An enjoyable run for me at this year’s Chalgrove Festival 10k on May Bank Holiday Monday. Jane wanted a look round the festival so we drove out making it an easy day what with the 12:00 start. I ran in Vegetarian Cycling and Athletic Club vest for a change as I hoped to meet new club member Geoff – in fact we somehow managed to miss each other but still two VCAC vests present is good. 52:16 223rd of 441 overall which was a good bit quicker than last year and a seasons best so happy with that.
Thanks to Barry Cornelius for the photos – oxonraces.com
Well I’ve not done a lot over the Xmas break so far and I’m not planning on doing much with my remaining week off work. I seem to be tired – as in don’t want to get out of bed before 8am tired – and suspect body and mind are doing some healthy catch-up on sleep lost to my frozen shoulder and early work start over the year.
With the Brighton Half less than 2 months away and it being a targeted Vegan Runners UK event I thought it about time I made myself a training plan. All things considered I’ll be happy with a reasonably dignified finish under 2 hours but I do need to build up the distance a bit to even manage that. Yesterday’s attempt at a decent parkrun – no beer the night before and up at 6:30 for breakfast – was a total flop as my determination gave way under the strain of a chilly breeze and a moaning shoulder. 27:29, 63rd of 101, is my worst for a while but at least I didn’t put a lot of effort in so hopefully will be able to struggle round todays planned 10 miler ok. I did receive my red 50 parkrun shirt so was worth turning up for that 🙂
I rashly entered myself for the Oxfordshire Cross Country Championships first weekend of January again as part of a club effort to target various ones across the country. Oddly ours is just over the Warwickshire border in Warmington near Banbury. Maybe I’ll be last this year – I’ve no idea what the course will be like but at least by driving there I get a chance to warm-up probable wet feet instead of taking them home on the bike.
What else have I done? A couple of very short spins out on the road bike which feels very precarious but doesn’t seem too uncomfy shoulderwise so something to build on. Lots of food and beer. Too much playing with the computer and websites – I now seem to be looking after both VRUK and VC&AC websites which is not a problem but I have to avoid getting obsessed with detail and stuck in this chair too long.
Oh and entertaining the cats who are not so keen on going outside for exercise at the moment. Mostly I sit about with them while Jane indulges them with sessions of string play (or is that the other way round).
I’d not heard of Age Uk’s series of Wrap-up and Run 10k races before this year and thought the Oxford one at Cutteslowe Park would be fun, particularly as this is home to Oxford parkrun so at least some of the course would be very familiar. Somewhat perversely the limitations from my frozen shoulder offered an excuse not to try very hard which just made me look forward to it more.
On the day it was pretty cold but still and sunny so I locked my bike up in the park and kept my warm VC&AC hoodie on while I wandered up to the start to suss the layout. Then back to the bike to eat a gel and expose my arms to the cold morning. A jog to and round the start area did for a warm-up, no way was I going to attempt the Zumba many runners were participating in though I was impressed by their Gangnam Style.
I said hello to a couple of parkrun regulars then tried to position myself somewhere around halfway in the muddle near the start timing mat. A clear countdown then we were off. I soon realised I’d been over pessimistic but at least my knowledge of the course allowed me to use the wider bits to move forward about 50 places till I was comfortably in the 8:30 minute mile bunch where I planned to stay.
Slightly downhill and round the outside of the football fields in the opposite direction to the rarely used parkrun ‘summer course’. Past the pond to join the main tarmac path then down to cross the bypass via the cycle and pedestrian Millennium Bridge. I was now in unknown territory where we did a bit of rather muddy field then a path alongside the Cherwell then looped back so we could see the slower runners behind just as we’d earlier seen the fast folk come by. Then back over the bridge, up the tarmac path, across by the pond, a funny bit round the football club house and repeat to make a 2 lap course. There was water at the 5km point but I didn’t bother with it, I was nicely warm by now though. It was an interesting course, well thought out considering the limited room.
I finished in 52:57 which was pretty much as expected and was pleased that I’d managed even mile splits all round for a change. 8:29 8:28 8:28 8:33 8:24 8:22 2:14 according to Garmin. Surprisingly this time gave me 99th place of 320 finishers but I think this generous position was more due to a lot of slower runners than because the course was particularly challenging though it was mostly off-road and rather convoluted.
I grabbed my goody bag and headed back to the bike where I made a hash of putting my hoodie back on and managed to over stretch and aggravate my frozen shoulder which, once the running endorphins had worn off, complained for the rest of the day despite ample painkillers. By the time I was about to get in the bath an hour later it had got so stiff that I couldn’t get my running vest over my head and had to turn the taps off and sit and think about how this could be achieved without ripping it. I managed to get my functioning left arm inside the vest allowing me to enough slack to pull it over my head and along the right arm.
I need to constantly remember to concentrate on even simple things like getting dressed and reaching for stuff if I don’t want to be forever setting it off throbbing. It’s easy to forget for a moment there’s a problem and go about things as normal just to find I’m not only in pain but I’m stuck with a jersey half over my head, or something fragile balanced on the edge of a high shelf, and no plan on how to proceed. I know I’m going to have to put up with it for a while but I will be so pleased when it’s fixed!
Here are some PDF scans of old books and stuff you might find interesting, note that some of the downloads are quite large to retain legibility.
‘Arrivee #26’ June 1989 – The magazine of Audax UK. BASIC code for a program to work out control timings. A call for LEL volunteers and more:
‘Arrivee #25′ April 1989 – The magazine of Audax UK. In which we can read an account of PBP 1891 and may consider entering LEL for the price of £10 entries ‘to arrive not later than June 25th’ (1989):
‘Arrivee #33’ Summer 1991 – The magazine of Audax United Kingdom. ‘Have you ridden round the clock yet?’ The Elenith 300. Letters – ‘A suggestion .. that we should encourage cyclists to attempt events on fixed wheel!
‘Arrivee #39’ Winter 1992. In which the new for 1993 Audax UK Fixed Wheel Challenge is announced, AUKs ‘rampant parrot’ logo is disparaged and the cover photo tells of miles in the saddle:
‘Why I Am A Vegetarian – An Address Delivered before the Chicago Vegetarian Society’ written by J.Howard Moore 1895:
‘A Simple Primer on Common-Sense Vegetarianism‘ by Henry Light (for 20 years captain of the Vegetarian Cycling and Athletic Club). Probably 1930s?:
‘The Vegetarian News – The Official Organ of The London Vegetarian Society‘ April to June 1943 discussing such topics as ‘The Protein Problem’ and ‘Diet in Pregnancy’:
Veggie G.H Briault rides the 1908 North Roads 24 hour (368.5 miles)
VC&AC Advert from 1928
My urge to have a nice run in the Chilterns was not matched by any want to get out of bed early and cycle to Watlington on freezing roads so instead I jumped in the car and drove there along the M40. It was a somewhat unnerving journey as it was only once the windscreen was splatted with salty melt water that I realized the squirty bottle was frozen solid and what with the low sun directly in my eyes visibility was extremely poor. Still I arrived at the sports pavilion good and early and rinsed the worst off with my water bottle before going inside and collecting my number.
Despite having paid my £5 entry for the Watlington XC XK Hill race already via Runners World I was asked to fill in and sign an entry form, presumably so they organisers had it in writing that it was my problem if I fell down the hill and broke things. It was a friendly atmosphere as maybe a hundred of us gathered and gradually peeled outer layers off to expose flesh to the bright but frosty morning. A warm-up jog round the field then the 5 minute stroll to the start by Pyrton Field Farm where hot drinks were available – something to look forward to at the finish if we were still cold. No megaphone for the announcer but I caught the bit about the course actually being 10.7km – then a blast from an air-horn and we were off!
Up the track for half a k then left onto the Ridgeway where we ascended very, very gently. I stayed near the back as we gradually found our positions and watched my feet on the frozen, rutted ground. The conditions were perfect and I was dead comfy in shorts, long-sleeve and thin gloves. A couple of easy miles in and we turned eastward and started the first proper climb, I knew I’d be walking some of it so started to do so before legs and lungs forced me. Others struggled on a few more metres then also ended up walking but were perhaps too busy trying to get their breath back to appreciate just how fine it was to be in the Chiltern on a sunny day all sparkling with frost. That lump was called Bald Hill which I thought was a bit insulting as it was at least part covered and very pretty. I caught sight of a yellow marshal jacket and what looked like the road at the top of the escarpment so started running again gaining a couple of places from the still puffed.
Almost immediately we turned back west onto a path and after crossing a field were descending fast, maybe a bit too fast considering the frozen sunken path we were on. Soon onto grass de-iced by the sun and enjoying the downhill despite having to slow for a couple of kissing gates. Then the course flattened out and we followed a twisty single-track through Shirburn Wood, the many roots and stumps highlighted for us in a surreal dayglo orange.
A mile or so and we turned uphill again, gently at first but soon we were all walking. I think this one was called Pyrton Hill, my second 12 minute mile of the day. A marshal reassured that we were almost at the top, confirmed by the aerial mast in the field we arrived in. Then right onto a narrow path and immediately back down again. I passed 3 guys taking it cautiously but thought it looked safe to let go myself as no frost or ice seemed to have formed in the shade of the trees and bushes surrounding the path. The orange paint must have run out, I kept my eyes down and a few metres ahead. A female voice from behind asked how the time was as I’d just checked my watch, I told her and said I’d didn’t quite think we’d get under the hour. We flew downhill together on this fabulous track, I clocked 7:40 for that mile – much better!
Then right to rejoin the Ridgeway for a few minutes before turning left to retrace down the track we’d started along. I kept momentum from that great descent and left my companion behind while passing a couple of others zooming along that last half mile to finish in 1 hour and 25 seconds which might sound crap but I was pretty pleased with considering about 250m climbing over 6.5 miles of interesting terrain, 83rd of 125 finishers.
I was buzzing from the run for the rest of Sunday – another reminder to myself that a decent trail race on a sunny day is what it’s all about 🙂