It was a less than an auspicious start to my East London running debut. I took the carb loading to a whole new extreme and I was still bulging at the seams when I was dragged from my bed this morning at 6am.
Knowing that it was a ridiculously early start I had travelled over to OGB’s last night, so we were practically on the race doorstep. Before leaving my house though I polished off the left over pasta for my tea, and then on arriving at his folks house I discovered that I’d been included in the family dinner arrangements and there was a whopping great plate of chicken curry waiting for me. Well it was all jolly nice but I have to say I struggled to get that plate clean! From there it was on to the pub where for probably the first time in my life I was unable to finish a pint of Stella. Absolutely bursting.
As I couldn’t drink, it seemed that the next best thing was to start an argument. I chose East London and the complete absense of wild life as a starter. Firstly, my companiable Bexley Heathian drinking buddies took offence at being called East Londoners, it seems that despite being to the most right of London I’d ever been I was still not in East London! Goodness knows where this strange land is. Secondly, one bloke put up a good fight for the existence of a few cows in a field somewhere to the left of an unlit snicket. On further cross examination it appears that the said cows all had brightly coloured caravans attached to them and it was deemed that these cows fell into the species of “gypsy ponies”. Case closed, no wildlife existed and I got to go home and quietly explode.
Race day dawned and as OGB was still smarting from his unexpected bike ride to Bushy Park yesterday, he attempted to punish me by making me run behind the car as he drove to the shopping precinct – oh how I laughed!
As is usual for the start of race events we were both in a jolly foul mood and wondering who we could blame for the race entry, running and probably even life in general. On arriving at the Bluewater shopping centre I found another grievance, I needed someone to blame for building the mall and therefore the start of the race at the foot of a flipping great chalk pit. We were surrounded by cliffs and it was clear that this flat (as advertised) race was going to involve some serious climbing.
I’m going to struggle to keep expletives out of this post, those XXXXXXX hills were absolute XXXXXXXXX monsters!
We had runners dropping to walking on that very first incline, still within ear shot of the rabble rousing, horn tooting, starter man whatever his official name is. Now I don’t have a problem with walkers per se but it still continues to wind me up no end that these same walkers seem to stick with me throughout the race and on many occassions beat me soundly at the finish. There ought to be a law against walking and still beating me! As it happens its not solely a back of the pack predicament, OGB had exactly the same problem 21 minutes up the field as he was trounced by an “elderly” hill walker.
As can be seen by the elevation profile, kindly supplied by Dom, the first half was pure evil interspersed with some joyful, head over heels, crazy downhill sections. As I am now a veteran fell runner (ahem) I made the most of these sprint sections, and there was one particularly vicious switchback downhiller at 3.4k which I careered down at break neck speed overtaking about 15 in the break away group. Its one of those occasions where momentum favours the fat, trouble is the downhill soon turned into an uphill and the moment I turned that corner someone slung my 5 stone coat of lard back on me and I came screeching to a near standstill. Tis a bugger that I have a head craving speed yet a body designed for lethargy.
Second half was fairly flatish, it was along some motorway, possibly the M25 but then maybe not as they’d managed to close it for the occasion. I was afforded a little extra joy at the end as there was another smashing downhiller back into the chalk pit and across the finish line. Managed to pick off another bunch of pesky run/walkers on my best ever sprint finish. Overall time was still a bit pants though, but what do you expect when you have two pre-race dinners?
SheRunsHeRuns Bluewater 10k 1:16:04
Great organisation and good marshalls but its only going to appeal to the car owner as there are no baggage drops and its too early for public transport. Bonuses were ashtray sized medals and a dinky little lego brick for the kids. I wish I got a lego brick, but I won’t moan as I did get a pot noodle which made me very happy as I like pot noodles but I never buy them because they are the meals of pikeys just as kebabs are, and I never buy those either.