When Angel met Harvel

No your eyes are not deceiving you.

Yes this is my rest period, post marathon.

Yes I ran a five mile cross country race Saturday, what can I say? I was just loosening off my legs.

I can tell you something from the jump, before we had even left our meeting point, I KNEW the day would be a special one. I met Darren, Candice and Ama at Sydenham station the only way I know how when I am with any of Rundemcrew. Gunshots from my gun finger. Moments Later Corey, the friend who kindly drove us to Harvel got out his car in his flip flops and socks to greet us. Before we were in the car, I had cried twice with laughter. By time we had arrived in Harvel, I was exhausted from laughing so much. But Harvel knew we had arrived, dubstep blaring out the car and the only “urban” folk to set foot in the quiet Kent village.

We arrived early so wandered up from the car park (a sh*t filled field – if you read last weeks race report, know I was a little peeved) to the area just before the start to collect our timing chips and come back for a bit to get changed/hydrate etc. before we headed back to the start area still catching far too much jokes along the way.

The other ladies who were coming from Rundemcrew’s West London group (which Corey organises) found us and we finished getting ready and headed for the start line.

Race started promptly at 2pm, which I am not used to. Any races I did in my time as a sprinter, Race for Life and in my current guise as a long distance runner has meant an early start.

That said, as I have said and continue to, it takes me a couple of miles to get going. Not good for a five miler, but hey. I decided straight away that I was not going to have any plan apart from treating this as a weekend run with a medal as my reward. The others pulled away early on and left Candice and I. She has had a well earned rest after London Marathon and recovering from injury. After a mile, I could feel myself pushing so I took up the pace and went with it.

Two miles in we had come off the country road and were in wooded area. It was very humid but the trees protected the sun which was trying to burn off the cloud. At this point I decided I need to invest in a pair of trail shoes as my feet were a little sore from last week and the tree roots weren’t sympathetic. Mid-way was refreshment in cups of water, jelly babies and cans of beer. I refrained, but it was a nice change from Lucozade!

A middle aged wrinkly dude with a beer hat in his club vest decided that he wanted to compete with me and proudly exclaimed that

“I am a male chauvanist and don’t like it when a woman beats me.”

Totally laughing it off as a joke, I ignored him and pressed on. I was there to have a fun run, get a medal and go home. It clear from that point on that this idiot thought different. Pretty much the rest of the run he would pass me, lose his momentum and when I passed he’d nastily say “you again” and then pass me. This was when he wasn’t blocking me *sigh.*

During this I managed to snatch moments to look at the stunning view in snippets of clearing and wandered if I tripped him up if he would roll down the bank into a tree. I blocked him out and took the old fart on the hill and left him in my wake for almost a mile before he was back on my tail again. These club runners are a lot, this man was thinking he was Mo Farrah. BLUD, I just ran a marathon.

Reminded myself where I was a week ago and left him to it as I didn’t want an injury, and the temptation of tripping him now we were back on the road a mile away was too strong.

Last mile was a blur, I felt myself pick up the pace and decided I would kick the turbo on for the last half mile as I was on course for a sub 50. Seeing the 400 yard sign, this turned into a sprint until I saw the finish and heard the crew shouting. Gunfinger popped off a few for my crew.

49:09. Not bad. Not ecstatic, but given its my first trail run a week after a marathon I can’t complain.

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Dinner at a beautiful village pub by a windmill overlooking the cricket green full of laughter and a couple drinks, we had a group hug and headed back to ‘the ends.’

All in all, I would go back next year and we all agreed. The crowds although sparce in some places were lovely and race well organised.

Not bad for a quick run to loosen off the legs ;-)

But if I run again in the next two weeks, you have permission to slap me.

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