Report by Hana
I have been rather quiet on the race report front of late, this is due to:
- “Meet your Max” (I had a date with Elton John that night).
- “The Turkey Trot”, (I couldn’t find inspiration to put fingers to keyboard for such a short race).
- “Mag 7”(I decided to give this one a miss this year)
- “The Tywardreath Trotter” (I was away in Stratford-upon-Avon enjoying a wonderful wedding).
Some of you poor souls might have actually appreciated my silence on the TRC Blog page, but I’m now back again, slowly tapping away at the key board in my version of two fingered speed typing.
So my quest to reach 13 Half Marathons in 12 months continues with Indian Queens being Half Marathon No 11. My entry to this race was oh so nearly brought to an abrupt halt due to a close encounter with a hard road surface. In short, on the morning of 26th July the day my “Husband who plays golf” and I are going to a wedding in Stratford-upon-Avon , we decide to go for an early morning pre breakfast stroll, around the country lanes near to the hotel we are staying at. The weather was due to turn nasty later in the day and as we would probably spend the most of the day indulging in copious amounts of food and alcohol we thought a walk would be a good idea to counteract the forthcoming calories.
This walk involved a short section of “A” road where on the way out we were facing the traffic so only had to step onto the verge sporadically, but on the return section we needed to walk on the verge all the way, as the traffic was heavier and approaching us from behind. The kind council had obviously cut the grass recently, which gave us a narrow pavement width of stubbly grass to walk upon. So why are you writing about this, I can hear you say, well the cut grass had concealed a Badgers hole which then formed a kind of “Man trap” and this Old Croc came a cropper, right into the path of any traffic approaching from behind. My left leg had disappeared down the hole pole axing me in one foul swoop.
I have fallen numerous times in my life and as a child I was always covered in copious amounts of cuts and grazes but when you are in your advancing years, like I am, any fall is a potential move towards a Zimmer Frame.
Oh my goodness, what a sight I looked. Both knees cut and bruised, along with my right elbow, hip and hand. I limped back to the hotel where the young female receptionist took pity on me and found numerous large BLUE plasters to cover my wounds and stem the flow of blood. Some of you will say, “You should take more water with it”, but I can’t blame this on too much alcohol just a bl—dy Badger.
Once I had soaked in the bath long enough to remove most of the grit out of my wounds, and husband had covered me in fresh catering blue sticking plasters ( now boys this isn’t a form of bondage we like to perform in private) I dressed in formal attire and attached a fascinator to my head (for you men, it’s a small decorative head piece us ladies have taken to wearing to weddings instead of a huge hat that is a nightmare to store after the event) I was ready for the wedding, but boy did I hurt. I had to give up on the standing for each toast as the speeches were made and just settled into a sit and drink mode instead. By the evening I managed to move a little easier and I could be found moving sort of to the grove on the dance floor but the following morning I felt as if I had gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson.
So, with only one 6 mile run on Thursday and a 12 mile walk on Saturday to see if the legs worked, husband who doesn’t run, will never run but thinks I should run even though my right knee is warm to the touch and slightly larger than the other one, states that I should just go and complete the race even if I have to walk most of the way. So as I always do as I’m told, that’s what I do.
Sunday morning arrives, I creek and groan as I crawl out of bed. My bodies sleep mode is currently set to intermittent and its thermostat is set to simulate a sauna. I’m like the hot coals which have had water poured over them. I hiss, I steam then I settle back to being just too bleeding hot. I love being a V50 female.
“Sydney Skoda” and I share a quiet drive through the Ladock Valley and onto Indian Queens, with only a couple pelotons of Cyclists in tight Lycra to slow the journey up. No not to stare at their physique but because they had formed a swarm, and taken up the whole left side of the road. The race parking is as usual in the Business Park at the far end of the town near the VW and Skoda dealership where I am directed by the marshal to a space. I am not squeezed into a tight spot and opening the car door and getting out is not a problem for someone as stiff and achy as me. The air temperature is cool and there is quite a stiff breeze blowing which could stop me dissolving along the race route, so that’s a positive. I check my phone before locking it away and note that Dave W has already posted that he is at the event having arrived almost 2 hrs before the start. Keen or mad I ask myself, but then again I’ve arrived earlier than planned, at least there will be NO QUEUE for the loo.
I take the 5 minute walk to the race HQ at the Indian Queens Working Men’s Club which takes me past a sign saying “extra toilets”. These toilets are situated in the grounds of what looks like an old Sunday school building. I walk into the grounds and find said toilet, it’s unlocked, has basic fittings, toilet roll and it’s totally queue-less. It’s clean apart from what looks like some bird droppings on the floor, maybe that Bird (unlike this one) doesn’t have a very good aim when using the facilities.
Race number collected, so it’s time to mingle/loiter outside the club house. It isn’t long before more TRC runners arrive and pleasantries are exchanged. IR from Bodmin road runners spies me so we engage in a quick kiss and hug and more and more familiar faces appear in the gathering crowd. I note that Nigel K is holding onto a Jar/sample pot of some kind in his hand and I enquire as to what it is. Vaseline is the answer. This then makes another TRC runner whip out a blue tube of something called “Glide” and so the conversation revolves around each product and its merits. This is obviously a man thing and I won’t expand on where I’ve seen males spread the stuff before a race, but just occasionally I have been tempted to join in and apply a smear where a certain under garment causes chaffing on longer races in warmer climes.
The weather is cool, the skies are predominately grey but the sun keeps forcing its way through then disappearing once again. Sunglasses or no sunglasses is the dilemma I contemplating. With that a huge grey cloud moves over us so I decide to forgo the “cool dude shades” and go with my normal ones that way I won’t look a complete idiot should it rain.
Time comes to walk to the start line which is situated outside the “Port and Starboard” fish and chip shop in Chapel road where I mingle with Chris R, Nigel E, Dave W and Mark M-S. I’m shivering in my racing vest but as more runners join the huddle so my body temperature starts to rise.
The race briefing is being broadcast over a megaphone and I can hear some of what is being said through the chatter that is going on as usual all around me. I hear the race director tell us to keep left unless we are told otherwise by a race marshal, and to keep left of the “keep left” bollard at the start of the race but you can also go to its right as well. I’m confused and we haven’t even started yet. He then tells us that the usual sponges at mile 7 won’t be there this year, due to him putting them away last year and not being able to find them this year. Stood In front of me during this briefing is one of the more senior CAC male runners who has a penchant for rather short silk running shorts and this male is distracting me as he is vigorously wobbling his left buttock with his hand. I think a fit male in tight Lycra might have been more distracting but they have been in short supply of late.
The race starts, and I tell myself that I must run at a nice gentle steady pace and not tax my injured right knee. I’m having to look down at the legs of the runners ahead of me as we are all running in a tightly packed group and I do not want to trip and get up close and personal to any tarmac surface ever again.
The race route heads out along Moorland road over the A30 and then we are directed left onto a quiet country lane in an area called Toldish. The road undulates very slightly and we turn right to Ruthvoes where there are a few residents cheering us on our way. The gradient so far has been mostly downward but at mile 2.5 we start the climb up hill towards the start line with us being turned left just before the top and out across the A30 via a foot bridge and onto the Clay trails.
The ground underfoot is firm and slightly sandy (white sand like the stuff my dad used to make cement with) and there is really no need for trail running shoes as road shoes with some form of cushioning will do nicely. Some kind soul has strimmed the hedges so we have more room than in previous years. I quite like this clay trail on the way out as it feels easy on the legs but that could be because the gradient is ever so slightly downhill.
I find that my mind starts to wonder whilst running this race and I always get disorientated as to where the route takes us. Thankfully we have very good marshals to keep us on the straight and narrow. Even when I look at the map of the area whilst writing this report I have no idea where the trails take us. It does take us by The Local Town Band who is playing for our entertainment.
This year the usual assortment of blow up reptiles and large cuddly lions that have adorned the off road section in previous years seem to have gone into hiding. There are no cows or their by products on the trail either. On the other hand, the Gremlins lurking inside my right knee are starting to wake up. They are stoking their furnace and sword fighting. I check my Garmin and for me and my knee, I appear to have been running too fast, so it’s time to reduce my pace. My body temperature has also risen and I’m starting to feel like a Jelly Baby left on the dashboard of a car parked in the sun.
As I approach the end of the outward section of the clay trails, I can see the lead runners approaching. “8 pin Colin” tears pass me giving me no time to cheer him or the other lead runners on. I have been left in the air turbulence they have created due to their speed.
The clay trail ends and we are back onto Tarmac. And soon the second of the real hills arrives. Security hanky is brought into action and I contemplate dunking it in the cups of water being offered at the water station, but every so often a cool breeze whips up which might make a wet Hanky treatment a tad too unpleasant. Instead I dab at my eyebrow line, remove my glasses for a minute to catch the rivulets’ that have formed down the sides of my face and remembered what Nigel K had proffered as a good use for his pot of Vaseline, Spread a strip of the clear lubricant across your forehead and it will act as a barrier stopping sweat drip/pour into your eyes. I think I’ll stick to my hanky!
The hill passes without too much trouble but it is soon followed by a downhill which is where my right knee really reminds me that it is not very happy. There is no racing down this one for me, just damage limitation. One male overtakes and asks me where my whip is today. (I do believe I have made a lasting impression on some of our Cornish runners, as a result of my Mrs Whiplash moment marshalling meet your max three years ago). Then a male from Hayle runners passes me by and lingers in front long enough for me to notice that his running socks are on inside out.
It isn’t too long before we are back onto the clay trails and the last 3 miles of the race. Each time I have run this Half Marathon, no matter what the weather conditions have been, I always feel that this last section draws all your energy out and leaves you feeling drained, heavy legged and wanting to just stop and give up. Rear end suitably kicked and I continue on my journey towards the last hill back up Chapel road. I even overtake a couple runners before taking the last right turn into Francis road before the left turn into the grounds of the working men’s club. I suddenly find a burst of energy, sod the knee I go for it, overtaking one poor man as we approach the finishing line. “48” the man shouting out the times says and sure enough I have crossed the line in 1:48:48, a whole 4 minutes faster than my previous attempts so even with a hot to the touch, protesting injured knee, I have achieved a PB for this race. Bl—dy marvellous I think, as I limp to a group of TRC runners who have been enjoying the sunshine which is now shining down upon us all.
I grab a few Happy Snaps and then thankfully after I have put my camera away one of our TRC male runners appears wearing his TRC vest that has a third colour added to it……………..RED, in fact lovely red streaks down the front left and right side. Someone should have rubbed some of Nigel’s Vaseline onto their nipples before this race I believe!
So all in all:
- Parking: Plentiful spaces and best of all free.
- Marshals: They were happy and helpful and we couldn’t get lost.
- Race Route: Flat for Cornwall, but there are three hills which some would describe as shallow and others steep. I’d say they are somewhere in between and I didn’t need to walk up them.
- TOILETS: Portable water closets in the grounds of the club with an extra toilet in the Sunday school/Church hall. All of which were clean, functioning and with plenty of toilet roll.
- Race memento: An orange Technical T, a bottle of Lucozade sport and a Mars Bar.
Will I run this race again? I’m not sure as part of me likes it and the other finds it draining, but the month of August has a race drought so maybe I will……..if the knee injury mends.