After my struggle round the HerePath route on Monday a days rest required before joining the Wobblies on Wednesday morning, but! only two of us turned out with other Wobblers visiting vets, in Germany or in Scotland etc. the trouble is the other Wobbler was a fitness Instructor from the local Gym 1610, he takes the Spin classes etc. We decided to head over to Hestercombe House
by a circuitous route, it was a lovely morning, a chill in the air but the occasional view of the sun created warm spots!!! the trees were now turning very Autumnal so the ride over the Blackdowns was particularly colourful, a long down hill to West Buckland before crossing the main road and heading over to Bishops Lydyeard, 30 miles already completed, at a fast pace, [ remember I said he was a fitness Instructor] we finally arrived at Hestercombe where a welcome Latte and large piece of white chocolate covered apricot flapjack was consumed, to give me the calories to get home! and keep up with Paul!! its a lovely setting with the local Sandstone coloured buildings blending nicely with the autumn colours. We were soon off once again heading over Creech St Michael and North Curry, up over Rock Hill and back over the levels, all at a faster than usual pace for me 61 miles covered and over 3000 ft climbed, a good average speed of over 16 mph I was tired when I got home!! but a lovely hard ride with glorious views. A good morning out and good training I am sure.
Friday was fine tuning day before the Stumble on Sunday, so a 6 mile run around town.
Saturday was a glorious and sunny day so a little shopping in Exeter where I managed to get some Inov8 running gaiters to stop stones going down the tops on my shoes when running off road, will try them on Sunday and report back, they look good! we also managed a walk on the front at Exmouth where it was actually hot, and walking in short sleeves was called for.
Sunday dawned, cold, cloudy and misty with a cold east wind. I drove over to Minehead with lights on because of the mist.
Parking up signing on there was lots of hustle and bustle so after picking up my number I went a walk up to the start area
Where this fabulously coloured leaved tree stood I walked further up the combe to remind me what it was like, it was very cold.
On return to the car park, discussion and banter between runners about how cold it was and what to wear etc. I felt quite chilly in my short sleeved tee, but confident I would soon warm up. I opted today just to take a gel, in case, having had my usual Jam sandwich 45 mins before the start.
The start time soon arrived and as it was so cold I did for a change do a warm up run or two!!!
we soon had the briefing to be told the course had changed because of permission form Crown Forestry wouldn't allow the run on their land!!
we were off and soon heading up hill, up a wide stony track, steep in places to the first ridge, it soon had people walking [ there were 93 in my event and 190 in the Stagger which went up to Dunkery Beacon, I will do that sometime!!] making it difficult to run myself, the singletrack made it worse and we were queing at one time so stopped altogether, a few minutes lost here.
the route up seemed easier that last year, and we were soon running along a 'Roller Coaster' of a ridge, I was still wary of any more big ups as I didnt know the route so cautiously didnt run quite as fast on the downs as I could. the half way water point 3.5 miles in was reached and I knew then there was little more up hill, we climbed back up to the main ridge, the route can be seen here:-
as we went along the main ridge I was feeling good despite the cold head wind and knew the down hill was coming up, not the usual descent, infact it was steeper and stonier, but I let it go and found my self descending fast, overtaking a few others, it was great!! the Speedcross shoes doing their job and the new gaiters excelling at keeping the stones out, I was soon averaging 7 minute miles at times and as I hit the tarmac at the bottom I looked at my watch and noticed and under the hour a possibility, I ran as fast as I could passing a few more runners, looking at my watch, to try the under hour, sadly despite my effort I finished the 6.3 miles in 1 hr 0 minutes and 39 secs a great time and 7 minutes faster than last year.
I came 40th out of 93 finishers, but the icing on the cake was i came 1st in the over 65 catagory even though there were only 3 of us!!! but! no prize except another Tee
A technical one this year and quite a nice fit. Tea and cake followed before my drive home. a great event well organised and run by Minehead running club, perhaps next year I will manage the 15 mile 'Stagger' !!!!
Just the Herepath Half Marathon next week now, I hope I can get a run of the route tomorrow as its pouring down with rain today, this will prepare me well for next Sunday.