Thursday, 19 April 2012

Herod Farm Fellrace 2012 race report

I have shamelessly nicked Ians photo. Thanks Ian.
It is a year since we moved to Glossop. Last year, my first fellrace as a local was Herod Farm. I was keen to see how my running has progressed since last year and have very much been looking forward to this years edition!

However, just as an aside from running, for a moment, last year I turned up to the race knowing no-one, not really knowing what was going on, but still had a good time. This year, I am part of the organising club, there were many friendly faces, to say hello to, and others from elsewhere that apparently knew me even though I had no idea who they were.
So socially, fellrunning is a definite tick.

This year, Herod farm was Lynne's first real fellrace- she has done a few navigational races this year, but not a straight through, non nav, hill-tastic leg blast. I'm sure there will be a lovely account on her blog sometime soon.

The weather this year was somewhat different to last, being claggy, wet and horrible for the days leading up to it, and throughout the race as well. The course was muddy and grungy and slippery, but eminently runnable and likely to get churned up if you were far down the field.
After signing in and getting numbers, we jogged up to the start, followed by a quick trip up the first part of the course.
Julien, still with arm in converted sling from crocking his arm at Lads Leap was with me as we came back down the hill to the start- faced with mass ranks of runners- ready to start.

Perfect timing. We slotted in near the front of the pack, and listened to andy's pre-race talk, short and sweet. A rousing cheer was given for Joe Barber, local merchant, race sponser, and this year, participant as well.
All too soon, it was ready, steady, go, and we were off, pounding the path.

I don't know if I am the only one to think about races before I run them- but when I do, I envision myself near the front, running along effortlessly with everyone else, ready to blast out and really put some leg speed in.
Reality is somewhat different.

The lead guys shoot off like gazelles, and I'm trudging up the path, among a crowd of others, struggling to contain my gasping breath, wondering why it feels so hard to run up a slight incline. Barely 200yards into the race I'm out of breath bewildered as to where all my supposed fitness has gone- all illusions of keeping up with the guys at the front, vanished.
I see a few glossopdale vests ahead of me- one of them Julien- who is "taking it easy" on account of his fractured shoulder.

The path steepens and I get into a bit of a stride, Grouse comes passed me and we nod a greeting. Up onto the first part of the mud and grass and the guys in front of me begin to walk. On my recce a week ago I was able to run this quite happily. What's going on that I am now reduced to walking as well?! Walk/run up to the gate where Charlie was standing, (looking very dapper with an umbrella), left up the hill, and again, more walking.
I put in a burst and overtook 3 guys, including Steve in a GDH vest, and then try to keep up with Grouse as we alternately walk and run up the remainder of the hill.

A glorious picture of me at my best. Thanks ShaunP
Hit the top of the section, and julien is in front of us, we give chase up and over the bomb-holed grassy field, over the stile- with someone else in close pursuit. Legs feeling a bit better now, round the high point, with Neil Shuttleworth encouraging us on from the sidelines, and plunge down the first descent. Grouse catches Julien up fast, but I take my time, taking a different line over the stream, to stay in touch with him. Over a stile and into the heather.

Halfway through there is a section where you can end up in a marshy bit if you're not careful, I skirt round it and Grouse goes through it, enabling me to get round and in front of him. Down, through a stile and down the steep slippy hill. The next stile is horrible, especially if approached directly perpendicular to it, I carve out left and circle in to take it at an angle instead of having to slow too much, up, ove... Foot catches in the wire on the top.
Topple forward, but manage to release my foot, scrabble for some kind of balance and realise I'm losing it. Tuck, roll, up and keep running, with grouse saying 'can ye do that again, I missed it'.
We pass Ian marshaling at the corner (credit goes to him for the photo), and Grouse passes me on the path. Over the fields, and he's making good his escape and I know someone else is breathing down my neck. Through bog, mud and a couple of gates, right, through the archway of trees to the bottom of the final hill, trying desperately not to blow my legs up before getting to it.
Up through a quagmire which breaks my stride and I end up walking where I was happily jogging last week. Again. A guy in green shorts overtakes, I try and keep up with him, turning the legs over, yet he gets further away. I figure I'm doing damage to whoever is behind me, but have to drop to a walk.
Julien comes past me. Its inspiring when someone theoretically old enough to be your dad, with a fractured bone in his arm, cruises along by as you're struggling up a hill.

Beryl, marshalling and enjoying the April weather. Thanks again ShaunP
If he can do it. So can I. Back to a jog, and then through the gate. He takes more of a lead and I concentrate on trying to keep the guy behind me, behind me. I can hear rasping breaths, and it sounds like Matt. Just need to keep in front up here and I'll have him on the down hills anyway. Legs. Legs. Legs. Pain and tiredness, but Beryl and Carl are at the top, shouting encouragement to everyone. I try to run the last few steps to the top, and a glance under my arm confirms someone breathing down my neck. But its not Matt. Someone else- an unknown quantity on descents- just go for it then.
Julien is in front, but not desperately far away, catchable as he is 'taking it easy' Grouse is a long way ahead, catchable only if he makes a mistake. Unlikely.

Plunge down the hill, brain off, brakes off, I must be stretching out on the guy behind me, but never bother checking. Over a stile, down a field, jump off the next one, down through heather and catch Julien as we hit the final stretch of road. (The mantra being muttered by both of us now being "Don't fall. Don't fall")

I hammer home, never looking back, but striding out as much as I can, coming in at 28:59, 20th place. 11 better than last year and a minute and a half cut off my time. Nice.
I'm happy with that!
Looking at splits, I was faster in every part of the race in comparison to last year, excellent. Not quite there yet, still a long way to go. But progress has been made.

Apologies for the lack of photos, Lynne and I were both running and didn't really have much of a chance to take any. There were a few guys out there on the course, so as and when I can blag a couple more, they will be posted.

1 comment:

  1. well done - i knocked 1m18s off my time - i think the only way to do much better would be some serious weight loss! like you this was my second time round after first 12 months fell running proper.

    the most fun you can have on a Wednesday night for £3!