Yesterday I had a number of first experiences.
First time running the Cotswold Way Relay, a ten person team event covering the entire length of the Cotswold Way in a day.
First time in any relay/team event where I wasn’t running just for myself.
First time having to remember a course that wasn’t obvious and had potential for going horribly the wrong way.
First time racing on city pavements that haven’t been closed, trying to dodge pedestrians.
First time running in to a human finish funnel of 150+ people cheering and supporting.
First time eating one of the incredible flapjacks provided by one of my club members.
The event was incredibly well organised, with each leg starting an hour after the last and all going smoothly (as far as I could see). A great event to have in the local race calendar and a credit to Bath AC.
My leg of the race was beautiful, from Cold Aston we descended from the start for a mile before the first serious climb stopped everyone in it’s tracks! The fell runner’s stomp was most people’s chosen technique, hands on knees, pushing up up and further up on to the top of the Cotswolds. Thanks to my recce I knew when the hill would end and was able to get back in to running nice and early, enjoying reeling in the miles on the dry trails and through the long grass. There were lots of gates and stiles to negotiate but I was leapfrogging with a lady runner from Dursley Road Runners and we took turns to get a few paces ahead and open the gate for the other. I felt bad when I finally left her about mile 6 but I was feeling great and wanted to push on. The descent in to Weston was some of the my favourite running of the year. I was fast and fluid on the rocky downhill, with complete confidence in my ankle, ability and shoes I was able to let off the brakes and befriend gravity. The sting in the tail of this leg is a very long, very steep climb back out from Weston, I passed a number of runners up here with my fast march, several had stopped moving completely as the hill took it’s toll (they all found the energy to get going again and finish, thankfully behind me!). From the top of that last climb it was a twisting downhill through the streets of Bath, avoiding traffic and ice-cream eating pedestrians if at all possible, but I did give one girl a fright as she stepped on to the pavement right in front of me and I had to take evasive action! The finish was loud, with a big crowd to cheer me home and I was met with water, flapjack and congratulations from my running club members, and taking a moment to acknowledge the runner I beat in the sprint finish and the woman I’d shared the hill tops and gate opening duties with. I’d run leg 10 in 1:36, well inside the cut off time which had been my goal at the beginning, well inside 10 minute miles which I’ve never done in a trail race before, so I’m happy. I have no idea about the team results, they haven’t been released yet and we missed the presentations waiting for our final club mate to finish after she got lost!
Not getting home until after 9pm though made refuelling a bit tricky. I couldn’t decide between cooking or ordering in, so I ate a pork pie and went to bed. Now the running is going well maybe I should focus a bit more on nutrition?!?