As a side note, the streak will have to stop with just three, as I won't be around here next year. I am switching careers and trying out something new. Finally I will also have a job that I can talk about
Back to the race, I was feeling rather unprepared for this year's Round Rotherham. 50 miles is a long way, and with my big adventure races and a few niggling injuries, I hadn't run more than 6 miles at a stretch for almost 6 months. But I had done a lot of walking. I hoped that walking fitness would carry me through.
It didn't. As I write this a few days later my legs are still terribly painful, and the last 20 miles of the race was a lesson in the value of proper preparation. An acute, painful lesson.
The race started off kindly enough. I met up with Karen, Nick, Roger, and Mike before the race, in the tradition of friends who only meet a few times a year before and after big runs!
It was a beautiful day with a great forecast. Not cold, not windy, not rainy,
Since the job change requires me to move, I will essentially saying goodbye to all things British over the winter as I make my last visits to my favorite places. I found myself doing the same during the race, but this time I was noticing all of the places where I got lost the first year! There must have been at least 5 or 6 locations where I added a little mileage to the already long 50 mile route, including the major detour which made it 60 miles instead of 50. Ouch. I managed to stick to the route (even in my head I now pronounce this word as "root" like the Brits, thanks Gavin!?!) this year, although it still seemed like a long way around.
I was faster through the first half this time, even with the added mud and sticky clay from all the recent rains. My shoes acquired a layer of the goo which managed to stick on the entire race, I'm sure it must have weighed a pound or two per foot! I'm not going to rave about the field crossings...they were slippery as snot and quite a few people were sporting muddy spots on their bums by the end of the race. I managed to fall only once but keeping my balance in the mud took extra effort.
Still, a very pleasant route (root?) by streams, canals, neighborhoods, overlooks, parks, etc. I was starting to think of a PB at 30 miles when we got our halfway bags. Perhaps I felt faster than I really was, after seeing Nick Ham at the checkpoint, as he is usually far in front of me. Unfortunately I left my pain medication in that bag, thinking I wouldn't need it. About 10 minutes out of the checkpoint, I realized that I really did need it. There went my PB and here came the needles in my muscles with every running step. Ouch. By the last 10 miles I couldn't run a lick, the best I could manage was a fast walk. The volunteers at all the checkpoints were always very cheerful and helpful, (and well stocked with good eats) but by the last one it was all I could do to say "thanks" before continuing to the last 3, painful miles. Finally time was 10:46, which was almost 45 minutes longer than my time of last year. But still 3 hours faster than when I got lost in 2010!
After Nick posts his photos (I'm sure that's what slowed him down so I could catch him), I'll borrow a few to add to this post. It really was a gorgeous day, and luckily I even finished in full daylight