Sunday, February 04, 2007

Interim update

Sorry to say that things are taking a bit longer than expected on the something special front - looks like maybe tomorrow now - what a bloomin' let down I am - and even worse it's not looking quite so special!

Anyway, I'll feed you a bit more about the race.

Although I was out there for over two hours the time really did fly by. The first time I glanced at the watch was just after the hour but it seemed like twenty minutes. Not sure of the winners time. I think it was around 1:38 and there were two guys with equal time - one was Simon Bailey? I think. So I'm quite pleased with my effort really, especially since it was my first proper fell race (ps don't tell the organisers because novices weren't supposed to enter on account of it being a bit tough). Patrick Woodisse, fellow Bristol and Wester, finished in 20th (or there abouts) in 1:58.

More about the race. I have to admit that even after looking over the map and seeing the close knit contours I was gob smacked at just how steep the last three climbs were. I've never come close to ever going up the side of a hill like those today. The scariest part was that the downhills were just as steep! If you were out hiking you would take ages to negotiate the downhills - as it was we took mere minutes. Some of it seemed like vertical drops. On the second to last decent my legs gave. I was OK coming down but when I started to run again at the bottom along the meandering path I could hardly move. Fortunately, I recovered a bit before the final ascent which was the steepest and seemed the longest.

Someone at the bottom of that final hill was counting the runners through and before that final ascent I was in 46th place. Great, I thought, if I can tuck in I can get that top fifty spot I was looking for.

Three people came past on that final ascent - which nearly destroyed me. It was just so unbelievably steep - I have never experienced anything quite like it. I was hanging on. I was at my limit. My reserves where depleted and I didn't have much left but the Mad Runner is made of stern stuff. My legs where shagged, I was shagged but I dug deep, deeper than I've ever had to dig before. That top fifty spot was mine and nobody was stealing it. Once at the top I threw caution to the wind and just chucked myself back down the hill. I fell once towards the bottom but managed to pick myself back up and carry on. At the bottom I had gained two of the places I lost - back into 47th place and felt safe. I knew I had made it. I managed to pick off one more guy on the run in. I say run in, more of a run along before another suicidal drop to the finish. Then, there it was, the finish, and I crossed in 46th place.

I definitely need to get out there and run (or climb) steeper hills in training - to simulate the hills I encountered today. If I want to go quicker in these races I have to train for it. I was woefully unprepared for the enormity of this race but rest assured I won't be next time...