It has all gone to shit…
I may have run 6 races (3 tens, 2 maras and a 50K) this year but have been feeling sluggish and slow, heavy and out of shape. Sure, I did finish those but am not happy about the times, other than the Gothic Challenge. The winter is always a bad time, you eat too much, you drink too much, the weather is so bad you don’t want to be outside, you certainly don’t want to run during #snowmageddon, or even walk to the gym. I became a bit of a fat bastard. You eat because you are unhappy, you are unhappy because you eat. It is a vicious circle (for some).
In March, for example, I ran three times, all races. And thus I need to share my shame as punishment. In a year every stat has gone the wrong way. There is no way to put it other than things have gone to shit. I need to turn this around fast, or it will affect my mood and my confidence. Let’s hope things will turn a shade of rosy, the sun will come out, and things will be groovy once more.
Last year’s 12 marathons in 12 months was something, but like any progression you make, you are always looking forward. You take the next step, climbing up the ladder a rung at a time. From training to your first 10K, to your first half, your first marathon, your first ultra, maybe a hundred miler, multi-day, or 12 in 12. So building on last year I am going to pull all the stops out, 15? 16? 17? We shall see, 3 down already, and 2 in a fortnight in April starting with…
Phoenix Running helped me to my 12 in 12, allowing me to finish at the Winter Phoenix marathon in Walton on Thames. They gave me my 12 in 12 medal and now it will be fourth marathon of the year, a gentle plod before Vienna, much like the SVN in February being a comfy jog before TGC. It gives the confidence a bit of a boost. And so, to Berkhamsted for the Phoenix Groovy Marathon.
The wonderful Ashlyns School grounds in Berkhamsted was a groovy smash hit in 2017 and so we’re back for more in 2018, so swing on down baby and come find your Mojo with us! Fancy dress is, of course, the order of the day and you’ll definitely want to get your hands on one of our very special bespoke medals. The 2018 medal will be presented in a shiny gold affect with a whole new ribbon.
‘Groovy Baby’ is a 6 and half hour Austin Powers themed timed running event, from 5km to ultra marathon, you can complete as many, or as few laps as you like of a 3.28 mile, 5.3km looped course around the school grounds in the Ashlyns Estate. We welcome all abilities of runner – complete one lap and you’re both a finisher and a winner in our eyes and you qualify for the bespoke finishers’ medal. Or why not keep going and see how far you can get in the full 6 hours.
How I did?
I stayed overnight in Berkhamsted, had a cracking meal at the Giggling Squid and got up early for the short walk through town and up to the school. As I walked through the gates I noticed the traffic cones marking out a muddy path one way, then a muddier path the other. Surely not, I thought, surely we are not literally running around the muddy perimeter for the school grounds? Not for £35. Surely not!
I walked around the school and found the race HQ, a tent as bag drop, and a stall with the water (no coke), and jelly sweets. The changing room, where we had the race briefing, was in the dining hall. The scuffed wooden floors, the names etched into the tables, no Tippex penises drawn on chairs, buy hey! who use’s Tippex anymore? After the talk, basically a “follow the cones with the fence on your left, then a balloon around the front, and then follow the cones with the fence on your right to the start where we put a wristband on you. You only need to do one lap for the medal. Then it’s 4 laps for the half, 8 laps for a marathon, 9 for an ultra.” Right, see you outside.
Its almost fitting that the medal is so bloody awkward it doesn’t fit on the rack like the others. It is cool though. A lot of effort went into the medal. It is just a shame that the same effort didn’t go into the route and the event.
This was the sort of event that saps your running mojo. It was grim. I effectively paid £35 for the honour of running around school playing fields in the rain. That was not what I wanted and not what I needed ahead of Vienna. Laps I can handle, but laps on concrete, sea wall, paths around something, not the edge of a fricking school sports field. Even the sight of Race Director Rik dressed as Austin Powers could not stop this ship from sinking, especially as he spent most of the race hiding under the tarp at the race HQ whilst everyone else hid in their vehicles.
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Sounds like primary school “cross country”, running laps of the school perimeter, collecting plastic cubes on each lap, regardless of the weather – and it’s pure hell.
I don’t envy this race!