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Westonburt house 10k 12th December 2019


Well today’s race is a favourite of mine.. it’s such a warm friendly atmospheric race, probably due to its proximity to Xmas and the fact that people dress up in xmas outfits and generally have a good time. It’s a beautiful setting in the middle of nowhere really as we run around some of the grounds and out onto the surrounding country lanes.

Today it’s a cold wet start, the grass is soggy and mud everywhere. The rain has just about stopped when we park up and head towards the house and grounds near the start and finish line. It’s an impressive old building only marred by all the cars parked outside the doors at the rear entrance.. spoils the whole ambience of such a great stately home.

This race isn’t a huge field of runners and it sells out almost straight away when it goes on sale so, you feel lucky to be able to run this event. Everyone is again in good cheer and the marshals are out with full jollity and cheer before we’ve even set off.
The smell of food and mulled wine fills the air and it’s a real xmas feel round the whole place.
So we head to the start line after the obligatory two pees, get in line and huddle up close to keep warm as we discard layers, fiddle with our headphones and watches and await the start signal.
No sooner than we que we are off, their not hanging around on this cold damp morning.
I forget to set my garmin as I cross the start line so already my timing is out and as I take off a further layer about 20yards in I knock the pause button.. I don’t know where I am now time wise at all so I’m really running blind..I’ll just have to do what I can do today. Really wasn’t feeling good today after a meal out last night and a lot of soda consumed. I must resist in future and drink only water before a race.. my IBS is playing up now as well as my damaged prostate.
It’s hillier than I remember from last year, or maybe it’s just the fact that last year I was hung over and can barely remember the race at all , or due to the fact that I don’t feel 100% and it’s still just two weeks away from running my very first marathon last month?
Either way I remember where all the downhill sections are and use them to my advantage to pick up some ground.
I set off with my friend behind the 60 minute pacer but I had soon caught up with the 55 minute pacers and passed them early doors. I don’t recall seeing the 50 minute pacers though oddly enough even though I was gaining good ground in that first lap, until the off road muddy grassed section and the uphill grassed section which by now was really horrible and slippy so slowed everyone down no end. Although it was slippy it wasn’t really that bad under foot as we made our way past the house on the first lap and back out towards the country lanes once again for the second lap.
Again the downhill section played to my strengths but the uphill sections were killing me by now. So much so that I walked quite a bit in the second half, my IBS was really beginning to bloat up and it was all I could do to keep to a constant pace, so once again I had to do what I could due to the conditions I was facing, something I’m used to by now but I don’t always like how it makes me feel. During a race if it kicks in then it can totally kill me. I will never give up the race because of it but it certainly affects the while processes involved in getting me to that finish line.
So with about half a mile to go and with the last downhill section looming.. I know where this one is and it’s a great booster when you’re flagging. The 55 minute pacer pulls up along side me ... I’m not happy.
One of them comments on my leggings and we have a bit of banter before I bid him farewell and say i won’t see you again .. tongue-in-cheek I know but I pick my feet up on a slope before the downhill and then let go, full long strides and a decent downhill pace right to the next flat bit of ground, where I take a breather and walk for about ten metres before slowly dragging my arse up again in a steady pace to the grassed section which by now is sodden .. it’s horrible but I have to endure it all. I hate trail and off-road sections with a passion but I’m gritting my teeth and even run up the hill bits until the final hill up to the house and I can see the finish line ahead. My legs held out on the hill and I was again faced with lengthening my stride and picking up for a sprint finish.
By now it’s about 50 meters to go but at around 25 meters before the finish, is a set of steps .. I remembered from last year how I got up them in one and that was my plan again. Somehow I landed the bottom step on the wrong foot which threw me out .. I ended up landing again on next to the tops step.. last year I cleared them all in one go but my body wasn’t having it today.. could’ve been the marathon that has drained me more than I realised... I don’t know. But anyway I landed on top of the steps fine.. took the next step and I must have landed wrong on my bad foot.. my foot creased right on the soft spot where my Morton’s neuroma has set up home and I guess my legs just caved in beneath me.. I went flying to the ground and rolling over onto my back.. probably to help me break my fall subconsciously. As I thought.. no real harm done except losing face twenty meters from the end in front of a crowd of people.. I could hear the gasps as I fell, and almost heard the relief as I stood up again and went to go forward ... well ... it happened again, hit the wrong foot in the wrong place and down I went again. I must’ve looked pretty foolish that second time and all I could think was, shit get up and run to that finish line, now around fifteen metres away.
Well luckily this time I managed to keep my footing and got across that finish line at last. Cost me valuable seconds I know, but I’ve finished the race for the second year running and I’m happy with my time of 😠00:53:10
My friend Julia who marshalled today handed me my medal and called me a twat for falling over, then asked if I was alright. I’m sure I was laughing at myself as I fell that second time and when I rose like a phoenix from the ashes to endure those last few metres, so I wasn’t pursued by anyone to see if I was alright. I was alright just my ego had taken a beating, or so I thought.
As I drank my water and calmed myself down I first notice that my hand is bleeding and a lot of skin missing from the palm. Then the cold air hit me and I felt the grazes on my shoulder and elbows as they started to sting in the cold air.
I headed to the first aid guy who cleaned up my hand and put a dressing on it. Made sure I was okay.. at this point I was laughing and swearing like you do .. he was in good spirit and we swapped stories as he looked after me.
I’m used to dealing with these people in my past job as a safety steward so it’s no biggy to me.
The race is over for another year. I have a memory I will surely never forget ... flying towards the finish line on my arse lol
I approach the photographer as it’s getting less busy at this finish line and ask if he managed to capture me on the floor.. so I really can’t wait to see the official photos when they come out.
How many people can say their finish line photos are of them laying face down in the dirt with only fifteen metres to go ?

Westonburt it was a blast, one I will always remember and I’m sure I will be back next xmas.



 

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