Saturday, April 28, 2012

That Went Well?

Did it? I'm not really sure? My time was outside the target but I couldn't have tried any harder. I finished in a time of 4 hours 10 for the 37.5km route with 5,000 feet of ascent and finished in 208th place out of 745 starters. I guess I should be happy with that for an old, fat bastard who's doing almost no training at the moment. So to answer the question, I guess it did go well.

We set out at 10am sharp in unpleasant conditions, spitting, intermittent rain and winds that where gusting - mostly into us. I started in the middle of the field, aiming to pick things and preventing myself getting caught up at the sharp end. I had my splits - and I was prepared to use them - but today was always about survival.

I ran what I thought was pretty strongly to Pen-y-Ghent (checkpoint one) but I was a massive 6 minutes outside the split time. How the hell did that happen? I know I didn't push to the limit but six bloody minutes! I want a re-count [throws toys out of the pram] - 457th place. Anyway, with a rapid descent ahead followed by a flipping 10k time trial to Ribblehead (checkpoint two) I cracked on.

Where I struggle on the ascent I bomb it on the descent and soon, for want of a more technical term, pissed it passed a ton of runners. By the time I hit Ribblehead I was up to 318th place and miraculously back inside the target timings by about four minutes, having ripped that split by a good ten minutes.

Next up was Whernside and again, I struggled. With Mr L's magical words of wisdom sounding in my head, I ran every little bit of the climb where it shallowed off slightly - still made s£!t all difference, mind, as I was bloody miles off the split by the time I reached the summit. I lost in the region of seven minutes on the target which means the split was down by over ten minutes! The odd thing was that I was overtaking people a plenty. I don't think I could have made the split if I shoved a rocket up my...

Anyway, another descent to follow - oh yeah, I was up to 269th place on Whernside (checkpoint three) - and I bombed it back down again to the Hill Inn (checkpoint four). Quicker than the split time but not by anywhere near enough to get back on target. 241st place.

The final climb was a bit of a beast, but somehow, because of the made-man route improvements, I found it better going. I seem to like 'em nice an firm - squashy ones don't seem to do it for me. Anyway, I lost a bit of time over the split on the climb to Ingleborough (checkpoint five) but not significantly though. At that point I knew I had no hope of breaking 4 hours but I kept on giving. 227th place.

From Ingleborough the route is all downhill to the finish and as I turned from the summit, into a strong head wind, my left leg started to seize - just what I needed. I pushed on, not wanting those I had just overtaken on the climb to come back at me, and hobbled my way off the top. In fact, I kind of hobbled pretty much all the way to the finish. Provided I kept my left leg fairly locked out, not bending at the knee, it didn't hurt too much - and more importantly it didn't stop me going at it. I had to stop a few times to stretch it but it didn't stop me bettering the split by about five minutes and gaining a few more places to finish just outside the 4 hour mark in 208th.

All in all it was a good day out. Just have to cross my fingers the leg recovers quickly...

The Yorkshire Three Peaks Fell Race