There were so many moments when I nearly didn’t do this race. All of them were in the queue for the parking.
I was a bit tardy leaving and reached Ashford with only 50 minutes to spare before the start instead of the 1 hour+ I prefer. No worries, I thought in the alien environs of a courtesy car, the parking was free and generous in the reviews. This was indeed so, the problem was that the parking marshalling was what was economised on (at a guess). So instead of being waved past the entrance to a full car park many cars queued to get there, queued to the point within the car park where they realised that the delay was not while people parked but while they struggled to turn round and exit. So my ‘getting lost’ time, ‘finding crap coffee’ time and ‘fidgeting around getting cold’ time were extinguished.
Which was very good for me. I found a space, trotted to registration, picked up my number, told the chap that I was confident I was his first Mercy of the day, which I was, hunted for the safety pin pot (Madame C has hundreds of safety pins from racing embedded into her very fabric) and then trotted on to the track. To wait for quite a while as the others caught up ( I was convinced it was hours, but my watch shows 10-04 for a start…so more me than them).
The weather was yuck, it was cold (that first ‘ouch’ shocking, cold rain after a nice dry summer) and wet and cold and wet and ew. So I sucked it up (not the rain, really) tried to remember that it was, in my normal opinion almost perfect running conditions (between 5-15c, cloudy, dampish), though in my non-running opinion, vile.
It was quite an ok race. I would say it is a definite PB type course, certainly for me, because it has ups and downs and not too many dreary long stretches. In terms of scenic excitement, I would give it a 2/10. Kent has multiple beauties, not many of them are in Ashford. It was traffic free, which was very nice. And well-organised once you got over the parking.
I remembered that I am the least patient person in the world with other people’s foibles. One poor man was breathing very heavily, to a rhythm that I found made me hyperventilate just listening to him. I ran away from him. And there was another chap who was practising (or perhaps it was his normal gait, who knows?) a form which looked very much like Scottish Country dancing (Youtube) done repetitively at 9 minute mile pace in trainers. I could just hear a voice from his phone, so I think he was running to a plan of sorts. He was, despite the dancing, faster than me, so I let him drift out of my range.
Ouches: both ITBs ended up hurting from about 2 miles in, why I have no idea. I haven’t had ITB problems for over 10 years. I could understand one acting up from the road camber but not both. And my right shoulder hurt, which is a goodish pain, it means I am working hard.
And I came in 10 minutes faster than I deserved. Considering I have done fuck-all proper training I really didn’t deserve a 56.20 finish (not verified), but I was very pleased with it. The reflex is to immediately tick through the ‘what could I do if I..’, and the answer is, probably a minute or two faster (my 7 year old 10k pb is about 2 minutes faster) but not much more.
But it was so good for me, I feel quite invigorated and renewed by the whole thing.
Mr B is however, not impressed. That big a medal should have been made of cheese, in his opinion.