I ordered some crumpets this week, but they had a short date so I put them in the freezer- Andy asked what I was doing and I told him the same as I would be doing on Sunday- freezing my crumpets. That is what happens on cold runs.
So a while back I did the Hatfield 5 and at the end was given a leaflet advertising the Fred Hughes 10. I had looked at it a few years ago but it was cancelled due to ice and snow, so then I was pretty glad I hadn’t signed up. But the 10 mile distance fitted well into my marathon training plan, and at £18 (including a technical T) it was good value, and pretty much on my doorstep. I think it was also the first race I signed up to and got the affiliated discount! How exciting!
Earlier in the week I saw the weather which forecast heavy rain for all of Sunday morning, so I was not looking forward to it. Then we had a bit of snow yesterday, and I was then worried about icy pavement. Luckily this morning was cold, but there was no ice, and no rain.
I had a clif bar for breakfast, as the race didn’t begin until 10. Normally now I would run 10 miles and then eat, but I thought it would be a bit too late to eat by the time I got home.
The race HQ was in a school- a bit of a faff as I was told the car park was full, but as I was leaving a marshal came and told me they had opened up a new car park so I had to try and turn around in the road with cars trying to turn in- not so easy!
Anyway, I picked up my number, chatted to some running buddies, and then went back to my car to sort out what I needed to leave behind (extra jumper etc) and what I needed with me (gloves).
Then I walked to the race start, which was 400m up the road. It was very very cold- I had worn a long sleeved top with a t-shirt over the top, my buff (neck thing) and a thin head band for my ears, but I was wondering if I should had worn more.
The starter horn went and even though I had started at the last possible time marker (100-110 minutes) floods of runners were overtaking me. I spent a bit of time feeling a bit inadequate as all these speedy club runners whizzed past, but then gave myself a bit of a talking to. There was a 2 hour time limit, which I was perfectly capable of doing. I didn’t need to get a pb, I was running to get my distance up as part of my training. I wanted to enjoy it. According to the website it was the County Championships, so probably attracted more club runners than most, so I spent a lot of time looking at the vests and wondering where they were from. There were plenty from London as well as Herts, Beds and Bucks.
My mind wandered for a while, pondering the names of the clubs. Near me there are the Ware Joggers (they organise the Ware 10 which is possibly my favourite race)- their tag line is “we run for fun” or something, and I think they sound welcoming. To counter that, there are the Harpenden Arrows, which just sounds too competitive to me- I can’t run as fast as an arrow so the name puts me off (I do know someone in that club, and he is friendly, but also pretty fast). A few others I noticed- Leighton Fun Runners (I like the sound of them), lots of .. Road Runners (I like roads, but I like fields too), and the one that kept confusing me, Fit 4 Fitness- shouldn’t it be Fitness 4 fun, or fit 4 life, or something else?
Anyway, back to the race. It was pretty undulating- you ran out for 1.5 miles, then a loop of 3.5 miles twice (not so good seeing the 8 mile marker on your first loop, especially when being overtaken by people on their second lap!) then back to the finish. It was good though- country lanes mainly, so there was nice scenery. But there were a few hills that were not my friend- one had a photographer right at the top- what lovely grimacing he would have captured!
The sun came out, and then my arms were warm (as my top was black)- I even took my gloves off for a bit. But for the final couple of miles the clouds came over and it got so cold- I was back to seeing my breath again. I was glad to see the 400m to go sign, and had enough energy to finish strong.
I then picked up my t-shirt (you could even choose your size), got a banana and a cup of water, and then began the walk back to the HQ. That was the only downside I think, as it was so cold, and as soon as I stop I cool down really quickly. I could have put the t-shirt on for an extra layer I suppose, but I didn’t think it would do much. They did have tea and cakes inside race HQ, but I stopped at my car to put on my jumper and coat, and just wanted to head home at that point.
After a cup of tea and a hot shower I had some of my pre-frozen crumpets and yet more tea to try and warm up, before heading to the shops to pick up some bit for dinner.
I am really glad I signed up for this- I think had I not, I would not have got my long runs up to quite this distance just yet, whereas now I am pretty much level with my plan.
Official time: 1:37.41 (Position 636 of 732)- not a pb (stays at 1:36.12) but pretty close.
Which running club names do you think sound friendly/ elitist?