Sunday, 14 October 2012

Humanity and the Matfen 5k

As I breezed into the empty coffee shop at Alnmouth yesterday in my cycling gear, I announced to the bored looking young lady that 'I was Al and my buddy was Steve and we'd come to drink her tea shop dry. This kind of full on communication can result in two possible reactions: She smiles and engages in old time chat about where we've come from, where we're going and whats it like to ride in a club like SC Gothic...or ...she can smile and think 'what an
oddball'. I can't vouch for the girls thoughts,  but the coffee and cake was good. As I sat over the low, slim and hot radiator
by the big window for the 20 minutes we were there surrounded by old pictures of times gone by and a big open range at one end of the room,  I couldn't help thinking 'its good to talk'
Forty five miles later on the bikes we got back into town. Pulling up at the side of the car in the slow traffic, I chatted to a well dressed bloke in tweed in his Merc. He leant across and wanted to know  how he would go about getting a Gothic jersey. We held the traffic up twice as within perhaps 30 seconds, we found we had Dundee Uni in common. He asked me as he began to pull away 'Had I ever been to Thomson's Bar'. I can't rightly remember and I might never know where his examination was going. One google stop later and I can confirm, of course, that I have been (to said bar).
At the end of the day and in spite of all the distractions we construct, we only have ourselves and my biking companion observed as we rode off that 'I'd talk to anyone'. Well most folk at least.

Today was a 5k at Matfen,  a village nestled in close to Hadrians Wall. There was a small field for this new race. Perhaps twenty percent of it was made up from our club.  

We started on a hill and then, once it levelled off,  the course wound its way around the damp lanes,  slowly descending to the finish. It should have been fast. I found myself for the first 3k sitting a little way back from the leading group of four. With very little traffic around, I had plugged myself in to the old ipod to find a rhythm. The group in front gradually disappeared.
I was aware at around 4k of a small, potent charabang with 'ambush'  on their minds...and I was their quarry   They began to come past.
Regrettably this group of 4 included two club-mates. As I tried to keep up,  even Kylies 'Timebomb' couldn't rouse the gazelle-like legs.

After 3 got past, I dug deep but the finish line was coming up fast. I heard another runner on my shoulder. Not another clubmate thinking of glory...Yes, but I had my pride to think of and managed to salvage ugly but effective from the reserves. There was a 10k on immediately afterwards so there was a good crowd at the end.

As we caught our breath's there was much talk about the course being much longer than 5k. This was a bit of a head-scratcher as it was also a regional Vets championship race. At least that would explain the crap time. Possibly the bike ride the day before didn't help, but it was a nice morning out.  The young un' picked up 3rd place in the ladies race though, so all was not lost.
(Matfen 10k pictures on flickr)

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Sunday:The day of rest

I've burned some calories today. An 11 miler this morning with the crew, followed by an hours cyclo-cross (CX) at Druridge Bay Country Park in glorious autumn weather... makes the pain somehow bearable.
The training has been going quite well of late and I realise standards at 'runner wanderings' have slipped to a slothful level. However, I am probably playing the 'long game'. That's the line I've adopted when asked. People are courteous enough to nod at this strategy even though I've no idea what it means in athletics terms. Am I waiting until I hit 50 before committing or what?...  Did that last parkrun jaundice my appetite for racing.... Is Howard's End doing me in just as Mr Wilcox is doing my head in. No,its simply taking that bit longer to get into any sort of shape.     
 Arriving at the CX at lunchtime,  I signed up and asked if I should put 'v' for 'vet' down in the category box. 'No' came the reply from the organiser lady, adding 'if you are a vet you should have been in the vets race'....'that was at 11am this morning, so just put down senior'. After losing my garmin at the start (thankfully later recovered) I ground out an hours handful of laps over the heavy ground. I took solace in the fact that I wasn't lapped until halfway through the 3rd lap. Maybe next time I might hold out for the full three.  At times I was barely moving. I was trying so hard on one stretch to make the wheels go round my shades began to steam up. The spectators sat patiently, perched on the haystacks peppered throughout the course. At least they wereenjoying the sun. Someone was listening to the radio and another feeding the ducks. Not the most exciting spectator sport. Certainly not enough crashes or unseatings. To makes matters worse, there were no running segments, so I had to ride the whole way. Still, I can only get muddier later in the season.