Monday, 14 March 2011

“You win some you loose some; it’s all the same to me” Lemmy, Motorhead, from the Ace of Spades.

Well once again it’s been a while since I whizzed over the keyboard and published some random running rambling. However, with all the current crises in the world it does seem somewhat frivolous to go on about my aching legs or something. Yet I suppose I am not that different to most people with a passion and no matter what is going on at some point your thoughts turn to it. So with that in mind what the blinking flip have I been up to over the last few weeks.
Well the first thing was entering my first navigational running event; the Dark & White Mini Mountain Marathons. The first event of the current 3 race series was held near Chesterfield on the 27th of February. So it was another early morning start (not so good when you’ve been to your cousins wedding celebrations the night before) that comprises of stumbling around trying to make a flask of coffee, pasting on loads of deep heat on the war wounds, rubbing yours eyes because you are not quite awake then realising that that strange burning sensation in your head was because you still had deep heat on your fingers and rushing to the bathroom to wash your eyes before they become burnt out of their sockets! Luckily for me my team mate Tracy is rather more awake and we hit the road to chesterfield with exciting anticipation as this was also the first time Tracy had run this type of event. In fact it would be her second ever race having only started running last summer.

No photo's from the event as we did not have time to take any so here's one from a training mission in the Roaches

We had entered the event as a mixed team running under the Fell Ponies banner, so collected 2 sets of dibbers and the Dark & White chaps explained how it all worked to us. After another coffee for moi we decided to get the show on the road. We started the clocks got our maps and then looked at each other eeeeekkkkk! There were 25 check points and only 3 hours to reach them all for maximum points. It was fairly obvious this would have to be a make the best route we can run and just make do with what we get. It took me around 5 minutes to get used to the maps scale...think I need to eat more carrots. After that though we both got down to business and just kept running making up the route as we went and modifying it every now and then. With around 15minutes left to get back to the start on time realisation dawned on us that we were not going to make it. So it was time for my sergeant major approach and tell Tracy to get a move on....whilst remaining out of punching and kicking distance (well she is a brown belt in kickboxing!). And bloody hell did she move, with a fantastic effort Tracy started running at 7min mile pace. We clocked in 6minutes past the dead line and as such lost some points due to time penalties. We had covered 17.5 miles according to my Garmin so we were both pleased. After a coffee though the interim results came out and we were both amazed to see that we had topped the mixed teams, in fact we finished 16th overall and were the second overall team in! We were so pleased we celebrated by having a fried egg butty each from the local cafe!  It was close however, we had won by 1 point! It just goes to show even after 3 hours of running things can be tight in a finish. However, we did also notice that on top of loosing the 9 points in time penalties we also didn’t get an extra 15 points from check point 107 as it registered on my dibber but not Tracy’s. But heyho it will make for a very interesting run on the next event. Now if I can only win the next race I was running in the Long Mynd Valley........ooooo look there’s that flying pig again!
So there it was the Long Mynd mountain range looming at me as I sat in the car with fellow fell runners John Whillock, Ian Ankers, Gareth Briggs and Rod Campbell. Cripes I thought this is serious running. I would honestly say that this was going to be my first proper fell race. Having only ever done 2 before (Mow Cop BM and Lantysilio AS) I didn’t really feel as though I could be called a fell runner until I had entered one of the classic races. The likes of Lloyd Taggart, Dave Neil (and his promising son Will) and Pete Vale were all lining up at the start as this race was a counter for the English Champs. Jon told me to expect 11 miles or there about of hell. In retro spec he was about right ha. I had absolutely no idea how to run the race but everyone had warned me about the last two big climbs so I thought I’d take it easy at the beginning and see what I felt like at the mid stage. By mile 3 I was panting heavily and Jon Whillock had about half a mile on me. No beating him today I thought as another fellow friend fell runner Dale Colclough (Mercia) pulled up alongside me and also commented on how far Jon was in front of us. “Mind you” said Dale “this race hasn’t actually begun yet”. Not begun I thought; tell that to my lungs and legs! At about this point Eryri Harriers runner Jackie Lee went past. O well I thought there’s a vest I recognise after running for them in the North Wales Cross Country League; time to see if I could follow it. I was running as a Fell Ponie as I had managed to get in the event by default as injured Simon Reed had signed his place over to me (Cheers Simon!). So it was cat and mouse between Pony and Eagle for the next 5 miles. Jackie came past me then I managed to pass her and so on....that was until I hit the last two climbs or should I say brick walls. Talk about quads on fire, there just seemed to be an awful lot of nerve ends firing in my muscles to get them moving but I think the bottom of my shoes were covered in treacle because I was having real difficulty in lifting them and moving them upwards. Needless to say that was the last I saw of Jackie until the presentations ha. Despite the treacle shoes I was wearing I kept on persevering and then coming down the last ascent before the run home I could see my friend Jon! It was a lift to me and helped to spur me on down the home track and after around 11miles of running with only a quarter of a mile to go I past Jon.  Did he try to trip me up or cut me being a true gentleman of the fells even though he was knackered he was telling me to get a move on and take a few more places as the finish was only just around the corner. So I did what he said, I came around the corner and was faced with the most amazing finishing straight I have ever run...straight down a steep  slope to the base of a stream you have to leap over to get to the tape 10metres away, brilliant J I finished 132 in a gruelling but very enjoyable 2hours 2mins. Lloyd Taggart won in an amazing 1hour 34mins and Jackie Lee finished 1min 20 secs ahead of me.....challenge on for the next event haha. I will certainly be turning up for this one next year again, regardless if I get an entry or not, as it had some of the best chocolate cakes after any race I have ever had mmmmmmmm yummmy
Running down to the stream & finish line for a kit kat break :)