Severn Loop 5km Race Report

Heather

Our second running adventure on our vacation was to take part in an official 5km held by the Shrewsbury Athletic run club.  Mainly our participation was to support Dan’s Mum in her first race!

Mum and her boys

And with her favourite daughter in law

The day could not have been more perfect a balmy 12 celsius and gloriously sunny.  We arrived nice and early to “The Quarry” where the race was held.  I don’t know why it’s called the quarry because it’s a beautiful park area right on the river, there was even a skuller taking advantage of the good weather!

It was warm enough to be on the water!

We got see the junior 2km race, which was a tough battle between two 10 year olds, both of which would’ve kicked my butt.  Then it was our turn, and we were given race rules and instructions by a man in an orange vest who must have been ex-military because when he said hush, the group of 140 did just that.

The race director/dictator

He spoke with no mega phone and yet we heard every word.  Race was started by him yelling go, (had we known we could have lent him our klaxon horn).
The race is solely run through the park and has permanent start and finish banners (it’s run a few times through out the year).

Permanent start

Basically it’s a 1km loop back to the start, then a 4km figure eight, and each kilometer was marked.  I have to admit I was totally impressed with the organisation of such a tiny race.  I was equally impressed with the crowd support, although I think many of our spectators were just people out walking their dogs.

Crowd support

I didn’t really have a goal in mind except to enjoy and I did, I was snapping pictures left, right and centre (most of which are blurry as my camera is crap or is it because I run so fast…).

Left

Right

and centre.

I was surprised when I finished in 24:20, 5th in my age group, which was senior ladies, so I don’t even know what that means or who I was competing against, but I was quite pleased with myself.

Hey I know you two

Dan was a good son and kept his mum company, Mum-in-law did brilliantly finishing in 31:07, (so proud) she only took up running in the summer after we convinced her that it is a great stress reliever and a good way to make an excuse for “me time”.

Ann totally kicked Dan's butt across the finish line

There were no medals at this race but Gaz made one for Ann (although hers is not edible and of course I forgot to take a picture of, doh!).  I think Mum-in-law enjoyed the experience as she asked for some help finding some races in the spring (10km distance was thrown around!).  Our parents are growing up so fast!

The yellow ball in the sky was a little confusing for the locals

Gaz getting chicked at the finish

The man in yellow set a new course record

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Dead End

Heather

Alright so it’s a New Year, 2012, and everyone is talking about their goals for this year and I thought I would jump on this band wagon too.

This is what this post should say:

My goal race for 2012 is the Death Race!  I know some of you may be thinking “wait you said not ’til 2013” and you’d be right, but things change.  About a month after deciding to wait for 2013, I changed my mind and decided I just had to go back this year, plus Dan wants to do a different goal race in 2013 that requires traveling, so financially and time wise it just makes sense for me to go back to Grande Cache this year.  And I just really want to finish this race!

That exciting piece of news was waiting patiently to be posted but guess what?  It’s been scraped.  What? Why? you might ask.  Am I injured? Nope.  Did I miss registration? Nope.  Have you lost your job and have no money to do a far away race? Nope.  But work does have something to do with it.  I can’t get the time off!!  Seven freaking months in advance and I can’t get the time off because one of my co-worker’s WIFE is having a baby and he is taking 5 weeks off when the spawn is born!  What?  It’s not like he’s having the baby and seriously we work pretty sweet hours, I can understand a week or two but 5 weeks!  And here in lies the problem of working in a tiny little office with sweet hours, we have NO coverage.  Plus I feel like I’m being discriminated against because I don’t have an excuse like a kid, seriously if I wanted 5 weeks off in a row, I’d never get it, but if you’ve managed to reproduce, go ahead do what you like.  I’m tempted to fake a pregnancy so I can take a bloody year off like most of the women I work with have done at one point or another.

And yes, I’m well aware of what a whiny cow I sound like right now, but I nearly burst into tears when I realised I wouldn’t be able to go away for the Death Race (or the rest of the summer for that matter).  I know there are way worse things in life, I get it, I’m being a sulky baby because I’m not getting my way, and no amount of foot stamping is going to help.

And now I have nothing to look forward to this year, no goal race, my plans no longer make any sense.  Dan still gets to do his race and I will still support him through it all, but what about ME?  Running and sewing are my things (and I guess I’ll get a lot more sewing projects completed this year) but I enjoy having a running goal, actually I NEED a running goal otherwise I struggle to see the point at 5am on freezing Tuesday morning.

Many* of you are probably thinking “it’s still early” but one race that I would’ve happily done instead is already sold out!  The problem with ultra trail races is that there is only so much space and the spots sell quickly, you’ve got to be ready to get registered.  So now I have to start researching other races and hope that I can still get in or that they don’t take place during my new 5 week black out vacation period.

I guess the good news is that I can go ahead and open the bottle of wine tonight while I troll the internet tonight, I always make great decisions when I’m buzzed.

Anyone heard about any great races?

*I’m well aware that my family makes up the majority of our readers, but I come from a big family. (Love you guys!)

Killer Mile

Heather

Dan and I returned to his home and native land for Christmas and New Years.  The British Isles tricked us for the first few days as we enjoyed mild and sunny days, but then the wicked cold damp weather that drove me away returned.  Thankfully our running plans took place at the beginning of our trip, first with the Mow Cop Killer Mile.

What we had to reach at the top!

This is a race that takes place near where Dan was born, unfortunately it takes place on a Thursday evening in April so it is unlikely that we will ever be back to participate officially.  But my love for running uphill and that fact that we were going to be in the area visiting Nanna, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to run the Killer Mile.

Here is a brief description of this short race:

The “brief but brutal” race route breaks into several different sections – a gentle first 1/4 mile away from the level crossing, then a 1-in-5 section up to Birch Tree Lane. A steady climb up through the fields in full view of the horrors to come, and at last the truly killer bit – the 1-in-4 section past the most popular spectator spot outside the Cheshire View, whose front door is the 3/4 mile mark. Even the comparatively level section from the top corner to the Finish is still climbing – never have so many people “sprinted” so slowly.

When they say “1-in-4” they mean that for every 4 foot of forward travel you go up 1 foot. Reading that back now it doesn’t sound so bad, but take my word for it, it’s freakin’ steep!

Of course half the fun was that we had arrived in England that morning at 830 after approximately 12 hours of travel and no sleep thanks to all the very proud parents of the new babies that wailed for the whole flight (seriously, if you’ve just had a baby and some of your family lives abroad, do everyone a favour and invite them to visit you!).  So after visiting with Nanna we were taking to the “mile”.  We had to change in the car (a spacious Mazda 2), and just before we started I realised I had to wee and I was actually quite hungry, but no turning back now we were here.  Gaz started us off with an actual klaxon horn, and we set off.

A train held up the start of the race.

And we're off! Loved that the in-laws brought their own horn!

It pretty much just starts to climb, I was out of breath about 3 minutes in, the pictures I took don’t really do it any justice, but it makes for a slow mile.  The course record is 6:12 set in 1991, I was hoping to finish in double that.

View from the support car

I think this is when I started to pull ahead

Yup, I knew I was on camera and started running!

I had to take two walk breaks, one about 1/3 up and I walked up the 1-in-4 section in front of the pub, because running was too hard and slow, walking was slightly easier but I don’t think much faster.

Dan as he heads up the steepest section and the Cheshire View Pub

Beyond the steepest part there is one turn and then onto the finish, where there is actually a permanent finish line on the pavement and a plaque.

Dan on the "slowest sprint" section

I wonder how many people have puked on this plaque?

It took me 12:45,  Dan was about a minute behind me and it truly deserves the title of “killer mile”.  As with the klaxon horn surprise we both received a finishers medal (which was a tasty chocolate pound coin) and headed off for a pub lunch.

Yes, Dan you made it!

Receiving our finisher "medals"

View from the top

Oh yeah, we even had bib numbers that we forgot to wear...