Saturday, January 31, 2009

Flippin' Tony

It was the Llanthony Fell Race, organised by one of fell runnings characters, Private Investigator Dick Finch - OK, so he's not actually a P.I. but with a name like Dick Finch he bloody well should be.

Anyway, Dick decided to move the race back to the way it was a few years ago which meant it was a little bit longer than last year and on a route I hadn't run before. This year it was 3.3 miles and about the same 1200 feet of ascent, so I wasn't sure I could go the distance - just kidding. Navigationally, it's not really a course you can go wrong on. It's basically out from the Priory to the hill, a long a bit, up a bit, up a bit more and then across the ridge before heading over the top and back to where it all began.

On the first stretch it was boggy, there weren't any tussocks, but it was really very boggy. Then onto the hill proper. Single file was the order of the day and overtaking was difficult. Helen was already pulling away and although I maybe lost a few metres in the procession there was nothing I could do to keep up.

I was bloody glad to finally get the climb out of the way and I started to pick up speed across the top - and a few places. Then the fun began of the fast - and slippery descent. I claimed another five places which was heartening. The legs are begin to show signs that they can move quickly downhill. I scared myself a few times which is how it should be.

Finally I skidded across the last few fields and through the finish line. Helen was nervously checking the watch because I'd taken so long she was worried I'd got lost on the moors. Mind, she wasn't even two minutes ahead of me this year - she must be slowing up with age [dead man walking]. I finished 14th in 35:16 while Helen won the women's race in 33:24 and 8th place overall.

Right, time to prepare the mind for the challenge that is the May Hill Massacre tomorrow. Kick off 11am. The clock is ticking but they legs ain't feeling any fresher...