Monday 20th October
Only one road safety event last week and that was supporting school crossing patrols with their campaign, ‘Stop means Stop’ this entailed me giving ‘I’ve seen Sharkey’ stickers to children crossing the road whilst a colleague dressed in a dragon suit, photos with the mayor and a presentation to the SPC for his five years service.
The week was what I think is termed a ‘taper week’ as it was the 7 mile Stumble off road run from Minehead on
Exmoor on Sunday.
My aim was to run a couple of times about 5 miles and get a couple of days cycling in to keep my legs loose. The weather in the week was really bad with lots of heavy rain, so cycling was out of the question, I didn’t fancy getting soaked on the bike, not to mention the work after to clean the bike etc.
I managed to get 2 runs in one of 5.5 miles and the other 5.2miles both on the road round the town and both in the dark evening between showers. At least the temperatures were warm, almost too warm to run as I always overdressed.
After a couple of days decorating again we did walk down at Sidmouth and lunch in the ‘White Horse café’ which was pleasant and very warm.
I heard on Friday that I had managed to get an entry for the Grizzly Cub run next March [on my birthday as well] my name was drawn in the lottery, The ‘Cub’ is the shorter 9 mile off road run round the coast near Beer head whilst the Grizzly itself is 20 +miles and much harder, too much for me!!!. So I now have a target to aim for over the winter to motivate me.
Saturday the day before the ‘Stumble’ was pleasant but windy so I decided to keep my muscles supple by going for a cycle ride over North Curry way, several roads were closed for road works so I ended up doing 32 miles about 5 miles further than I intended, I kept in low gears to keep the cadence up. Also first time this year out on my winter bike, different gearing and slightly different riding position. My new wheels and tyres seemed ok with the tyres giving a good grip on the wet roads. Weather wasnt quite so cool as I thought, so long tops and bottoms was too much and I was very hot!!
Saturday night we had a change and went to the Taunton Carnival, first having takeaway Pizza at our daughters flat in
Below are a couple of pictures taken on my phone to give some idea of the work
on the floats. Taunton
Floats with the thousands of light bulbs and a very good Mr Potato Head costume.
It was a good evening out and the floats impressive, lots of work.
Sunday dawned bright and sunny, Race Day!!!!!
I organised my food, drink and clothing and drove over to Minehead, getting there very early as usual. The sun still shone and it was quite warm. I had another bowl of muesli just over an hour before the start at 11:00 and drank at least half a litre of High five, I didn’t intend to take a drink this time and wanted to make sure I was hydrated and wouldn’t get hungry with the late start.
We lined up in the back streets of Alcombe, there were a number of runners with dogs all champing at the leash to get going. The horn soon sounded to get us on our way, we headed up hill past the YHA where the road turned to a track, slippery over the cobbles. I felt ok, I had a support bandage on my calf to try to avoid trouble, I tried to keep an even pace and not get caught up in the excitement, but a large number of the entries was for the Stagger weren’t too keen to push the pace early, the Stagger goes on up to Dunkery Beacon and back 15 miles and 3500ft of climbing, a hard run, mine was hard enough with 7 miles and 1300 ft of climbing. My aim was to beat last year’s time of 1h 13 mins.
The route twisted and turned, sharp uphills followed by sharp downhills on forest tracks, till we reached the main ridge, I had to walk in some places as did most of the other competitors, a water station, a chance for a quick slurp, welcome as it was very warm. Over the ridge and went someway down towards Wooten Courtney before the race split, Stagger on to Dunkery and Stumble to climb back to the ridge and back towards Minehead. Underfoot was good, some large puddles, easy to avoid and the ridgeway was very dry even though we had lots of rain in the week. We were soon being directed down through the woods, to a fast descent down a single track, requiring care in places as it was steep and stony. I seemed to be on my own now, not gaining on those in front but pulling away from those behind. I tried to keep a high pace down and with a couple of miles to go, going really well, I was enjoying the descent approximately 3 miles down before hitting the tarmac, I gained a place on the way down passing a female runner, but lost a place to a male runner with a dog!!!
It was a welcome site, the finish line, a good crowd lined the finish tunnel, lots of clapping and well dones!!!! 1h 11m 23 secs – I was pleased as I had gained 2 mins on last year. So I was pleased to get my finisher Tee.
My placing this year was 56th out of 90 in a time of 1h 11m 28s Last year I was 54th out of 89 in a time of 1h 13m 14s!! the winner did 46m 57s which to me is very fast given the 1300ft of ascent.
Its incredible how the positions are so close, I was hoping to get a higher position this year. I felt I had gone better this year, but the time and positions show this was not the case. However, it was a great day, I really enjoyed the run, the views over Dunkery and
Exmoor were fabulous as we emerged from the woods over
Wooten Courtney, as were the views back over Minehead and North Hill as we ran
along the ridge. The leaves turning colours in the sunshine were stunning, it
would have been nice to take photos and enjoy the views, sadly to stop and look
at it all would have lost time, so maybe a return visit for a walk soon needs
to be on the calendar.
This is probably my last event this year but I need to try to continue running several times a week ready for the ‘Cub run’ next March, which will come round soon enough. Running is a nice alternative to cycling in the depths of winter when roads are in a poor state with ice and debri from flooding etc.