Friday, 15 April 2016

First Fell Race of the Year!

Scenery wasn't too shabby
On the 10th April I competed in the Thomas Theyer fell race, a race I had recce'd a couple of months ago with my friend Helen (see blog post here).  Based in Combs, Derbyshire at the fantastic Whitehall Centre - the race was being run in memory of 18 year old Thomas Theyer who tragically died whilst out fell running near Buxton in 2013.  Before the day, I managed to raise £60 sponsorship and said I was aiming to complete the run in around 1 hour - my blog post was shared by the Thomas Theyer Foundation facebook page and they highlighted my estimated time - the pressure was then on!

It was a beautiful day with a cool wind but lovely warm sunshine - perfect running conditions.  Many of my friends and fellow Striders were competing in the Greater Manchester Marathon, Sheffield Half Marathon or the local Ronde Van Chinley road bike race, and this reflected in the numbers with just 54 runners on the day, 14 of them ladies.
Pete and I before the off!

I felt cool and collected at the start - a bit too cold actually, even after warming up -  the wind was biting - I spotted Pete - the only other Strider entered - was wearing a t-shirt under his race vest and so I dashed back to the car to get my training t-shirt to put under my vest! 

Talking of race vests, I was wearing the new prototype Striders vest courtesy of Caz and Tony at A&C workwear.  I found it comfortable, longer in length - a must for me as I have issues with my stomach (not helped by having a 10lb baby!), and the new graphics with little green trees looked more modern.    I mentioned to Caz that it might be useful to have "Goyt Valley Striders" written across the back of the vest as well as the front, as in races sometimes people address you by your club and this would make it possible for people behind to identify you.  Caz agreed that this was the idea, I just have an early prototype - future vests will have the text front and back all being well.  
Thanks Andy Waring for the Photos!

Once we were off (I only just made it back to the start in time) I found my stride and amusingly had a little chat with a Pennine runner - normally in races I am the one who is talking and usually get one word answers or grunts - anyone who knows me well will understand this - whats that you say? chatterbox? me?!  

Anyway, I felt good going onto Ladder Hill.  I found the stony surface hard going on my ankles down the second part of the hill and concentrated hard on where I was putting my feet, it was funny how many of the blokes were dodging the puddles over the flat track section, I remember a friend (Katy) telling me, you don't worry about getting wet and muddy in races, just go for it!  It definitely gave me an advantage over ladder hill just ploughing through the puddles!  Also it cooled my feet down which were, by now, very warm!

At the left hand turn onto Old Road I was cheered on by Sally (a mum from my sons school) and her lovely girls - they were impressed by my race number! (I was number 1). It is really nice to have people cheering you on, it does make you try that little bit harder knowing they have made an effort to come and support you, especially if it's a grueling race or bad conditions (this race was neither fortunately!).  Further up this rather monotonous road section one of our best pals Glenn came hurtling down on his bike - he was competing in the Ronde van Chinley bike event - we heckled each other and it boosted me up the hill to the next section - a woody track leading to the fields we had previously crossed on the stony section.  

Once back on the track we came to the gateway where a friend Andy was marshaling - he got some great pictures of us all, which is always appreciated! (it helps with the best bit - reminiscing afterwards!).  Next, we headed down a steep muddy field to a cattle grid and I gained a couple of places which is great because I have really worked on my downhill skills as I have talked about in previous blogs.  Back onto the road we headed up to the Beehive pub - I was veering towards the beer garden thinking how welcome a drink (of the alcoholic type) would be right now -  but round the next corner and I was cheered on by another marshal Victoria (Andy's wife) and her Mum Hilary who were doing a great job bucket shaking and directing us runners.  

The next road section saw another chat with a lovely chap from Pennine - he told me he was in the Vet 60 category and had done a 16 miler round Kinder the day before! - I was most impressed!  We stayed together until the next hilly section when I managed to pull away from him and his poor tired legs!  The next section was brutal and involved walking quite a bit.  The lady ahead of me was still in sight but with the gradient of the hills I knew I couldn't catch her in the distance we had left to the finish.  

Once at the top we headed downhill slightly to the finish which was uneventful with nobody close by - I still managed a little sprint - its got to be done!  My mum, sister and her partner Steve were at the finish to cheer me on which was lovely as usually fell running isn't much of a spectator sport, you just finish and go home!

My prize!
Once finished, I learned I had come home 3rd Lady, which I was really pleased with and I thought I had done it in around an hour.  I cheered Pete on to the finish and helped him avoid getting "chicked" on the line! ("she's behind youuuuu!!!")  Back at the centre we enjoyed amazing home baked cakes and flapjacks and as much tea as you could drink - all for a donation to the charity. 

Overall the event was really well organised, laid back and fun, unfortunately I couldn't stay for the prize giving as I had to get home, but kindly Ste Davison who I met at the Macclesfield Duathlon in February took my prize for me - a lovely beanie hat which he posted on to me - thanks again Ste and good luck in your forthcoming Ultra!    

At the bakery in Tideswell
I found out through the results that I had come home in 1 hour 1 minute and 1 second so not a bad guess hey?!  Thanks to all my supporters on the day - Mum bought me a Thomas Theyer technical t-shirt which I sported today on my run, and I have raised £90.00 online through justgiving, so a really good outcome all round!  I'm already looking forward to next year and fingers crossed for more decent weather!
The girls with Lyme Hall in the background

In other news this week,  I have had two great bike rides - one on Ladybird to Tideswell with Caz - not only did I manage 30 miles without falling off, I even conquered my fear of cattle grids and crossed 4.  In the wet.  This is big. 

Lovely Ladies!

I also went on one of our ladies MTB rides on Thursday with Helen, Caz and Estelle on a Lyme Park loop which is a bit of a Heinz route - a bit of road, a bit of canal, a bit of techie and a lot of gates! It was great!  I wimped out of a technical bit which has annoyed me so I'm going to conquer that soon.  One thing at a time... I might just let my face fade first...
OMM ready!

In the next couple of weeks I will be writing my first OMM Ambassador Blog which will involve a report of the Herod Farm 3 mile fell race and the OMM Bike event which Caz and I have entered on the 23rd and 24th April through my OMM role.  

In the meantime happy running to all!


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