Well. I didn’t enjoy that!
Mainly, it has to be said because my running style doesn’t seem to work with a race like that, it was hard, hard work, and it wasn’t the hills that did for me.
So what happened?
This particular version of a Fell race up Lantern pike is run on the first day of the Hayfield Sheepdog trials and show. We got there in plenty of time, thanks to a lift with one of my fellow triplers from last week, John S, and wandered around the show for a while. Lots of good stuff to see and do. The Chainsaw carver was particularly good, as was the eagle and vulture display, I didn’t get to see the pig racing, which was a little disappointing.
I suspect that I might still have the residual miles in my legs from last weeks 18 miler, which is quite a good excuse, however, not the best reason.
|The Kids race|
There was a great turnout from Pennine, Lantern Pike was a counter for their championship, and a decider for the year, Glossopdale had a good lot out as well, as it is a counter for the weekend championship (I didn’t realise this for a while, as I’m not in contention for anything at all having joined the club more than halfway through the race calendar).
The weather was somewhat changeable throughout the day. The morning had been lovely, but on the way over there was quite a terrific downpour. Then the sun came out, clouds were piling up everywhere around the place, threatening to, but not quite actually raining. Proper sunshine and showers kind of weather.
|Warming up, (I’m the one stretching, not running)|
We lined ourselves up ready for the off, Stevie K ready to head on out at the front to try and get his points in the Pennine championship, unfortunately Dan Chan wasn’t running because of an unfortunate footballing incident the day before. Lots of banter and excuses were being thrown around the crowd – there were about 200 odd people ready to start, and all of a sudden GO! I’m pretty certain that everyone was a bit surprised by the suddenness of the departure, and there was a mad scramble, elbows everywhere, mud flying and heels kicking all over the place. Within about 200 metres it had all calmed down a bit, and I was somewhere near the front, but my legs were complaining somewhat.
I could see the blond head of Ba-ba heading off down the field in proper fast cross-country style, followed by Mark O and Stevie K and a gaggle of others, and my legs said good-bye to them, I was struggling. Already. Not a good sign.
Down the hill to the river and past Lynne, whom I didn’t see as I was too busy trying not to fall over in a slithering sliding muddy mess, and down to the road. Across the road and up the hill, on tarmac. The Plod began. From now, the legs continued their slow decline, my lungs didn’t feel like they were working, and people came past.
|Mud tastic – but in the sun|
John H was up ahead, and although he wasn’t disappearing away, he certainly wasn’t getting any closer. Up the hill, a guy from Altringham was alternately walking and running and walking and running, I shuffled up to him, he ran away for 5 steps, then walked, I caught up, he ran on again. It was almost comedic apart from the fact we were both too knackered to laugh. And this is before we’ve even gone 2 km.
Up the hill, Chris strides past on his long legs looking fresh – oh dear, I’m just losing ground now.
The only person I’m keeping up with is Andy – with whom I did the 15 trigs with. We swap around a bit, then Charlie goes past us as if we are standing still. I COULD go faster, but that would blow out all my reserves of energy and within 300 metres I’d be collapsed in a heap and further back than now, I just have to keep going.
Flipping heck. Maybe I should just see this one as a bit of a training run, I’m certainly not being competitive. We pass Tom taking pictures and a wildly enthusiastic Des, who is marshaling, and finally come to a slight downhill section where Andy and I overtake about 3-4 people and catch back up with Chris, but then it flattens out AGAIN, and the precious places we took are taken back again as our straight, flat speed is out gunned by everyone else. Onto tarmac, and more people overtake, 1st lady goes past me, a Dark Peaker, and there is nothing I can do to respond, or even think about responding.
Through a field, road, then a stile, Chris is ahead of me and making excellent ground on those ahead of him, on a short ascent he makes up 4 places, swiftly followed by the 1st lady.
More road, over a cattle grid and an ascent up the road, onto a track, losing places, past a group of walkers, Andy is in front of me now, and that Altringham chap who runs and walks, and we swing up onto the ascent to Lantern Pike. Everyone is walking. The sun is still out, but rain is threatening.
Up the steep part, a sharp right and a runnable bit to the top of the hill. I eventually overtake the Altringham guy and Andy, heading up to the top, and there is Tom taking pictures again.
Over the top and down, at last a bit that I can enjoy, slightly technical muddy and slippy down hill, I stretch away from Andy, over take a couple of people, and follow someone who is evidently just as happy as I am about the fact its now a bit more techy. The rain starts pouring in earnest.
He gets away from me for a bit, and I see Chris and the Dark Peak lady battling it out ahead, too far to catch? Maybe.
Again, back past the still wildly enthusiastic (if slightly damp) Des, and down the hill again, the rain comes down harder and the guy in front begins to flag. I keep it nice and paced, this is the fun part. Down and right, onto more tarmac, round a couple of corners and I overtake him on the tarmac. There is another person now between me and Chris, and the next part is a steep steep tarmac downhill section, I let it all go and just let the legs do their thing. Hit the ground hard, get grip, keep going. The water is pouring down the road, but the friction of my feet in the shoes warms my feet up. I stay a distance behind the guy, but as we go down the hill he tires, and I catch him, and pass. To the bottom, I’m getting closer to Chris and the Dark Peaker, we have 400 metres left, I look at my watch, not long to go before 40 mins is up. I know Chris ideally wants a sub-40 min time.
|Coming in at the end|
We come up onto the road and cross it, and they are about 30 metres ahead of me, I shout at Chris that its 38 mins and to get a wiggle on if he wants that time. He shouts back that he’s got a stitch, and the Dark Peak lady seems to surge in front of him. Now its all muddy field uphill to the end. We go down and around, and then past the muddy stream that we went through at the beginning, I nearly catch Chris, but he accelerates away up the hill, past the Dark Peaker and away. I contour around behind her, and if this last part is uphill, I’m a gonner. We come out of the field, and its a flat sprint all the way home.
Stretch out, and go. Not a hope of catching Chris, but I pass the Dark Peak lady and come in at 40:20, 33rd.
The rain descends in anger as we mingle at the end, a growing number of muddy, shattered runners, standing/lying/sitting in a downpour in the middle of a field.
Andy comes in very soon after me, and Charlie not long after that. John H had a long and very tiring race, commenting that he probably won’t do the triple next year. We both had the same experience of just having nothing in our legs.
There was lots of places for road runners to overtake, but not many techy bits for fell runners to excel at. I’m still fine with the downhill bits, but I need to work on flat speed and uphills. I say that all the time, but now the racing season is over, I might actually be able to work on my weaknesses a bit.
Well done to Mark O for being first Glossopdale home in 6th (I think), and well done to all those that ran in the rain, hail, thunder and lightning. I didn’t see the last 3, but apparently it was all happening up there!
|yes, that is quite an angle on the hill…|
The sun then came out and we chilled out at the fair for a bit before adjourning to Sikobes house for a rather splendifourus end of racing season Glossopdale BBQ. Thanks for hosting, Sikobe, a great time was had by all, even the long suffering Ian who ended up cooking (apparently for the first time in a long time).
|Ian, doing what he does best. And cooking.|
Thanks to the organisers and marshals for making the race safe and organised, I found it hard, but it shows me what I need to practice to get better. Thank you.