Saturday, September 19, 2015

A Slight Hiccup

So I was over to the Rogue Runs Mini Mountain Marathon this morning. As you'd expect I was in for the Long Course. Kit packed, Vera loaded I was all set for a great weekend of running - or walking when the going got rough.

All was going to plan. I rolled up to the event, checked in. Collected my map, marked my controls and set off at about 9:42..

I had a little hiccup at control one. Not a disaster and I didn't waste too much time finding it. The problem I have with the Harvey's Map is what I like to call the "That's not a knife. This IS a knife!" quote from Crocodile Dundee. For a feature to make the Harvey's it has to be BIG, really BIG. Where there might be lot's of crags, only the BIG ones make it onto the map. Control one was more a rock face than a crag amongst many crags. A re-entrant is more a valley on the Harvey's. A sink hole, practically a small mine. You get the picture. Anyway, my error at control one helped me for the rest of the route and hopefully the rest of my Harvey's map usage...

With control one in the bag I then proceeded to cock up control two. It was more a case of not concentrating and planning properly than anything else so I take the hit. Again, didn't lose too much time.

Control three presented no problems but on the way to four I had a bit of a mishap. I fair f*(%ed down while crossing a the river. My foot just slipped from beneath me and I cracked my right knee good and proper but saved myself from a soaking with my quick reflexes although I did manage to flip one of my fingernails back on itself - not at all painful and of course there was no profanities spoken - like f*(% there wasn't!

My knee didn't feel to bad so I decided to carry on. Control four was okay - although it always helps when you come across a fellow competitor searching for the same control who starts waving at his partner when he's found it...

I took some good lines to the next two controls and wasted no time - other than my pedestrian pace - checking them off. Control seven was a longish slog but I knew the route there well as did I the route to eight and in both cases covered the distance pretty decently.

My nemesis was number nine, the last. It started off well as I ran under the Fan Hir ridge, knowing there was a bit of a path there. But once I got back up top it all went utterly Pete Tong.With probably less than 3km of actual distance to go I was feeling pretty good and with fifty minutes left to break the six hour mark I was feeling good... (apart from the slightly hurting knee).

From that point it all went wrong. Tussocks! I never every want to here the word again.EVER! My progress slowed to a crawl. The tussocks really didn't help my knee, causing much twisting and hurting.

Half way across the tussocks I tripped and my right leg cramped up. Hadn't felt any twitches before that. Spent three or four minutes sat in the tussock stretching before I moved on. Even more slowly than before. A few minutes later I fell into a deep tussock. Practically up to my chest and I could feel the cramp coming on again. I slightly panicked but also tried to relax. And just stood, feet underwater, trying to stay relaxed and stave off another bought of cramp which would have had much worse consequences.

From there I was even slower and just wanted to get back in one piece. My knee was starting to full on hurt so I was reduced to checking almost every step was going to make good contact with solid ground... I eventually made it to the valley bottom crossed the river and climbed up to control nine.

I was then back on the path for a bit before cutting off on a short-cut off piste and down to the finish. Never have I been more glad to make it back - and I wasn't last! Fourth of five with six non-finishers. I'll take that as a result. I've taken the sensible decision and hung up my running shoes for the weekend and decided to call it a day on tomorrow. With the Black Mountains race next weekend I really can't afford to do more damage.

I'm disappointed not to run tomorrow but I know I'd be doing more damage. Apart from the couple of hiccups I really enjoyed the MMM. I think the route was really good. Hat's off to the RogueRuns team for putting on a great event.