So here we are, GP race No 2 of 2015 and my second race without any pre race (night before) grape juice hydration of the red variety. Dry January hasn’t quite finished so cranberry and tonic will have to suffice. I am a creature of habit and dry January has shown that I have the need to drink from a wine glass whilst cooking and that the actual contents of that wine glass doesn’t really matter. I’m bit like a smoker who has turned to E cigarettes! Come to that I cough and splutter like a smoker whilst out running in the cold.
I awake to a cold and very windy winter’s morning but there is no sign of rain or snow which is good. I consume my usual bowl of porridge this time with homemade Kea Plum jam on the top (scrummy) and then make up a flask of freshly brewed coffee for post race recovery to go with my Snickers Bar. Why oh why have they reduced the size of these chocolate bars? They are just not big enough anymore to meet my needs but two would be too much. I can feel a letter of complaint coming on!
Sydney Skoda and I set off to meet Julie at Scorrier, our usual meeting place for the trip down to sunny Marazion. The car’s thermometer registers 3 degrees rising to 5 but the wind chill makes it feel much, much colder. We have an easy drive down apart from one stupid van driver at Redruth…
Race parking and the signing for it is as good as usual and once again we do not have to pay for it. Sadly the public toilets close by are CLOSED until Easter so we can’t use these facilities before our walk up to the race HQ, a walk of about a mile, but there is the option of a mini bus laid on by Hayle running club. Julie and I chose to walk which gives us time to warm up in the bitter northerly wind that is whistling around our heads.
The race HQ is in the Community Centre and the main hall is fairly full when we arrive but at least it is nice and warm. I try to spot some fellow TRC runners in the crowd but they are obviously hiding from me. All I see, is a sea of dark colours so I go and collect my race number from the desk then my goody bag (long sleeved pink technical running top, bottle of water and a banana) before scouring the room for a friendly face…….ah Andy G has found a space for us all to gather so time to decide what clothes to remove and what to leave on for this race.
Julie and I decide to check out the toilets early before any queues form. I see two “portable green tardi” outside the Community Centre for the men but we disappear around the corner to the football club, which has signs outside saying there are changing facilities. Because we have previous knowledge of these facilities we know there are two ladies toilets there and as usual NO QUEUE! They are not modern, they are not plush, the wall tiles have been refreshed in places and missing in others, but more importantly they work, plus there is toilet roll and they are clean.
I’m opting for minimal exposure of naked flesh today. I’m going for long running tights, warm tight long sleeved top with race vest over the top, gloves, hat and then my “boil in the bag” lightweight windproof over the top. I may well look overdressed and oven ready but the elderly do need to keep warm you know! And warm is what I feel. I partake in my square of Kendal Mint cake, take a couple of photo’s of the gathering TRC runners and then as I try a group shot some male from another club walks right in front of me and my camera. I give him my most terrifying “I am not amused look”
He looks bemused, walks off and then I grab another male and order him to take our team photo. There aren’t many advantages to being old, but getting away with bad/embarrassing behaviour is one!
A 15 minute warning is given, so off to the start line I scamper. The starting area is a short walk away in a country lane leading to Plain-an-Gwarry so I jog around and then find myself a suitable place to stand next to the hedge towards the front of the gathering field of runners. Because the lane is narrow the race organisers have marshals stood at the side with notices showing “sub 35” “sub 40” etc…..I go for somewhere between 45 and 50 (Ok so I look older) when I’m joined by Chris R & Andy G, Andy who is not sporting a warm top of any description only a woolly hat. I break out in Goose Pimples just looking at him……………..from the cold not lust!!!!!!
A female runner from St Austell tells me that she read my last race report (Storm force 10) and that she was the lady I had been playing cat and mouse with. I tell her that I am having more and more difficulty writing these reports for fear of A) upsetting someone, B) contravening a Trade Mark and C) writing something fresh about races I have completed several times before. And on top of this I have to say that the male runners who usually supply things for me to write about and seem to run at a similar pace to myself have vastly improved their belching, spitting and snot rockets to the extent that they haven’t occurred for many months!
A quick race briefing is given by a Hayle Runner stood on the hedge. No headphones, no cyclists, keep left, don’t turn right and the hooter sounds. We are off at a gallop down the lane. Fantastic a downhill start, don’t we just love these? Well I do! Andy G and Chris R have moved off into the distance and I settle into a reasonable pace. I’m not regretting my vast quantities of clothing at all and can feel the icy air trying to penetrate via any gaps it can find. My security hanky is going to have to work hard today, as cold wind = runny nose, plus my “smokers” cough has raised its head as usual. There is no way I can sneak up quietly behind someone with my spluttering.
I note a polished granite block to my left and wondered why there is a grave stone on the grass verge, but it is there to announce that we have entered the county parish of St Hilary. A short while later we are at Plain- an-Gwarry before the first uphill section of this route. The hill is not steep and can be easily be run (at a slow pace for me). I note the usual occurrence of runners who were behind me overtaking. This is when I note a CAC lady overtake and realise that today it could be me and this lady playing cat and mouse for the rest of the race. It takes my mind off the hill, which soon passes.
At the end of this road we turn left keeping a wooded area to our right. The Lady from CAC is ahead and I remind myself that I must put that out of my head, just concentrate on completing the race and hopefully crossing the line without feeling as wretched as at the last race. The road starts to take a slight uphill at South Treveneague Farm, but nothing to cause any of us any real problems.
At Penberthy Cross we turn…….you guessed it……left and after a short section of flattish road we start to go downhill. I pick up some speed assisted by the gradient and start to catch the lady from CAC. My legs and brain are talking to each other but not to me. It appears that I am now in racing mode and I need to overtake. Do I have a choice, apparently not.
At the next junction we turn LEFT towards Rosevidney and we are still on a downward gradient. I’m trying to keep to a steady pace and not pick up too much speed (for me that is) but I overtake the CAC lady and I hear her say something, possibly to me, but I can’t make out what it actually is. As I’m not one for conversation on the shorter races due to having to concentrate on being able to breath, I don’t answer, but then again how can you answer when you have no idea what was said? Maybe I should have said “Pardon?” like my mother taught me when she tried to instil some good manners into me but failed. So I’ll say sorry I didn’t reply, but my legs and brain weren’t communicating with my mouth.
Somewhere along the way I overtake Chris R, but Andy G is nowhere to be seen, then Claire M from TRC trots pass as if she is on a gentle practice run. Grrrr I think to myself, I try to keep up with her but fail. Age has its disadvantages but only to some of us.
The last mile and a half has arrived, I wonder to myself if I can keep my current pace going and my legs seem to answer “yes”. Maybe just maybe “Dry January” has been beneficial after all. I can hear heavy breathing behind me but it sounds masculine, so I relax a little. We pass under the A394 and start the final climb up Gwallon Lane to the finishing line.
The first time I ran this hill I nearly died and on crossing the finish line I almost emptied the entire contents of my stomach onto the feet of the time keeper. The second time it felt a little easier and this year being the fifth time I’ve run it (I had to count all the lovely hoodies I have in my drawers to work this one out) the hill felt much less steep until I decided I would try to overtake the TRC runner ahead (sorry Jonathan C) and stay ahead of what sounded like a female behind me (sorry Rebecca BRR). God knows where I got that last burst of energy from, but I crossed the line at the same time as Jonathan only for the time keeper to place me ahead of him in the funnel, and yes I did beat the lady hot on my heels. My stomach started to pulsate but it only took 3 deep breaths and it came to heel.
I check my Garmin, then the official times and I am 1 minute faster than last year. The “Old Croc” is happy, a smile breaks out and lightness comes to my feet. Time for me to take a couple post race photos then consume my flask of coffee in the warmth of the community centre.
TRC have managed to acquire a table and it isn’t long before I’m joined by Julie, Chris Andy and Nigel. Chris turns to me and says, “I need your advice, do you think I’m a medium fit or a small fit” well how do I answer this I start to wonder? Thankfully he pulls out a red technical T, pulls it over his head and he is definitely a MEDIUM FIT!
Julie and I settle down with our flasks and I decide to check out the result sheets on the wall. I find my name and then see who in the V50 female category are ahead of me. I come to the conclusion I may be second in this age Cat, but Julie double checks and tells me I’m 3rd. I’m happy with third. Chris has an age cat win so we remain for the presentations with Julie and me making the loudest whoop whoop noise that two people can make as he goes up to collect his trophy.
I grab a photo of the delighted Chris and he offers to do the same for me. Chris borrows my camera, moves down to the front of the hall “The 3rd placed V50 female is Lisa Player of St Austell running club” Oh my god how embarrassing, a photographer in situ and the wrong woman on the stage. It would appear that when we checked the result pages, one of the sheets were missing, the one with the 3rd placed female on. Bah humbug! Oh well 4th isn’t so bad. TRC Ladies win a team prize and I get to go home with a bottle of red. How fitting as it’s the first day of February so dry January is no longer!
All in all:
- Car parking: Brilliant. Well signposted, plenty of room and best of all….FREE.
- Race HQ: Lovely and warm, cosy but large enough to take all of us at a squeeze.
- Toilets: Old fashioned, no queue but with soft toilet roll.
- The route: scenic rural roads with no chance of getting lost and more downhill gradients than uphill.
- Goody bag: a lovely technical long sleeved T in pink for the girls and red for the boys. I could never have coped with another hoody as my cupboard space is somewhat reduced with the 4 that I already have.
- Will I run this race again………….I very much think so!
10 out of 10 Hayle runners.