I’m still working on the 3-day backpack epic.
In the meantime, another week has gone and the 5×50 Challenge is doing funny things to me.
I had a race lined up on Sunday, the Blackland Downs Challenge, a small, local event. It’s basically the training run around Cherhill Down I wrote about in my last post, with an added section of road at the beginning and end, giving a distance of 7.5 miles. Getting out every day had been making me a little achy during last week, even though some of my runs were the minimum 5km, done slowly, and I wasn’t convinced I’d feel race-ready on the day. Even the day before I was having shooting pains in my left thigh.
Well, I needn’t have worried. On a wet, windy Sunday morning, I ran one of the best races I’ve ever done! I made a really good job of it and had a wonderful time. My legs felt fresh. I tackled the nasty hill in the first couple of miles, the long steady pull around half-way and the short, sharp one on the road near the end without losing too much pace or feeling much strain. I noticed the bleak conditions in the first half until my hands warmed up, then I just enjoyed not getting too hot.
The firm, chalky surfaces on some of the paths where really slippery in the rain, adding to the fun. There was also a ‘nettle and bramble alley’ path and a really muddy one.
I came in 5th (out of 48), with a friend from the Chippenham Harriers, Paul Gilham just ahead of me (we got the same time) and another Harrier, Richard Paige 1 second behind me. I got the 1st ‘male vet 40’ prize, although I was beaten by the 1st male vet 50, Brian Gardner of Swindon Harriers.
In UK running races, men aged 17-39 are ‘seniors’: after that you are a ‘vet’, usually banded into age ranges; 40-49, 50-59 and 60+. Big races may add a 70+ band and/or have 5-year age bands. Women usually become vets at 35, but still have 10-year bands. Each band will have its own prize/s.
As a weird coda to my fantastic run, I got very badly nettled and hardly slept last night. I usually don’t feel nettle stings after about 20 minutes, but have become sensitised to irritants recently, something which happened to me once before, about 15 years ago. I expect to get back to normal in a few days and barely notice nettle stings once more.
I went out for a run around Chippenham tonight, whilst my son, Rhys did his karate session in town. I can’t believe how good my legs feel, the day after fast race. I set off slowly, just looking to get a decent total in during the 90-minute session, but bumped into my very fast runner friend Pete, and sped up considerably when I ran with him, and kept up the pace after we’d separated.
The 5×50 Challenge isn’t really designed for the likes of me, but for those just starting out on a fitter lifestyle, but it’s doing me a power of good 🙂