Sunday, September 18, 2011

I Call Foul

I was up for today's race. The inaugural St Arvans Mutli-Terrain 10 host by Chepstow Harriers. Having had a good night's sleep - I know that because I was ready for the alarm had didn't having a problem shifting my butt outa there. The first thing I noticed was that my legs seemed OK - and that surprised me muchly - I love making up words. I really didn't spare any horses yesterday and five plus miles up a mountain is a not un-testing distance.

I took things too hard from the start and flogged myself in the first few miles - most of which was generally upwards. In fact the first half of the route was mostly upwards, the second half mostly down - swings and roundabouts. By halfway I was hanging in there and just about holding 10th but then the next few miles saw me drop back to 12th, where I remained for the rest of the race.

The race itself was a thoroughly well thought out route over trail and road. I hope this one becomes a fixture of the calendar - and not just for the excellent coffee and walnut cake available at the finish - although I would have gladly paid the entry for that alone.

Back to the race. I was closely monitoring my progress on the gps and as the miles passed and I was looking good for 70 minutes. Looking good, that is, until some evil man - read Matthew L - decided the race wasn't challenging enough and so added an extra three quarters of a mile through the woods. Having not run any of the recce's I didn't know it at the time but I got a bit of an inkling something was up when the mile from 6 to 7 took over ten minutes - and it was all downhill.

My twelfth place was never certain and as we entered the last few miles I was really starting to pay for yesterday's race. I was slowing. Stomping along and worse still, looking back over my shoulder - something I never condone normally but I needed to know how quickly I was being reeled in and if there was a chance I could hold on to twelfth.

As my GPS clocked up ten miles I could see we weren't anywhere near the finish and every step seemed to take unfathomably long. I was running on empty. The last vestige of my energy was spent. It was all I could do to stay upright. My sense of humour failing, the air turning blue as I cursed, the finish finally came into sight and as it did so my twelfth place was in jeopardy. Time for one last herculean effort as I fired up the afterburners to burst across the finish field and hold my place. I finished in 1 hour and 16 minutes over the 10.8 mile course with about 1,200 feet of ascent.

Despite the long measure - I shall be having words with Mr L, worry ye not - it's definitely a race I'd run again and recommend to others - and not just for the cake, although that is a pretty damn good reason in itself. Congratulations to Lou S for a great race, all the marshals and lastly - and most importantly - the bakers.

Going to finish off with an hour on the bike before putting my feet up and enjoying the last of the weekend...

The erroneously long St Arvans Multi-Terrain 10 route:-