Blue Runnings

Race Reviews, GPX files and more from North-East England

The Wrong Trousers – A Battle With The Great British Weather

on 31 March 2015

We have had rather erratic weather all day today – blazing sun, pelting rain, blazing sun, pelting rain, blazing sun, so I spent a while trying to figure out what to wear tonight, and having got home rather later than intended from work, didn’t have a huge amount of time to do it in. I’d driven home from work in my sunglasses, and the sun was still shining when I left, so I opted for my cotton trousers as it was a bit chilly instead of my running leggings which are much thinner, a t-shirt and my thermal windproof top thingie with a headband.

The thermal windproof top and the headband were a good call, the cotton trousers were not. As I said, I left home – and arrived at the leisure centre – in the sunshine, sunglasses on, looking forward to an evening run that didn’t end in the dark. I spent 10 minutes in the leisure centre while everyone assembled, and when we left it was snowing. Sideways. We all lingered bravely under the porch roof of the entrance to the leisure centre. Of the 10 people going with the Bounders group, 2 went home here. The rest of us bravely left up the road, and when we turned down the main road, every time we crossed a street the wind would shoot the snow straight across at us. It was horrid. We turned straight into it to head down Blackhill and it was like being shot in the face with needles – everyone had their hands over their faces desperately trying to shield themselves, a few went sideways, one even gave up running and walked down backwards! Anyone in shorts or capris had very very red legs when we sheltered behind a fence halfway down with brain freeze. Brain freeze without ice-cream is no fun at all!

I’ve noticed before that, living on top of a hill, it’s rather windy. This is a possibly candidate for understatement of the year. And over the winter it was not unusual to see the snow settling on the vertical surfaces like signposts and tree trunks before it actually settled on the ground. Coming down that hill, we were the vertical surfaces. My whole front was white by the time I got to the fence and I was relieved I’d picked the windproof thermal as I wasn’t actually cold. I’ve had issue before with my cotton trousers getting wet and rubbing while I run, resulting in minor friction burns on my legs when running, so I was dreading continuing with wet trousers. We lost another 2 runners here, unsurprisingly, and I was sorely tempted to go with them.

We followed the fence for a while, before dropping down the slightly (only slightly) more sheltered, steep steps to Blackhill Park, where the snow randomly stopped, the sun came out and there was even a small patch of blue sky! We left the park and headed up the bypass and then round a new park-esque path through a new estate. I struggled a bit to keep up round here, I just couldn’t seem to settle on a comfortable pace or get my breathing steady, I don’t know if it was the cold, or the wind, or the fact the group always seems to go a bit faster when it’s a small one, but I found this whole route really hard – more than usual.

The path round the back of the estate was still a track rather than tarmac, so we had some slightly soggy trail running here – presumably the alternating heavy rain and sunshine I’d seen at work had not abandoned the hilltops of Consett either and the ground was wet and muddy. It also started to snow again. Big flakes, and the wind hadn’t let up at all the whole way round. Get to the end of the path and the snow stops and the sun comes out again – really really weird. Winter is not letting go without a fight.

We made it back to the leisure centre in just the wind and cloud – no more rain or snow, thank god, but it was an exhausting 7.4km – many were still red from the horizontal hailing at the start and it was really sapping being out in. Not a satisfying run at all but still a star on the calendar and more miles under my trainers. I texted P when I got back to the car saying I was diverting to the shops for chocolate orange and did he want anything – he’d been at home listening to the crazy weather all day so didn’t really bat an eyelid at my sudden chocolate cravings – “maybe I can has beer” was all I got! Chocolate obtained, it was into the bath and then my onesie for me. J was telling me at the weekend about trying a cold shock in the shower after running (with a minimal of wimpy squealing obviously), and going from a hot sauna straight into a cold shower. Getting into the bath was the reverse of that for me – it probably wasn’t even that hot but it felt possibly roasting to me as I gingerly lowered myself in – my whole body was absolutely freezing.

I think I’m glad I went…but I think I’ll be more glad when I’ve got some sleep between me and being out in the gales and snow! On that note – to bed!

31-3-15

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