Friday, 1 July 2011

North Devon Marathon Report.

So finally I'm sat here typing almost a week later not even sure if I can remember most of what happened. Here goes nothing.

The race all came about last Friday. Lots of people I knew were doing various races and being the lazy sod that I am I felt that I could do with some reason to get myself out there. There had been banter back and forth about the possibility of me sneaking a late entry into the Forestman (Ironman Distance) Triathlon, but that was simply too much money for my bank balance and the logistics made it a nightmare with work the day after too, so that was out.
A bundle of my clubmates were racing Bude Sprint Tri and I could 'possibly' have blagged an entry into that, but to be honest it's not the safest bike course around and I'm not the sort of athlete who enjoys racing up the outside of stationary traffic and dodging into gaps when needed. It's a great fun event, but the traffic just makes it rediculous.
There was also the North Devon Marathon which handily starts just 6 miles from home at Woolacombe Bay, but that had been full for a long time and although I know there is a sneaky late entry window for locals the deadline for that had long passed.
I decided that I'd ride down to Bude, watch my clubmates race the Tri and then ride home again - unless I got lazy and blagged a lift! The weather forecast was for a hot hot day so it should be nice for the ride.
Then on Friday night I was browsing through Twitter and I noticed one of my Twitter friends was asking if anybody wanted his entry to North Devon Marathon because he was injured. We messaged each other several times and next thing I knew I'd got a plan for Sunday. Or at least I'd got part of a plan, there was still a problem - swopping the details over!! Because I'm local the chances were I wouldn't be able to stroll up and just claim to be someone I wasn't because I'd get recognised. So I just decided to play it straight, I'd rock up at registration, explain the situation and if there was a problem I'd leave it and go home, then I'd got back to the original plan and cycle to Bude.
Because I was unsure if I'd actually be racing I trained as normal on the Saturday and put in a 50mile bike ride over Exmoor, although I didn't really push myself just in case.

So Sunday came along and as you might have seen in the previous post I bought my ipod video along. I'd not trained for the race, not tapered for the race, I might as well have some fun and take in some scenery while I was out there. I got myself ready and made the short drive to Woolacombe. I was there in plenty of time but there was a queue for the carpark already so I just got in line and waited, then when I finally got up to the barrier I saw the price!! SIX FRIKKIN QUID!!! Damn!! It was too late though, there were cars behind me and I had to go in. This bought a new attitude to the race. If I was having to pay £6 when I left the car park I had to race, I sure as hell wasn't leaving there after 5mins to that charge. I was going round with or without a number (preferably with).
Now coming clean and being honest was a risk, they might say no. I had to blag it, so I got someone I know who'd already got there number to go collect Matt's number for me as he was 'going to be late'. I felt real bad about it but the parking charges had just called my hand. Once I'd got the race envelope, chip & number I socialised a little and soon found I was not along in racing 'under an alias'. it made me feel a little better about it.

So finally we got under way and if you saw the video you'll know what happened. If you didn't then here's a quick summary.
It was damn hot!! It was damn hilly!! ----- ok, there's a bit more ;-)

I started at the back and slowly worked my way through the field as we ran along Marine Drive to Putsborough and out to Baggy Point. I caught a couple of lads I know after 4 miles and suspected it might be a bad move on my part so I eased off a little. On the longer hills I walked (and took video). I stopped at the top of some climbs to take in the view and I stopped for a while in Croyde to get hosed down, have a laugh with the marshalls and a dance to the band.

When we returned to Woolacombe at half way it became apparent that quite a few people were going to bail on the full Marathon. These were all ushered over the Finish timing mat and still given times/positions for the half ;-). I carried on feeling hot, but ok.

The 2nd half was MUCH hillier and rougher under foot than the first half, there was a lot of walking and a lot of carnage out on the course. I saw two runners collapsed on the coast path with marshalls aiding them. At 21 miles I slotted into a really nice run rhythm. At 22 miles I felt like death. At 23 miles I felt great again. It was just one of those days when my mind and body just didn't seem to know what was going on. At the finish I was strong and after the race I was walking around perfectly fine as if I'd done nothing.

It was a crazy crazy day on a crazy course. I loved it!! I enjoyed takng the video, although I wish my battery had lasted longer than 18miles and I wish I could work out how to hold the camera still and level while I'm running. Other than that it was great. I might have to do it again next year, AS ME!!

Next up? Who knows ;-D

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