before we plummet down another rough footpath where gravity makes your legs go faster than you had planned. One male in front of me, turns his ankle in an unusual angle, but luckily no damage is caused. I did suggest that the running style I take on these downhill sections might help, this being to keep my feet in mid air all of the time…..well that is what is feels like. I really don’t seem to have much contact with the ground and I get to the bottom uninjured. Back out onto Tarmac we go.
The knees feel a little sore with the paths being so hard packed but my feet are snug in my “run anywhere multi terrain” shoes, and I wonder how Steph is getting on in her “Barefoot” running shoes? Not sure I would cope on this surface.
The course levels out along a lane until we reach Treesmill . Here I spot an Ex TRC runner that I know (now St Austell club member) who is marshalling/supporting the race, so I stop briefly for a Snog/cuddle ( this is a regular pre race occurrence I might add) and one of the marshals poses the question of whether “snogging” is classified as Assistance, and therefore should that runner be disqualified????? Well after my brief pause I was off along the next path with a lightness in my step! Even if it was another bl—dy uphill section.
Thankfully the top of this hill brought a nice downhill road section to ease the legs before returning to the dirt track along the Leat. I could hear the swallows screeching above me as they did their aerial flying display. I was behind a “Falmouth road runners” lady and had been for most of this race (much younger I hasten to add) and was still able to keep up with her. The race had just 2 miles to go, so I was starting to wonder if I could beat her to the finish line. I had been playing catch up with Richard who has an amazing ability to charge down hills like a rampaging bull, whatever the terrain!
We come back out off the path at Treesmill, “sorry no time for a second snog” I shout, I mean I’ve got this young female to try and beat. My mind is starting to wander a bit now. I know we ran up hill, I can remember a field of maze where the path was set at a jaunty angle and then we had “KISSING gates”. I even told the male runners in front and behind that they should kiss the girls as they pass through…..then I thought better of it….it might affect my finishing times, plus they weren’t “man in Lycra” standard.
The final field section arrived. The cows in an adjacent field looked happily on at us mad fools, simply chewing the cud and enjoying the evening light, the cows that is. At least they weren’t stampeding across the field after us.
A few steep steps and we were back onto Tarmac and the last dash to the finishing line. It is downhill for most of the way with a last little nip back up to the pub. I’m running as fast as I can, trying to catch the female Falmouth runner ahead of me, but my feet don’t seem to even hit the ground. I can hear Isobel cheering me on so try to go faster, but this old croc is going as fast as she can. Then from nowhere that charging bull passes….Richard where did you get that speed from? So I don’t catch the Falmouth girl and Richard just beats me as well. Blast!
I cross the line, once again I fail to stop my Garmin and so my exact finishing time is unknown, but about 1hr 1 minute something. Don’t think it is a sausage winning time, which is a shame, as “husband who plays golf” would be very impressed if I came home with a pound of Sausages! (That is what the winners get in each age category.)
I join the other TRC runners who have already finished and cheer the others in. Poor Steph looks like she is in agony and she is! Her Achilles heel is her Achilles heel and the hard surface has only made it worse. You need a good pair of cushioned soles on your feet girl or wings.
So all in all:
- The car parking is plentiful and field based.
- Race HQ easy to find, just follow the sounds of merriment and the scent of freshly poured real ale.
- Marshalling…very good, no chance of getting lost or squashed by traffic.
- The course…scenic, challenging due to the hills and some of the surfaces run along, but lovely.
- Goodie bag….this was given prior to running the race, so I could have just sat in the sun with a glass of chilled white wine and not put myself through the agony of even running the race. It contained a can of “Tribute” beer (husband can have that) a navy blue cotton T-shirt and a Penguin…..no not the bird that smells of fish that can’t fly…the chocolate biscuit variety.
- TOILETS…….the ladies had two to use in the pub. Very clean, plentiful supply of very soft and strong toilet roll and when visited on my early arrival, there was no queue. Sadly later that all changed. The ladies had to queue alongside the gents, which I was almost able to review as the internal area was in my sights (door propped open), but I decided my delicate disposition wouldn’t cope with a long hard stare into this male domain. I did hear someone shout, “the urinals are free mate”, so perhaps they only had a queue for the cubicles?
- Toilet review number 2…….this is new territory for me but in the small hall where we collected our race numbers, there was another toilet. The toilet was low rise, the door to it was low rise, so an adult of average height could look over it, and on the wall next to the seating area, there were picture instructions on how to use a toilet. Things like pull your pants down, wipe you bum, pull your pants up, wash your hands etc…. this was either aimed at small children or over indulged pub users who were only able to crawl to the loo.
- would I run this race again…..yes. the support from all the locals is fantastic, the atmosphere is wonderful and this year having some warmth in the air made it even better. So for those of you, who haven’t run it yet, put it in the diary…last Saturday of July 2013. It also raised over £1000 for charity. 10 out of 10 Tywardreath!
Big thanks to Karen and Izzy for the photos 🙂
[flagallery gid=61 name=Gallery]