Sunday, 27 February 2011

Norwich Head

DSCN1740-club-blades We went to the Norwich Head which is in Norwich, oddly enough. There are two divisions, each of which is in two sections: the long course (4.2 k) and the short course (probably about 2 k). The finish is about 2 k away from the boating point; then the short course start; then the long course start. The short course goes off 15 mins before the long one, and hopefully that avoids overlaps. The river is quite a bit wider than the Cam, especially further away from the boating point, so you could easily get in 6 k pieces, which would be nice. Its not quite as scenic as the Cam, but not bad. It is tidal, though, which means results in different divisions are not directly comparable.

DSCN1732-will-d-and-ames-t-with-half-boat We trailered the boat on Friday night. Tom and Andy were doing the pair in the first division, so the rest of us got an easy time leaving Cambridge at 10:30 and meeting there around 12 to put the boat together and drink tea until our boating time of 1:39 for the division start at 2:30, though actually it was ~15 mins late. As usual there was a queue for boating and then unboating.

The pix below give some hint of what it is like. As James T texted to us: "Don't forget your wellies, it is like the Somme. Also, don't forget the riggers, like Press did...". yes, apparently poor X-Press did indeed manage to get their boat on the trailer but forgot to put the riggers in to, leading to many amusing suggestions about how they could punt or kayak their VIII.

DSCN1734-boat-moving DSCN1736 DSCN1746-just-after-boating

We had a good strong steady row, nothing spectacular, but it didn't feel as though we weakened. Perhaps a little under rated, and maybe a little under-pushed. Hard to be sure. The Essex Boys came up on us off the start, and were on our tail after ~1/3 the course. Then we pushed back a bit and maybe they tired and we had the corner and we help them for a bit, before finally they had the inside of a bend and got past us. That took us to about 2/3 of the course, which is nearly back; just under the motorway bridge and home. Then a 2 k row to the boating place, and James T excelled himself by pushing us ahead in the queue in front of some 7 year old girls from Oundle in a quad; the poor things were far too well brought up to even notice his outrageous behaviour, much less complain.

And the end result? 15:28 for us and we were 5th in Division 2 4th of IM3 VIII's. I suppose we might have hoped for better, but we are just one small town boat club and Essex are an entire university, and only beat us by 30 seconds.

Afterwards, a bit of faff, some time in the pub, and a crew curry in the Maharajah. Perfect training for tomorrows half marathon.

GPS tracks: race and row to start.

And here we all are:


(photo courtesy of William Dulyea).

Boundary run half marathon

The Cambridge University Hare+Hounds organise a "boundary run" around Cambridge, which is either a full marathon or more plausibly a half, which happens to finish just by Coton. And Maz told me about the 2011 event just in time for me to sign up (though actually you can sign up on the day. And I didn't get a tee-shirt, boo-hoo, because I wasn't one of the first 300 signees.

I had half hoped to continue for the marathon, but really that wasn't a good idea because (a) I'm just a teensy bit injured, my right knee really could do with a little rest, and (b) it isn't a fast course, or indeed an easy one. The course is interesting, in an area I don't normally run in. The last km was mud, which did not flatter my running style. Also there were hills, which is surely unnatural.

Split analysis, as I remember it: my aim was to run ~4:30 for the first 5 k, then "coast" on that buffer by keeping just-sub-5. That is about what happened, though the hills and stuff threw it off in detail. To 15 k was 1:12, also a PB. And the last k was a little slow due to the aforementioned mud.

So, overall, great fun. Oh, and the result? 1:43:12, which I'm very pleased with. GSP track.

I should also record my thanks to Tom W who kindly took my bike from start to the finish. He was there supporting Jan who finished in 1:50:xx.

Results are now up: here. I was officially 1:43:15 and came 138th. Maz was third (1:21:11), and would have been second had he not got lost, silly boy. Chris Church (IMG_0175) beat me, but not by all that much (1:39:50, 93rd) but he got lost too.

I look utterly shagged in the photo at mile 12 (it is IMG_0228; they don't allow direct linking and I decided to respect their paranoia by not just copying it), but honestly it wasn't as bad as it looks. Maz (IMG_0096) looks as fresh as a daisy, of course.