As I drove over to Moreton-in-Marsh, the rain got heavier and heavier... to the point where I was almost considering turning round and going home. I usually avoid cycling in the rain, and it was looking very much like my first sportive was going to be Type 2 Fun.
Luckily by the time I arrived the weather had upgraded to 'light drizzle'. I optimistically stuffed my waterproof into a jersey pocket, where it stayed for at least 20 minutes before I caved in and put it on.
At the food stop I stuffed myself with flapjack and banana, refilled my water and grabbed a large handful of sweets for future hills. The rain jacket went back into my pocket at this point, and stayed there until the end. Phew.
The hill out of Chipping Campden (on the B4081) seemed to go on forever, but I made it all the way up without getting off and walking, and even overtook some people. I guess I'm finally getting better at hills, yay. A marshall at the A44 road crossing: "are you enjoying the hill?" me: "urgh, is it over yet?" "no! enjoy!". And he was right, it kept going up towards Snowshill. I stopped at the top for a well earned drinks break.
Apparently soon afterwards I cycled right past a trig point without noticing it - how does that even happen?! I'm a bit annoyed about this and am considering logging it anyway... However I did stop to take photos of lavender fields, along with several other riders.
not the lavender fields
I managed to use my full range of gears on this ride - from crawling up the never ending hill to swooshing down a lovely descent - which I'd probably have gone quicker on if it had been drier, but that's ok.
I crossed the finish line at around 3hr15, having done the 'short' 60km route. I'd hoped for closer to three hours and think I'd probably have managed if it had been dry.
Treated myself to a short sports massage afterwards, as my shoulders and upper left arm were feeling rather tight. I'd lasted about 2.5hrs before my fingers started tingling, which is an improvement on earlier rides
Despite my whinging about the rain, I really enjoyed my first sportive and will definitely be signing up for more in future! I'm determined to build up to longer distances too.
I lived a two minute walk from this for three years when I first moved to Gloucester, but hadn't ever considered visiting. It's a big building, but it turns out only two floors have museum stuff, which is a bit disappointing. We managed to spend an hour here, and what was there was good - but I think if I'd paid £8.50 for an adult ticket I'd be feeling a bit put out (instead we paid £10 for a pass for all four of Gloucester's museums, so it'll be fine as long as we get round to visiting at least one other in the next 12 months.. watch this space.)
I took this photo a couple of weeks ago before heading out for a run, to show how my funky new running leggings clash with my shoes. And our newly block paved driveway.
That was the last time I ran. I had to cut my run short and limp home because the gentle ache in my left shin that I'd been ignoring for a few weeks suddenly got a lot worse and turned into a stabby pain. Roughly where that badly doodled black X is. Ouch.
Dr Google convinced me it was either a shin splint or a stress fracture, and it turns out the actual doctor/physio agrees. I've avoided having to go for any diagnostic scans as it had already started feeling better by my first appointment (after four days of rest).
I've had two physio sessions now, involving some evil calf massaging on both legs. Apparently my muscles were very tight, so potentially causing extra strain in other places. I hadn't suddenly changed running frequency, technique, or speed and my shoes aren't badly worn, so this has probably been building up for a while.
I'm now on a regime of stretches several times a day, and avoiding high impact exercise. I never thought I'd miss going for a run! I've had to resort to swimming, though I was pleased to discover last weekend that road cycling doesn't seem to cause any pain.
There are two important lessons I should learn from this:
don't ignore niggly pains in the hope that they'll go away
when people say stretching is important, listen!
Sadly this means I'll be missing out on Gloucester 10k this year. I'm aiming to find another race later in the year when I'm up and running (groan) again, so watch this space...