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Grizzly, Cold, Wet, Windy and a spattering of Snow! Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Ironjediby IronjediMar 12th 2013
Sunday Morning 10th March started early with a large bowl of muesli and a fruit bagel. I jumped in the car with my wife, her sister and a friend. All four of us were to complete the Grizzly. The worrying observation at this point is that we were all wearing woolly hats due to the cold wind. We left home late which meant we could not get parked near the sea front. Instead we had to park further away and walk back to the baggage area. It did however mean that we could stay in the warmth of the car for a few minutes more. At the baggage area we waved goodbye to Patrick, (he was to later place in the top 10) as he had some serious warming up to do and wanted to start at the front of the race.

We visited the toilet for the last time near the Tramway, along with 200 other people. I met up with my two running buddies for the day "MorrisMan" and "Henry 12 Miles". The five of us made our way to the start of the race, its amazing how warm it gets surrounded by 1500 other people waiting nervously for the race to start. At 1030 the Town Crier said his bit and the race was on. First a small trek across the pebble beach.

I had set out to complete the 20 miles as a training run, I wanted to run at a steady pace that I could maintain and still feel fresh at the end, feeling that if I had to run another 20 miles then I could manage it no problem and still be able to train on Monday. I had with me a packet of sports beans, and two 9bar energy bars. I hadn't planned to take anything else on apart from water.

The first few miles were actually quite pleasant, a little cold and windy and mostly on the road, the constant theme was to climb at a nice steady incline, which seemed different from previous years. The Cub/Grizzly split seemed to come quite early on. I choose the Grizzly route, there was never really going to be a choice of which one I did! The route now started to become far more undulating and then dropped down into Branscombe. As I approached the bottle neck at the bottom of the hill I bumped into an old friend and we briefly spoke. There was a small stretch of sea water to run through. I had always dreaded this in previous years as my outer extremities don¬'t like the cold very much. I watched people before me and the various techniques used to try and stay out of the water for as long as possible. I watched a lady sprint full blast at it. She almost made it and then "splash" she was down, massive face plant. I had a little giggle and thought just run through it normal speed. A voice inside my head said "you don¬'t want to do that". So I crossed the water and to my surprise I did not feel the cold. I am convinced that all the cold water sea swimming done last year for my Channel Relay Swim had helped to beat my cold demons. The next few miles then consisted of hills and muddy tracks. "Henry 12 Miles" left us at 12 miles to run his own race, "MorrisMan" tells me he has previous for this sort of thing.

After about 14 miles of running we eventually hit the bog, slow and safe through here. Watched some over keen runners trying to sprint through bogs, this is never a good idea. Face plant number 2 observed. After getting through this and now having trainers on which were ten times bigger and heavier from when I started, I was going down another hill when someone slipped in front of me rolling in the mud. I helped him up and he appeared genuinely quite upset and said "oh, I was trying to stay clean". Is he at the same race as me?

Arrived at Branscombe again for a bit of beach running. I took the route near to the water as the tide was out and it was far easier running on the sand than pebbles. I then hit the coastal path and the steps to the top of the cliff, they were steep. I stopped near the top to pose for a photo and then waited at the top. I shouted down to "MorrisMan" who promptly told me to "sod off". I waited at the top clapped other runners through and once back together we ran the last three miles back through Beer and Seaton. To my surprise the beach part in Seaton had been taken out and it was a straight run down to the finish. Our team of supporters were waiting in the rain to "High Five" us and wave us in. There support was awesome.

We crossed the line in 4 hours 10 minutes and 44 seconds. Throughout the day the weather was challenging at times, we saw snow, rain, sleet, wind, cold temperatures and a difficult course. Having said all that, I would recommend this event to everyone. A fantastic day out, and you also get a T-shirt!

We waited for my wife and sister in law who were only about 30 minutes behind us. They had an excellent race having never done the event before and they will never doing it again! I was really proud of them, on Mothers Day too. I have since reflected on my run. Was I disappointed with my time? Honestly, Yes, I had previously run it quicker. Was I disappointed with my performance? No, I was true to my word. I said I would run with "MorrisMan", and I did. I was not out for a PB on the course. I finished the race as fresh as a daisy, no sore legs or tightness. Could I have run another 20 miles? I certainly felt like I could. Could I train on Monday?

Monday Morning came and after getting up I felt good, No soreness or tightness. Could I train? Yes. Job done¬...¬...¬....

16 weeks to go to Outlaw "Ironman" race, and I am really happy with my current fitness¬...¬.....
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