A weekend in Ripple and a trip to the Forest of Dean

Had a lovely time this weekend with our old mates Andrew and Denise in Ripple, near Upton on Severn. The catalyst for going down there was an invitation from Andrew to come and run in the Forest of Deal half marathon, so it meant that it was a weekend of fun, leisure, and food, but also one of fitness payback.

RippleAs it turned out, it was also one of gorgeous spring weather, taking us all a bit by surprise, and making a day in the Forest of Dean an absolute joy.

The race itself was a mixture of the usual pain and a little bit of pleasure. I don’t ‘do’ pace running like marathons, half marathons or 10ks – they’re a little bit like time trialling (on a bike) for me – of limited pleasure and lots of pouring over / obsession with stats. This somehow meant that I was pretty chilled and not too nervous before Sunday’s half marathon, and was looking forward in a strange way to some on-the-fly stats fun with the Garmin. The first hurdle, so to speak, was that I hadn’t charged my Garmin properly, so after a mile, the batteries ran out 🙁

The course was essentially uphill for the first half and down for the second… not a bad arrangement I’m sure you’d agree.  I managed to maintain the right sort of pace in a small group of eight or so after the manic first couple of miles (1500 runners!), and only hit mild trouble about 8 miles in when my calf hit its predicted wall, and I had to ease off a tiny bit.  The last mile was almost a fell runner’s dream, with a steep fast descent – giving me the chance to gain back a bit of the deficit.

In the end, I’m glad for the experience of doing a ‘fast’ race rather than a fell race; the countryside was pretty and the atmosphere was relaxing but professional, but give me the fells any day.  A time of 1:27:03 and 55th finisher from 1,389 – Andrew was very happily placed int he top half of the field with 1:52:03.  My time came out at 6:39 / mile – I was expecting that really, though may have shaved a bit off without the calf problem.

No Garmin / Google earth experience for you this time, readers – the battery cock-up saw to that, but some photos of the stay with Andrew and Denise here