Cheers, Boos and Coos!

156 has an 'Uh-oh' moment.
On Tuesday, pretty much on the spur of the moment, I decide to run the last of the Poppit Sand Series, a 5k race hosted by Cardigan Running Club which you’d be correct in thinking takes place on the wide beach at Poppit… Except it’s two laps of a looping course which begins on the road, encompasses marshy wetlands, stepping stones, grass, a long stretch of the beach and a narrow path across the dunes. It’s nine years since I last ran this course and my first mistake is to line up thinking I’m going to ace it, because, hey, I’m a hardened half-marathon runner now, aren’t I? Looking round though, I notice that the other entrants are predominantly – two thirds, in fact, - male and that although there is a handful of women in my age range they all have the wiry, determined look of seasoned club runners about them. I start to suspect this may be quite tough, a suspicion confirmed when the starter klaxon sounds and everyone else goes off like bats out of hell leaving me jogging along at my usual half marathon pace.

We hit the wetlands and I remember there’s been quite a lot of rain here over the last three weeks. Hovering by the first of a chain of muddy pools of unknown depth wondering about the best approach, I’m splattered by a big beefy man splashing straight through the middle. Lesson learned, I charge across wet stepping stones – eek! – up slippery banks, across boggy grass and merciless sand all the while pursued by a runner so hot on my heels I can hear his breath! Damnit, I think, I haven’t done all this work to be lapped at the last minute! You will NOT get past! But then, double damn, the runner in front of me STOPS in the part of the path so narrow and overgrown, I can’t get overtake! Gaargh! We reach the clearing and I manage what, in my head, is a sprint finish… although video evidence suggests otherwise… plus everyone else seems to have got there before me. I’m 90th out of 114 runners, but with the same time as nine years ago and some great memories. It might have been tough but I loved every minute!

On Saturday we set off down the M4 eagerly anticipating the Wales v Ireland game at the Millennium Stadium, a warm up for the rugby world cup. A severe traffic jam means we only just take our seats in time, but at least we turn up, unlike the Welsh team who put in a truly lack-lustre first half performance and barely redeem themselves in the second. ‘You want to get your money back on that,’ says Tom pointing to my brand new rugby top. It’s still an enjoyable occasion, though, and always worth savouring the atmosphere and the sound of 74,000 people singing. A couple of Bellini cocktails and an Italian meal afterwards also lift our spirits.

We complete our big day out by popping into see Lily, Russ and our granddaughter - since all the names in this blog are altered to protect the innocent, I’ll call her Bee. Thank you so much for all your good wishes; Bee’s coming out the other side of her operation very well with only a small scar to show that anything happened. As for me, I’m that lost cause, a hopelessly smitten grandmother!  I’ve never been that fussed about babies (there, I’ve said it) before but, seeing how quickly Bee’s personality is unfolding is nothing short of miraculous to me. Today, when I hold her in my arms and talk to her, she talks back!  Well, she smiles, coos and gurgles at me… to be fair, it’s not much of a conversation, but to me it’s the best feeling in the world!


Jane Lovering said…
Sounds as though it's been an eventful week, Chris! Running on the beach sounds like good fun (far better for the joints than road running), and I'm glad Bee is recovering well.
Chris Stovell said…
Thanks a lot, Jane. Makes a change for us to go out somewhere and it's made a break from the recent traumas!
Frances said…
Chris, I love the way you led us through the race on and about the beach, complete with etiquette observation and puddles. Then when you took on sports reporting I felt as if I were in that stadium with you and Tom And then...what a terrific update on sweet little Bea. Bet she's inherited communication talent from her grandmama.

Love to you and yours. xo
I remain very impressed with the running. Sadly I am pretty sure I could not do now what I could do nine years ago! I am working on it though. I do identify with smitten grandma syndrome, and with the not having been fussed with babies before. Must be something deeply primitive going on there!
Chris Stovell said…
Frances, I would so love to fill my blog with photos of our newest family member, but, alas it's probably not a good idea and not fair to her so I have to confine myself to the odd update. I'm pretty sure she's telling me something very important... I might not be able to understand it but I'm utterly delighted and charmed by whatever she's saying!

I'm glad it's not just me, Elizabeth - and I might have guessed you felt the same way! As for the running, I'm never going to break any records, no matter how much my competitive streak would like to, but I'm just lucky to find something I love doing.
Way to go Chris! You may not have placed first and may have gotten lapped, but you had a good time running and you finished it! That's all that matters! Running on the beach might be better for the joints, but it's no cake walk! Well done!

I'm glad to hear Bee is doing well. Feel free to be a doting grandmother.

Sorry to hear Wales didn't have a good showing at the match. At least you got a new top from it! :)
Flowerpot said…
Am most impressed by the running, Chris - don't put yourself down it's amazing. (And I've never liked babies much either!)
Irish Eyes said…
God bless your energy lady; mud and all, you are - as they say here - a grand woman. Love the description of the big beefy boy running straight through the mud, almost makes any female wish for a good deep pond for him...;-)

Next time Ireland and Wales face each other on the pitch I'll wave to you [mind you I'll be in the comfort of my sitting room with fire toasting my toes]. I've lost a certain amount of interest since Brian O'Driscoll retired, but still roar for Ireland against a.n.othe, and Wales then against the rest...Scotland gets a shout...its the Celt in me don't you know ;-D
Chris Stovell said…
Chanpreet, thanks so much for all the encouragement... although you may regret encouraging me to be a doting grandmother!!

Sue, it's always easier (well, more enjoyable) when you find something you love, so although I moan about it, I'm still very glad to be able to get out there.

I.E. Oh it's not the same without BOD, is it? Ireland certainly deserved their win that day and Wales v Ireland games are always worth seeing (yes, even that one!). As for the race, Tom did say that one of the men crossed the finish line covered in mud... must have been that good deep pond we wished on him! Thanks so much for your very kind words. Cx

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