first half mile, that is - only kidding. No, I got to the half way point of Porlock Weir in OK shape - read, I was still on my feet and able to run of a fashion.
Having started at Countisbury, the race winds its way along the coastal path which, up to Porlock, consists of a lot of runnning along narrow paths and tracks. It was good running and somewhat sheltered from the strong winds and some of the rain. Things were going alright - even though I was running a bit quick.
From Porlock the path heads across a mile or two of near flat before the major climb - which it has to be said is not that major compared a lot of fell race climbs but for me and my lack of fitness it bloody well felt major. I climbed OK for once and overtook a few people but that was probably down to the fact that they were even less used to steep climbs than me - any half decent fell runner would have walked all over me. Still, once the top was reached there was only ten or so kilometres left but by this time my legs were begging me to stop.
The path heads across moorland and undulates but not so much so that it brings you to a halt - well it didn't stop me but at this point I was pretty much out of leg power and stomping my way to the finish. I should probably have taken things steady from there on in but you know what it's like. You see someone ahead and maybe, just maybe you can catch them so off you set it hot pursuit - although in my case it was stomp pursuit.
My reserves of energy were good for once but the final descent into hell - read, Minehead - falls upon steadily firmer and firmer ground until you hit tarmac - then it just plain hurts when all semblance of spring has gone. To add insult to injury Minehead Council have seen fit to build a bloody hospital on the last part of the route causing another 2/3rds of a mile to be added - I call foul.
Anyway, I made it to the finish in 3:13 which is 20 minutes slower than last time out but with the longer route and the slower me, I'm pretty pleased. At just over 21 miles and three to four thousand feet of ascent it is my longest race for years and I think I finished somewhere near the top twenty but my goodness does everything ever ache now. Within a few minutes of completing my legs were filled with pain and it was agony for ten minutes as I hobbled around trying to walk it out of the system. Eventually it eased off and I hopped - OK, I did and couldn't hop - into the car and drove home. Job done and I survived to tell the story.