2015 arrived quietly and this Old Croc decided to attempt a DRY JANUARY. Now as most of you know, I’m a keen fan of a drop of red and sometimes a drop of white (usually in the warmer months) as I find it’s assists my culinary skills and aids digestion. I also find that it is a perfectly adequate form of liquid for pre race (the night before) hydration, but maybe not for the elite runners amongst us.
So with two weeks of NO ALCOHOL under my belt, my son returns home for some unexpected leave providing me with the dilemma of, “to indulge or not to indulge in the red stuff”? The other dilemma being “will having no alcohol also affect my running results?”. I’m at a loss as to what to do when suddenly god answers my first question and gives me a raging sore throat, a runny nose and a fuzzy head. The thought of anything other than some cranberry squash and tonic water which I’m using as a wine substitute makes my nose crinkle in disgust. So that’s one problem resolved the other problem is whether I should actually run the Storm Force 10?
Race morning arrives and I awake to the sound of my alarm clock. I crawl out of bed and the throat doesn’t feel too bad. The head feels as if I have had a heavy night out on the tiles but the rest of the body feels OK. Well seeing as I’m a paid up entrant for this race, I decide that I will attempt to run it and if I need to drop out at any time along the 10 miles, then that’s what I will do.
So after a large bowl of porridge and blueberries (my appetite hasn’t been affected) I climb into a very cold “Sydney Skoda” and head off down the A30 to the sunny metropolis of Camborne, making sure that I don’t end up in the recently opened mine shaft at Scorrier that the workmen are trying to fill.
Parking as usual is at the Race HQ at Camborne School. To get to this area my poor car has to negotiate several fierce speed humps that definitely keeps your speed down and shock absorbers distressed. Then it is a short walk to the sports hall where all the runners are gathering. As this is the first race of the GP season, there are always loads of runners, and today is no exception with in excess of 500 entrants.
I manage to locate a growing group of TRC competitors and Andy G appears to be in charge of this motley crew. I am issued my race number and mingle with the crowd. Soon I am joined by Julie, Helen and Claire and one very nervous looking Izzy. I grab some pre race photo’s and a nice young man not dressed in running kit, agrees to take our team photo…..well in truth he didn’t have much choice, not with me doing the asking! On reviewing the team photo, it would appear we might have to have a better camera in the future with a wide angled lens. NO we haven’t all put on excess weight over the Christmas break; we just seem to have grown in numbers with TRC managing a very large turnout for this race. Let’s keep it up folks.
I did go and check out the toilets, but only one of the two sets provided for us girls. As I have done this race 3 times before I now know where the smaller ladies loos are situated (2 cubicles less queue) and found it to be as quiet as ever. It was clean, functional and still had loo roll when I used it, but as with all school based events, having your own emergency supply of toilet paper is always a good move.
The start line for this race is situated a good 10 minute walk away, at the top of Barripper Road. I decide that with my runny nose come head cold type bug, I must keep warm whilst running, so decide to wear a very light weight windproof or “boil in the bag top” as our Diane calls it, over the top of a long sleeve running shirt and the TRC vest. I forgo the buff but I do store emergency gloves in the coat pockets. I also decide to wear an IQ reducer cap as well, to keep any rain off my glasses, as being able to see where I’m going is always a good move. I look as stupid as ever but only a face transplant will rectify this problem. Will I end up being too hot in all this kit with “Menopausal Woman” in full swing once again? My body could just go into a complete melt down at any time; don’t I just love being a V50 female?
Julie and I jog up to the start line, a pre race warm up, a pastime I very rarely indulge in. My legs feel OK and the problems I have been having with my right Achilles appears to be behaving itself. Fingers crossed this lasts. Helen arrives and asks “Is this the race with the Brussel sprouts”? Well remembered Helen it certainly is, then once again I realise that I haven’t put any loose change in my pockets. You see during one of the previous races here, I had seen for sale at the side of the road baton’s of sprouts and I had been very tempted to buy one and then run back to the finish with it. It may well have ruined my aerodynamics, slowed me down and raised a few eyebrows (nothing new there then), but at least I could have cooked the sprouts in the evening to go with my Sunday roast.
It’s now time for us all to gather in the road ready for the off. I choose a position in the middle of the front 3rd of the runners. Due to everyone chatting; including me (well doing my usual flirtations) I cannot hear any of the pre race briefing. It will be the usual stuff….no iPods, keep left, do as you are told etc……but someone next to me hears the word MUD. Ah, that will be the lane somewhere about half way round then. I start to wonder what depth the puddles will be at that location, look at my pretty, bright pink fairly new running shoes and then I just give in to the fact that they will be different colour at the end of this race.
A very feeble hooter sounds and we are off, slowly at first due to the large numbers of runners but within about 100 yards the speed starts to pick up. I have told myself that this year will be another year of self preservation so run to complete will be my mantra once again, but I shoot off at a fast pace for me and just let the legs do their own thing. We run down the slight hill and into Barripper crossing a small stream (via a bridge not through the water) where I tell the runners next to me to gaze right to catch a glimpse of the Emu’s who live in a field adjacent to the road. The other runners are far too focused on their technique, speed etc. to do that, but I can see one of the three emu’s that live there looking as evil as ever.
The route now goes uphill towards Carnhell Green and I can see Tony B ahead of me. I overtake him (sorry Tony that I didn’t say hello, but breathing was enough effort without trying to talk as well) and then I’m joined by JFD and the sound of a cock crowing. He enquires whether I will report this in my race report and here is your answer JFD! He soon gets bored with my lack of interesting conversation, well no conversation at all really as we are still running uphill. With this JFD disappears off into the distance only to be replaced by Andy G who believes he is running too fast and will be told off if the “girls” find out. The road has levelled out and we discuss “Dry January”. Andy admits to having indulged the previous night and into the early hours but will continue his “Dry January” into February. I don’t intend going into a parched February, I’m hoping to end the drought at the end of the month but not with a monsoon. Anyway it isn’t too long before Andy has picked up some more speed and he disappears off ahead into the distance. So it just goes to show the merits of a glass or two of wine/beer the night before. I just settle into a comfortable pace and stare at the ground a lot.
The road is now predominately flat and takes us out to Reawla where I spy a face I know from work in amongst the supporters stood at the side of the road. I wave at him, shout hello and shout again, but he has no idea who the mad woman in the stupid hat is and ignores me.
At Reawla we bear left towards Leedstown where we have a nice downhill section followed by a not so nice uphill. I decide that I am not going to walk any of it and somehow I make it to the top without any problems. It’s when you run these hills that the good old cat and mouse routine with other runners is most noticeable. Those that are strong on the hills come flying passed and I’m having a cat and mouse session with a lady from Hayle and another lady from St Austell. I can feel my run to complete mantra being pushed to one side and the competitive side of my personality is trying to resurface.
Just before Leedstown we are directed down a farm track and here is where the MUD arrives. The path is the width of a tractor and the puddles are lakes with ankle snatching brambles at their sides. I try to follow the runner ahead and tip toe along the right hand edge of each water obstacle but inevitably the only option is to plough through the dank water and hope for the best. I ended up with one very wet left foot and the right one escaped the worst and even better my shoes are still pink.
At the end of this track we are back out onto the road heading towards Praze-an-Beeble the B3280 and pass fields of leeks and what looked like very large beetroot. I’m also sure I heard the sound of a turkey making that “gobble gobble” noise, maybe it’s one that escaped Christmas and has had a reprieve until Easter Sunday and lunch?
Thankfully this section of road wasn’t very busy but the breeze had picked up and boy was I glad I was wearing my “boil in the bag” windproof. Before we reach Praze-an-Beeble we turn left and head back towards Carnhell Green and Helen overtakes me. I start to notice that just like last year, I have to be careful where I place my feet so that I don’t squash the large worms prevalent on the road surface. I know seagulls trample the grass with their feet to make worms come to the surface, so maybe all 500 plus of us Storm force runners are having the same effect pounding the tarmac. I note a few have met a messy end (the worms that is) but the majority are still squirming.
At Carnhell Green we have a road cone or two to run around, and are directed back towards Barripper retracing our steps at the start of the race. As we proceed downhill, I can still see one of the emu’s in the field to my left but none of the other runners take any notice. Maybe If I stopped looking at the scenery and wildlife I would run faster? Oh and the race reports would be much shorter!
Now at this point in the race I am still in a cat and mouse situation with the lady from Hayle and the other lady from St Austell. I’ve subconsciously gone into competitive mode and start to find a little more speed. I can’t catch Helen but I’ve moved ahead of the Hayle runner and I’m starting to gain on the St Austell one. What I don’t realise, as I haven’t looked over my shoulder, is that Claire L is hot on my heels. Oh to be 15 or more years younger!
I get to the top of Barripper road where we turn left and then left again into Tregenna lane, back towards the school. I’m trying hard to maintain some speed and I lose track of whether I’ve overtaken the St Austell lady (according to the results I had). I actually start to gain on Helen when the final the last 200m arrive. Time to sprint as I sense I have runners at my heels. I give it my all, cross the line and then want to projectile vomit. I feel so ill, so very ill, my stomach is turning inside out and I’m trying to mentally tell it to get back to where it belongs and not embarrass me. Claire puts a hand on my shoulder and asks if I’m OK. I can only muster the words “no, I want to be sick”.
It’s funny how quick people move away when you utter those words. I slowly meander back to the race HQ hunched over and breathing slowly. Somehow after what felt like an eternity, but was probably 5 minutes, I regain my composure and well being! Whatever possessed this OLD CROC to sprint? I suppose an ingrained competitive streak which no matter what you do, lies dormant like a volcano until the conditions are just right for an eruption. Today was one of those days.
I know I’ve been described as an old boiler many times, and it seems they are right!
Race completed, composure regained, time to head for the showers. Wow, the school has refurbished the girls changing and shower area. It’s all red, black and grey with a choice of private shower cubicles or a bank of about 8 open ones. The floor is clean with plenty of seating the only down point if I’m being really picky was that the water could have been a tad warmer.
Showered, non queasy but in need of my flask of coffee it’s time to return to the main hall and await the presentations. Sadly no team prizes for TRC today, but I feel sure that as the year progresses we will feature on the podium with all the fresh new talent, the consistent runners and the odd Old Croc that turn up at the GP races.
So all in all:
- Parking: Free and plentiful if your car hasn’t fallen to pieces driving over the aggressive speed humps to get to it.
- Race HQ. Fantastic. Large enough to house 500 plus cold participants with ease and with a great selection of food at the end, if you were prepared to stand in the long queue of hungry runners.
- Toilets and showers: Very good indeed for a school. There were even washing machines in a side room of the ladies shower room. I was almost tempted to run my kit through a rapid 30 degree cycle.
- Marshals: very good with no chance to get lost.
- The course: It’s undulating flat with 3 hills giving everyone a real opportunity for a 10 mile PB. The road traffic was very light and the roads rural. I had plenty of things to gaze upon and keep me occupied.
So 10 out of 10 for this race.