I finished 2013’s running season on a high, being awarded the prize for “Most improved Female Club Runner” at TRC’s Christmas dinner dance, but this Old Croc has metamorphosed into “Menopausal Woman” and she’s in melt down mode.
If you plugged me into the national grid, I would produce enough latent heat to keep a small house warm throughout the winter months. If I was a nuclear power station you would encase me in concrete and put a 20 mile exclusion zone around me. Even though I’m radiating vast quantities of natural heat I can never be classed as “Hot Stuff”, as those days, if ever there were any, have long gone.
So I enter the 2014 race season a tad under par, lacking my usual zest for my early morning runs and with the attitude that I must just complete my races and be happy with that. You men have it so easy!
So Sunday the 19th January arrives and I awake to find that there isn’t actually any rain falling from the sky, but it is feeling much colder than it has been. I decide that I have plenty of time to digest my breakfast so opt for tea and toast. It tastes so good, that I could quite happily have stayed at home and read the Sunday paper, but no, my entry fee has been paid, my niggly right hip is its usual niggly self and although I felt really rough the night before (not alcohol induced I might add) I have no excuses to stay at home and wimp out.
Poor Sydney Skoda has been empathising with his driver and also sprung a leak. As a result of this he has been in hibernation in my garage, drying out, but today he is being allowed out to play in the dry. Thankfully Camborne, where the race HQ is situated, is only a 25 minute drive away and as the parking at the school is plentiful there is no rush to get there, but as always I arrive far too early, but on a positive note this gives me time to suss out the loos.
If you are a follower of my many lengthy dialogues about the races I have run, and that TRC have posted here and on our Facebook page, you will have noticed that “Menopausal Woman” (MW for short) caused a bit of a stir with regards to the usage of a certain brand name relating to toilets of a portable nature (no not potties, I mean the plastic cubicle type of water closet that gets delivered on the back of a flat bed van/lorry). But have no fear, for today we have Toilets that are built into the main frame of a building.
I have a choice of two toileting areas. One which has about 6 nice clean cubicles, which are slightly confined in space, but do provide a shelf behind the toilet to place a bag upon. They have soft toilet roll in one of those large plastic dispensers where the roll of toilet paper inside is so big, that you can hardly get it to turn and you are left frantically struggling to pull more than one sheet of loo roll out to every 4th revolutions. This maybe a cost saving exercise in an effort to get us to use less paper, but it does nothing to alleviate any stress levels that are rising with the sheer effort of trying to see where the end of the bl—dy paper is, grab a hold of it, whilst sat in a confined space, twisting in such a manner that sliding off the loo is a possibility. All of which is causing me to break out in yet another “MW” sweat.
On a positive note the lavatorial porcelain is white in colour, not stained or cracked, but I will not publish the manufactures name in fear that I may breach some trade mark law once again. The second set of female toilets provided just two cubicles of a similar style to the above, but slightly more spacious. And best of all, I hardly had to queue for either of them. And on top of having two sets of toilets, the ladies even had a changing room, with showers.
Registration as usual was in the main hall and there was Andrew handing out all the race numbers to the gathering crowd of TRC runners. I will point out, that the girls did appear to outnumber the men once again and it was lovely to see Lynne back at the races.
The room was so full that pre race tarting wasn’t really an option for me, so I just settled for a quick catch up with a few Girls from Hayle and then it was time for us all to make the 10 minute walk to the start line. Niggly right hip, was reminding me of its existence throughout this walk come slow jog
So as usual (this is the 4th time I have entered this race) about 500 (race results show 522 finished the race) runners gather in Barripper Road waiting for the start. We are constantly shouted at by the race organisers to get back on the pavements and get out of the way of the poor motorists trying to navigate this road, and just like unruly school children most of the competitors shuffle to the side just long enough for the traffic to get through before disobeying the previous orders. I somehow have found myself towards the front of the gathering and in a good place to start the race. I now realise that I have no cash upon me. I had planned to carry some with me, incase I spotted some fresh veg along the route to buy. I asked around to no avail, when someone suggested I just pick some up and return later to pay. Can you imagine the headlines in the West Briton, if I was caught doing such a thing? “Elderly female makes a dash with the Brussels” (Please place any better suggestions on the comments page.)
At last we are allowed to stand in the road and the race briefing starts. He is using a hand held tannoy but it doesn’t project his voice at all, in fact I recon it would have been easier to hear him without this item muffling his voice. I did hear “Keep left”, “No power to stop traffic” and “Very muddy lane” where upon all those around me starting discussing their choice of shoe. Before we knew it, we were off and I reminded myself that I would complete this event and not race it. Pressure off and my legs did what they normally do and that is engage the usual “one speed fits all events” mode and we ran along this residential road gradually progressing downhill and into Barripper itself.
The route then takes us on an undulating trip along quiet lanes, heading out towards Carnhell Green and Reawla. I see Tony ahead of me and cannot decide whether to fall in behind him and keep running at his pace, but my legs are having none of it. They stick to what feels comfortable and I gradually overtake him. We acknowledge each other, but as we are running up a slight incline my power of speech seems to have left me. Somewhere up ahead in the far distance are the likes of Helen, Wendy and Isobel plus a variety of TRC male runners, but I don’t think I will be catching them up at any point in this race.
I’m now behind a couple of female runners one of which obviously feels over dressed for this race and the ambient temperature that prevails. Her need to remove some of her upper layers of clothing becomes apparent. She is very adept at this and I watch in amazement, as without decreasing her speed or breaking her stride, she raises her right arm, eases it out of her long sleeved running top, over which she has her running vest, then she does the same with her left arm. Deftly she slides the top over her head and then ties it around her waist, all this at a pace of about 8 mph. If I had tried such an operation, I would still be in a hedgerow somewhere looking like I’d been trussed ready for the men in white coats to take away. I ask her what she did for a night time job……..meaning maybe she is an escapologist, but she just laughs and I think I may have overtaken her at this point before she realised what I may have inferred.
We reach Reawla and so far there has been no veg at all for sale at the road side. I had planned to buy a baton of sprouts and run back to the finish line with it in my hand, but without cash and then none at the roadside for me to liberate, this was not going to happen. I couldn’t even see any growing in the fields. All this wet weather must have finished them off. The route now takes a left turn and we are heading towards Leedstown and the only real hill of the race.
Downhill I run, picking up a little speed as I go, this is to compensate for the big drop in speed as I am reduced to a plod up the following hill. I do not slow to a walk I just keep a steady if slow pace, and I hear a weird noise coming from my right, which at first I believe maybe my niggly right hip creaking. Thank goodness, I’m OK; it’s actually some ducks in the field encouraging us runners on our way. Panic over.
Before we enter Leedstown, the marshals send us off to our left, down THE MUDDY LANE. This is where the decision to not wear my new road running shoes was a good move. There are plenty of large brown puddles, the depth of which remains unknown, covering the width of the path. Most can be tiptoed around apart from one, where I end up with a soggy right foot and a cool sloshing sensation. Thankfully it doesn’t last for long as we are back out onto Tarmac and the second water station appears to our left. I have no idea where the first one was but as I don’t need to stop for water when running (unless like the 2013 Mag 7, it’s so hot you have to dunk your security hanky into water provided just to bring your boiling point down to just under volcanic eruption levels) I really don’t take much notice of these stations other than playing the game of “dodge the plastic cup”.
Along this stretch of road there appears to be an abundance of very long worms. Some sadly are not as long or as alive as they should have been, probably due to the large numbers of runners who have traversed this section of the road before me. It keeps my mind off the effort of running as we wind along this level section of country lane before turning left back towards Carnhell Green. It’s at this point that a very muddy tractor overtakes me. I decide to close my mouth at this point for fear of ingesting any organic matter that might fly off its tyres, as I do tend to run with mouth in the basking shark mode.
At Carnhell Green we are directed by the police to turn right and then retrace our footsteps back towards Camborne. This is a good feeling as we have entered the last 3 miles of the race. Surprisingly my legs are feeling fine, my lungs are OK and the cells in my brain haven’t started fizzing yet with one half saying “enough is enough just stop and give up” and the other half going “man up woman”. Has “MW” turned into a new less stressed runner?
I weave my way through the village of Barripper, going from road to pavement depending on parked or moving vehicles and it’s now a slight uphill before entering Camborne itself. My head is down; I have my “IQ reducer” pulled tightly onto my head, when I hear a familiar voice say “Is that you Hana?” It’s “8 pin Colin” my heart misses a beat and I nearly trip over my own feet. I’m not sure what face I pulled, but Colin, it was supposed to be a smile.
At the top of this road, just for a change we turn left, along pavements for the last ½ mile of the race. This ½ mile always feels like 3 and to make matters worse the first few drops of rain start to fall out of the sky.
I had made the conscientious decision at the start of this race, to not look over my shoulder at any time to see who was about to overtake me. I kept repeating the mantra “run to complete” but each time I heard the sound of heavy breathing behind me, I had to really stop myself looking to see who it was.
The rain was getting heavier and the last left turn approached where you now run down the road towards the school before you have to turn sharply back on yourself to sprint to the finish. It was at this point that for the first time I could see who was behind me and no one was close enough to sprint past and cross the finish line before me.
1 hr 20:32 (slightly slower than last year) and 4th V50 female: I was pleased with that. It was too wet and too cold to hang around to cheer others across the line; it was time to get in out of the cold. Police Cadets were handing out cups of water, but the water was stored in a green dust bin and their hands were being immersed into this water to fill the cups. I decided to forgo this hydration and opt for my flask of coffee instead.
I collected my race memento which was excellent. A “More Mile” hat and glove set in black with high viz yellow inserts. I will make good use of these items, even if I do, as always, look rather stupid in the hat. At least it’s not a knitted beanie one!
So I go off to see if the showers are 1. Working, 2. Have any hot water?
I can hear running water.
There are no loud squeals unlike two years ago, when at first we had tepid water, so I covered myself in soap suds, for the water to turn to ice and have to rinse off in freezing water. No aching muscles though the next day!
An abundance of very hot water was being blasted out from nozzles in the shower section of the room. I made full use of this facility and should the water in the men’s changing room have gone cool/cold, I take full responsibility, as I might have stayed in the shower a rather long time. So long, that by the time I went back into the main hall, the queue for the coffee and cakes was so long, I resorted to my flask and emergency “Snickers” bar.
Most of the TRC runners left before the presentations were made, so “our Diane”, Tony and I waited to see what prizes TRC would collect. I found myself receiving two trophies for the female V35-39; congratulations go to Isobel and Wendy. Then I collected 6 trophies for TRC’s 2nd placed ladies team (me included). Tony was true to form and won his age cat as well. No Steve Rawson though.
So all in all.
- This race is a great way to start the Grand prix season.
- The route is undulating to flat so allows for the possibility of a PB. I actually achieved one here two years ago.
- Parking: Plentiful, well marshalled and free.
- Toilets: Great. Clean with no queues when I used them. If you wanted to be really critical, more ventilation would be preferable due to some users having pre-race nerves, which makes for an unpleasant aroma.
- Race memento: Brilliant. Very useful indeed.