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Sunday, 4 December 2011

All The Best Places

L is panicking that she might struggle to clock up her 500 miles. There’s no chance of that, I’ve already ordered the commemorative t-shirts. It does mean though that we’ve got a pretty tough schedule between now and May, including a trip to Peterborough today. We go to all the best places, oh yes.

Today’s race is the Nene Valley 10 Miler, which sounds nice but, having been lured down to the area recently for the not-by-the-riverside Riverside Half, probably isn’t and there’s no t-shirt.

I’m here because anything has got be better than the Edwinstowe Christmas 10k again, off road and all for another red t-shirt with Christmas trees on it. It’s such a minefield picking a race at this time of year, they nearly all have ‘Reindeer’ or ‘Santa’ in the title and can often involve fancy dress. All to be avoided, I think.

So here we are trying to find the Rugby Club somewhere round the back of Sainsbury’s, before queuing for the temporary toilets and then finally milling about on the road outside Aldi looking for the start line. I tell you, Mo Farrah doesn’t know he’s born. It’s back there we’re told. Back up, back up, back up... then suddenly, with no evidence of a starting gun, horn, whistle or even a cry of ‘ready, steady, go’ we’re off, I think. I never did find out where the start line was.

It’s a bit of a dull one, around the local housing estates with a short stretch through a wood, which is presumably where the local muggings take place after dark.

The first few miles are livened up with a game of dodge the post. How it works is the chap in front of you suddenly yells ‘POST’ at the top of his voice and dodges violently to one side, causing you to hurdle the two foot high metal post that you are now hurtling towards. You then yell ‘POST’ yourself or sometimes perhaps ‘****ING POST’ as you pass the problem elegantly on to the next man. Great fun.

A few miles in, with everyone now more spread out, a broken leg starts to become less of a concern and I begin to concentrate on the race itself. Well, on the ponytail in front of me, which had the nerve to overtake but that I now have no intention of letting get away from me.

The course has PB potential, there's a few twisty bits but it's pretty flat apart from the underpass, oh and the bridge. It’s also devoid of all scenery but just in case you did miss something you get chance to do it all again with a second lap. The view though is no better second time around but by then I was focusing purely on getting a PB rather than debating the architectural merits of modern housing estates with the people around me.

Talking of which, I was just thinking what hairy legs the owner of the ponytail in front of me had when I realised that, although I was still following a white and blue running vest, it’s owner has suddenly turned into an grey haired chap. How did that happen? I really have not been concentrating enough. Still, it makes no odds; I can’t let him beat me either.

There’s a thimbleful of water on offer at halfway but in plastic cups, so I have to ease up to drink it. Then having been revived, a little, I go past the grey haired chap and tag on to the back of four other guys who I reckon are going at about the right pace to pull me round to the finish but they part, let me through and then fall behind me. That wasn’t supposed to happen either. This is going far too well, after doing all three of my previous ten milers in 1:13 perhaps I could possibly get a 1:12 this time?

I continue to pass people all the way around the second lap. That is until last 20 yards. Where did they all come from?

1:12:56 I reckon or maybe 1:12:57... Job done and a negative split, not done many of them. The official results say 1:12:59... They’re having me on but it still counts as sub 1:13, just. So I must have got my training (ha ha) and my pre-race routine (thanks L) right.

The goodie bag turns out to be just that, a bag, an empty one or you could have a drinks bottle. So I go for that, you can never have too many drinks bottles... or bags for that matter.

Then it’s back up to Derby, where I’m due at the Dog Club AGM before we head out on the tiles for what seems the first time in ages, taking in the Lincolnshire Poacher and a curry that is so cheap we have to tip them for fear of them going out of business.

(Sunday 4th December)

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