13 May 2010

Purbeck 10K

The strange thing about the Purbeck 10K is that the start is a mile from the start. So having parked at the Purbeck Sport Centre we walked up to Puddleton Road where the race starts. All afternoon the clouds had been getting greyer, it started to rain and turned into a cold May evening. Lots of murmuring about being too cold to do a good time tonight. It seems standard practice for runners to start listing reasons for not being on top form in the lead up to a race. Anyway I had not managed to do my last few training runs but was just there to see what I could do.

After joining the nervous queue for the toilet I met up with John and Graham from work. They were hoping to do 50 minutes, so I decided to stick with them. I have never run under 50 minutes and have been training with that in mind for a couple of months.

It is a straight 5K out and 5K back along a road closed to traffic. The first few kilometres went well, just before 4K I was passed by the leaders tearing up the other side of the road. Some people find that aspect of the race demoralising but I quite like it. We completed the first 5K in just over 24 minutes and having only been passed by 2 penguins, I was quite happy. A local team had decided to do the race as penguins, fast penguins mind you. The real tricky bit was between kilometres 7 and 8, Legs are feeling really heavy, lungs are empty and I am not sure I can keep it going for another 3K. Now, I may be happy to see the leaders race past me the first time but to see them with rain jackets on jogging back along the road to warm down, that is demoralising.

The last kilometre should only last 5 minutes, so it was just a case of head down and get to the end. I finished in 48 minutes 40 sec, very pleased. Now I can get back to some longer distances, ideally with a bivvy bag.

7 May 2010

No map, no compass

On Thursday night the plan was to run the last bit home from work again. I had planned a new route which included about 5 miles of paths and tracks that, although not far from home, I had never covered before. Before we arrived at the start of the run I realised I had left the map on my desk at work.

Should I try and follow the planned route or fall back on a well known route home? Would I get a sense of freedom just running, following paths as they appear, making choices based on feel. I wouldn't have to get the map out and consult it. No comparisons between symbols on the map and the real world. I have sometimes thought about doing a backpacking trip over two or three days with no planned route, just venture into the hills and follow my nose. Would I spend more time enjoying my surroundings.

"I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in" - John Muir

I know it is supposed to be about the journey not the destination, but I like to know the where the journey is taking me. As I was no more than 10 miles from home I could not get too lost. But as I ran over Eggardon Hill and through Powerstock Common I still spent time at path junctions scratching my head, wondering if one of the choices would lead to a dead end. I like the sense of control a map gives you, even if it is misguided sometimes.