What do you do on vacation? Relax or maybe read a book? That sounds so much more sensible then what I did. Isle of Wight Festival of Running was the first weekend of June. They had a 5K, 10K, half marathon and a full marathon. Now while on holiday I could have chosen to keep it a bit lighter at least but no….I did the 10K.
We left for the Isle of Wight on the Wednesday before so as to relax a bit and not be traveling hours on the day. The travel started with a 2 hour car ride with my husband and 4 teenagers (the eldest brought her boyfriend along) in a smaller people carrier with luggage for 6 days and bedding for the sofa bed at the house we rented. Let’s just say that youngest was buried alive in the back most seat. After the drive we had to board a ferry and travel another hour to get to the island. Just as we were setting off we noticed to the side of us was the Queen Mary 2 so had to get pictures of that. I desperately want to go on a transatlantic cruise. Upon arrival it was another 30 minute drive to the town in which we had an Air BnB house rented. So you can see why travel on the day of the run was not a good idea.
We stayed in Sandown in a particularly run down but well located holiday park. The clubhouse was derelict but the little bitty 2 bedroom houses were efficient and cosy. The coastal path was a two minute walk from the house as it bordered on the park. From there we have a nice cliff and beach side walk into Sandown. I didn’t find Sandown the most interesting place to be honest. It had that neglected, old fashioned holiday destination feel to it but it also had everything we needed from beachside bar to a big Morrison’s and it had a lovely sandy beach.
On the first day I managed 13K steps despite most of the day traveling and the rest of the holiday followed suit. On the Thursday we attended the Queen Victoria’s birthday garden party in the rain. Osborne House was a nice tour and the little shows in the garden were nice. They had a lovely lady playing the part of Queen Victoria telling the kids about life in Victorian times. Another stall had a man explaining the role of the various household servants. As he would tell us about each of the more lowly jobs he would get a kid doing some part of it. The girl charged with carrying a heavy bucket of coal around needs credit for keeping a smile on her face. By the end of that talk we discovered the wages a modern day butler makes and I was thinking of putting my son into service. The food was good and I was able to get a lovely veggie lentil burger with grilled onions. I snared an umbrella at another stall along with a bit of fudge and a bottle of mead. There was also a horse show….dressage I think it was called, a man preforming with fire and several other bits. Had it been nicer weather we likely would have wondered the grounds but after lunch we just wanted to head back. That afternoon we walked up to a cliff side pub (Culver Haven Inn I think) for drinks with my husband’s cousin who lives on the island and a walk back. Managed about 15K steps that day.
Friday was the day before a 10K race so what did we do? Went on a 10 mile walk after eating a lovely cooked breakfast at a cafe. I must say that I found the island restaurants very good at catering for a vegetarian diet however no one seemed to have heard of supplying non-dairy milks. After the breakfast we headed in the direction of Shanklin along the beachside path that go all the way from Sandown to the Shanklin Chine. From the Chine we headed up into the old village area for a cup of tea at a Tavern come tea room. The weather was improving so sitting outside was a joy. We meandered down into the shopping area and I got a text that the youngest had an eye issue so we cut the walk short of an all day affair and headed back to Sandown. After much confusion we managed to get the girl to a pharmacy to have them look at her eye and give advice only to be told to try a warm compress. At least we didn’t need to try and see a doctor. Before heading back to the house we had dinner at Driftwood Beachside bar and grill. The food a excellent and the view of the Solent wonderful. Managed about 26K steps over the course of the day.
Saturday was race day. We got up and dressed then walked down to have another cooked breakfast. I was sensible and had a simple veggie breakfast while my husband went for the mega breakfast that had 4 of everything from sausages and bacon to eggs and hash browns with lots of sides as well. When we left there my husband needed rolling back to the house. What went through his mind to order that on race day. He really did eat it all and finished the leftovers of my breakfast.
At about noon we set out with the car full of people again. Luckily this was just a 30 minute drive to the Freshwater area. We had the youngest not running as she complains so much about running that the idea of running away without her is golden. The eldest and boyfriend were originally signed up for a 5K but had managed to peer pressure each other enough that they switched to the 10K. Please note that they did absolutely NO training. Husband, son and I were all prepared for our 10K run.
At 3pm we headed out on the trail run from the leisure centre, across the field, down and across a street and turned into a trail. The beginning was reasonably open then into a very narrow path that meant single file running. This also tended to mean that it was a bit stop start like so didn’t push me too hard. The eldest and boyfriend were within sight in front of me getting on with it. Once we finally came out of the narrow wooded section the eldest and boyfriend stopped to sort out he shoes and I passed them up. I didn’t see them again until they finished.
After the wooded section it was running through a corn field. I seem to remember some uphill at this point. I think I may be blocking out the harder parts but I know there were two hills that I walked up. For the most part I tried to run as long as it wasn’t too steep but both hills kicked my butt. After the corn field there was a bit of road with the second hill then back into another corn field . We crossed a street into more field I think. I was pretty wiped out from the hills and bright, direct sun. It was hot. I recall a bit of a golf course and running downhill through stinging nettle, a bit of a country road, across a busier road then into another wooded bit.
The wooded bits would have been almost blissful had I not been so completely exhausted. I ran , I walked, I chatted a bit too. I just kept pushing myself on. We got to a road again crossing over and finding ourselves back on the last bit of road, then field to the finish line. I knew it was almost over but I just couldn’t keep up runnning for this last half a kilometre. I just kept on walking and running in turns. I was coming out of the field and could see the finish and clock ahead and started running and pushing myself as hard as I could.
When I caught sight of the clock in front of me I realised I was actually going to get a personal best if I just kept running. Oh my God was I hot and tired but I couldn’t not put everything I had left in me to work. I sped up when all I wanted to do was slow down. By the time I reached the funnel I was running as fast s I possibly could and finished in 1:18:20. I am still not sure how I pulled off a PB as I walked so much during this race. I had totally expected to have my worst time ever but it was my best.
Husband had his worse 10K time ever as you had probably guessed. My son managed a respectable 1:03 which wasn’t a pb but as we struggles with pacing himself and gets frustrated I think it was a great time. The eldest and the boyfriend ran through the finish line holding hands…..how sickeningly sweet. With no training they managed their first 10K in 1:23. Oh to be young. Honestly, my girl could be an amazing runner if she would just do it but was put off running by a PE instructor that gave her earned competition spot to the girl that finished 11th instead with no explanation which she is still bitter about 4 years on.
Now you would think that having walked miles everyday of the holiday, run a 10K and the temperatures rising throughout the week that on our last full day we would have hung out on the beach for a ell earned rest…nope. On the Sunday, my husband and I went for a walk to the next town over in the opposite direction of the previous walk. We aimed at Bembridge. When we got there we had a bit of breakfast but it seemed too soon to head back so we kept walking. Eventually we found ourselves having a drink at a beach bar and husband’s leg was starting to have some niggles. We looked at the map and realised that walking on the Ryde was a shorter walk then turning back home so we pushed on in hopes of getting a bus back to Sandown. We got lost a bit but made our way back to the coastal path and on into Ryde. We found a pub for a drink (they had limited food options) and headed back to the esplanade to find food. Before finding anywhere we wanted to eat we found the bus so headed back to Sandown. Husband stopped his watch which was recording the walk at 21.57 KM. That is about a half marathon. We still had to walk back to the house after eating a late lunch and by the time we went to bed I was on 37k steps for the day.
So relaxing on holiday didn’t really work for us. Instead we completely exhausted ourselves. The teens did play at the beach a bit though. I was more relaxed though. Walking does that for me. Running is hell but walking is heaven. Had it not been for the knowledge that we were getting back to the grind and a long car ride with too many people I might have even held onto that relaxation but it was not meant to be. By the time we got home on Monday I was ripping everyone’s heads off. Ah…..the life of a mother. Oh and for anyone thinking that all the activity might mean weight loss…..ha ha ha! I gained 3 lbs in a week.