Sunday, 13 February 2011

Carnethy 5 Hill Race

I was more than strongly tempted just to stay in bed yesterday morning. My ears were still bunged up and I could feel my sore heel. I'd run 6 miles the week before last and 12 miles this week. Why go out and hurt myself under such adverse conditions?

In the end the answer was that I had to do SOMETHING today so why not make it the Carnethy 5? Peter was quite hyped up and seemed a lot better than me from the recent flu etc. I considered taking a camera for taking pictures en route and then thought that that was too defeatist  even for me in my current defeatist state of mind.

As it turned out it was a genuinely lovely day. It must have been the warmest Carnethy I've ever been at. I'd put a long sleeve Helly Hansen on under my Porty vest thinking to protect myself but 5 minutes into the warm up it was obvious that I was going to be too hot. Fortunately I had a spare t-shirt in my rucksack, left over from some other escapade, that I'd never bothered to unpack.

If I pushed too hard on the uphills I went into uncontrollable paroxysms of coughing, so I had to hold back just a bit to keep my breathing right. Because of this I welcomed the downhills more than usual. It was a relief to just shut my mouth!

There was quite a turn out from club and Shery and Kathy, also in my age group, were there. Though they are both better road runners than me, if I was fit I would have hoped to at least give them some kind of challenge in the hills, since I've had more experience there. As it was I gloomily wrote off my chances, aiming only to do myself as little damage as possible.

To my surprise I was still near to Shery at the top of Scald Law. I think she went past me there but was not too far ahead for some time. Between South Black Hill and East Kip I overhauled Kathy who I hadn't seen at all since before the start. I think we exchanged places a couple of times over the next bit. The foot of Carnethy at the Howe seemed to come around really quite quickly. Probably as a result of having done a good few long hill races towards the end of last year. As there was only one hill to go I dug in and forced myself to run 50 steps for every 50 steps I walked. I passed Kathy quite soon and then Shery about 2/3rds of the way up. Its a high risk strategy as you can feel people willing you to blow up! However I've done this so many times I was pretty sure I could keep it going. The trick is that the running doesn't take that much more out of you than the walking and it gives you a change of muscle groups.

There could be no complacency though! Having got these 2 behind me I still had the worst descent ahead and had to try to neither end up tip-toeing down with most of the field blowing by, nor killing myself in an attempt to stay ahead. I'd put my buff back onto my head at the top of Carnethy with the intention of keeping my hair out my eyes, Rambo style, but it turned into a bit of a liability as it kept trying to slip over my eyes!  I was nearly losing the will to live trying to get through that long heather that was tearing my legs up and trying to trip me up simultaneously when the cheering presence of Ruth and Jenni came into view. They put the fun back into it which was what I needed to hold it together for the last bit downhill and then as fast as I could across the bog. I was surprised (and very pleased) not to get overtaken by Shery, at least on the flat bits but apparently she went for a bit of a swim in the second river running across the bog. Some people just can't get enough sport!

Amanda had run a stormer - I didn't expect anything else! I think she was 10th lady. With Rachel coming in a minute ahead of me, together we made up the 3rd finishing ladies team, which is a pretty good result for a race like the Carnethy 5.

Peter had a horrible race, running 7 minutes slower than last year and feeling utterly disgusted afterwards. It is a shame, he looked a cert for going under the hour about 3 weeks ago. But as Forrest Gump would say "Running is a total f*-ker that way".

It was an enormous Portobello turn out. I hope this trend away from road running continues.

Last night we had some ginger beer and wine and watched Batman (Somebody said it was meant to be "deep", what twaddle! Some of the action sequences were good though. I thought Christian Bale looked off-puttingly like a slightly taller Tom Cruise.) and today I am hungover.

Thanks to Jenni with Shery's camera and Bob Marshall for the photos.

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