Rumble in the Woods.

(This entry has been sitting unfinished since November 14th 2009, guess now is as good a time as any to edit and post it. )

Today I found my Chollacott Lane.

It seems a long time ago since Bill challenged me to run a 5K by the end of the year. When he ran his mouth at me it didn’t really seem that possible, what with being very out of shape and seemingly always having one, or both, kids clinging to me. While we were in England for the Summer though I did manage to get out and get some decent running in, and my resolve came bubbling to the surface. First of all I hooked up with the old trusty, the Hash House Harriers, and went running following flour on Mondays with both my old kennel and their fierce rivals, Stannary. I ran up and down tor, across farmer’s fields, down country lanes, across sties, and through the River Tamar.

Then I also knocked off a couple of items from my long time wishlist.

First of all Mum and Aunty Jenny took Sam for a walk at Pork Hill. I stayed behind to feed and settle Bea down, then decided to take Molly out and try to join them. We headed up the lane and ran across the Down towards Pennycomequick where Molly got to have a good splash in the stream before heading onto asphalt and upwards to Pork Hill. We made good time and Mum’s car was still there when we arrived so we bought an ice cream cone and wandered over to see Nanna Downes, keeping an eye out for the walkers return. Ice cream finished it was getting a bit nippy out there to be not moving around in just shorts and t-shirt so Molly and I broke back into a run and decided to climb Cox Tor to get a better vantage point. So we ran all the up to the top and were on the way back down again when I spotted a happy little Sam plotting his way through the low gorse with Mum and Aunty Jenny. Molly and I raced to meet up with them and gave them a good surprise. That was only maybe a three and a half mile effort to get to Pork Hill, but at the time it felt like a lot more. We took up the offer of a lift home.

Then when Bill’s brother Donnie came to visit from Dubai I was itching to get out of the house for another long jaunt. While everyone relaxed in the house after a nice but hectic day out crabbing in Looe I decided to disappear off with the big black dog again for a bit of alone time. We headed off up the lane, onto Whitchurch Down and towards the Pimple. Onwards over the golf course, watching for fast descending balls, and across to the football fields. With my trusty companion I then decided to push it a bit further and see if we could make it to Pew Tor and back. Now, when I was at school one Summer Katie Mitchell and I decided to do a day hike over to Pew Tor from my house. We packed backpacks with compass, map, changes of clothes and provisions, and loaded ourselves up with Kendal Mint Cake and glucose tablets. I think we probably spent several hours planning our little expedition and it seemed like ever such an adventure. It’s rather hilarious thinking back to that when on this particular evening Molly and I charged over to the tor and back without even thinking. As I let a tired Molly cool off in the stream at the base of tor while I sent a text message home to let the folks know where their daughter, and more importantly, dog were. We then turned back and hurried home as the weather grew even more miserable and wet, and night loomed. It felt really good out there.

That evening I got online and signed up for my first 5k race, the Komen Race for the Cure in Charlotte, NC on October 3rd.

A month later not only had I run my 5k wearing a very nice floral pink dress (and raised a tidy sum for the charity in the process) I had also run my first trail race a fortnight before. I was training for the 5k and going out running most evenings when a friend mentioned this girl’s only 8k trail race at the Whitewater centre. I was hesitant as it was further than the 5k I was working on being able to race, but to heck with it, I decided it sounded like fun. It was.

I also joined a Meetup group and started running several times a week with that crew. On Tuesday evenings it’s trail time, and on Thursdays the flagship run takes us on a four mile loop around the roads of Plaza-Midwood and is followed by beers and merriment in a local drinking establishment cum grocery store.

The Thursday run in particular takes great joy in presenting tired runners with a hill to climb just as you hit the final half mile and the finish is a sniff away. “Hill” is taunting spray painted in the middle of the road at the base of it. Now, every time I am faced with a so called hill I mentally visualise Chollacott Lane and suddenly the ascent is nothing compared to that beast.

Today I went up to Lake Norman to run my furthest race yet. It was supposed to be a 10k trail race but rain closed the trails and we were ejected out onto the roads in the State Park instead. I had a feeling I would be in trouble as the race started and we immediately charged off down the road dropping sharply into the valley and I knew that we’d be climbing back up again to get to the finish line. I tried not to let that thought dwell in my head too long as I ran my race, but five and a half miles later when I got back to the bottom of that hill I was right. I was, I thought doing really well and keeping up a good pace. I’d passed several flagging runners and got a pretty good lead on the guy behind me until I hit that hill and running turned to chugging. Tried my best to just keep steady, run rhythmically and break it down into smaller targets. I was doing great. But then the my closest competitor came swooping up behind me and as he passed I lost my centre and my legs stopped working. I forced them to plod on upwards and they had turned to lead. When I reached the top and took a breath, I expected to at least be able to get back into my stride again and keep on going, but my legs did not want to co-operate. It took every effort I had to figure out how to tell my legs to get running again. When they regained momentum and got some rhythm back it felt good and running was dandy again, but those moments when I was walking and it was as if I simply could not command my legs to do more than that was quite something.

I definitely award that hill Chollacott Lane status.

To add insult to injury after I had charged through the finishing chute and was enjoying a post race drink, the bloke who had passed me on that cursed hill came over and thanked me. He said he’d been chasing me down the entire race and had only managed to get through the miles by focusing on catching me. Damn. I laughed, “Glad to be of service” I replied.

I came in 9th. Second in class. Wooooo!

Rumble in the Woods 8k Garmin stats


Race results 2009:

Run Like A Girl 8K (trail) – 00:47:03 (pace 9:28) [September 19th]
Komen Charlotte Race for the Cure 5K – 00:26:30 (pace 8:32) [October 3rd]
Charlotte Runway 5K – 0:25:18 (pace 8:09) [October 31st]
Rumble in the Woods 10K – 00:52:38 (pace 8:28) [November 14th]
Charlotte Turkey Trot 8K – 00:39:32 (pace 7:58) [November 26th]


Next up:

Charlotte Running Company Inaugural Trail Race 8.2 miles – 23rd January 2010

The Whitewater Centre was actually open today, finally, so I headed out there and plodded through the course route. It was really interesting seeing it in the daylight as I’m usually running around on the trails out there after dark. It was good to see the trails in advance of the race and it’s going to be a challenge, but hopefully I will be prepared. Three weeks to go, got to keep running.

2 Responses to Rumble in the Woods.

  1. ashridge January 3, 2010 at 8:07 am #

    Well done you. Swift progress since Pew Tor. xxx

  2. ashridge January 3, 2010 at 8:07 am #

    Well done you. Swift progress since Pew Tor. xxx

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