Saturday, September 24, 2011

The 3 Rules Of Fell Running

Firstly, don't eat spicy potato and cabbage soup on the eve of a hard race, secondly, don't eat spicy potato and cabbage soup on the eve of a hard race and finally, the most important one, thirdly, don't eat spicy potato and cabbage soup on the eve of a hard race.

It's fair to say my race did not quite go to plan. Things were going great in the first half. Gaining a few minutes on my splits from last year up to Pen y Gadir Fawr and generally taking it steady. I felt in good shape. I'd had a few rumbles from down below but nothing too severe. Then it was the drop down to the second valley and I took that steady as well.

I ran most of the first half with Matt R. His recce's had paid off as he really knew the route - almost as well as me! I gave him the slip on the climb to Chwrl-thingy and then the ridge run to Bal Mawr. I really started to pile it on at there. For me the race doesn't start until you start to climb out of that second valley. The first part of the race is all about getting to the 'start' in good shape and today I did that.

I hit Bal Mawr four minutes up and bang on my planned schedule. I was then looking to finish strong and gain the all important final three minutes and break three hours. It looked on and more importantly Matt L was in my sights and I was tracking.... By the forest he was blown away - but that didn't last....

As I started the final climb the rumblings from down below started in earnest - who is Ernest anyway? I had to walk more than I wanted - or needed to - until I had no option but to dive in the bushes... Matt L ran on past, he quite literally caught me with my pants down - damn, did I say that outloud? I was always expecting him to come back at me on the climb as he is a much better ascender than me but I hadn't planned on the circumstances. Damn that spicy cabbage...

Anyway, from there to Crug Mawr I struggled with after tremors. It was over and I knew it. I knew, with the stomach starting to cramp as I 'held it in' there was no way I could make it to the finish with the much needed extra few minutes gained. To be honest I was starting to think I'd be lucky to beat last years time. In the end, having reached Crug five minutes inside last years time I was a minute slower on that final split. Where I needed to gain two minutes I actualy lost time. Boo.

I'm not too upset. Pretty upbeat really. Yep, the spicy soup was a school boy error - and I can't even say I'll never make that mistake again but I know I felt physically strong to the finish. I paced the race well and ran strong. Sometimes things just go a bit wrong and today was one of those times. There's always next year. Despite the trouble I did manage to beat last years time. I was four minutes better in 3 hours and 3 minutes and looking on the bright side, at least I didn't actually shit myself - although it was a close call in places...

Well done Matt L, you dun me again you cad, Matt R, for a great first BM race and Mike for his first BM race too.

Today's 17 mile, 5000ft ascent Black Mountains Race route: