Thunder Run weekend

Thunder Run 2016 team mates

I’ve been so busy recently that I haven’t been able to fit in as many activities as I’d like to, so sending my bike off for repairs with The Bike Guy meant that I had to ride to work on my road bike. I’ve not used it enough recently, so getting a ride in on a sunny day made me happy 🙂

Post-work road bike ride
Post-work road bike ride

I had hoped to take part in a local cross country race on Wednesday. Unfortunately, a series of medical appointments overran, which meant that I didn’t make it. 🙁

Thunder Run preparation

This weekend, Stu and I headed up to Derbyshire Thunder Run – a 24-hour team relay on a tough 10km cross-country race. This is one of the highlights in my running calendar as it combines running with camping with friends. We drove up to Derbyshire on Thursday and checked into a hotel for the night as the Thunder Run campsite doesn’t open until Friday. This gave us a bit of time to go out for a walk and enjoy a meal with Kim, Rob, Rikki and our other teammates.

We got up early on Friday and headed to the campsite, so that we could get a good spot close to the course. We pitched our tents as quickly as possible (although I’m sure my tent gets harder to pitch every year!) Some of our team-mates (Pete, Kate, Andy, Mike and Steve) weren’t going to join us until later in the day, so we left a bit of space for their tents. We then headed back to the hotel just after 9am to eat breakfast and shower.

The start of our Thunder Run camp
The start of our Thunder Run camp

National Memorial Arboretum

As Thunder Run doesn’t start until midday on Saturday, we had plenty of time to spare, so after we checked out of the hotel, we decided to explore the National Memorial Arboretum. It’s a stunning location and the memorials are very moving.

IMG_7273

National Memorial Arboretum
National Memorial Arboretum

There was also a children’s play area, so some of our teammates couldn’t resist having a go.

Rikki testing his balance
Rikki testing his balance
This obstacle was just too hard for Rikki
This obstacle was just too hard for Rikki

We stopped off at the local Morrisons to pick up supplies for the weekend and then headed back to the campsite.

Shopping at Thunder Run

The stalls had started to open, so I rushed over to the Buff stand with Rikki. Rikki is a Buff-aficionado who has been known to ‘double buff’ in cold weather (one on his head and one around his neck). Last year he missed out on the limited edition Thunder Run buff, so he didn’t want that to happen again. I had a look at the buff, but the colours didn’t appeal to me, so I decided to save my money this year.

Thunder Run buff 2016
Thunder Run buff 2016

In the evening, we had a barbecue – Quorn sausages for me and burgers and sausages for the others. We had camped further down the campsite than last year, so were unaffected by the noise of the generators, but the campers next to us not only had a lot of children with them but they also seemed determined to drink as much alcohol as possible, so we were glad when the 11pm quiet time came around.

Open water swim

We usually try out a local parkrun on Saturday morning, but I’m trying not to overdo it at the moment, so we decided to go open water swimming instead. We had intended to swim at Barton Marina with Derby Tri Club, but because of water quality issues, swimming is temporarily suspended there. A quick google found that we were only a few miles from Meynell Valley Hunters Tri Club’s home lake in Hilton, so we headed off there instead.

Hilton lake Hilton lake

The lake has basic facilities (a burger van in the parking area and a shipping container for the admin tea to use). The sun was shining and the lake looked beautiful. It was 21C in the water and the swimming loop was 550m. I’ve not been OWS without my wetsuit so far this year, so this was a pleasant introduction. I did a few laps before getting out and watching Stu for a bit. He has quite a distinctive swimming style and it amused me to see his bare arms whizzing past all of the others who were wearing wetsuits.

We then headed back to Catton Park for the start of Thunder Run at midday, but were too slow to make it into the team photo 🙁

Thunder Run 2016 team mates
Thunder Run 2016 teammates

Marafun (the organisers of Southampton and Winchester Half Marathons) kindly gave us some t-shirts. Kelly’s Heroes Rebooted had the red-sleeved tops; Brontophobics (my team) had the turquoise-sleeved tops.

Start of Thunder Run 2016
Start of Thunder Run 2016

My first lap

It was incredibly hot, so I was glad that I was 4th in the line up for my team. I started my first lap at 3:30pm and decided that I would take a bottle of water with me. This was a bad decision. I never usually run with water, so it just annoyed me and I ended up abandoning the bottle at the 5.5km drinks station. Luckily, Stu had bought me a ‘Secret Training’ bottle, which entitled me to free refills. There was a range of flavours on offer, including watermelon and blackcurrant & elderflower, both of which I liked. I didn’t like the lemon and lime flavour as it was too strong. I also didn’t love the mango flavour.

Secret Training

My second lap

My 2nd lap was at 11:45pm, which was a lot cooler. I’ve got a good head torch, but was extremely careful (i.e. slow!) in the technical tree section. My friend Liz sustained an ankle injury last year and I didn’t want to fall or twist an ankle. I really enjoyed the night time lap, although I was glad to be able to get into bed. I hoped that I would get to sleep quickly. Despite it being a warm night, my feet felt very cold. I was so glad when Stu got into bed as he’s a great foot-warmer!

Final 20km

My next lap was at 7am, but I didn’t get much sleep as I Stu and Rikki were running at completely different times from me. They had to come and go from the tent. It was cooler than my previous day-time lap, but was still warmer than I like running in. My ankles were starting to ache. I wasn’t as quick as I’d hoped to be, but no-one minded.

I then agreed to do a 4th and final lap at 9:30am with Michela. It was really hot by that time, so again it was a slow lap. We got back just in time for Aaron to go out for a final lap.

End of Thunder Run 2016
(L-R: Pete, Kim, Kate, Tamsyn & Rikki – Aaron and Michela were getting drinks!)

We then had to pack our belongings and take down the tent as well as collect our medals. My ankles were really sore and tired by this point, so I was grateful to be able to remove my trainers and put on my Oofos recovery flipflops. They are so soft and comfortable.

I can strongly recommend this event. Stu and I have taken part every year for the last 5 years. It has grown massively in that time, but is still as friendly as the first time we took part.

Thunder Run t-shirt, race number and medal
Thunder Run t-shirt, race number and medal

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