10 muddy miles and a cow!

The rain was pouring and the wind was howling, and as I set off this morning I did wonder why on earth I was going to this race. What a contrast to last week in so many ways. The race was about 25 minutes away, and there was no traffic, and lovely clear signposts to the car park, which was right by the start.

I arrived about 40 minutes before the start, so I ran out of the car to pick up my race number and timer chip, and then ran back to the car to shelter from the rain until the last possible moment.

View from the car- does not really show just how much it was raining!

With 5 minutes to go, I walked over to the start to listen to the announcements. I love races like this- it was organised by a local running club, to raise money for the Herts Air Ambulance. I love that the car park was right by the start, the person on the tannoy was so friendly. I have also never seen so many marshals before. They warned us that most of the run was off road (uh-oh- I had some flashbacks of when I did the Autumn challenge which I thought would be 5 road miles but ended up being cross country…), to watch out for tree roots, that some of the mud was very slippery, to not fall in the river (and if we did, be aware it contains Weils’ disease) and also there is a cow on the towpath. Lots to remember.

Then we were off!

I had decided to keep my waterproof jacket on as it was quite cold too, and that turned out to be fine. I knew I could tie it around my waist if I got too hot, but that didn’t happen!

My tennis visor was as low to my face as I could take, trying to keep the rain off my glasses (seriously, people without glasses do not know how annoying water covered ones are)- I had tissues in my pocket to wipe them with, although they got wet too.

Last week at the 10 mile mark I looked at my watch to gauge the time I should aim for this week, as the only time I have run a 10 mile race was the Great South Run (which was not so great…)- I did that in 1.49 something so I knew I should beat that. Anyway last weekend it was 1.42 something, so I wanted to aim for 10 minute miles and see how I got on.

The race began around a field (slippery long grass, mud), then was two loops, before coming back to the field again. The first half of each loop was tough- especially the first lap as it was very congested. They had painted the tree roots bright red- what great preparation! But some bits the mud was so deep and squelchy (we can’t go over, we can’t go under it, oh no, we’ve got to go through it, squelch squerch squelch squerch)- I had to stop and walk/ clamber up some bits while holding on to the fence. My shoes are not off road in the slightest!

We then ran through some residential streets- some very steep uphill bits, then lovely downhills with speedbumps. All the marshals were so cheerful- shouting everyone on, telling us to watch out for the speed humps, telling us how good we looked (yeah, totally). I didn’t look at my Garmin at all and just tried to run on feel- in my head the 10 minute mile thing had long gone as the terrain was tough- at one point I said to a marshal that I could do with ski poles to keep upright- the mud was awful and I was just trying to stay upright.

The second half of the loop was much nicer- flatter, but also more picturesque- along by a river, through some parks/fields, and along a tow path. I saw people playing football, people kayaking (there is always someone wetter than you), people cycling and walking.

Some of the tow path was good to run on and I felt like I got into a good rhythm-  But some was tough as there were huge puddles- at one point it was ankle deep so I clambered over a wall instead. You had to concentrate to avoid the huge puddles- I had trodden in one just past mile 2 (just 3/4 of the race to go…) so had squelchy shoes and cold wet feet, but I didn’t want to make it any worse.

Then I saw the cow! I thought it would be long gone by the time I got there- there was a marshal stood by it who said “keep moooving”- get it? It was only later when I thought of the reply “how amoosing”- too late!

We had to run over a bridge, and then we were back to start the second lap- and I had not got lapped by any of the front runners. Hooray!

The second lap felt better, although the first half again was tough with those hills- I was tired by that point, and getting pretty cold and damp.

For the final stretch along the flatter fields and tow paths I decided to try and overtake people, and I managed quite a few (and the cow was still there!). One lot of people (maybe 4 of them?) overtook me back while I was deciding which way to go around a huge puddle, but then they stopped to walk up the bridge on the final stretch.

Andy had said he might come and watch, although I didn’t think he would as standing around in this weather is even worse than running in it. As I ran into the field there was a 400m to go sign, and a big group of people cheering, but he wasn’t there. Fair enough I thought, and managed to overtake 2 more people.

But then I came around the corner and saw him! He even snapped a photo.

The rain had eased right off then.

The clock said 1.41 something, so I am really pleased. I did have a chip so shall wait for my official time, but it is a pb anyway 🙂

EDIT– chip time was 1.40.58 🙂

There were people to cut the timer chips off your laces (love this because my hamstrings do not like bending down right after I have stopped running, plus my fingers were very cold), water right there, and attractive technical running t-shirts. Embarrassingly as I crossed the line a man lifted his arm to indicate where I should go, and I went to high five him- I did explain “sorry- everyone is so friendly here and I thought you were going to high five me”- turned out Andy saw this too so I can’t pretend it didn’t happen!

No small ones left, of course (unisex sizes)- I need to run a lot faster to get one! But it can go over a long sleeved top- it is the right colour for winter running anyway. It only cost £17 to enter so was a right bargain. A shame about the weather but seriously I have never seen that many marshals, and they were all so enthusiastic and friendly.

I saw a couple of runners from the Sweatshop group, so chatted to them for a few minutes, but then headed back to the car. I was freezing. My top (underneath my jacket) was damp, I think from sweat but also I think water was running in from the neckline. I usually hate even shared changing rooms but I was so cold I took my running top off in the car park and put on a warmer top, then my coat, to drive home in. I had the heating up in the car, but my running tights were soaked so just cold, and my wet hair was dripping water all over me too. Cold cold cold.

Andy was home a bit before me and put the kettle on, so by the time I was out the shower I had tea waiting for me. Perfect.

I spent the rest of the afternoon foam rolling in front of Strictly, and then round to Andy’s parent’s for dinner. Fab.

How did you spend this rainy Sunday?  Anyone else feel like sharing an embarrassing moment? Go on, you will make me feel better!

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20 thoughts on “10 muddy miles and a cow!”

  1. Great job, sounds like a tough course. I need to start running more trails as the ultra I’ve signed up for is largely off road and quite hilly. That’s a bargain for the race entry, with a tech tee as well! It was so miserable yesterday, I went for a walk and got wet and after that just stayed in the dry!!

  2. 10 muddy miles indeed! I hope your trainers are just about back to normal by now 😉 That’s a great time in such tough conditions – I know firsthand how onerous it is to run through fields that have essentially turned into swamps.

    I steer clear of cows – they really intimidate me and I have a healthy respect for them. I always hope they have some kind of radar whereby they can tell if someone is veggie/vegan so they know we won’t harm them 😉


    1. Yes I am not keen on cows but it was very docile and the marshals were stood by it.
      Yeah I should have told it I didn’t eat meat!

  3. Congrats!! Gosh it sounded epic! Sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of an adventure on a run – even if it does involve drenched feet and dodging puddles!
    I like races where they’re a bit more informal and smaller. My half at the weekend was like that. We parked and there was the start 100m away. Perfect.
    I couldn’t help but laugh when you said you high fived that marshal. I’d have done something similar I’m sure and I’m almost certain Ben would have laughed at me for an eternity haha.

    1. Still cringing now!
      That half sounds good- I shall have to look it up for next year- smaller races are my favourite for sure. I do worry I will be at the back so I looked at the race times last year just to check I would not be holding up all the packing away. 🙂

  4. Well done on a new PB on such a difficult course! Imagine your time if it had been on road! I love courses like this – where it becomes a proper challenge! If you are ever in Norfolk, this recap reminded me of the time I ran the Sheringham Park Run – through puddles and new streams, dodging tree roots and climbing hills. What a good idea to spray paint the roots beforehand!
    It took me a while to gear myself up to get out on Sunday in the rain but eventually managed my long run.
    I would probably have high-fived the marshal as well! My most embarrassing moment was back in college when I was sat on a bus with seats that faced each other. I was sat opposite an old couple, with my legs crossed and tucked under the seat. The bus picked up speed at some lights, I didn’t have time to uncross my legs and just tipped forward directly into the old man’s lap – face first. The friend I was with thought it was hilarious and had to roll me off into the aisle so that I could uncross my legs. She still hasn’t let me forget it! 🙁

    1. Oh no poor you- that is very embarrassing indeed and certainly beats mine!
      Well done for getting out in the rain too- if I hadn’t had a race to get to I am not sure I would have managed to!

  5. Well done you! I found it funny that I took the exact same photo from my car while I was waiting for my 10K to start. Such a hideous day for a race but once I was going it felt OK. Props to you for 10 miles, I was done by 6.2! Your post title made me smile too 🙂

    1. Once you start it is not so bad- I think the thought of running in the rain is worse than doing it- some Sweatshop people did the herts 10k sounded just as muddy!

    1. It was tough, but fun 🙂
      You will speed up- the last time I did a 10 mile race was a couple of years ago so it has taken me a while to get faster.

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