Hope everyone is still in one piece and not being blown away by these hideous winds!
Back to business, yesterday was the 11th race in the club championship (only my 9th) – the Studland Stampede 12.5km.
Last year it was hideous weather so I was very pleased to wake up and see the sun shining. As this is one of our club championship races there was a great club turnout which always makes the waiting bit at the beginning a lot easier…ooh and there was a longer queue for the mens loos than the ladies – what a result. I had to go twice JUST to take advantage!
The race starts off at Knoll Beach and then heads west along the beach, it was high tide which meant no hard sand to run on, my knee was a bit cross about this and so I was very cautious and tried to pick my way along as close to the water as I could.
After about half a mile we turned off the beach and up a steep hill (thankfully not too long!) and into a narrow path through a wooded section. For some reason it all stopped and there was a very frustrating wait everyone to get going again. I’ve no idea why but I really hate getting interrupted before I’ve properly got into my rhythym, it really messes up getting your breathing sorted.
After this section we crossed the main road through the village and headed onto Studland Heath. This is the best bit of the race, there are a mixture of sandy and stony paths and you really have to keep your wits about you not to trip up. There were another couple of miles of gentle climbs but then a nice long gentle downhill and flat section where you can pick up speed a bit.
There is also a spectacular view of Poole and Bournemouth from up there but that was almost my downfall as I glanced up to take it in, commented to my friend Jenny and then immediately tripped over a rock! I did manage to save myself but I really jarred my ankle and knee and my stomach mostly ended up in my mouth! I really thought I was about to do a full on splat!
I was a bit disappointed at the halfway mark as the jelly babies that were on offer last year weren’t there and I’d kind of decided they would be and my tummy was all ready for them!
After the heath we crossed back over the road into the sand dunes. I’d forgotten about this section (a bit like how you forget labour pains I think!) This is definitely the worst bit of the race. The sand is really really deep and such hard work to run on. I kept running a bit then walking a bit but it really wasn’t a lot easier to walk on than to run on. My shoes filled up with sand and I couldn’t wiggle my toes!
I was really pleased to see the water ahead, which is funny as I’d remembered the bit by the water as the worst bit!
The last 1.5km follows back along the beach. I was dreading this bit because of the high tide but I worked out that there was a pattern to the waves and that it was safe to run along the shoreline for 5 waves but to jump out the way before the 6th came!
Unfortunately my timing wasn’t brilliant though…oops wet shoes….. to be perfectly honest that might also have been as I was distracted by the ‘gent’ on the nudist beach who was showing us all he had (and OMG It was a LOT!)
I could see the finish all along this bit of beach but I’m sure that just makes it harder sometimes as it seems to move farther away all the time! You can see in the photo of me finishing that there are still runners all along the beach and that doesn’t show quite all of it.
A few of us had decided that we would swim after the race and so I went and got my towel out of the car. OH MY GOODNESS! It had cooled down soooo much since I last went in 2 weeks ago. I almost didn’t go under but in the end I thought that I’d really regret it if I didn’t. It really did take my breath away though and when I got ‘used’ to it it may just have been that my whole body had gone numb!
I’d made a stupid rookie error though as I’d taken my denim mini skirt to wear afterwards but forgotten my leggings to go under…brrrrrrrr…that really didn’t help with warming me up!
After a very long wait in the queue in the cafe, I finally had a lovely warm coffee with my mum (who is responsible for all these fabulous pictures…thank you very much Mum!) and then we all went to the pub for a roast. Perfect!
ps oh and I just managed to come in about 2 mins faster than last year!