Tuesday, December 27, 2011

With Great Age...

Comes senility...

I was up early-ish but most importantly I had plenty of time to get myself breakfast, plan my routes and drive over to the Wye Valley. I got my kit ready, map, pencil, money, and all the other bits and bobs I needed for today's Chepstow Harriers Christmas Treasure Hunt and set off. As I approached two thirds distance on the drive across I went through a few kit checks - as you do when stopped at the traffic lights... Compass - check, map - check, running shoes - f$*%. I had only gone and forgotten my bloody shoes - what a total dick. No option, I had to turn round and go back for them. My old age senility had seriously screwed my plans.

Anyway, I returned home, got my shoes and headed back. Now, sadly lacking the time for the planned run I had to take stock of my options. The first option was to blow the training schedule and drive all the way to Tintern to take part in the treasure hunt without doing any other running. I didn't like that option so I went with second option which was to park up at the Bigsweir Bridge and run along Offa's Dyke (the lower version) to Tintern. It was better than nothing but the timing was tight and I had to really put in a solid tempo run to get me there in time for the start. As it was I arrived a few minutes late - but fortunately they were running slightly behind as well and the race hadn't started. Run number one, 7.9km complete.

Suitably equipped with map and clues we all set off on the treaure hunt a few minutes after 11am. I quickly scanned the map before deciding to go for the outlying, high scoring control points and then make my way back round to pick up the ones closer to home if I had time.

The run across to Tintern had taken its toll as I was seriously knackered. Although only five miles I'd really had to put in some effort to get me across there in time for the start. I started slow and ground out the first few controls before I settled into a reasonable rhythm and things got easier. I seemed to be covering the ground OK but I knew I'd be lucky to get them all - although it wasn't beyond possibility.

I had a major brain freeze on route to control 14, I completely forgot about 12, running pretty much within 200m of it but not giving it a thought - doh. I pretty much knew my chances of victory had evaporated with that school boy error - or is that my second sign of dementia, that and having forgotten my bloody shoes.

I made my way around the rest of the route without too much trouble and got home with five minutes to spare from the cut-off. Completing the 12.4km with 1,300 feet of ascent in 1 hour 25. All in all it was a good race and even better training as I ran hard while dealing with all the map reading at speed.

It was nice to see so many of the harriers out and a big thanks to Dave for organising the fun. After everyone had been accounted for we all headed down to the Abbey Mill for a drink and some lunch. Result.

Then, as people started to head home I set off on the final leg of my training. The 7.3km run back along the Wye Valley Way with its 1,000 feet of ascent. I have to admit the warp engines were shot after about ten minutes of running as I limped (but not actually) home on impulse engines. It took me a while but I got back to the van eventually...

So in total I covered about 28k and about 2,500 feet of ascent. A pretty good days training if not quite as much as I'd hoped.

7.9km, 250ft Ascent from the Van to Tintern
along Offa's Dyke (low path)

12.4km, 1,300ft Ascent - in the Chepstow Christmas Treasure Hunt

7.3km, 1,000ft Ascent from Tintern back to the van
along the Wye Valley Way