trail race

Dark and White Events, Autumn series, race 2 Calver

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Sunday 22 October, 08:40

8C, wind, rain, wind, cold, wind, cloudy. Did I mention the wind? 40-50mph gusts on the tops.  A 10 mile race around the Peak District.

I’ve been looking forward to this for a few weeks. Shame my brother Jeff is working away so missed it.  Got there early, among the first to register.  After getting timing toggle I was chuffed when the woman searching lists for my race number struggled because she was looking at younger age groups.  She said she was surprised I was MV50. #flattered. A good start.

The actual start was halfway up a hill outside of Calver.  As promised by the official setting us off, the first 2 miles were uphill and the first half of the race was running into a strong headwind.  Glad I’d put hat and gloves on. Still freezing though.  Didn’t start TomTom for the first hundred yards, forgot.

At the halfway refreshments I had a gulp of water and one of the gels available, strong blackberry flavour.  Soon afterwards the strong wind was very helpful pushing me uphill.

Over a stile and I saw sheep coming up the field. They turned and followed me diagonally across that field. I was laughing out loud, running slightly downhill with 30 sheep keeping pace very close behind 🙂

Along a few wet farm tracks, I came across one of several puddles almost the full width of the track.  Tried to pass on a bit of muddy grass on the left but my footing gave way and I ended up lying in the puddle!  (Insert expletives here). I dusted myself off and just ran straight through the rest of the big puddles for the next mile or so until the terrain changed.

A steep downhill grass section at around 8 miles, and the last mile was a flat riverside trail so pushed on, plenty of energy left.  Loved it, a well organised event and enjoyed nibbles and coffee before heading home.  Given the slow first few miles I am surprised at the time/pace. Really was a race of two halves.

Got a silver certificate for the decent time and a bit of a graze to left knee for the aquatic antics. Nothing serious. Two weeks tapering now for the Indy marathon.

Distance:  10.1 miles official (TT 9.94m)

Time:  1:31:31 official (TT 1:30:44)

Avg pace:  9:03 min/mile

Calories:  1099

Ascent:  932ft

Trainers:  Brooks Cascadia

Wildlife:  those sheep!!! and cows.

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The Exterminator race, 3 September 2017

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The final race of the Totley AC series, I had signed up for this optimistically hoping to get reasonable enough off-road to just get round.  After lots of recces I was very confident of the optimum route, but on race morning I was distinctly nervous. This was going to be tough.

13C at the start, getting windy and clouding over.  Had breakfast at home and parked up early.  Put myself about two-thirds back in the starting pen.  Race started at 10:30.

Felt good on the long uphill to checkpoint 1.  As I got to it I noticed my race number was blowing about as one safety pin had been popped off by my backpack.  Wasn’t carrying a spare.

Flew downhill to CP2, slipped on my backside on one steep downhill, no damage.  Then walked the hard uphill through Blacka Moor to the road.  OK crossing Houndkirk Moor, over Burbage Edge and slipped again going down to the stone bridge. By this point I got a feeling the runners around me would be on similar pace as me to the end.  Think I was right, talked to a couple and kept passing and following the same ones.

Good along Stanage Edge following one of those runners, then found the good route down through the fern to the road, great progress.  Some other runners clearly didn’t know their routes, held back a bit.

Towards Hathersage was a tiring downhill, but OK.  Then a climb up through Mitchell Field was tough, walked a fair bit.  Running from there to Padley Gorge I was pushing hard and had a few runners holding on behind me.  Great feeling.  

A long slog across Longshaw and along Moss Road, but I got going and did OK.  Then after CP9 all downhill, just pushed on and loved it.  Didn’t check watch at all throughout the entire race. Ran by feeling, and route knowledge helped a lot to anticipate when to walk, when to push on.

Through the finish shute I stopped my watch and saw the time was 13:34 and assumed I’d done about 3h 34.  Only after a drink and some food did a marshall ask one of the runners I’d been near about their time. I said 3 and a half, they looked puzzled so I checked my watch and saw 3h 2min!?

Official time confirmed it and I was 68th finisher, 13th in age category. Brilliant! Best recce time had been 3h 42min.

Distance:  16.24 miles

Time:  3:02:04 official

Avg pace:  11:10 min/mile

Calories:  1831

Ascent:  3121ft

Trainers:  Brooks Cascadia

Dig Deep 12.12 trail race

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20 August 2017, 10:00

14C to 16C (felt hotter), sunny, breezy, ideal for running.

I’d had a breakfast at 6am and a coffee in the registration area.  Lined up in the starting area to listen to the marshall’s instructions.  A big laugh went around when he said everyone but one female  had managed to successfully put their dibber on their wrists; the odd one out had managed to put it on her ankle, probably thinking there would be timing mats.

I tried to place myself behind the clutch of serious runners on the line, maybe 30-40% way back in total.  The route seemed familiar from my recce many weeks earlier.  I ended up keeping pace with most around me.

I felt good on the first long uphill.  Slipped and slid heading down muddy steps into Limb Valley, laughing.  Told another runner in Lady Canning’s Plantation that I thought I’d set off too fast, expected to blow up later.

in Lady Canning’s Plantation

Along Houndkirk Road was the first bit I walked, on one of the uphills.  (Lots of others had been walking well before that point).  There were only two other walking spots for me, the steepest bit of the climb up Higger Tor and part of the climb back over Burbage.  Pleased to just keep going the rest of the route.  

My local knowledge helped me overtake a bunch of slower runners on a downhill (Burbage), darting to the right and throwing myself down a hill while they tip-toed down a rockier track.

Turned right ankle two times, not badly, and scraped my knee slightly climbing down Higger.  Drank 200ml water I carried and two tiny plastic cups at the water points.  Didn’t need any food.

returning along Houndkirk Road

My tired legs seemed to get stength back later on. Mentally I was trying to keep runners behind me and keep pace with the one in front.  Chased down a runner returning through Limb Valley, then passed two more, all in the last half mile.  The climb back to Whirlow Hall Farm I was pushing on and feeling great, then along a field and up the last 200m to the finish. Brilliant, felt so good, and then I saw the time…!

Right achilles was sore afterwards, and can feel some DOMS in my quads today (Mon) writing this. Otherwise, I was good enough to go jogging with Emma Sunday pm.

Distance:  11.97 miles (TT) (official – 12.12)

Time:  1:53:57 (TT) (official – 1:55:18, don’t understand the difference)

Avg pace:  9:28 min / mile

Calories:  1344

Ascent:  1633ft

Trainers:  Brooks Cascadia

I’d definitely recommend this race to anyone.  Great organisation, good variety of countryside and great fun.

after the finish, still no idea how well I’d done, but pleased and content

Really pleased to see that I’d come 28th overall out of 136, and I was 5th in my age group.  That’s really encouraging, spurs me on to train well and keep enjoying trail running. 
  

White Peak trail run – 21 May 2017

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Ran the White Peak trail run with my brother Jeff.  His first ever trail run, and only my second after doing the Tigers Todger fell face recently.  Arrived early at Ashbourne to get on street free car parking and have a look around.  Registered and picked up my dibber, everyone was really friendly.

Our start time was 09:30, so we took our time getting ready.  It was bright and sunny, around 10-12C, and expected to get warmer so slapped some sun cream on the old solar panel.  Mandatory kit was just a windproof jacket, and the usual phone/drink/food.  Setting off we were planning to do an easy pace.  But I tended to push on a bit, especially on the gentle inclines to move past a few other runners.  I was getting competitive again!

WhitePeaks210517
smiled for the photographer

I was enjoying the up- and down-hills and pushing on a bit, Jeff being less used to running on uneven terrain was a bit more cautious, understandably.  We walked up the really steep hill, zig-zagging up the hillside, incredible.  Then after the feed point there were long stretches of fairly flat and straight Tissington Trail. Jeff excelled here, getting into a rhythm and I hung on as my legs were getting fatigued.  The mix of flat trail and hills/descents meant Jeff and I complemented each other, it was really good.

Approaching the finish we entered the tunnel for a second time and it was surreal, after a few hours in the sunshine my eyes just did not adjust and it was eerie.  A runner was a few yards behind us, and we both picked up the pace.  By the last 50 yards of the tunnel I was sprinting flat out and before the finish line Jeff sprinted ahead of me.  We both got the exact same finish time, finishing joint 75th out of 172 runners.  Really pleased with that and got a silver certificate for the time.  A great introduction to trail running and can’t wait to do more.

Right heel was a bit sore afterwards, I stretched and foam rollered my calves and that has helped.  Foot soreness wasn’t an issue in the race, just slightly tender later and I’ll look after it with ice and rolling a golf ball.

Stats were messed up by the Fitbit GPS not starting straight away and then the tunnel. But here they are:

Distance:  16 miles (official); Fitbit 15.8 miles

Time:  2:37:54 (official); Fitbit 2:38:01

Avg HR:  148bpm

Avg pace:  10:00 min/mile

Calories:  1925

Trainers:  Brooks Cascadia