Saturday, 21 April 2012

A Coventry Way 40

April 15th, A 40 mile meander

When my alarm went off yesterday (Sunday) morning at 4.30 am, I wasn’t best pleased and I didn’t really want to get up. I’m not the best morning person in the world and the air was cold. It has really gone quite chilly again. Brrrrr. But I like this…for sleeping. It is the best sleeping weather when it is chilly outside and your pillow is cold but you’re all cosy and snuggled down. So, I had to try extra hard to really wake up. A good strong coffee helped  a bit and in the end I didn’t actually leave the house until nearly 6am, but I had to get up early to wake myself up and get all my stuff together which I hadn’t done on Saturday, because I’m not too organised and just wanted to chill out. As it turns out, the drive down to Coventry really wasn’t so bad. The motorway and the M6 is never great, but it was as well as can be expected and my car drove well (always a bonus and always a bit uncertain).

I had signed up for this race last year, very last minute and managed to snag a place by emailing the organisers, since all the places had officially been filled. Ultimately, I was never able to make it because my car was having a few technical difficulties and I simply couldn’t get there. I was really disappointed to miss it and so, whilst planning some races on the computer around Christmas time, I decided to enter early and make it my mission to get there this year. Therefore, actually making it to the race start was a pretty good achievement for me and my car.

So, the route didn’t seem too taxing. We would be following the Coventry way footpath and way marks and had a detailed map booklet to guide us and we could start any time from 6am to 10am. I like the fact that you can really start any time. Since I was planning on running/ walking/ meandering I decided to start at about 8.40am.

I can’t believe how sunny and picturesque yesterday was. There was a cool, sometimes very chilly breeze but there were blue skies and the sun was often warm and shining. The countryside was beautiful and varied. There were a few little hills, lush green fields and all sorts really. It was so well organised. The check point were fantastic and everyone was well looked after. There were cakes, sandwiches of all varieties, coke, cordial, and sweeties…really fantastic value for money.

At around the 18 mile point, there was a little bit of drama, but we weren’t really a massive part of this drama. What had happened was that some walkers had been caught up in a field with some rather lively cattle and a bit of a stampede had ensued with the cattle/ a bull/ the walkers. A few walkers had been really shaken up and slightly injured and one of those walkers had ended up in hospital with two broken collar bones = ouch! 

The irony of it all from my perspective is that I actually thought the cows that I happened to come across on the route were really chilled out and relaxed and normally I am terrified of cattle. As soon as I enter a field with cows in it I am on the lookout for the nearest escape point and it doesn’t even matter if my nearest escape is a barbed wire fence…I’ll still give it a go. In fact I have given this a go at High Peak 40 when there was no other way to get past a whole herd of highland-type cattle. Luckily for me and my companions, we were diverted away from and around this field once the confrontation has occurred and so we didn’t have to deal with any moody cows! It added on a little extra mileage, probably a mile but I don’t mind.

Ultimately I had a really great day. There is some really pretty countryside here and it was lovely to experience it. Again I can’t tell you enough how friendly and helpful all the organisers and the marshals were and what a great event this is. I am so happy I got to take part this year and will definitely take part in the future. It was such great value and really very pretty.

So the run was really pretty, but my feet are not quite so pretty.....

So, another good, long, time-on-feet training run towards my Grand Union Canal Race adventure. There were even some canals in there too. My feet have been a bit peely/ dry these last few days but that’s not really down to the Coventry Way 40 miler and more down to not getting a pumice stone out enough…they’re looking a bit better now with some soothing foot cream!

Also, I have decided to dedicate my GUCR adventure to Claire House Children’s Hospice – a local charity that does excellent work. I have uploaded a Just Giving gismo gadget to the right of my page and it’d be lovely if I could raise as much as possible.


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