Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

September 24, 2010

John O'Gaunt's Challenge 25 mi. 25 Sep 2010

I did my marathon (well, 25 miles) yesterday in 4 hours 56 minutes. It was sunny, but cold and windy. The route went around 6 reservoirs close to my house, so it was nice to learn new trails nearby. And some not-so-nice muddy trails, through cow pastures.

I had been looking forward to John O’Gaunts for a while, not least because the start was only a few minutes from my house, granting me a longer night of sleep and an easy drive home on sore legs. I was also excited because this would be the first run where I had some knowledge of the trails and perhaps would even get around without getting lost or going wrong.

The organizers could have called this race the tale of six reservoirs, instead of naming it after the local castle. Our route passed by Fewston, Swinsty, Thruscross, Beaver Dike, Lindley Wood, and Scargill reservoirs, in no particular order, plus a fair share of streams and rivers. It was nice to revisit trails I run every Thursday with the other Reservoir Runners around Fewstson and Swinsty, but also to continue on farther north and head up to Thruscross. I had been keeping pace with a couple of other women, and by my calculations we were leading the women’s race, but at the climb up and around Thruscross they pulled ahead, and I never saw them again. I slowed to my own pace, and was quite pleased to finish in just under 5 hours.

September 18, 2010

Tatton Park Olympic Triathlon 1 mi Swim, 23 mi Bike, 6.2 mi Run 19 Sep 2010

I'll give you all a laugh at my expense for this experience. My triathlon on Sunday, was just south of Manchester at a place called Tatton Park, with a big house, lake, and grounds; not unlike the Harewood House in Leeds, which I had recently visited during a visit by my parents. But on a nice weather scale of 1 to 10, I would give the day of my Triathlon just a 2...and that's only because the winds were just "windy" and not "gale force" Then it could have sunk all the way down to a 1.

The whole weekend was nasty, cold, windy, and rainy. It had rained all night before, and my poor bike had to sit out all night in transition, poor thing.  It was soaked. I had signed up for this triathlon because I had heard that the water temperature (in a previous year) in the shallow lake had been 22 C, about 74 F. That must have been bogus, because the reported temp on the morning of the triathlon was only 13.8 C, well under 60 F. I almost didn't even start the event because of the cold water, as up in the Lake District I had swam in 16 C water, and that was COLD! But they had closed the roads out of the park to cars, so we literally couldn't leave anyway, and I decided that if 1,000 other fools were going to swim a mile in freezing water, I could too.

Well, it was cold....bone chilling. All 34 minutes of it. Many crazy people were then heading out for the bike portion (rainy, wet, cold, and windy) in just a tank top, but I put on a long sleeve shirt, vest, and glove, and never got overheated. The air temp was barely warmer than the water. In fact, my feet were numb the whole bike, as they just didn't get enough movement to get rid of the pins and needles. It rained all through the run as well, at least misty rain, and it took the first mile of running before I could feel my feet, finally. Then I started to feel good, and passed just about everyone I could see in front of me, on a grassy trail that had disintegrated into mud from the rain. I finished 40 out of 130 women, and was pleased about doing it, for not wanting to get in the water at all that morning.

But, I suppose I have been lucky this fall, 'cuz when my parents visited for two weeks, they had wonderful weather, we're talking warm, sunny, calm days that never seemed to end. My parents left, heading back to the States, joking that they couldn't believe I complained so much about the weather in the UK, because as far as they were concerned it was always calm and sunny. Hah. The day they flew out, I went for a bike ride, and the 40mph winds almost blew me off the road. Beginner's luck, that's what they got. Next time, they might end up with Tatton Park weather…nasty.