Well that was pretty fun.
We went over to Bamford pretty much en masse – it was a midweek counter for the Glossopdale championships. A good turn out was always going to be a foregone conclusion – if only from us.
As we arrived, the sun was shining down on us in glorious fashion. The visibility was splendid, and everyone was in a very playful mood.
We stood around warming up (who would have thought it, fell runners, warming up?!) and chatting away. I finally managed to meet fellmonkey, who spotted me in my white shorts – surely the only idiot wearing a pair in that colour. We had a good chat about the world and all that kind of stuff, wished each other the best for the coming race, and went to talk with other people in the run up to the start.
Carl, the club guru at the race pointed out a good line out of the field, and a decent place to stand so as to have a clear run out, generally keeping ahead of the heaving, sweating masses.
There was a short pre-amble and spiel about the run and then a comment that it would be a short while before the start.
And all of a sudden he said, right.
Argh. push start on the watch, and run like a hoon across the field to the gate. Despite running pretty fast, I must have only been in the first 30 around the corner and onto the asphalt. My Roclites had bust in the 15 trigs run last week, and I still haven’t got any replacements yet, so I was running in my Baregrips- very low profile grippy fell shoes.. great for soft mud and peat, terrible for hard surfaces. Guess what today was all about. Yep, Hard Surfaces.
We did the first km and I looked at the watch, that was a 3:59 km. Flipping heck, that’s fast, and the guys at the front are just accelerating away. I’ll just keep hitting this pace and see what happens. A few people overtake, including Charlie, we turn around a corner and head up the first slope and a couple of them drop away. I know that the ascent has a steep up, a flattish bit and then another steeper up, so long as I keep to the pace I’ll be fine.
Charlie is still ahead… so I keep on hauling away and as we get onto a thin dusty path I catch up and pass.
Going ahead, I pass a number of other runners, and overhaul another blue and orange vest, I don’t recognise him, and really don’t have the breath for pleasantries, just keep on going up. We hit the “flatter” bit, I suppose the bit we just ran up was a steep bit. It didn’t seem that bad at all and I kept the pace up along there, down a slight dip- overtaking 2 people as I went, then a sudden left turn and the kicker.
Drop a gear, hit a pace I know I can keep up for as long as possible and just keep going. People started walking- don’t be tempted to follow suit, keep jogging up- don’t go up the steps- too much break in the rhythm, keep to the dust and keep on going.
Another Glossopdale shirt ahead- that’s John. I never see John in races… he normally finishes about 5 mins ahead at least. Well, he’s not going that fast now… keep the rhythm going, and slowly catch, and pass, and keep on going.
I couldn’t look back, that would be a massive mistake. I couldn’t stop running. I’ve done some hill training, and I didn’t stop on the training. How can I stop in a race? This is what I’ve trained for- keep on going.
I can see a Pennine top in front of me- that’s Joe- I never see Joe except at the end of a race. Keep going.
He gets to the top and lopes out in front, I get there and do the same, trying to keep as much distance between me and the guys behind as possible, and its downhill from here.
This is the good bit. This is the bit I love. But the ground is hard, and each impact hurts my feet. Don’t slow down- John could be right behind you- run!
I can’t catch Joe in front of me, he stays tantalisingly out of reach. A runner catches up and passes me. Its not John, its a Dark Peaker, I let him go and he takes Joe as well.
We hit the asphalt and Joe slows, bang, that’s another one, but I mustn’t look back, keep looking forward – chase the Dark Peak guy.
The asphalt is drilling the studs in my shoes into my heels- I can feel the blisters forming, but I stretch out ahead, striking out for the guy in the Dark Peak top. We go down the road, hang a left into a tree lined path, the surface under my right heel is on FIRE. I can hear people behind us and the guy in front asks if I want to pass.
No thanks, not at the moment. Good choice, he gains some ground ahead of me as the ground drops away, but I gain it back. Out of the woods, down and a left hander, I give a burst of speed as I think the end is in sight, but as we turn out of the corner, it appears that its not 200 metres away as I thought, its another 4-500.
Well, I’m committed now. My breath comes ragged as I stretch my legs out, I’ve taken this guy now, he’s not coming back. John might still be there too, it can’t be far. THIS is the bit that you train for. THIS is the bit the miles prepare you for. THIS is the bit where you run, or crash and burn.
So I kept on running. My heels were in real pain, but the faster you go, the sooner it will be over. Normally at the end of a race I have a bit left in me for the final sprint – but I jumped way early – 300 metres before I normally would, and although I was catching the next guy, there really was no chance.
And over the line. I don’t think I’ve ever run a race harder than that. Wow.
Final verdict, 26th, 33:42. John came in 7 seconds later, so I was right in my thoughts- NEVER look back.
Doing that again, I wouldn’t use Baregrips- but then I didn’t really have a choice. Roclites would have been perfect, but may not have given me quite so much confidence on the way down.
Still. Happy with that.
|No pics of me running, Lynne was out working at Rockover this evening, however, I did get a snap of the relevant part of the results. Still more hill practice needed.|
But I have big ass blisters on my heels. Though its not all that impressive in terms of profile, I’m quite impressed by my pace throughout the race, you can see the Garmin track here
And as a final postscript, its worth mentioning that a Glossopdaler came first. Minor nav error on the part of the guys in first and second, that he didn’t notice, until they ended up chasing him down at the end. Still. A win is a win. Nice one mate!