Sunday, 10 February 2013

Two steps forward, one step back: the Braintree Boggle marathon.

Two steps forward, one step back, or sideways, or possibly forwards.  It was hard to tell at times on the Braintree Boggle marathon today.  I was a little nervous - the motorway signs were advising "Severe weather forecast tomorrow" yesterday and the forecast was for icy rain, wind and snow.

After a rainy drive to Braintree, far too early for my liking this morning, it turned out not too bad.  A small field set out from the village hall for the second Braintree Boggle, a clockwise loop around the fields surrounding Braintree.

We set off in a light rain, with a quick road section to spread us out, followed by a course comprising entirely of muddy footpaths, muddy fields, wet footpaths and wet fields!  Oh and a few short and wet road sections. At least they weren't muddy!  I wouldn't go as far as to call this course undulating, maybe rippling, with several gentle climbs.  I slid all over the place, never quite sure which direction my feet were going to move in.

I enjoyed the first half, feeling good from the recent training sessions, clocking 2:02 for half way.  A few miles later I was heading into a bitter Easterly wind and even wrapped in hat, buff, gloves and hooded waterproof, this wind took the enjoyment out of the run for a while.  I had quickly settled into 15th place near the start, but somewhere around the third checkpoint I couldn't keep track any more as the same runners were starting to pass me repeatedly, perhaps too cold to read their directions!  Approaching 21 miles, there appeared to be "roadworks" in a field, with bollards and fencing and "puddles".  At least the Gore Tex socks kept my feet warm, even if they struggled to cope with being filled from the top.

The last few miles were pretty bleak, with the cold really biting.  I'd wolfed down more nuts and raisins than usual, I'm sure because of the cold.  The Gu Electrolyte tablets worked well, although I finished surprisingly dehydrated for such a cold day.  Hot pasta and coffee was waiting at the finish and I was soon warm again.

Braintree Boggle certificate
Thank you to the Mid Essex Casuals for organising this one, and especially to the marshals and checkpoint volunteers for braving the cold and wet to support us today. This wasn't great running weather, although the snow held off and it looks like that is on its way very soon.

Here's the route, my 43rd marathon.  4:36:12.  Far from a PB but maybe not so bad given the terrain.  Still a long way to go.

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