Saturday, 23 April 2011

Norman's Law Hill Race

6 Porties headed up North for the Norman's Law Hill Race today. Any last minute doubts about travelling all that way for a short race were wiped out last night as Susan Thomson of Fife AC published a picture of the cake she was taking to the race on facebook. Mmmmmm. I was too slow to get a piece of THAT  cake but did not go hungry...but wait! The race!

It was one of those days where its raining quite heavily but you can see from the amount of light that's getting through the clouds that the sun isn't that far away. It was a thought to strip down to a vest -well I wore two - but despite the rain it wasn't actually cold. There were a barn-full of not very impressed looking cows at the start. The rain tipped down and we were getting cold. We had a minute's silence for Alan Milligan at the start. I didn't know Alan Milligan but the minute's silence was pretty full anyway. Its not hard to imagine standing there for someone you do know...none of us get an exemption even though we are hill runners...

Then with a minimum of fuss we were off. I felt pretty good. A bit slow maybe but strong. I didn't try to push too hard to start with and just gradually wound it up and found I was making my way forwards through the field. The road gave way to trail pretty soon and then out onto more open hill-side. The trail was fun. It needed plenty of concentration but was manageable. The race gradually steepened as we made our way up what I assume was the actual Law. I jogged whenever I could and high-stepped when I couldn't and felt  good at the top to be not far behind Susan Thomson of Fife and Fabienne Thompson of Carnegie Harriers. They both regularly beat me so I couldn't help but be happy. Susan disappeared off pretty quickly but I stayed kind of in touch with Fabienne on the way back down. Apparently there are choices to be made on the way down this hill but the only choice I made was to follow...not knowing the area I didn't have anything to base any decisions on. On the way up I'd passed Derek Jablonski who I have passed often on the uphills but always always gets me on the way back down. "This is your chance today Mary" he shouted as I went by. "I'm done in today." He is one of these fearless descenders who actually likes the Ben Nevis Hill Race, who thinks crashing down a hill-side full of boulders and scree is fun. He never passed me on the way down but since there was a choice of routes that didn't mean anything. As it turned out though, it was my day and I did beat him. He said I was to enjoy it as it wouldn't be happening again. So that's what I'm doing. Enjoying it. Hehe.

Anyway. Full concentration was needed on the downhills so the miles zipped past really quick and before I knew it I was on nearly the final straight. Fabienne was still not far ahead ( but she's got a great turn of speed - does very well in the cross-country). Meanwhile a Dundee female who I had passed on the ups had gone past too and was just ahead. We went into a field and then were presented with a choice of coming out the field at the first gate and going onto the road or staying in the field to cut the corner but climb the fence at the end. As Fabienne and the Dundee runner took the staying in the field option I went for the road option and then legged it as fast as I was able hoping I'd bought myself some time. I may have got some advantage - I suspect I did - but only so I could finish closer behind the two of them than I otherwise would have. Still, good game.

The race is billed as about 5 miles but I made it 4.42 miles on the Garmin. Since there're a choice of routes I guess it doesn't make much difference. Maybe I "followed" the optimal route!

I didn't know all the winners so can't remember their names - sorry! What did register was that Hilary Ritchie of Fife AC took 1st FV40 after running 3.21 at the London Marathon just last Sunday on a day when many people struggled and slowed in the heat. 2nd FV40 was Sarah Legge who I never saw all race, after I had thought that maybe I'd follow her to get benefit from her knowledge of the route. Some hope!
Also of note was that the first three junior males in the race received a pair each of Andrew Lemoncello's old running shorts. What a prize!

It was lovely to be out doing some hilly stuff again. Legendary Fife Teas. Andrew Stavert of Portobello continues to improve and seems to have been bitten by the racing bug because is now racing most weekends. Good to see Keith Harper out enjoying the trails. Michael Geoghegan was up from the London area AGAIN because there isn't anything better going on in the UK than what we're doing. Tony Stapley is always a joy to see. We also had a guest runner along with us, Alastair Robertson of Lothian Runners, who was good enough to forget his jelly babies in the car. All the more for the Fling.

And last and finally the sun DID come out on the way home and there were glorious views of the Lomonds of Fife and lush green fields and wooded hill-sides. Great day out.

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