Saturday didnt start out great, but as the hours passed, it slowly unfolded into a truly memorable day in every aspect.
Friday night was a late night - midnight actually. Getting up early was therefore not ideal but was required due to my plan of going to Gelt woods earlier than usual to cut away a fallen tree which had blocked the route several weeks ago. After Gelt I was meeting Mike Scott to help him cut up another fallen tree (in his sister field) - thats why I had the chainsaw with me and why I was opting to cut the Gelt tree as well.
Having to load up all my running clothes, drinks, food, work clothes, chainsaw and its fuel, oil etc made me a bit late. By the time I arrived at Gelt with the dogs it was 0845. Walking into the woods it took me 15mins to get to the tree. I realised I may not get back to the car in time to meet everyone for lap 1. However I wasn't concerned once I was hacking away at the annoying branches that had thwarted our progress every week. I really enjoy cutting wood. I also enjoy swinging a big axe to split the logs, stacking them up in neat piles, burning them on the stove. Everything to do with firewood - I'm your man.
Once the tree was cut I hurried back to the car, leaving the (still quite big and heavy) sections on the ground. I expected that we would all stop on lap 1 and haul them out of the way of the path, leaving a clear route for all future runs. Back at the car I was too late and had missed everyone. After changing into running gear I ran the opposite way around until I met the others. It became clear that they HADN'T moved the logs, in fact Plucky said they were more of an obstacle than previously. I politely expressed an opinion that they were possibly being a little lazy in not stopping to clear the path, especially as lap 1 is the easy pace lap when nobody is 'going for a time'.
Anyway, we started lap 2. The going was hard, very hard. Plucky was forcing a pace that my heartrate monitor said was a bout as hard as I could run. Darren was with us, so was Trevor (two sub 2:55 marathons this year, so no slouch), but I could tell they were both on the limit. We soon reached the tree and I shouted to Plucky "you go on ahead - I'll sort this" I knew full well he would never have stopped mid-hard-lap to help but I hoped the sarcasm might make him feel bad. Darren almost ran into me as I stopped dead in my tracks, he continued onward though, as did Trev. Summoning all my strength, I hauled, rolled and cleared the seven big logs that I had cut earlier. As I struggled to upright a particularly heavy and unrollable one, Gill came along, having been dropped by the fast pace. As she added her effort to the task at hand it was if a spider had jumped off the log making it lighter. Still, at least she stopped. Beginning running again I suggested that I was going to catch ' them selfish b******s back up then drop them'. I didnt really expect to catch them, as it seemed like about a minute had passed since they ran off into the distance when I stopped. Nevertheless I resumed my lap running as hard as I possibly could, hoping for at least a good lap time.
By the time I reached a long steep hilly section I spotted them ahead. I knew they would finish the hill before me so would pull away again as I remained on the slow uphill, but seeing them at all was encouraging. The remainder of the lap was torture as I constantly put myself through every kind of hell to make up the ground. As the lap end neared, they were never out of sight but the distance between us shortened oh so slowly. The final 3 minutes of the lap is all downhill and very open, across a field. I could See that Plucky had dropped the other two by 20 to 30 metres. This meant they had all been running flat out and would do so until the very end.
I didnt quite catch them, finishing perhaps 5 seconds after Trevor. The watch revealed that Trev and Darren had achieved personal best times for the course at just over 31minutes. Plucky had managed 30:45. My time 30:15. I was elated and felt very superior. In the first 3 hours of my day I had performed a public service in clearing a heavily used path of a major obstruction, walked the dogs, and also showed three very fit runners a clean pair of heels (OK, as I was behind so I saw their heels but you know what I mean).
(I'm going to take the dogs out now then going training. Part two later)