Bananas and Mr Darcy

“What do they have in common?” I hear you ask and probably, “What the hell is this post about?”

Well let me explain, first off this is another of my sort-of race reports. I ran the Chatsworth 10km. David’s Dad lives near Chatsworth so we visit there regularily. When asked we each have a fact about Chatsworth…

David’s: Chatsworth is home to the Cavendish family and the Cavendish banana is named in honour of William Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire, who acquired an early specimen, and from whose hothouses the cultivars were first developed for commercial exploitation worldwide. The banana you ate for breakfast was probably a Cavendish banana. 

Stephanie’s: They filmed pride and prejudice here and that famous scene with Colin Firth – Phwoar.

DSC03949Moving on, I went there and did some running. Last time I ran around Chatsworth I had a less than perfect run. Coming from London and the flat lands, I know any run around here is going to be challenging, but I relish that challenge.

I lined up in the sub 60 group and got chatting, when the guy next to me said ” Have you done much fell running before?” My thoughts were a stream of expletives but I just said “Err, no.”

The course map left a little to be desired but David’s dad tried to translate it for me using way point I knew. After starting the race it quickly became apparent that I had misunderstood the directions for km1-2. They turned out to be very, very steep and I ended up walking most of it. I felt a bit rubbish and dejected from having to walk so early on but luckily as I had no Garmin I had no real idea of my time. I was here to enjoy myself, so I carried on puffing up the hills and reminding myself “arms do hills”.

DSC03950Somewhere between 3 and 4km  I discovered a man walking, “you okay buddy?” I shouted ahead. “Yeah, I did London a couple of weeks ago and I’m a bit sore”. I resisted the temptation and simply replied with “Well if you walk it all that counts as a win, keep going!”

I normally run parts of the route in reverse and it was obvious that my awareness of inclines is lacking, parts which I thought were dead flat were now uphill and my constant thoughts of “you’ll be on the flat soon” turned into bribes and lies! Finally just after the 5km mark the downhill came. My chance to shine. Except this downhill is uneven, cobbly, and very, very steep. I should have expected that. I love downhills so I decided to go for it. My thoughts went like this…

“If I fall I’m going to really smash my face up”

“My legs feel good, use the speed”

“If I fall I’m going to smash my face and my knees up”

“My arms are flapping like a magpie to slow me down”

“Keep going you might catch up the time you lost earlier”

“Meh, if you think you are going to fall, fall sideways and save the face”

“weeeeeeeeeeee” this though stayed for the next 2k-ish

In the words of Buzz “This isn’t flying, this is falling with style!” 

But at 8km we came to a bend and the end of the downhill section. we were also teased with a downhill section straight in front of us which lead to the finish while we veered off to the left to face undulations all the way to the end. This made me a little grumpy but I reminded myself of how fun the downhills had been and focused on chasing people and admiring the tattoos of the ladies around me.

Whenever I felt really tired in the race, a fellow runner or marshall seemed to mutter behind my back “has she come from Wimbledon?” and everytime I thought “YEAH! I have, go Windmilers”. Represetin’ *gangsta voice* the club felt good – I get to be first Windmiler no matter what!

DSC03959I would urge the organisers to perhaps rethink the final k which was all on a gentle incline on concrete and then another gentle grass incline on the last 50 metres to the gantry. A little flat wouldn’t have gone a miss. I was proud to see my cheering squad on the final corner but the incline zapped any sprint finish from my legs.

I was handed water and a cereal bar on finish (nice touch) and then had my medal placed over my head (my favourite) and had my chip taken off before heading back to the cheering squad to welcome in David’s Dad.

After all the walking I had no real idea of my time, but had hoped to keep it under 60 minutes. I was pretty chuffed when my chip time was posted at 54:27 only 2:30 minutes off my PB!  David’s Dad was also over the moon with a 1:11 finish time.

The race again reminded me how much hill training I need to do for my next marathon and I’ll be heading up to Chatsworth to put me through my paces on a long training run.

Thanks Helen’s Trust for putting on a fab event. Can I call myself a fell runner now?

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One comment

  1. Claire @ Flake and Cake says:

    Well done Steph – awesome job! The route sounds killer, I would have been a little stunned with the “fell running” question right before haha!
    Love the facts – I’ll think of your race the next time I tuck into banana pancakes!

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