Monday, 1 September 2014

Crowden Horseshoe 2014

I was in 2 minds as to whether to write this one, but it was indeed a race that I entered.
To be honest it was a bit of a spur of the moment decision, it being very close indeed, a good run out, and on a lovely day. I also had a modest chance of a top 10 finish if it all went well.

Despite the fact the it was a pretty quiet race last year - only about 70 ran - this year it was included in a couple of club championships, (ours included), and about 170 runners were trying to park and register in the area around Crowden Campsite when we got there. With only about 20 mins to go until the start, it seemed like it would be an impossible task to get everyone sorted and ready, but it was only 6 mins after the allotted time that we were lined up and ready to start.
There were mandatory kit checks for a few people that Des called out to the front, and we waited for those to take place, before Alan Kirk from Pennine gave a very short and succinct countdown to "go".

The predictable surge off the line was there, with me floating around in about 15th or 20th as we hammered down the path to the YHA, with the trio in front just edging out a lead even now. Ahead of me, Mark O and Chris were the 2 Glossop vests in front of me, along with a good number of others. Past the YHA the path narrows radically, and if you follow the person in front of you, single file rapidly kills off any speed, so I went for the high knee approach and bashed through about 10 or 15 metres of rough ground, overtaking a load of people, and getting myself into about 8th.
Up, past the style, and Lynne taking photos - trailing Mark O by a footstep, looking up and again, seeing those leaders, just eking out a bit more distance on us. Breathing hard, we turn right, the path levels, and goes into the horseshoe proper.

Displaying horseshoe.jpg
Chasing Mark up the hill
The ground is quite broken and slippy along the way, but not to worry. You just don't, do you? I try as hard as I can to keep directly behind Mark. He overtakes someone, and the path narrows, so he begins to get away from me and the person between us. At the next wider part of the path, I do the same and work to catch up. Further, the same happens, and then we come to a stream before the next short and sharp climb.

I'm right behind Mark, and take a slightly different line across the stream. My right foot lands, slides down, bringing my left knee into sharp, sudden, excruciating contact with a rock.
Pain. Like a funny bone pain in my knee. But worse.

It's one of those instant things where your body isn't quite sure what to do. I jumped onto the grass, held my leg, tried moving my knee, tried everything to stop it hurting. A good number of people who went past asked if I needed help, if I was ok, or if I needed them to stay with me, but I waved them away. (thanks Mark, Mark, Daz, Chris, Caity, and all the others that I can't remember).
I definitely was NOT ok, but it was a glorious day, I was about a km from the start and could limp back if necessary.
I sat for a while, assessing the damage. Not much of a cut, muddy legs, and a fair amount of pain in my left knee. I was intending on helping someone out with a cycling challenge this afternoon... If I gave up the race, went home and then got on a bike for 4 hours, that would be a bit silly wouldn't it?
People streamed past me, up the hill as I contemplated what to do.

Right, try the hill.
I fell in with those around me, got about 10 paces, and stepped to the side. Looked about.
And unpinned my number.

After the 170 or so runners had gone past me, I limped down the hill, and back to the start, handed my number to Des, waited for 20 mins to cheer in the leaders, and then went home.
My knee is now pretty swollen, it hurts like heck to bend it, and considering I can barely walk at the moment, I suspect I won't be running for a couple of weeks. Or cycling for that matter. However. It is an impact injury, there was no twisting or grinding or snapping and there will (hopefully) be a spectacular bruise that I can show off.
Ice. Anti-inflammatories. Easy exercise. Not rushing things. That's the way forward.