Romsey 5 Mile Beer Race

This weekend was pretty awesome! (<—I really hope I can be saying a similar sentence next week after my marathon…).

My university friends came down to see me on Saturday for my birthday, which is on the 19th. One of them popped down on the Friday night because she was coming straight from work in London (that crazy girl commutes from London to Brighton in the week…that’s a lot of trains!) I picked her up from the station and we indulged in a lovely evening of Indian take-away and the film Pride. I heartily recommend Pride. It’s such a good film with some truly lovely moving moments and is very funny.

In an awkward state of events I needed to do my last long run on the Saturday morning rather than the Sunday as I had the Romsey 5 Mile Beer Race (more on that later). So I planned on driving to parkrun early and doing seven miles beforehand, doing parkrun and then zooming back home. The other girls were arriving around 10.30am which gave me just enough time. They all know how running mad I am so it was fine thankfully.

The pre-run felt alright but wasn’t amazing. I felt a bit “bleurgh” and *wshipers* my shin that I had issues with last year has ever so slightly started niggling a tiny bit during my runs that week. It would be ironic that an injury springs up literally the week before my marathon. BUT like I said, it was ever so slight and more of a tightness than anything. I was only worried because I was scared it was going to develop into something further. To be honest, it’s highly likely that the previous high mileage weeks I’ve done made it grumble and the fact that my shoes are getting older. So I swapped them for my new ones (exact same version) and foam rolled and stretched a lot.

Anyway I got to parkrun in good time and continued a similar pace, enjoying running with people and the lovely sunshine.Netley parkrun June

Photo credit: Kookie51

I literally had to grab a token, get it scanned and race back to the car and head home straight away.

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Photo credit: Kookie51

I felt bad for leaving my friend at my house, but we’re very close and she knew to make herself at home.

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I got showered, dressed and breakfasted all in time for the other two friends to arrive. It’s always nice seeing them as we just slot back into place like old times and have a good old giggle. They bought me some lovely birthday presents. One of my friends works at Superdry (as part of the audit/accounting bit…or something) and gets 50% off clothes or 70% off in the sample shop!! I got a very nice gilet (<— not an affiliated link!) and T-shirt. SOO chuffed as usually I avoid Superdry as it’s ridiculously expensive.

We decided to have afternoon tea for lunch. We did try my favourite tearoom, Elsie’s, but it was rammed so we went to my second favourite in Lee-On-Solent, The Tea Rooms.

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It was delicious. I got roast chicken sandwiches, a fruit scone and a slice of red velvet cake. It does make me slightly concerned that I have absolutely no problem polishing off my afternoon tea while the other girls seemed to struggle…I guess my sweet tolerance has also enjoyed marathon training!

Later we enjoyed a nice walk through Manor Farm with Alfie.IMG_1340

It was a lovely, lovely day. And then we said farewell and I thoroughly depressed myself by watching The Lovely Bones. A good but morbid watch (the book is better though).

The next morning was time for one of my favourite local races of the year, the Romsey 5 Mile Beer Race. I’ve done this race twice before and I love it. The course is undulating and tough but it’s a pleasant route through country roads and the Romsey Road Runners, who organise the race, are so friendly and supportive. It’s always a good day. And you get a free beer and slice of cake afterwards. So yeah it’s pretty good!

My parents came to pick me up and my mum said why didn’t we take Alfie too as they could look after him and it was so sunny and lovely. What a great idea as otherwise Alfie would be home alone for the morning and it was lovely having his furriness there with us.IMG_1346

We arrived in good time and saw lots of people from my running club. The running club was fairly split that day as there was a popular 10k (flat and fast) going on as well somewhere else. I love the beer race even if the course is hard work and would much prefer to do that race than the flatter 10k which, let’s be honest, had no cake offering. Plus the pressures of a flat 10k are just not what I want right now before my marathon!

IMG_1361 (Photo credit to Sheryl James)

I honestly had no idea what to do for this race. It’s a week before my marathon but it’s only five miles. My shin felt pretty alright after my foam rolling so I wasn’t too worried about that (but obviously I did worry because hi I’m Anna and always injured). The last time I did this race I wasn’t in great shape and was coming back from a hip niggle, and the time before that I did really well as I was right in a good phase of fast running and PB’ing.

I also knew if I did push it there could be a chance to place well. Previously I’ve achieved second and third place, respectively, out of the females. I took the pressure off by just wanting to enjoy it, seeing how I felt and not smashing myself to bits because Liverpool is the goal race.

Just before the start I needed another pee and the loos had a long queue. So as part of my warm-up run I ran down a country lane to see if there were any good bushes. I turned around a corner and found a lot of stinging nettles…hmm. There was a couple walking away from me a distance away but no one else around. I thought if I was super fast I could quickly just pee on the side of the verge, away from the nettles, but potentially in full view of anyone who appeared. Mid-pee I heard the sound of a man running up the road to my corner, I yelled out panicked “Stop!! Wait there!” and, as a fellow runner, he knew what was going on and yelled that he wouldn’t come round. When I’d finished and came round the corner I thanked him profusely. He laughed and said he was trying to find somewhere too.

We lined up and then off we went. I got into a good rhythm and found myself with the other lead ladies.

HAM_0165-XL (Photo credit to Paul Hammond)

I honestly felt comfortable 95% of this race. I just seemed to find a good speed. There were several hills but also good down hills as well. I managed to overtake a lady at around mile two and pushed on. As I came up to some marshals a while later they shouted that I was the first lady. I didn’t realise! I thought there was at least another lady ahead. This resolved me to maintain the lead. I think maintaining a lead is harder than gaining one as you have no real control and can’t see where the others are or know if they’re going to suddenly out-sprint you later. It’s mentally tough.

My pace was really good for me but I didn’t feel flat-out. I remember how I felt in the previous years where it was a pain train the entire time. Last year I almost considered just pretending I was sick so I could stop running (pathetic, yes) as I found it so hard. It felt very good to know I was in better shape. A good confidence boost for the marathon!

I didn’t even miss not having music (it’s not allowed as the roads aren’t closed). I just focused on my running and gave myself milestones. It honestly just felt good.

IMG_1373 (Photo credit to Paul Hammond)

At four miles I still felt good. I kept pushing and got to the end bit where you have to run around a cricket pitch before the finish (somewhat soul-destroying). With everyone cheering I pushed harder and that’s when I felt the pain train happen.

IMG_1375(Photo credit to Paul Hammond)

I somehow managed to smile for the camera and then got round the corner for the sprint finish.

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My time was 33:43 (a PB by almost 40 seconds) and first lady. Finally I’d managed to get the first lady position on my third attempt!

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(Bit of Strava geeking out…comparing my race to the other two)

IMG_1391I wasn’t completed destroyed after the race either which was great! Just a bit pooped.

Alfie had a great time as well, though he barely noticed me when I ran past him despite me shouting to him. That’s love for you!Romsey (1) Obviously I got my cake ASAP (a slice of moist ginger cake) and got my dad his well-deserved beer.

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My parents were fantastic supporters, as were the running club. It was just such a great day.

IMG_1356It’s definitely more of an overall love for the event than simply the race itself, you know?

I got two beer tankards as my prizes (first lady overall and first senior lady) and took a couple more slices of cake home for the freezer (gluten-free brownie and lemon sponge).Romsey (2) You only get one cake token but if you donate money at the end (once everyone has had their slice) you can get more. And my mum was happy as I gave her a cake token someone else had given me…apparently I’m known as a cake monster or something…? My dad also got another beer as well. So everyone was pretty happy!

Overall I’m over the moon with this race. I felt good, my shin feels fine (though I’m considering just cross-training this week to be certain. Or am I being paranoid!?) and I feel like I’m back to where I was.

Romsey beer race, I’ll definitely aim to be there next year!

IMG_1394Three years of the beer race!

How was your weekend?

Do you have a race you always go back to?

Beer after a race, yes or no? I’m not a beer fan in general so it was a no for me (much to my dad’s delight).

14 thoughts on “Romsey 5 Mile Beer Race

  1. Eeek…running a 5 mile PB the week before a marathon! Congrats for sure, but please, please be careful – I’m sure you know your own body, but cross training sounds like the safest option. Do take care of that shin and make sure you’re in the best shape possible for Sunday.

    You always take the best race photos. I would give my eye teeth to be so photogenic! You are definitely the female equivalent of Ridiculously Photogenic Guy.
    Jess @ One Step Closer recently posted…Durham Coast Half Marathon 2015My Profile

    • OK now I’m freaking out!! I wasn’t going 100% full out and didn’t feel destroyed afterwards…gargghh! I’m taking it super easy though this week – cross training like a pro just to be absolutely certain!
      Remember I cherry pick the best photos for my blog! There were lots that were HIDEOUS!
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Romsey 5 Mile Beer RaceMy Profile

  2. Ah Anna this is brilliant! How come you always find the best races? Beer run…..cakeathon…..I’m moving down South! It sounds like you’re in perfect shape for the marathon. You know your own body, just be careful not to do too much this week. Congratulations on the win! #champ
    Autumn recently posted…An Open Letter to parkrun VolunteersMy Profile

  3. What an awesome weekend- parkrun, racing, cake, afternoon tea… I am tired just reading it!
    Awesome work on the pb and on first lady- amazing stuff. Just make sure you rest this week so you are raring to go next weekend.
    Cake after a race is the best thing- there is a 10 mile race that I will be doing for the third year in a row this summer- tea and cake is £1 at the end, and all made by the running club that organises it, so you know they are good pieces of cake too.
    I don’t drink beer anyway, and have only had it offered after the Stockholm marathon- I am pretty sure Andy had mine too as he was waiting for me for about an hour. Not sure it’s the best idea but at least it’s some form of liquid!
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…Whipsnade stampede 10K (run like a bear has escaped)My Profile

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