Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hilly and wet half Eden Project marathon

It's actually my long run for this week training. But I have soon realised that it is more than I hope for.

Why did I go all the way to Cornwall to do this race?
Simple. I like Cornwall, since my last visit. And I like Eden project. In my last visit here, I found out about the half marathon run. Since I have this weekend off by chance, so I decided to book a spot for myself. Then, I found out that running by myself probably isn't that much fun, I was able to pull my new running friend from NZ, Jessica, last minute.

But before to talk about the run, Jess and I had a very remarkable experience in our stay in Cornwall. Even though it was my 2nd visit in Cornwall, finding a cheap accommodation, like hostel, is impossible in St Austell area. In the Cornwall official tourism website, I managed to find a place, which was written as a place for backpackers, and it only costs £10 a night. We have had a few email corresponding, she sounds very nice person. I gave it a go....

Jess actually got there first and she found out that it was actually a caravan that we were to stay. I didn't know about it at all till she texted me and asked me about a sleeping bag as the caravan actually was quite cold. I never had stayed in a caravan before. There were actually no electricity and water in there, but there was a lamp that is lightened up by manual generated power. It is unbelievable. I truly didn't prepare for that. But I guess, costing £10 for a night. It is kinda reasonable. But the owner of the house, Linz, is a very lovely and friendly landlady. She is actually renovating her house (that's why her place looks quite messy everywhere) and has just returned from a road trip from Portugal. She knew that we didn't have a sleeping bag, so she lend us blankets and duvet to keep us nice and warm. With a wet and gary weather outside, staying in a caravan was less ideal. But at least, Jess and I had a good night sleep as we needed for the half marathon.

Back to the race, it is official to Jess and me that it is one of the hard half marathons. My PB in half was 1 hours and 46 mins, but it was on the flat surface. It isn't a flat surface marathon. It has hills.... LOTS of them. Some were small but some were quite steep. You can say that, there are ups, there must be downs. But running up and downs one after another is tiring. And there was a significant length on off road trail... With the rainy and grey Cornish weather, those off roads have become a muddy roads, which made my run even harder. My Eco Brooks trainers were covered with mud, so as my calf as well.
The Muddy Brooks trainers....

Pasta Party in Eden Project
About 1400 local runners in this 3rd year running event. Supportive locals and marshals cheered us up whenever we passed by them. It was actually a good organised event. With all those ups and downs, the good news for us was that we were actually running downhill to the finishing line. As we were approaching the finishing line, the Eden Project was right in front of our eyes. It was actually quite a good view. I was clocked in 2 hours and 6 mins; Jess came just a few minutes after me (a very good effort for her as she didn't train at all prior to the race). I guess, it is hard from city runner since it is almost flat surface in the city. That's why I was quite ok with the result, even though I wasn't able to complete it under 2 hours as I hope for but considering the ups and downs I had run. I'm ok with the time. And I do think that it is a very good training for me for the last marathon as there is a hill at 30km mark, running up the hills does strengthen my leg and cardiac muscle.
A huge plate of pasta, salad and Yummy bread!
The best pasta party ever!
The organiser actually is quite well prepared, even though it was their 3rd year running. We had the best (in my eyes) pasta party the night before the race. It was held in the Eden Project, the Mediterranean Biome. I said it was the best, as I also went to a pasta party in my hostel in Berlin. It was €8 for unlimited pasta and sauce, just sauce, nothing else. But in this one, £7, a big plate of pasta, salad and yummy bread! It was massive and yummy. It was truly a great pasta for us, just before the race. I think, if I did the full marathon, I would be very happy about that.

Pre race pasta was nice. Post race, free Cornish pastry and a pint of ale (I don't drink, so gave the voucher to Jess) were just unbeatable. Sorry.... I have no photo of the pastry as I was very hungry! What else could we ask for. After a long hard run and then having a yummy, carb-rich pastry! It was very comforting. Sound a bit odd. Instead of those post race recovery drink, pastry just did the job.

Overall, it was a great run for me. Time may not be very impressive. But I do think, that it was a good training ground for me. At first, I do think that it was quite discouraging in terms of the wet and gary weather, with muddy off road. Indeed, it was outside of our comfort zone. But actually, now, I looked back to the race, I'm so pleased that I have done it. And now, actually, I want to do it again. This kind of run did train our mind to overcome the difficult course. I see this race, as a positive experience. I may return back next year to do the full one.
The Medal and the T-shirt..
I will be back again...

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