Frostbite - race 3 - Hinchingbrooke Park
The third race in the 2015/6 Frostbite season take place in Hinchingbrooke Park on Sunday 13th December. The junior race is at 10:15 with the senior race at 11am. The course includes some paths so may not be suitable for spikes. Please check the Frostbite friendly league website for full details including directions and parking.
As many of you may know, it was very sad to hear of the loss of Adrian Jarvis earlier this month, who was instrumental in running the Frostbite since 2001. Therefore, there will be a tribute to Adrian (full tribute details to be announced) at the race. I will be there to score for the seniors and on hand for the juniors.
Hereward Relay C&C 1st team
A belated report on the C&C 1st team at the Hereward relay, sorry to all of the other teams, I know there were loads of great performances (Kevin O'Holleran, Christof, Liam, Glyn and Andrew Shields to name but a few) but I wasn't able to get all of the stories from the day - feel free to add to this!
If you ask anyone who was out there on Sunday they would all say that this is one of the great events that we get to take part in so be brave and have a go next year!
401 marathons in 401 days
A runner called Ben Smith is running 401 marathons in 401 days for charity. He'll be in Cambridge on 4th and 5th December. I've been helping him think about his route and he'll be using the County running loops drawn up by Steve Thoday See link. They all start at the track end of the Coton footpath. He'd appreciate some company. His support team have asked me to give the info in 'read more'
Frostbite - Adrian Jarvis
I am not sure how many C & C members are aware but for those who are familiar with the races and more importantly, the long standing chairperson/secretary, Adrian Jarvis. It is with very sad news that Adrian passed away on November 10th, following a very short and unsuccessful battle with a brain tumour.
Eight times round an airfield
They call it the Autumn ‘Shakespeare’ Marathon, jamming off the proximity to Stratford-on Avon. Driving in in the Profmobile, the old airfield had more in common with King Lear’s ‘blasted heath’ than the Brave New World which Miranda awoke to in The Tempest. A ‘blasted heath’ of the dystopian, post-apocalyptic kind, as if it were the film set for Mad Max V: beyond Thunder Run. Entering the menacingly retro prefab cabin to pick up race numbers, I expected to be welcomed by Linda Hamilton/Sarah Connor and offered hi-tech weaponry to aid the fight back against the machines, so reminiscent was it of a landscape from the Terminator sequence.
The race was started through disembodied loudspeakers by a woman who I am sure described herself as Auntie, making me wonder if Tina Turner would appear at the finish demanding that we grovel at her feet.
The angular, switch-back riddled course felt as though it was designed to skirt round weapon dumps or minefields. We ran along pitted, pot-holed tracks, with the ghostly hulks of old warplanes looming over us. The final leg took us along a Dragster track, laid with sticky latex for maximum traction. The Prof pronounced one bit of straight smooth tarmac his favourite: that was the part of the course, which really did echo to the sound of gunfire. I thought it was clay pigeons but he was sure they were picking off the slower runners one by one, in a perverse version of Hunger Games.
For me this was the climax of a training effort that stretched back to the Saffron Kevin Henry race in late May, where The Prof remarked that my effort that evening was all very well but it was now time to get on with some proper training and he would pace me at Raceways if I did. So through the summer I built up mileage, culminating in eight straight weeks of 100km each. Having learned the word ‘optimization’ from The Prof earlier in the year, I tried to see what it looked like in practice, which meant some sweaty runs (‘train warm, race cool’) and new trousers (‘every pound off means X seconds gained’).
As we ran round eight times round this irregular coat-hanger of a course, the ghosts of Battle of Britain sorties and Cold War tensions may have swirled around us in the wind and rain, but my mind was firmly set on nothing other than sticking to The Prof like a five year old with its mum at parkrun. All I had to do was provide heart rate updates every half minute and glue myself to his coat tails. He was never more generous than on the windy sections where he insisted that I run in his shadow.
The training and The Prof’s spreadsheets had given me a lot of confidence but I had one lingering, unspoken, fear, buried deep inside. At London earlier in the year, all had gone well until around 34km when someone injected my hips and glutes with sulphuric acid and my pace fell off a cliff. Would that happen again? There was no way from the training for me to know. Just a few days before, I read Duel in the Sun – an account of the 1982 Boston Marathon and the famous head to head between Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley. I was struck that one of the things that made Salazar the greatest marathon runner of his day was his capacity to live with pain. Perhaps I can just live with it, I thought.
On Saturday, sure enough the glute and hip pain started to nag from about 30km, a progressive, frog-in-a-kettle, kind of agony, building in gently rising waves of nerve scream as though someone was slowly turning up the dial as in the Yale University Migram torture experiments. Actually The Prof was slowly turning up the dial as our speed was rising – I think he may need to submit his pacing strategy to a CnC ethics committee in the future.
Perhaps because I wasn’t going to unman myself in front of The Prof, perhaps because I felt I owed it to him to keep going, perhaps because I remembered Salazar, we pressed on, gently accelerating, even though the wind rose and the drizzle restarted and the agony intensified.
Towards the end I did find myself several times drifting more than the parkrun regulation arms length away from my escorting adult; but I clenched whatever teeth I could still feel and pulled myself alongside again. We turned the final corner onto the dragster track. It wasn’t exactly 0-100mph in 3.1 seconds but headphones now in, Led Zep blasting and the finish in sight, I found a final post-apocalyptic, dystopian, self-dramatizing well of energy within, rather than the ‘Nothing, Nothing, Nothing, Nothing, Nothing’ of Lear’s Cordelia, which I had been fearing, and sprint-stumbled along the wet and sticky latex like a carthorse that has one final fantasy of running at Newmarket, or a dragster that has been sitting out in the rain for a decade but has a last blast in its engine. Two minutes of crazy-disinhibited ecstatic-agonised free-sprinting later the adventure ended. Result: 3:17:55. Two minutes faster than I had dared to dream.
All through the race, I had been treated to a constant stream of The Prof’s vocalized mental arithmetic and this continued uninterrupted through the finale and our return to the Profmobile to be weighed (‘you can't eat or drink anything til I’ve weighed you!’). And the maths was crucial – providing the basis for an almost straight heart rate trace as well as all sorts of comparisons and predictions to distract me from my glutes. But it wasn’t just the maths: it was his belief, his encouragement, his cajoling, and his generosity, that made this happen. My wife misread a post-race text and thought I had written that Christ had helped me round (that’s another dimension I won't go into here save to say ‘Chariots of Fire’): well, Christof isn't quite in His league, but as a marathon coach and pacer, there are little resemblances to Someone rather greater and I am very grateful to both.
The C&C home event of the Essex Cross-Country League is scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday) - at present the only information I have is that it's at either Linton or Linton/Horseheath, and the races go at the times listed below. Can anyone help out with more information?
November Clubnight, Tuesday 10th at 8.15
Clubnight this month is the second Tuesday, which is the 10th, after training.
This time it's all about Fell Running. Charlie Wartnaby and Scott White will be talking about their experiences of Fell Running in the Lake District, including their conquests of the Bob Graham Round. They will also be talking about what you can do to get started if you think this is something you'd enjoy.
Frostbite League - Bushfield
It's an odd feeling turning out for a Frostbite now that it isn't our main competition. It feels more like a parkrun; whether or not to get out of bed on a precious weekend, whether to coast round and enjoy or to push like a lunatic - no-pressure questions, the answers to which never used to be in doubt. Still, I think everyone who made it up the A1M to Bushfield committed deeply and absolutely, and the famous vest was respected.
The juniors were utterly brilliant, and it was a joy to see them give it full beans on the home straight. Well done our squad of seven, particularly Miles Benyan (19th boy) and Ella Miels (11th girl), or quickest, with able support from Ryan Howe, Harry Miels, Joseph Wheeler, Rebecca West and Priya Maiti - a good mix of experience and new faces, earning ninth team place on the day to stay in ninth overall. Lots more to come from them in the future.
The seniors were few - just nine, and two females short of a team - but liberally smeared with talent and stardust. Patrick O'Hare was comfortably our hero of the day, taking just 26:52 to cover the five miles of a fast road course, flat aside from the inevitable Peterborough underpasses and overpasses, finishing in a stunning second place. Rather awesome too was Ellie Swire, tenth female in 33:30. Michael Moore's fine 32nd impressed mightily, and the two Dans, Hurst and Wheeler, also achieved top-100 status (73rd & 94th) in a field of 538. Kevin O'Holleran was the filling in a Dan sandwich, gamely un-knotting his 2:45-ravaged Frankfurt legs for 81st. Stuart Clarke and I (190th and 267th) claimed the coveted honour of the day's fastest Tuesday night paarlauf pair, but Gerald Meah (202nd) again kicked my arse, by a good two minutes this time, so it's the wooden spoon for me.
Penalty points for not running a full team left us in a slightly unflattering 13th place out of 17, and ninth after two events. Never mind, eh? Damn good fun, and I expect we'll give it another go next month at Huntingdon. Anyone else? That one actually is cross-country. Apart from the long tarmac sections anyway... ;-)
New York Dash to the finish 5k
The 'Dash to Finish 5k' is run on the eve of the New York marathon, and takes you through the final stages of the marathon route, to finish in Central Park. You pass some iconic New York sights like the United Nations, the Chrysler building and the Public Library, before catching the Autumn colours in the park. Holly Phipps was either 1st or 2nd in the F15-19 category (the website has both results). I hope I found all of the results for C&Cers, the website wasn't simple to search.