Sunday, 25 March 2012

Edale Skyline Race Report

Ian and I looking at the inversion
Well, that was a fairly long one. Yes, I took it easy, yes my knee hurt, yes the weather was fantastic, and yes I had a fabulous day.

That's the Hope valley that is
As you may or may not know, I've been having a little bit of an issue with my left knee after the High Peak Marathon which you can read all about here. The main thing about the Edale Skyline was to have a good day out on the hill, enjoy the time on my feet, not to push too hard, and not to injure my knee more. Not entirely a return to fitness type thing, but more of a "get out running but not do anything stupid" kind of thing.

The day promised to be fantastic, sun in the sky by the time we set off to get to the start. Coming over the top of Lords seat there was a most amazing cloud inversion, with the Hope valley being swathed in a thick billows while the top of the hills bathed in glorious sunshine.
Kit check
The start was as it always is, a kit check, general banter, nervousness and an alert readiness for what was to come ahead. Great to see Stuart and Debs from Accelerate with lots of kit for sale as well! Soon it was time to head up to the starting field, and a gaggle of Glossopdalers wandered up that way, chatting about odds and ends, race lines, and vague timings that we may or may not manage to get around in.Stevie K was also there, and from the looks of him, he was trying to simultaneously pin his race number on, AND pierce his nipples. Not sure how effective he was at this, but next time you see him, ask for a quick peek. Sbrt was there too, and a whole host of people that I'm sure I recognised, but didn't say hello to. (Sorry).
Mark and I walking to the start

I for one had no clue about timings, it was all about getting around. Also, there were a couple of other things not altogether in my favour.
The clocks had gone forward last night- meaning I got less sleep than normal... but then that was the same with everyone.
The second was that I was up and about for about 7 hours the night before on a night exercise with Mountain Rescue. Which basically involved hoiking heavy gear onto a hill, doing stuff, lifting heavy people around, hacking about up a hill, and then carrying heavy gear back off the hill. Got back about 2am, so maybe not the greatest preparation for a 21 mile race.
Ah well.

In deference to my knee, I had used a couple of lengths of Rock Tape to hopefully engage some muscles a bit more as I ran, in order to keep the knee in line, and prevent further injury, which is why I have tape on my knee in some pictures.
Ask Stevie about his nipples

The start was fairly interesting, we were there gathered in the field, a bloke was talking, I presume giving instructions which we couldn't here and all of a sudden, we were running. Oh, heck, switch the watch on, and... well, bumble along. As 350 odd runners forged up the hill, I allowed myself to be carried along, and soon there were a few people who weren't expecting to see me exclaiming things like... ooooh, I must be going too fast, I'm up with you! Well, whatever. I saw Julien go through the gate quite a way ahead of me, and there was a heaving mass of runners between us, so I just carried on.
Up the hill, there were a few conversations, but nothing really exciting, just lots of heavy breathing. Rich Seipp was in various places (I swear he teleports... these Pennine and their secret ways) taking video of the race.

Saying hi to SBRT
Top of the hill, knee not doing too badly, and along the flat. Taking it easy, and there wasn't much to really thing about except, "have I put on enough sunscreen"? not something that I tend to think in a race! Down into the first downhill sections, and we passed the first D of E group of the day. (there were LOTS). Wishing them a cheery good morning, it occurred to me that I might not be trying my absolute hardest, but then, there were a number of long miles to go. As we descended, my knee began to ache slightly.
Oh No.
The start. A glorious day
I continued, thinking it might go away, but it got a little more intense, and then, I got a massive stitch in my right side. Fantastic. Barely 2 miles in and I'm suffering quite exquisitely, this is ridiculous. Slow down a bit, check the Heart rate- it says just under 160bpm. Ok, we'll try and keep that for the majority of the rest of the time on my feet.

Down Jaggers Clough, and up the side of the Roman Road onto Win Hill. I catch up with a Pennine runner, its Hanno. We chatted pretty much all the way up the hill, distracting me very well indeed from my various ailments. So well that I didn't even notice they were hurting until we neared the top, he slowed to a walk and waved me off. I carried on, and after a couple of minutes began noticing my knee again. Hmmm. I need more people to talk to to distract me.
Train of runners going up the first hill
Up onto the top of Win Hill, with Chris Jackson cheering us all on from the sidelines. As I went up onto the pike, John Hewitt and Matt Dawson had just come down off the Pike and were beginning their descent, Matt shouting encouragement, John shouting abuse. Whats new?
Up over the Pike and down. It was a lovely descent, and once we hit the fields above Twitchill farm I overtook about 10 people, looking ahead to see the guy from Tring who tends to come up to the Peak for the races. I'll catch up with him at some point, I think.
Me coming off Win Hill (thanks Chris)
Bottom of the hill, into Hope and there is a water stop, I take a gulp from a cup and pour another one over my head, saying a brief hello to Rod Holt who was out (making sure to not spill ANY water on his rather beautiful bike), and off.
Overtaking another 6 people (including Tring man) in a single bound.

Off along and past the Cheshire Cheese, not stopping for a pint (mores the pity) along the road, and the OTHER knee started to hurt.
Coming down off Back tor
Hmmm. Maybe its just normal pain in the knees, rather than something more sinister? I'll just have to carry on going and find out. My right contact lens also started to smart about now, which really didn't help at all.
Just on the way up onto Lose hill I passed Matt Heason and family, who appeared to be out enjoying the fine weather, and lo and behold, half way up the hill, Hanno caught me up and we continued our conversation, whilst taking a somewhat slower pace, walking to the top of the hill.
A Dark Peak chap came past us, making a comment about the heat, and me wearing a pair of gloves... he was wearing leggings... As we walked up the hill, and he overtook, he made a comment about also joining a rambling club recently, to which the reply (from another Pennine) was, Yeah, Dark Peak is a bit like that, isn't it? I don't think he liked that all that much.

Saying thanks to Lynne
Top of Lose Hill, and Carl and Beryl were there, cheering us on, and we started the descent to Back tor and Hollins cross in fine spirits, saying thank you to the kind walkers who let us over the stiles before them, down Back tor, overtaking a couple of other runners who were not so sure on their feet, and Lynne was at the bottom with a big smile, a camera, water and some jelly babies. A very brief water stop, drink, over head, Hanno overtakes, and off I go again.
The one and only Hanno
The long indeterminable slog up to the top of Mam tor continued. I ran. I walked. I walked. I ate some Lucozade jelly babies, chatted with various runners around me and generally didn't go too hard. Left knee hurting again, but at least Mam was half way around.

There were HUNDREDS of people up on the hill, apologies if you were up there and I didn't manage to say good morning/afternoon to you, but I just didn't have time. Looking at my watch, it said 1:22, which was pretty damn good, so I plodded on.
The atmosphere at the top of the hill was like being on a road race, which was all a bit bizarre, so over the top, and down to the road, where I saw Ian, who had unfortunately pulled out with horrendous blisters- taking the intelligent decision to stop so as not to endanger his marathon chances later in the month.

Into the distance
Up the hill, fill up the waterbottle from the waterstop, and on up onto Lords Seat. More people. I haven't been out on a day with this many people on this hill for a LONG time. Ended up chatting to a bloke who was doing the race as a warm up to his season, looking forward to doing a half ironman over snowdonia, (Good Luck with that!) A right turn onto the moor, and finally, after an age on footpaths and rock hard ground, we get to the glorious squidgy peat that I'm used to. Across the moor over to Brown knoll took an eternity. Ahead of me was John Hewitt and Matt, whom I last saw back at Win Hill. Slowly, slowly, slowly I gained on them. First I overtook Matt, who looked like he was struggling- told him to drink more water- he had a load in his bag, John took much longer to overhaul, and I finally managed it before the trig point and checkpoint came into view. We wandered along together for a while, and then I took the lead.

Nice, that will do. I don't imagine it will last for long though.
The guys at Brown knoll had water, so I gulped a small glassful and continued, Chris's Dad was up by the Stile, cheering us on, which was marvellous, and then Dave Hogg was down by the beginning of the climb up onto Kinder, again, great to get support there as well.

John overtook on the way up, and a fellow ex-Glossopdaler, Alex, who had overtaken me in the past few minutes and gained about 50 metres, took the lower line around under the path, with John shouting that it might not be the best idea.
I may look like I can't run in this picture....
I followed John up over and onto the path, and Alex, who had gained a goodly amount of time on us before taking the line popped out between us, seemingly spent. I cruised past. Walking at this point was considerable more difficult and painful than running, which was an odd experience. I looked at my watch again, wondering how long I had been out. 1:22.
Hang on.
Damn. I must have pressed stop somewhere along the way. Damn.
Ah well. Press start again and carry on. Never mind.

Up to the Pagoda, and John took a sharp left, the racing line. Despite his bad rep for not being amazing at navigating (especially during races), I decided to follow him. Well, I know the route through the Woolpacks, this looks like being an adventurous line, what the hey?
A little bit of scrambling later and we are on the moor, trudging across it. He gains ground on me, and thats pretty much the last I saw of him till the finish. I traded places with a Dark Peaker in a white cap, and a couple of runners from Penistone and Chorley. By this time I was pretty knackered and a couple of people sneaked past me.

My knees were having episodes of pain, and then nothing, my feet were hot and very achey and I was not feeling on top of the world in any way shape or form. On the way up to Grindslow knoll I saw Carl flying down the descent... I knew he was in front of me, just not by how far, he was having a storming race!
The hours of exercise with stretchers and people last night, along with 18 miles or so of running were exacting their toll. I'm not far from home now, out comes the single energy gel in my bag, some kind of caffeine infused goo that I end up chewing, gulping down water as I do so. Lets see how that works.

We hit the top, turn around, and the Dark Peaker heads off in another direction. He's doing the down and up. Brave, but in this heat, possibly stupid.

Back north, to hit the south side of Kinder, I overtook 5 people just after the first stream, and ran with a guy from Chorley for a while, exchanging banter as to just how ridiculously hot it was.
Waiting for the caffeine shot to kick in... feet getting hotter, I found myself dreaming of the stream at the end of the race. Ringing Roger, the final descent is just around the corner, yet it seems so far away.
I eventually drop the Chorley runner on a slight uphill, and see another Dark Peaker, in Green shorts. (Green Flash... was that you?!) Slowly I close in, and overtake on another downhill section.
Jasmine cooling down
Then its the final run in to Ringing Roger, I overtake another guy, and then we're at the stones, I shout my number at the marshalls, wave at Rich Seipp for the Nth time today and start down the descent.

At long last! In the stream
2 people behind, 4 in front. The stones are hard and horrible, certainly not the greatest surface to be running down at the end of a long race. We overtake another runner, and down the zigzags. I suspect that everyone is holding back, waiting to pounce at the end of the race, so I bide my time as well. I'm feeling pretty good, certainly running well under capacity throughout the whole race, except maybe the last few miles. No short cutting, and then down and onto the grass, the final run in.
Lengthen the stride as we go down the slightly dodgy bobbly bits which are rutted, overtake 2, and then a glorious 200 metre downhill grassy section that begs to be taken at full speed.
I let my legs go and pound down the slope. No pain, no fear, no problem.
Last guy overtaken, and I get a little confused as to where the finish funnel is... to the left? to the right? I'll just run at the largest portion of people and see what happens.
Storming into the finish, yes I could have run the whole thing faster, no I don't really care.

I got around, my knees didn't cripple me, though they did give me a bit of gyp, and I had a glorious day on the hill. A short time spent saying hi and well done to all those who came in before me, and straight off to the stream to cool down my feet and knees.
Cool down company
THAT was a great relief. Lovely.

I came in at 3:44:58, in 89th place, pretty good for a bimble.

Well done to Jasmine from Carnethy for getting first Lady, Julien for 2nd V50 (and the amusing tea episode, though not so amusing for him), Mark and Gwyn for their excellent runs, (despite Gwyn not actually having run that distance ever before) and to Carl for a fantastic run.
Good day out. The results.
I knew I missed a photo somewhere. There you go. idp doing the "Deliverance" version of kit checks
Good day out, and I hope that everyone enjoyed it as much as I did, and that they didn't get too sun burned. Thanks to Lynne for all the photos, the transport and the beer that I'm currently drinking. Can't wait to see Dan Lane's photos of the event, even though I'm going to be walking in his photos(!)
Here is a link to the results, well done to Ian Fitz for organising the whole thing. Good effort.

1 comment:

  1. Great result Tim.
    I wish I could bimble that fast.