Friday, 6 April 2012

Gin Pit double marathonage :)

Gin Pit Marathon –Day 1: Sat 23rd March

I stayed up mega late on Friday night as I decided to take a peek at the Sports Relief programmes on catch-up. Luckily my running destination on Saturday and Sunday were only a short way up the motorway and only 39miles away…this is really close for me, because normally I’m travelling here there and everywhere and I’ve been known to get in the car at 3am before and drive to an event and then drive back home afterwards. It can be a bit tiring. So, I was feeling immense relief at the closeness of these marathons.

Saturday was a scorcher from the moment I got in the car at 7.30ish am. 

I’m not the best in the heat, it has to be said. I’m more arctic ultra-wannabe rather than MDS Desert dreamer. Yep, I love the summer and I don’t mind wandering around in the sun or relaxing in it, but put me and exercise and the sun together and it’s not an amazingly happy combination. That being said, I have a strange urge to tackle some of the ‘crazy American races’ in the future when I’m faster and wealthier haha… Anyway, it was a lovely day though.

The route started off on trails and after around 8miles made its way onto the canal which was really very pretty to begin with, with lovely olde-worlde Tudor buildings and posh houses. However, the canals inevitably made its way into Salford and the industrial north. I think this was the least pleasant bit. It’s not the runs fault though; it’s just the place and the dogs. I need to get over it, but I fear I never will. I’ve been petrified of ‘scary looking’ dogs since I was little. I’m ok with some dogs. I don’t love any dog jumping up at me or running towards me, but as long as they look remotely ‘cute’ in a broad sense then I’m not too scared of them. However, unfortunately for the unfortunate looking dogs, there are certain breeds and stereotypes that I just can’t shift from my mind. For all I know and I suspect more often than not, the dogs in question are just fine and well mannered, but it’s just the way they look. ‘Status dogs’ really frighten me and they seem to be rife right now in more urban areas. 

Anyway, there were lots around this bit of the canal…it always seem to be along canals where I see the most scary dogs. And they often seem to be just left to wander around and not on a leash. I had one of my usual panics and got a bit scared. I was all alone, feeling a bit flustered in the warmth and then I had to pass a scary looking dog that wasn’t on a lead and its owner just looked at me blankly as I passed. I probably was looking like a right idiot, because I was actually really scared. So, my running was practically nonexistent for quite a few miles whilst I tiptoed down canal paths away from fearsome looking dogs. I felt a bit low. And I very nearly contemplated not doing day 2.

All was ok in the end as I caught up with some familiar faces in the last 4 miles. It was lovely to not be alone and talk to somebody. The canal paths ended, we got onto some roads and eventually back onto the trail and were homeward bound. 

I had a lovely cold glass of fizzy apple juice at the finish with lots of ice. I was frazzled.

Gin Pit Marathon –Day 2: Sun 24th March

I made sure to put my clock forward the night before and got into bed early….well I suppose I didn’t get into bed too early really because the time was changing, so hmmmm….complicated. I was awoken at 10.30pm ‘real time’ by friends asking if I wanted to go for a drink in the pub down the road, to which I replied I was in bed. So I had to explain that I was now on ‘future fake’ time in order to get up early. That lost hour really does make a difference though! Gosh I was knackered when I woke up on Sunday morning. I just wanted to go back to bed. I had to stop myself from climbing back into my pit. I reasoned that I would really not sleep much later anyway because soon the sun would be shining in through the window and it'd be warming up. I was definitely glad I decided not to be lazy and got into my car and drove up that motorway. It was a slower, but happier day on Sunday. I wasn’t running alone and there weren’t as many scary dogs around and about. Yey. 

However, we did encounter something that I have never before encountered on a run. We ran past a crime scene. A body had been found in a field and a full-blown murder investigation was in full swing. There was forensics on the scene in full body cover, multiple police vehicles, support officers, cordoned-off footpaths, and police keeping guard of the footpaths. It was all very surreal and interesting, yet obviously sad. So after we ran away from the scene of the crime (literally) we just had to tackle the last bit. And I nearly forgot, we even encountered a chicken. How could I forget the chicken that crossed the road to get to the other side? We never got to find out why exactly the chicken decided to play chicken, but it sure was funny watching Davey trying to shoo it back onto the pavement and behind a fence. Classic.

I liked the last bit a lot. There were some nice trails and evidence of countryside again. There was also the big puddle, but I didn’t mind. Overall I think it’s fair to say that a good weekend was had by all.

Garmin Update: On the Saturday it worked. It worked all day pretty much. I think it started to go a bit mental after around 22 miles, but overall its performance was ok. On Sunday, my Garmin was crappy. The screen was flickering and well before the 20mile mark, the screen had become utterly unreadable. The pixels had splattered into random flickering dots. I still managed to get satellite connection and hooked it up to my computer afterwards to view my route. However, it’s not really too great that you can’t use it whilst you’re actually running and it was only really chance that I managed to record the run, because I couldn’t read the screen in the slightest for it to tell me what it was actually doing. So this = bad. I simply can’t afford another. And I rely on it so much. So for now I’ll just have to struggle on with my unpredictable dying Garmin 310xt :(

I love back-to back marathons. They’re great training runs really. Realistically, I’m not going to get myself out of the door and run a massive run on my own. I could if I was motivated and organised enough to do so, but realistically I know I’m rubbish at planning a route and sticking to a plan of going out for a lengthy lonesome run. Therefore, these races are great for putting in some extra miles.


There will come a day when I focus on races again. I had only just started out running events when I hastily seemed to ditch the idea of actually racing something and bettering my time and just as I was on the up time-wise, I discovered the madness of multiple marathons and ultra’s and time seemed to take a backseat and I look upon events more as fun social training runs now. I’d be lying if I didn’t confess that it upsets and annoys me sometimes when people just presume to call me a slow runner; not that there’s anything wrong with going at your own preferred pace. I don’t know, it just gets to me how others can perceive my pace and how people can judge you. That’s not important though, I just thought I’d rant. It has been one of those weeks.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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