Munch Pi run

Some running blogging! For a change. Well a little bit.

Last Sunday was the Mince Pi run - up to 10 laps of 3.14 miles, with piles of mince pies for everyone. We took part last year in torrential conditions so looking forward to a return visit given the forecast is for a lovely clear, and not too cold, day.

This year again a full contingent of team Hewitt were out for this one. Not only that but Oliver would be allowed to run *two* laps this year rather than just one last year. No idea at all of Hugo's plan, he'd had a bad run the week before and suffered with a cold, any attempt to ask his plan just received a shrug, but I'm getting used to that sort of communication system now. Cara wasn't happy, still trying to shake off the tail end of Hugo's plague, and wasn't confident.

Cara: So what's your plan?
I: Er, no idea. Will see how it goes.
(I: internal dialog) well obviously, it says 10 laps. I'm going to do 10 laps. okay?
I: I'll do a few laps and see how I feel.
C: well be careful.
(Cara's internal dialog) I know he won't listen but I might as well say it anyway, he's bound to try and complete 10 laps unless his legs/head completely fall off - it'll be interesting to see what goes first
(I: internal dialog) you do know me yeah?
(C: internal dialog) I know him too well - he's got form
I: obviously, as soon as it's not right. I'll stop, I'm not planning on a "suicidal" start pace like last year, but will be trying to race.

Sunday morning, I'm feeling fine, it had been an eventful week - I'd had my lip sliced open on the Wednesday (local anaesthetic only as a precaution following the head injury!) and the still embedded tooth fragments removed.
The bits of tooth floating in lip.

I've mentioned the problems I've been having after my head injury before.
Thursday hadn't been a good day I'd had a headache since morning and a lunchtime run that had started fine, felt awful couple of miles in and walked/jogged back to work.

Hmm, where did it all go wrong?

In the afternoon, the headache got progressively worse so l I decided to go for a walk to get some fresh air. Once outside after a few minutes I was having trouble standing upright and after stabilizing myself along some building hoardings headed back towards the office. I well up, and am teary by the time I'm back at the door so decide to wait for a bit to compose myself... but it's pretty cold and windy, and I'm now starting to shake. I think it will make more sense to get somewhere quiet and warm for a bit, coffee shop or back inside? OK well it's a big "proper" office with lots of facilities - I'm pretty sure there are some designated "quiet rooms" so head back in, show my pass to the guard, quickly explain my problem and that I could do with somewhere quiet to sit for a moment, he says I should go and ask at the reception. So over to reception, I repeat the summary (I'm still teary, having difficulty standing up and shaking) the reception tells me there is a first aid room but I'll need to go and get the key from the security office. So then over to security, starting to regret not just nipping into a Starbucks now, I repeat the summary get handed a key and a clipboard to sign. I point out that I can't hold a pen at the moment and a guard decides he should accompany me because "you don't look good at all".
I'm chatting about the problems I'm having and trying to put everyone at ease, I expect it's quite worrying seeing a grown man trying to stand upright and crying.... so we head off.
To the fifth floor. Up on the floor, and now, we walk across the entire open plan office past everyone and into the first aid room.
Right mission for tomorrow, I'm going to ask about this and what can be done to improve the system. This really isn't ideal. Given the size of the building and number of staff, someone needs to make this better.
Anyway, after half an hour or so and a sweet drink it passes and I'm all fine. Back to work.

So here I am three days later milling about at the start, I saw and chatted to Michelle at the start.
Subtle Becs and Michelle
Hard to miss with that outfit. :) She was intending on a half mara, as a pre-race tune up for a run the following week, she asked what my plan was, um. I'll do a few laps and see how I feel. Busy chatting away and the "ready, go" shout goes up. Er, right, guess we should start running.
and away.... so off at a steady but brisk pace. Planned on one "warm" lap then a series of steady ones. (last year I'd gone out at a truly suicidal pace, just for the hell of it. it was fun.)

Always hard seeing people pulling away in front and not being tempted to up the pace and pull them back in. It's a familiar course though so relax and press on. After the first descent there's a big pool of water, runnable but soaked shoes now. Back around to the "sandcastle climb", this year they were timing people from the bottom to top as an in-race segment, I don't bother on the first lap, it's too busy, and glad I don't as I keep a steady rate up it someone nips past me just as it narrows, then proceeds to walk. sigh.
Running?! Hugo's running up it. :(

Back down, and out and back to the rowing club, some minor confusion at the far turn as the sign and tape are before the end of the path some runners turn in front of the sign, some behind, and others run right to the end and turn. back to the start and feeling great so far. although, slightly regretting the excessive "winter storm" outfit I'd started with, I shed some as I hoover up mince pi #1. and out again....

Oliver squeezing through
At the "water dip" it's noticeably deeper now, hmm, just below knees... as I get to the "weir" I see a chap is adjusting the "flood gates" hmm, that's not good, surely it would have made sense to coordinate doing something like that. Back to the 'sandcastle' and go for a timed blast.
walk and wheeze for a bit once at the top.... and back around.... have a brief - well not really an argument - but a discussion at the turn with a couple of runners who'd run to the end and the rest of us who'd all turned at the sign, decide to check/clarify with the RD back at the start.

Just before the start I start seeing runners coming back the other way, someone shouts the course is changed as they pass.... oddly some were going one way, and others another.

Back at the start, Oliver is recovering with catering he's done two laps and six miles, brilliant.
I hand him my hat and gloves - one day I'll judge the conditions just right. I ask David the race director about the turn, I think my description was spot on, but he has no idea which corner I mean. :) but he tells me that they're changing the course due to the flooding and it's doubling back now for a short "half" lap. I turn and head left to the bridge (some had turned right here) over the bridge and I assume it's back up the climb, but again, some are going the other way back here.
The water feature

Later on I bump into Hugo as he breezes past me and have a quick chat, he says they (at the front) are still just doing the long lap but he'll check when he gets to the start.
Another mince pie and I see that there are definitely some in front keep going rather than turning and so ask the RD about this, he says some are sticking to the long lap, he's advising people not to but it's entirely up to you.
Well. I've got long legs. and would rather delay getting back up that climb for as long as possible, so I revert to the long loop wishing I'd done that last lap also. It's properly deep now. but. well. it's just water, still it's very sensible for the RD to have made that tough call, realistically this is too risky for a public event.
This. Is. Hurting.

Doing the long lap... it's starting to really thin out now with most runners back on the short loop. My head and balance are still just fine, no ill effects whatsoever from the hard running which is really reassuring... although now I'm really feeling the running in my utterly undertrained legs. Back on lap four and a half, mentally I forget to count (up to four! seriously), then manage to work out my total so far by recalling specific events and points along each lap.
At the HQ I see Cara she says Hugo is out to do one more, I say I'll do one more and come back....
Lap 5 is hurting now, and very quiet, my legs have had it, but I decide I want to see just how hard and far I can push them, I'm pleased I'm still running at a decent pace.
Once more back for mince pies, I chat to Cara who asks what I'm doing since I'm clearly not going through the finish funnel yet, quick conflab about the plan, she's off to get warm and have a coffee. I believe there was a rolling of eyes.
I lie and say I feel like my legs have got one more lap in them, this is going to hurt, but I want to see what I've got. The water dip is actually really welcome and refreshing this time around, I consider standing in it for a while. Pain. For once it isn't lack of energy or fatigue or tiredness or injury, my legs have simply run out of power. Running back into HQ and straight down the finish funnel to collect my Pi medal. 20 miles done.


Really pleased with how that went, a little downhearted at not getting a full 10 laps done, but all things considered very happy my head is fine, and simply lack of training means I've hit my current racing limit so feeling a bit more hopeful about racing long in January.

Addendum... one week later and I've had a bad nights sleep and my head and balance has been bad all day.😞


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