Went for a jog with a dog on Tuesday - easy 4
Wednesday I was racing again. Keswick again. 5.5 miles this time but the first mile and a bit is up a steep hill offroad. Officially this is a fellrace, but there is no kit requirement, there are no summits visited, and even on this damp day I had no problem using road shoes.
I didn't want to get into oxygen debt before we even began the climb proper so settled into about 12th place as we crossed the bridge over the A66 to begin climbing up the side of Lattrigg fell. At the first sign of a relaxing of the gradient several lads around me seemed to need the breather but not having been trying terribly hard up until then I pushed on and opened my stride as a very brief downhill was enjoyed. This was enough to get me clear of the pack. On the climb proper I was in the top 10 and running with Sam Ware or Eden Runners. We exchanged a brief word or two as we climbed and after 11 minutes of the start were still within shouting distance of the eventual winner Carl Bell, maybe 15 or 20 seconds at most ahead of us at that stage.
As we reached the Gale Rd carpark where a small crowd was gathered to watch, I was about 5 metres behind Sam. We had dropped a companion from Keswick AC and were running in 7th and 8th position. I easily caught Sam over the flattish part, then was aware I was pulling away from him as we descended through the fields.
So 7th place was mine and ahead was John French of Eden, someone who I regarded as much faster runner than me (though not historically) since he beat me by nearly 4 minutes at the Keswick half earlier this year. As we finished running downhill and began the 2.5 mile section of flat track to Keswick along the route of the old railway line I was approx 70 metres behind John. I was trying very hard indeed all the way to the finish and was catching John - but only by the smallest of margins. I saw him catch and pass two runners but try as I might I couldnt go fast enough to pass any of them myself. As we rounded the Leisure Centre I was right on the heels of 6th place but thought better of initiating a sprint to try to gain one place.
The results show me in 7th place but crucially, only 24 seconds behind 4th place John, who I suspect edged away from me again in that last couple of minutes racing as he must have battled for position with Paul Wathan who was 1 second behind him on the line. More remarkably I was just 41 seconds behind Steve Birkinshaw, who I don't know but certainly know of, and whom I regard as a 'proper fast' fella.
|Walked in the fells with Scamp before the race - this was my view (but in colour)|
Within a minute of finishing I saw the first lady, Emma Clayton of Bingley Harriers cross the line! Maybe just as well it wasnt a mile longer or I might have been caught by her. The average pace per mile had a massive hole knocked into it with the big uphill section but as far as racing was concerned I was very happy with this performance. I think the Ultra 50 is out of my legs now and after another week of fast training I should be as ready as I ever could be for the Dumfries 10k. I am a bit concerned about how much I have built up to it. Mentally I mean. Two years ago I was bitterly disappointed with my run at Dumfries after expecting much. One thing I am definitely going to do after Dumfries is have a rest from hard training after work. For two weeks I will only train at the weekend. Of a night I may go up the fells with Scamp and a camera whilst the daylight remains sufficiently long enough into the evening to do so without needing headtorch.
|Grisedale Pike and Hopegillhead - Another view from our walk|
2:49 for the 'easy' one, then
2:37, I then asked Daz if he wanted to lead the fourth.
He did so and absolutely caned it around the half mile to record 2:29, I was about 3 metres behind him but still crossed the line before the watched clicked over to 2:30. Sub 5 minute miling! Get in!
Daz was too knackered to lead again and I tried my hardest to emulate his performance but could only manage 2:33, (though I did run a faster 2nd lap)
Daz again and ran 2:29 again but I was dropped 150m out and scored a 2:34
Both now pretty wasted we ran 2:37 for the 7th. At the bell on this one I honestly felt like quitting for the night - my legs were completely shot at.
Somehow we managed the 8th warmdown rep and 2:44 was inside what we had allowed ourselves to slow up by.