|The side view of Hatfield House|
I left early and drove to Hatfield House (about ten miles away) with my faithful bag carrier in tow.
Hatfield is most famous for being the home of Elizabeth I before she was queen. In the grounds is the very oak tree (or it's descendent at least) that the young Lady Elizabeth was sat under when she was told she was now queen. It passed to King James after her, who traded it with the Cecils for Theobalds.
This side view doesn't do the grandeur of the house justice. from the front it is everything you would expect from a grand English country house and the inside does not disappoint. It has extensive grounds, more than enough for a 10k race.
When our supporters had gone off to the house (we gave them an optimistic ETA of an hour and a half, and a more likely one of an hour and three quarters) Su and I exchanged secret confessions of how much we had spent on running gear since the last race. And they say running is a cheap sport!
|Before the race, unfortunately you can't tell that I coordinated my eyeshadow with the colour of the t-shirt, but I did.|
We set off with the joggers, swiftly overtaken by most of them. Despite having used the portable loos twice, my bladder now insisted I visit again. I tried to ignore it.
It was a good time to chat and catch up so we didn't push it at first. I explained to Su what Marathon Man had told me about a steady marathon pace and overtaking people at Tower Bridge. We had our first TB moment as we passed a man who did not look like a runner, who had tried to run and then given in to walking 500m into the race. TB moments would become very important later on in the race.
I also spent some time looking at people's shoes. You can tell if someone is a dedicated runner from their shoes and quite a few people were running in trainers rather than running shoes. I was most amused when a man overtook us in a patterned, knitted vest over shirt and shorts.
Su and I discussed how perhaps after the marathon we might try running 5 and 10ks to get our speed down, as one marathon may be enough for one lifetime.
I kept my eyes out for dense undergrowth in which I might 'do a Paula' as the bladder was still whinging. Damn autumn and fallen leaves!
I had laced my shoes too tightly and gradually my feet died until I could feel them no more, in the end I had to stop and loosen them to get the blood flowing again!
We took the first 4k easy and then Su, always faster and fitter than I, challenged me that we would overtake the people in white before the 5k. They were about 120m ahead. I couldn't manage it by 5k, but I would be damned if they would stay ahead of us by the 6k marker so I put on one of my rare sprints to overtake them. We had a few more TB moments, easily going past the people now walking, but after 7k there was a woman (not in running shoes) kept running/walking. Su wanted to overtake her by the end of lane, I said by 8k. We managed to achieve both aims and were in a nice, smooth rhythm as we did so.
With 1k to go I was flagging. I don't know why as I've run further and faster before, but for that day the energy was gone. Su was bouncing around and encouraging me to use energy I just didn't have left. Where she gets her energy from I don't know, but I want some please!
With about 70m to go I managed to dig down and do a sprint finish. We saw our supporters at the finish line and this helped push us on. I stopped my watch at 1hr 31mins. Not bad for our first ever 10k.
Su gave me a big hug and just past the finish my colleague Lisa from school was waiting. She is an experienced runner and came in at a very respectable 1hr 5.
Unluckily as I came through to get my medal I got caught by the squarking women from the local radio station who were sick of talking to each other and desperately trying to keep going after several hours of squarking. I said a brief hello to James and tried to get away as soon as possible.
There was no goody bag, but we got a medal, a bottle of water, those Ricola sweets you always get (well, I like them!) and a cereal bar that I devoured instantly.
So, another race over. And the bladder that had bugged me all the way round? I forgot all about it after I crossed the finish and continued to forget about it for a couple of hours afterwards! Typical!