Report from Hana
As you are probably aware and maybe fed up of hearing this fact, but I have been having problems with a dodgy right hip. This has meant that the longest distance I have run since the Imerys half, back in May, is 8 miles and that was this Thursday. The hip survived, it doesn’t feel as bad as it did and the aftermath of a run is less painful. I’m also not walking in a weird fashion after long periods of sitting down.
So, Sunday the 4th August arrives and I awake to the sound of “Husband who plays golf” alarm. I kick him out of bed first to use the bathroom (he has an early Golf start time) and then he announces, “You don’t have to rush”. He had failed to change his alarm from 6am the previous day. Too late I’m awake anyway, and Menopausal Woman has had a very disturbed night…….my body thought I was in the tropics. Oh to be 36 again.
Breakfast consumed, bathrooms cleaned, bed stripped and remade that means it is time to drive to Indian Queens. Outside it is damp, grey and humid. “Sydney Skoda” is showing 17.5 degrees on his air temperature gauge, but it looks more like a bleak winter’s morning outside.
No Julie today, she has family staying, so it’s a very quiet, shortish drive through the Ladock valley for me. Thankfully there is no cycling time trial running along this road or tractors out on their early travels, so the journey is uneventful and I reach the race parking area unflustered. Parking today is in the industrial park near the A30 and the marshalling to your allocated spot is working very well. As there are lines marking out each spot, I shouldn’t need a tin opener to get out of the car today.
Chris arrives at the same time, so we take the fairly lengthy walk to the race HQ (in a working men’s club) together and luckily for us, the rain has stayed at a mizzle density, so a coat isn’t required. We don’t hang around outside, which was a very good move, as within no time at all, the doors to heaven open and the rain pours out of the sky with the sole purpose of drowning anyone stood outside.
Once inside we are met with the reassuring site of Alison, who is there to hand out the race numbers and collect any unpaid race fees.. Alison does this with a smile, unlike the scowl I adopted when I was tasked with this duty. (Great to see you Alison, you’ve been missed). My race number is 172, and please don’t say I look it.
A few more TRC runners arrive and Alison decides we need a team photo. Now I had been having a “What shall I wear today” dilemma, as with all the rain outside and no sign of any sunshine, a woman of my age has to be careful. So I opt for light weight T under my race vest and then for the waiting around outside a plastic bin liner over the top. Nick Jeans is the master of this look.
Now I have a selection of charity bags that I keep in my running bag just for this purpose. Yesterday I found an “Age concern” charity bag on my hallway floor, so this would be today’s choice. I know, very appropriate for an OLD CROC! I open the small bag containing the larger one and unravel it. It has two handles at the top, which will make great shoulder straps, then I read what has been printed on the front of it
“FILL WITH LOVE”
well what would any race tart do, wear it, so I tore open the base of the bag and placed it over my running kit. SEXY! Perhaps not, but it did make Alison and myself laugh.
Team photo taken, so off to the start line we go. It’s grey, warm and not really raining. I don’t really need my charity bag on, but before I can take it off, a photographer wants to take a team photo. I leave it on and we shall have to see if it makes the papers. My royal wave did (Mag 7).
I’ve been loitering around the front of the start line so find myself a couple rows back from the elite few. “Hi, are you Hana?” enquires a nice lady stood to my right. I never know whether to admit to being me or not, in case it’s a disgruntled customer from work or someone I’ve inadvertently upset in my race reports. “I read all your reports, they are great” she says. Phew. I have two fans now, a lady from Bodmin and the man at Castle Drogo. Not quite enough to warrant autographs and a Twitter account.
A male runner squeezes past and says, “got your whip with you today?” “No just the charity bag I’m wearing, saying Fill me love”. My car insurance could go through the roof, if I carry on in this fashion. Many years ago, I worked as a Ward Hostess in a private hospital, and this job title threw the insurance computer into turmoil and “red light occupation” was where it placed me. So please, no one tell Admiral, that I’ve marshalled with a whip and wear provocative bin liners.
Two more males saunter past. They have a team strip I recognise as whilst running in the midlands with my “Daughter who now runs but isn’t as she is in Alaska killing fish and catching invertebrates”, I have been mistaken as runner from this club. Sphinx of Coventry. I approach them and try to engage them in conversation, but they look bemused or is that disappointed. Maybe they thought I was a woman of a certain age, trying out her chat up lines.. Well if I was, I failed. Miserable sods.
A male in front of me notes I am wearing my “IQ reducer” (a baseball type cap) and it has a light in the peak. Yes a light. I take it off, show him how useless it is, but hey, it gets people talking and keeps the rain off my glasses. Do I look stupid in it….I certainly do, but at my age, who cares. I can officially wear purple, can you?
Quick race briefing. No iPod, 3 water stations one with sponges (my eyes light up, jam and cream maybe?) Bollards, cows, 1,2,3 and we are off. Off down the road towards where we parked our cars, then we turn left onto a country lane. The road surface is wet and patterned with a diesel rainbow. This rainbow maybe pretty and it goes on and on, but I don’t think it will cause one of us runners to slide and jack knife. A cyclist or motorcyclist might not fare as well if they had to brake. I find that this slick is occupying my visual interests ( yet again no men in Lycra to distract me) and I measure it to last about 1 ½ miles. Whatever vehicle lost it, won’t be travelling very far if this is a daily occurrence.
We go around in a sort of circle and find ourselves running back up the hill towards where we started, but are directed left and out onto the Goss Moor trails.
Now some people think this race is flat………well for Cornwall, it is sort of, but what it lacks in real hills is compensated by the Goss Moor trails having the sort of white sand/grit that sucks all the energy you may have had in your legs and sending it into a vortex, never to be found again.
I can hear the brass band, before I can see it, and it is one of the lovely touches to this race. On a sunny day, you could be tempted to grab a seat and stay and listen to them, but today, the poor loves are wrapped up in water proofs but remain undaunted by the mizzle. I start to wonder what would happen to the tuba player if the rain comes in hard. Would the Tuba fill up with water and the player drown?
Anyway, we continue along the trail. My lungs are protesting and have been from the first ½ mile. I can’t clear them so I’m running on half capacity which never feels good. Security hanky gripped to my mouth, cough and splutter I do continuously. I could do with someone pummelling my back. Oh if only I could Olympic throat clear like some of my usual male race companions.
Legs feel tired and oh there ahead are two beautiful White Park cows. Yes the female variety all white with pretty black noses. They are not very impressed by all us runners charging by, so I make a sort of clicking noise with my tongue, like you do to horses, and I swore they smiled at me.
We are still on the trails and I’m now looking for the usual wildlife that inhabit this section. Sadly it is too wet for the Lions to be out, but the two Alligators are lurking in the undergrowth with a new addition….a SHARK. Not a loan one, but a fish one. I’m tempted to pick this one up, for a photo opportunity later, so I can have facebook photo’s of me with a fish, instead of marvelling at the Salmon, trout and Halibut my daughter is catching, plus the hump back whales that swim about 10m off shore from where she drinks coffee. I don’t, I leave it in situ for others to enjoy.
We run on, my energy is draining fast. The front runners are racing towards us, with a cyclist shouting at us slow coaches to keep left. This always makes me feel depressed, as they will finish the race in half the time it takes me. How on earth do they do this……training, commitment and being genetically predisposed to being a fast runner……so no hope for me then. If only red wine and chocolate could do the same for me?
The route takes us out onto Tarmac, we have a sponge station, not of a Victoria variety either. I decline as usual, because I know where these sponges end up….on the ground in amongst the organic agricultural matter that lies there. I don’t think someone gives them a steam clean later do you?
My mind is wandering now. The route becomes blurred. My legs feel like lead, my lungs aren’t as bad as they were and at one down hill section, with no one close by I attempt that manly occupation of trying to clear them. I fail!
We do have a downhill, and when I finally stop looking at the ground I can see what looks like a monsoon approaching. The clay hills cannot be seen, just low heavy rain clouds. Amazingly it doesn’t reach us and we are only inconvenienced with several drizzle showers, which my IQ reducer has kept off my eyes.
It isn’t long before we are back on the Goss Moor energy sapping trails again, not that I have any energy left. My lack of long runs is showing, and there is no way I will get an age cat place today, so just finish the race girl and stop moaning. Arse kicked, speed stays the same and I plod on.
It feels like hours until we reach Tarmac and the last ¾ mile of the race, which is uphill. How awful is that. I’m not walking, just plodding, not daring to look at my Garmin and the time it might show. Supporters are out cheering and I try to smile, but any movement is hard. The last right turn arrives a slight downhill then sharp left to the finish line. Thankfully no one is near enough to sprint past me. Up ahead is Tony, he’ll be a happy bunny, he’s beaten me like he used to last year. All the other male TRC runners are in plus Tabitha who has run a PB. I’m 1 minute 30 seconds quicker than last year, which is a plus point, but I feel truly knackered. The dodgy hip isn’t telling me to quit running, so that’s good….now I need tea, a very large cup of hot tea and chocolate.
Goodie bag collected……very nice Technical T in TRC colours, chocolate bar and bottle of water.
I make my way to the race HQ, change out of soggy tops, then I go outside to stand in the rain to queue to purchase tea for myself and Chris. He does the same for me later. I purchase two raffle tickets, check my results and see I’m about 6th in my age cat, wait for the raffle to be drawn, and wow….my number is the first out of the hat. “Husband who plays golf” will be impressed……nice bottle of red.
So all in all.
- Toilets: Long queue for the ladies. I have no idea I’m actually stood right next to the door to a disabled toilet, which is vacant. Girl ahead spots this, and so I’m now in a queue of three for this one. Fab. Huge cubicle, clean and tidy with plenty of toilet roll. The loo when flushed fills quickly, unlike the other ladies’ toilets, hence the long queue. Outside there is a long line of portable loo’s, but the queue is even longer. It was a one stop pit stop for me today.
- Parking: Plentiful, well marshalled and with marked out spot like the supermarket, easy to park properly
- Marshals: Well placed, no chance to take a wrong turn. All very encouraging, regardless of what team you ran for. In fact whilst sat drinking my tea, I got chatting with a race entrant whose accent wasn’t Cornish. She was on holiday in Cornwall from Germany with her husband and had found this Half Marathon whilst checking out possible races, whilst on holiday over here. She was very very impressed with the marshals. Well done Newquay.
- Route: I think I’ve run this race 4 times, and it must have been my first ever Half Marathon. I always expect it to be easier than it is, and usually decide after completing it, not to run it again. But guess what? I seem to come back for more pain. Must be an age thing!!!!! Not sure about next year.
Don’t forget to look at the TRC Flickr Group for today’s photos 🙂