Monday, 4 June 2018

Horrid Herod et al

Since the Thomas Theyer Race I have competed in 5 more races, here are the reports;

Herod Farm
AS 4.5km race 340m ascent
I've done this race before and had blotted out the hardest parts in a childbirth type fashion.  There is a reason everyone calls it 'Horrid Farm'... The start is up a steep tarmac track and goes on for quite a while before you hit the big stuff.  I had forgotten how tough the climbs were! After the first big climb I settled into the downward heathery rough descent and was feeling like I had tried quite hard and avoided stitch so was therefore doing ok.  As we approached the nursing home with a view (which I remembered from last time) I looked ahead in horror - I had totally forgotten the scrambling, vertigo inducing second killer climb!!! (obviously blocked out).  This climb is seriously tough.  Think staring at someone's Inov-8 tread and not daring to look down steep.  At the top I steeled myself for another descent when I noticed Connor (AKA Long Legs) ahead of me, I realised I could possibly catch him up if he was struggling with his old creaky knees ( ;-) ), so it was game on!  As we headed down to the track we had come up earlier I really pushed it.  But so did Connor! I unfortunately didn't get my trademark sprint finish as I was overcome with a stitch which reduced me to almost a walk.  A disappointing finish but I had really enjoyed the race and was hoping I wasn't too far off my previous time.  
I finished 12th Lady out of 38 35:33 - 46 seconds slower than my previous time and one position lower but without the stitch I think I would have been pretty close.

Kinder Downfall
BM 15.4km/600m 
In the week before the downfall I recced part of the route with Caz and the dogs.  I can't believe it has taken me 35 years to go up Kinder despite living so close!  I was really glad of the recce on race day as I felt like I knew what to expect for the majority of the route, having also run William Clough in another race previously.

The start of the race was from the bridge in Hayfield near the Royal Hotel. There were hundreds of runners and I was quite excited to get going.  I made a few rookie errors from the start.  Firstly I started too far back.  This meant I had a lot of making up to do on the 'ups'.  I got calf cramp shortly after Charlies cairn and had to stop to stretch it out.  The weather was drizzly and I made another error in wearing my jacket.  After I got back on track I stopped to take the jacket off and put it in my pack, losing even more places.  This race wasn' going well!  I wasn't bothered as I had told myself that I wasn't really used to racing 9 miles and I would just pace it as well as I could and enjoy it.  

As I finally got going properly I caught up with Estelle who gave me short shrift and basically told me to get on with it! I carried on steadily for a while until I could start to pick out routes and then latched onto an older Pennine Runner who I decided would be a good route picker!  

This worked and I bounded up the boulders and rocks and along the plateau until we came to the trig and I knew where I was! After this we followed stone flagged paths to Edale Cross then made the rocky track descent to the fields (which the farmers had kindly covered in cow shit -  felt sorry for that marshal).  Finally we were down onto the road by the caravan site and I was really tramming.  I pushed it hard to the finish and was pleased to make up quite a few places in the last kilometre. Overall I was 18th Lady out of 67 in 1:47:53.  I will definitely do that race again.  

Rainow 5
BS 8km/229m 
This was my second attempt at Rainow 5.  In 2016 (when I was on quite good form) I ran it in 45:48 so my aim was to finish in under 45 minutes this time.  

The start of this race is quite fast - heading up the tarmac road before it goes left onto a rough farm track.  Once onto the track you climb up for a while before turning left and heading downhill to the first of many many stiles/kissing gates!  There is a lot of opportunity to rest in this race!   Everyone was well behaved and waited in line until their turn though the gates/sitles so there was no drama on that front.  Once through the gate and down some large deep steps we headed up towards White Nancy.  I had remembered the short sharp scrambly climb up to the big white landmark and told my legs to shut up as I staggered on along the ridge.  Once on the ridge I admired the view to the left of Manchester and beyond then concentrated for another grassy climb before we dropped down to the horribly cambered fields towards home.  As I was running I kept telling myself I could beat my PB, I didn't let myself look at my watch though but spotted Connor in the distance and resolved to try harder to catch him.    As we joined the farm track for the descent to the road near the finish I came up behind two ladies.  I stuck behind them for a bit but realised I could press on harder so I passed them and pressed on.  As I got to the bottom of the track I momentarily worried I had peaked too soon but then I got another glint of Connor - I had nearly caught him up!  I pushed it as hard as I could to catch him but when my friend Reene saw me coming she cheered me on - alerting Connor to my steaming up behind him! Connor pulled a sprint finish out the bag and JUST pipped me to the post and a new PB!  I finished in 44:58 - 8th lady out of 55.
My Nemesis!

Shining Tor 
AS 10km/311m 

Another race I have done twice before - Shining Tor is not my favourite race.  It should be as its on my stomping ground in the Goyt Valley but I find the downhill stint at the end very taxing and usually end up with a stitch!  My previous PB on this race was 55:45 in 2016, and I remembered finding it tough on the climbs and overcooking it leaving nothing for the finish.  This time I was much more conservative on the first few climbs - especially working my way up Shooters Clough.  I kept running but very slowly, and passed lots of runners who were walking up.  

Another great photo from Frank Golden Photography

As we headed up to the trig I felt like I had enjoyed the race so far and not over cooked it.  On the plateau/stone flags I dropped back a bit and Connor passed me. I always find flat sections hard to progress and this was no exception.  I felt a slight stitch coming but managed to avoid it by slowing down then pushing harder on the little ups, as we headed right and down The Street, I was feeling really good and in a deja-vu type scenario I caught up Connor once again! I stuck with him for ages realising that there was no point pushing it too hard on the rocky tricky terrain.  After the photo opportunity it was game on along the dam wall, I tried to make a break for it but once Connor engaged his huge stride I could only watch as he passed me by.  I tried til the end and saw a glimmer of opportunity as the finish funnel is around a grassy tight turn, I went for it with whippet like agility round the bend but alas, he pipped me again! 

Overall I was very chuffed with another new PB in 54:44 and 13th lady out of 96 plus a great sprint in with Connor!

Lantern Pike Dash

AS 2km/200m

I decided to enter the Hayfield Fell Championship this year which consists of short, medium and long counter races.  You have to complete 4 races including one of each distance.  I had already done Kinder Downfall as my medium counter so I thought the Lantern Pike Dash sounded an easy Short option.  How wrong was I!!?  It was bloody madness and not my best effort!  I told my Mum who had come along to support that the 2km race would take 10 minutes.  As I stood looking up the wimberry clad hillside I uttered the words "make that 20".  I wasn't far wrong! I attempted a warm up but in hindsight I probably should have gone on a decent run first as the steepness of the downhill in particular took a few days (and infact now weeks) to recover from.  I remember thinking I needed a drink at the top (alcohol would have helped), very wobbly stiles, sun beaming on my head and a crap attempt at getting down the hill at any semblance of speed.  Loads of people fell, I didnt as I was so slow,  I made up a couple of places on the final ascent (more normal gradient) and remember making a mental note to  avoid this one in future!  Overall I was 6th lady out of 18 in 18 minutes 44.  A very very tough race.  

Look carefully to see us crazy fools scrambling up the hillside in a steady stream!
I have been quite happy with my running form, especially with starting to beat previous PBs in races.  The Lantern Pike Dash left me with a calf strain, so I am currently concentrating on upping my bike miles and swimming training as these have been severely neglected this year!

My RunTogether group is going well, I have 4-5 regulars who are aiming at this years Whaley Waltz fell race and we have been enjoying going offroad.  I love showing people the local area through running and getting off road.  

All in all a great start to the fell running season.  I am just crossing my fingers my calf will be ok for the next races I have planned - Grindleford, Kinder Trog, Whaley Waltz, Hathersage Gala, Bamford Carnival and the Hathersage Hilly triathlon in July.  

Until next time - happy running!
Aidan and I ran the Old Man of COniston and Levers Water in 25 degree heat on the second May Bank Holiday.  My calf gave up the week after!

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