Sunday, 3 April 2022

Pendle fell race report 2/4/2022

 Pendle fell race 2/4/2022

If I'm honest, I'd really rather not

This weekend saw me take on another fell race for the first time, the Pendle "short race" For some reason I decided this wasn't hard enough and as the race didn't start until 2pm I set off at 08:25 to walk up to my local parkrun at the Chevin as a warm up. The walk up to the start involves a climb of a few hundred feet as does the parkrun itself. I intended to and managed to, bimble around it without tiring myself out but true to form I did manage some stupidity. I kicked a very small tree root and landed solidly on all fours. Luckily my gloves protected my hands so I didn't need to pick gravel out of them for the rest of the day, unlike my knees. I bounced back up and carried on running with the only real damage being a bit of stinging, which was obviously a lot of fun later in the shower.

A brunch of cheesy bacon sandwiches later and a tight squeeze in to my "shrinking" club vest and I headed off to the Barley hall. This is another race on my club's championship and the second on Pendle hill. There are bonus points up for grabs for running all 3 Pendle races and as I was the only one to do the first one, there's only me who can still get the bonus points. Turns out I was the only Fellandaler to do this race too. The last of the 3 races is the notorious Tour of Pendle. It's just shy of 17 miles and 5000ft of climb. I have done it twice and both times were a disaster. The first time my knee went very badly and I had to walk/limp the last 3 miles or so as every time I ran I had stabby pains. Both times the final of the 6 climbs that takes in Big End has been horrific. So you can imagine my joy at seeing that this race is based around Big End. Sheesh.

My genius plan of arriving in Barley an hour before the race and finding a parking spot recently vacated by a parent driving a chid in for the earlier junior race was a very bad one. The juniors hadn't left. I ended up parking right at the top of the hill nearly a mile away. Still, you generally have to park farther away if you're doing a big city road race, it's just us fell runners are a bit spoiled and expect to park quite close.

I had a browse around the Pete Bland van but when I heard my wallet screaming and crying I thought it best to go register instead of buying yet another pair of shoes. In the Barley hall I picked up the world's largest race number and pinned it on my chest/abdomen/thighs/face. The organisers had decided the required kit on the day was at "runner's discretion" Dangerous. I briefly considered a moped as my kit, but instead settled on most of the FRA kit in my bumbag minus map and emergency food. I knew there was no chance of my losing my way and if worst came to the worst I could mug another run for a gel if I really needed it.

In a return to the traditional, this particular race is a £5-only-entry-on-the-day jobby. My fear that this would be a bad idea proved unfounded as in the end there were only 198 finishers on the day. The Stan Bradshaw had been entry in advance and had sold out all 300 places in record time which had given me pause for though, but anyway, I was wrong.

This picture is me on a different day on a different race because I'm still waiting on the the photos that were taken yesterday, what you going to do, sue me?

Unlike my preparation before the Heptonstall race where I had spent 2 weeks being very careful about "the things wot I put in my mouth" this time my preparation had been sketchy and that's not even including the lack of skin on my knees. So I had no idea how I would fare. Still, as long as I finished it was full club champs points for me. Nom, nom, nom. 

The race organiser gave a speech before the race that none of us at the back could hear and I gained a slight snigger from those around me when I commented "Can anyone lip-read?" Then we set off up the hated tarmac section next to the Barley hall and I had edged very far towards the back. As we started climbing the first hill I realised that I had edged so far back that I wasn't far off being last. At least this did mean that I spent the whole race over-taking people again which is something I very much prefer whilst I am fatter and slower compared to previous years. 

You know where you can stick your big end

15 minutes later I was very pleased to see the trig point at the top of the climb appear. But NO! The chaotic evil that devised this route then plummeted us back down a very long and treacherous descent to take us back to the bottom of Big End and away from the trig to attack it from a different and far harder angle.
I call the descent treacherous because it's a heady mix of seemingly all possible terrains and unreasonably steep.  I over-took A LOT of pussy-footers down this section but my smugness was short lived as close to the bottom I managed to trip again. This time I somehow stayed up-right with a swiftly planted hand. Again I was lucky that my hand landed on soft ground and so I once again kept the skin on my palm. I endured the very quick, sharp stabby pain in my lower back that is my reward each time I trip and carried on to the bottom. 

And then up I looked at Big End. Urgh

It should be illegal for contour lines to be that close together

I imagined that Big End would somehow look easier at 2ish miles in to a race rather than the 15ish miles of the full Pendle tour route, but it didn't. This bugger is steep. According to the strava segment it is a 42.2% gradient. During the tour of Pendle this hill has broken me badly both times. A lot of the time it is so steep I have resorted to climbing it on all fours. During the tour I have had to adopt a tactic of  "5 steps rest, 5 steps rest" whilst gasping for breath and dripping sweat like a P&O executive.
I can't say I strode up Big End yesterday feeling great, but I was able to give it some power hiking for a lot of it and continued to over-take a few people. The thought that it was all down hill from the top of Big End kept me going and made it easier. Thank goodness for that "total accumulated climb" on my watch telling me that the climb was nearly over. According to strava it took me 8 minutes 44 seconds to climb Big End. I assure you, it felt like 8 hours 44 minutes.
 A quick "sling-shot" around the trig and it's all down hill back to the Barley hall. By this time I could feel my ham strings tightening and I spent some small amount of time pondering if I should slow down or walk to prevent them going twang. I didn't of course.

After going past a few more people I found myself running alone with a bit left in my legs to push a little faster along the horrible tarmac with the soles of my feet heating up to burning point by the time I went through the finish line. My time was 48.21 which was somewhat faster than the estimate I had given myself before the race. 

I spent some time patting and making a fuss off all the doggies milling around the Barley hall before trudging off back up the hill to my car.

No, I did not win either of these trophies for 123rd place and I didn't steal them either, although I am not sure why not.

Mental health note-

I felt shocking all day. It took a lot to drag myself out of bed and get up to the parkrun and I left quickly afterwards. Same with the fell race. I usually stay and watch the presentations with a cup of tea and a slice of cake from the Barley hall kitchen but I couldn't face it. I spent most of the day just looking forward to when I could settle down on my sofa with the excellent bottle of malbec that was waiting for me. The only positive I can take here is the fact that I am still manging to function and do the things I would normally do while I am feeling awful. That's something I suppose

Monday, 21 March 2022

Heptonstall fell race report 20/3/2022

Dear God, what am I doing to myself this time?

Two weekends ago I did something very stupid. I took part in the Stan Bradshaw Pendle round (10 miles and  1900ft) and the next day the Ilkley fell race (5 miles and 1500ft) It was stupid for a few reasons, 

1) Who the hell does 2 races in a weekend? Only idiots, that's who 

2) I had been dieting during the week and lost a lot of weight which drained me of all energy. 

3) I'm still fat despite losing weight and I'm not very fit at the moment after 3 years of pretty much constant injury. 

So yeah, why not do a couple of fell races in a weekend that I am ill equipped to do, that'll be fun, won't it?

On both races that weekend I died. I completed them as a lukewarm corpse. On the final hills of both races I was not alive. Somehow my limbs kept moving, even though I was dead. I didn't enjoy either race in the slightest because it was just too hard to keep moving, even at the glacial pace I was going. 

As you can imagine I wasn't looking forward to taking part in the Heptonstall fell race this Sunday at 15 miles and 3425ft given that it was more-or-less Stan Bradshaw and Ilkley combined, only in one go. This couldn't possibly go well. Luckily I was still dead so none of this really mattered.

I decided to keep going with the 800 fasting diet until a few days before the race so I would have less fat to drag around with me and I had had no alcohol in the previous 2 weeks in what I was sure would be a futile attempt to not die again during this race. As it happens I went out for a training run with a friend last Tuesday on Ilkley moor and once again the diet had drained me of all energy. I started eating 3 meals a day again after that and continued to keep off the booze.

As the actress said to the Bishop, "Pull out, pull out!" 

Saturday night I seriously considered messaging Phil and telling him he didn't need to pick me up as I didn't fancy being air-lifted off the moors from Standing Stone Hill (398m) or some such god-forsaken spot. 
But anyway, I didn't, so Phil arrived with Alex in the big fat Lexus 4x4 with the automatic boot lid (laziest invention ever) Before they arrived I'd been trying to upload the 700ish photos from the parkrun I had been at the day before but facebook was being as twatty as it's ever been and restricted my account for "uploading too fast" Like I can tell my router to "just take it easy, facebook doesn't like it when you go too quick, have a beer and smoke some weed"
After I'd left them waiting 15 minutes I eventually gave in with face***k and I crossed my garden like it was the green mile and climbed in to the car.

The hour's trip to the village of Heptonstall perched high in the hills of Yorkshire was spent in a sense of impending doom. Was it too late to pull out now? Or perhaps me dying during this race would be best for everyone all round all things considered. Whilst I was trying to decide we turned up at the race HQ and I inadvertently carried on registering for the race as if I had made up my mind.

We queued up in a church to get our kit checked which made a nice change from most fell races where you queue in a field full of cow shit in the freezing cold, drizzly rain. The organ music being played gave an appropriate ominous feeling to the proceedings. I picked up my race number and we queued up for a short time at 3 port-a-loos which , for a fell race, was the height of luxury.

May as well get this over with...

The race starts in the narrow, cobbled street in the centre of Heptonstall outside the pubs and we moved aside to let a bus go through. No really. here's a picture:

After the vicar had blessed us (again, not kidding) and I had managed to stop myself shouting Hail Satan! the air horn went off and we made our way up the street to the first of many steep down hills in to the valley bottom. I hilariously ran past bits of broken air horn as I bimbled up the cobbles and I had to wonder exactly what had gone on.

Here's what the athletic types at the front looked like:

And here's what I looked like languishing at the back and seriously considering just nipping in to the pub for a quick pre-race pint:

It's different being slow

My recent fell running experiences are really quite different from the last time I was regularly running them about 3 years ago. I was much fitter then and tended to finish in the top 20ish% of a race. Now at the back there is far more walking and lots of people with terrible technique for running on mud and rocks and often woefully inadequate shoes. The sense of humour is blacker and there is a lot more chatting and a lot more clothing. If you're going to be out for an hour+ longer than the front runners and you're going to be walking a lot, you really aren't going to wear a vest and a tiny pair of shorts. Those boy don't even have a layer of fat to keep them warm like wot I do.
Talking of which, choosing what clothing to wear on a fell race is quite the dilemma. It's mandatory for safety to carry waterproof trousers and jacket with a hood but you don't have to wear them. You know you're going to be cold on the tops when the wind is whistling, but you're also going to be bloody warm climbing the hills. No one wants to keep packing and unpacking their jacket from their bumbag or backpack even if you are slow. To make it more complicated, Sunday was unseasonably warm, especially in the sun and out of the wind. In the event I went for a long sleeved base layer and I waited for the race to start in my jacket, but took it off and packed it away before the start. This turned out to be a good choice as there wasn't too much running on the tops in cold wind. I'm usually the person in the race wearing the most clothing so it was a miracle that I got rid of the gloves and buff pretty early in the race and didn't put them back on.

I recently bought a more expensive watch- a fenix 6 and I have set it to tell me my accumulated ascent. Previously in races I have miscounted the hills and ended up dying with plenty of climb still left so having a running total is a huge help. I had been warned often that right at the end of this race there is a nasty sting in the tail as you have to climb up a set of steps to return to the village from the valley bottom. All through the race I was dreading this and was fully expecting it to be a dead-man's trudge.

For the first few miles there was quite a bit of queueing at stiles which truth be told, I was quite happy about as it provided me with lots of guilt-free rests and spread the field out somewhat.
Of the 6 members of my running club that set off, I fully expected to finish dead last, so I was a little surprised to over-take Phil after about a mile and then a few miles later, Louise. 
The race route took in many beautiful views and 6, yes count them, 6 climbs.
The race route is a runner in a bobble hat drinking a pint:

When fitter my race tactics are a lot different, I would push the downhills and try to keep moving on the up hills but that would be fatal at the moment, I needed to pace this very differently. As I ran some of the up hills very slowly, I did wonder if this would bite me in the arse and if I should just walk them all, but I had got in to a reasonable rhythm and it didn't seem to be unduly taxing me, so I went with it. 
At around ten miles my thighs and glutes started to tire. Oh good- only 5 miles and a thousand feet left- what could possibly go wrong now?

I started to tick off the feet of climb waiting for the epic final hill to come up.  After crossing numerous moors and  5 peaks we arrived at the final valley bottom. Near the dreaded steps was a beautiful old stone cottage and several young girls were cheering runners along with great aplomb and handing out water which I gratefully took after they had informed me that none were in fact whisky. At the foot of the steps I checked my watch and was pleased to see that actually, there was only about 150ft to go. After all the dire warnings about this hill, it felt much easier than I was expecting, even with my rapidly tiring butt-cheeks. I have to admit, despite my cynicism, the several areas of cheering youngsters as we passed through this section was just amazing. It really made me smile and gave me a boost. They were doing it with such enthusiasm!
One of the advantages of starting so far towards the back is that I had spent most of the race passing people which tends to be much better for the morale than being continually over-taken and I continued passing people as we climbed. Smugness is a very motivating emotion I find when passing lots of people who have blown up when you're still moving reasonably. Most people seemed to be struggling badly up the steps and don't get me wrong, I wasn't skipping up like Heidi carrying a sheep in the alps, but I was able to give it a reasonable hike. At the top was a field that wasn't too steep and it was at this point I spotted another one of my club-mates, Ed. He was lumbering along with the gait of a man who was begging for this race to end and I could see salt marks on his face. It definitely didn't look like he would be doing any running up this incline, but I miraculously still had enough in my legs to run/jaunty walk past Ed with a cheery hello. "How you doing Ed?"
"Struggling, if I'm honest"
I was expecting the race to be about 25k (my watch is set to kilometres and metres even if my brain is set to miles and feet) so I was slightly surprised that when I turned a corner at the top of the field I could see the race finish not 100 yards away. I briefly considered sprinting past the Bingley runner in front of me but I quickly dismissed that as the silliness it was.
Passing through the finish line I couldn't help but laugh that I had passed Ed in a 15 mile race with 100 yards to go and I intend to never let him forget this, ever.
Alex had inevitably finished about 40 minutes in front of me and in around 20th spot and Shaun had completed his first ever fell race about 15 minutes later. Louise was only a few minutes behind me and Phil about 25 minutes after that.

Pasties, flapjacks and Guinness

There was an incredibly old, very dark, thick canvas tent presumably left over from a MASH unit in the Korean war set up in a corner of the field and it housed an array of home-made goodies. I helped myself to some very tasty flap jack. Another major positive of fell races and that's without mentioning that the race included a voucher to go pick up a free pasty at a pub in the village. 
In the field I spotted the Leeds university orienteering club members that I had spent the race leap-frogging and decided to confront them. "You know you spent that race wandering along chatting like you were on the Otley run pub crawl not a fell race, you know that's incredibly disrespectful to all us old buggers who were killing ourselves around you?"
I was pleased when they replied that the chatting had just been to hide the pain. Good, they should feel pain, bloody youngsters. Bet they feel fine today too, unlike me.

If I had been less tired, I might have spotted the giant head on the Guinness I had in the pub afterwards and asked for it to be topped up but I didn't. When I stood up from my seat in the pub I realised that the walk back up the cobbled high street to the car was going to be no fun at all as my legs were going to require quite a bit of cajoling to persuade them to move and when I eventually slumped in to the back of the car I was very pleased to not be the one driving home. Phil looked annoyingly fresh but he confirmed that he didn't feel it. 

Obviously I haven't learned my lesson, because later that evening I signed up for the club's next race in their championship this Sunday, which is the Blubberhouses 25. Yes, that's right, 25 miles. I think I must have been delirious. 

Sunday, 25 October 2020

Always the bridesmaid: Making a habit of finishing second

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At my 50th parkrun a few years ago

Always the bridesmaid

I have never won a parkrace, nor have I finished first at a parkrun, but annoyingly I have finished 2nd on 4 separate occasions, so sit down and let me tell you the tales of those races, sorry, I mean events.
The reason for my lack of gold medals is fairly simple, I'm really not that fast. Oh sure, for a parkrunner, I'm fast; but there always seems to be some bastard who turns out who's faster than me.
Throughout my parkrun life I have run 19 sub-20 minute times and finished in the top 10 over 50 times and to someone whose main running experience is parkrun, that might sound rapid, but sadly not in the grand scheme. My 5k parkrun PB is 18:53 and in the race that was set, I finished 37th of 121. At a parkrun of a similar field, there's a fair chance I would have finished first with that time. The winner in that race at the Brownlee centre ran 15:30, I wasn't even close enough to eat his dust, it had completely settled by the time I went past so I was unable to get even a taste. I'm guessing it would have tasted like a winner; a taste I do not know.
In the 8 and a half years I've been running parkruns seldom have I been at a reasonable fitness, such is my propensity for injury. Fitness is generally my issue and when I say fitness, I mean when I fitness whole pizza and six pack in my mouth, whilst I'm injured. Still, sometimes I manage to get a period of decent training in and I flirt with the podium at a parkrace.
I ran a sub 20 time just over 2 years ago at Sewerby on the cliffs. It was mine and Alex's first day out together after meeting the month before. To followers of Mickey, Rocky Balboa's trainer who said, "Women weaken legs" it will come as no surprise that this was the last time I ran under 20. I blame it all on 
 and her "Quality Street". The bastard.
Two of my 4 second places occurred at Wetherby where I've completed more of my parkruns than anywhere else, 23 in total. On both occasions the bastard who beat me was my nemesis 
Steve Boynton
. Despite being older than Methusela, I have never beaten him, even after he'd spent a week in Italy marinating in cheese and beer. One time I even led for a couple of kilometres and was ahead 3k in to the race, but the bastard still overtook me, probably sniggering as he did it. I think we can all agree that we hate him, the bastard. Annoyingly though he is far from a bastard and is actually a thoroughly nice chap.
My parkrun PB was set at Catterick in 2017. 2 months earlier I had run my PB at the race I mentioned earlier (without vomiting I might add... just!...) But after that I didn't train all that hard so a time of 19:01 on the day came as a surprise. This wasn't one of my second places however, on that day it was good enough for only 4th. I had no expectation of winning as I had looked up previous results and knew that Richmond and Zetland harriers frequent Catterick parkrun often and the week before two foetuses had run under 18 minutes and the first finisher had done 17:18, times I could only dream of. So in the end, no big disappointment and being beaten by a small child was only mildly annoying mainly because he was too fast for me to be able to elbow him in the head at any point.
My closest chance for finishing first came at Marshall Drive. I had been injured for a very long time and was running much slower than usual, so once again, I had no expectation of a high finish. On the drive to the parkrun my back had stiffened like a prisoner's cock on seeing the cleaning lady and was very uncomfortable as I started the run. Previously when this had happened it would grow flaccid and disappear after only a few minutes and I would be able to run freely. On this day it didn't and the next few hours after the parkrun my back became more and more painful and I ended up having to have a week off work. Back to the parkrun though, and soon after the start I realised that there were no fast runners at this parkrun and the runner in first place was pretty close and really not moving all that quickly. On almost any other Saturday in the previous 6 years I would have been way out in front, but not today. I hoped he might tire but in the end he didn't and his winning time was 22:29, I came in half a minute later. Initially I was annoyed, my best chance of a first place and it was blown! For fucks' sake!! But then I saw the winner looking incredibly happy. He was taking pictures with the first place token. He came over to talk to me in his excitement and joy and told me it was his first time in first position and that he'd run over 300 parkruns. I couldn't begrudge him, he looked so happy and eventually I just enjoyed seeing a fellow parkrunner celebrating his win.
In 2016 I travelled daaarnn saaarth to see Hull FC in the challenge cup final. I camped outside Rickmansworth and went to the Aquadrome for the parkrun before the game. It was a boiling hot day so I abandoned my idea to run in a Hull FC shirt and instead went for a Hull FC training vest that I had mercifully brought with me.
Being just outside London I fully expected to finish a fair way back in the pack despite at the time being parkrunner quick and when a small girl shot off in front of me from the start, I was certain. However, she quickly died after probably 400 metres and after we'd said a few solemn words over her corpse we carried on, because kids, they've got to learn.
At 1km I was leading and no one seemed to be behind me. I tried not to be excited as there was a long way to go, but did I dare to believe that no one proper fast had turned out?
No, of course not. Some 18 year-old bastard casually cruised by me like I was going backwards and finished 48 seconds in front of me without breaking sweat. Young bastard. Chatting to him after the run, he also turned out to be annoyingly nice. The bastard.
So there you go. Always the bridesmaid. And until I am a bigger bastard than everyone else, a bridesmaid I shall remain.

Friday, 9 November 2018

King's Challenge Fell race 9/8/18

You can tweet me at @scott_leach if you like. But you don't have to, I'm not that needy

A typical fell race 

There's many reasons why fell races are different to roads races, but just one of them is that fell races aren't really run over distances like 10k or 10 miles; generally they're something like "Go out of pub, up road, through park, up moor, round trig, then back here t' bandstand" and the distance is whatever that turns out to be, which in the case of the King's Challenge fell race in Silsden, happens to be quite close to 10k

Debi arrived at my house nice and early and we headed off to Silsden, cutting across country to avoid traffic which was so effective we found the King's arms nearly an hour before we were due to set off. The smell of the food wafting across from the restaurant next door was way too much to take before a fell race and I was feeling pretty hungry, but I decided against eating any scabby horses' heads so close to race time.

Where's the bloody start?

We milled around outside the pub and the main talking point seemed to be "So where's the start then?" No one seemed to know. But as is the way with these things, I knew we'd soon enough find out.
At the pub I ran in to my clubmates Daniel, Martin (Surprisingly. I say surprisingly, because despite being chairman of a fell running club he doesn't really do "fell" races) Christine and Paul.
Paul and I have developed a small rivalry this year. At the beginning of the year Paul had the beating of me and in fact had been beating me for a year before I finally managed to beat him in a couple of races, but then last time out at Ingleborough he had got me again. I've not been training great recently and neither has Paul so today was anyone's guess. As is now traditional, I pretended to kick Paul in the knees before the race. I also tried to persuade him that drinking a couple of pints in the pub would help his time. He didn't buy it, damn it. I really didn't think I had any chance to finish in front of Paul as I really had a bad case of the "I can't be bothereds" 

I had a bit of a look at the map. I've been up to the trig we were running to a couple of times, but never from this direction. I was pretty confident I'd be ok though, the race being an out and back and I was pretty unlikely to be leading it unless something pretty tragic happened to 50 other runners, so I would always have someone to follow and would see them coming back. A quick check with the race organises confirmed that there were no kit requirements so my bum bag and waterproofs remained in the car.
As I mentioned, I didn't feel especially good. A pretty average night's sleep and a hard day at work had sapped my enthusiasm, but I took heart from the fact that I have often had my best races when I've really not felt like it.
The start revealed itself when the race director pushed the button on the pedestrian crossing and everyone walked in to the middle of the main road. Nope, I'm not joking.
About 50 yards up the road another marshal was stopping the cars. I idly wondered if they had permission to block off the main road through the town, but not for too long, because within seconds we were off.

This is a picture of the start of The Stoop fell race which has nothing to do with this fell race, basically because I couldn't find any photos from the start of this race

And off we went

We set off "up road" with half a dozen car drivers no doubt wondering what the hell was going on before we turned right up a little side street and into the park. My legs were already talking to me saying "Oooooooo, no. We're not going to be doing this, this evening you silly bugger"
Luckily I am very well used to ignoring anything my legs have to say to me and I carried on regardless.
Through a small housing estate, through some farmer's fields and we started on up the track to the trig.
Paul was a little way in front of me and as always, he looked to be running easy and strong. Earlier I had caught him at a stile and he seemed to be blowing hard, but right now he looked good and I didn't think I would be catching him.
The route up isn't one long climb, there are a couple of small down hills and each time we went down them Paul pulled away from me. I didn't think this boded well for me should he get to the top in front. However, by half way up the climb, each time we went up anything steep, I was catching him. Quite the cat and mouse game, although Paul of course had no idea as I was behind him the whole time.
Many thanks to Carolyn Brett Muir for the awesome photos. This was early in the climb 

Going down (Fnar fnar)

I was pretty sure that if Paul beat me to the top, I would have no chance of finishing in front, so when he suddenly started walking not far from the top as we approached another stile, I took my chance and sprinted in front of him as I was feeling pretty good. Through the stile I could see the trig point maybe a hundred yards away and I gave it some welly. A quick trip around the trig and I set off hard. To my surprise I still felt good and started to push- I needed a lead on Paul before he got to the top and inevitably started catching me during the descent.

I suppose I ought to finish writing this

So, it's now 3 months after the fell race and I've come back to finish this account. The accuracy may  not be up to my usual standard of "bad" and may drop to "a bit rubbish"
Also, I managed to find a picture of the real start of the race now:

The "inevitable" catching of me by Paul never happened. Apparently he didn't feel very well on the way down and as I did and was going hard, my lead was never in jeopardy .
I nearly went wrong a few times on the descent and had to keep a good eye out for tape hanging off random pieces of fence and bushes.
On the way down
Eventually we came back to the park and I followed a Bingley runner back they way we'd come. Turns out you actually come back in a different way than you go out and we had added a little extra distance but in the end it made no difference.
I came 27th in 52:08 out of a field of 76 which I was perfectly happy with
Here's me looking confused (my default setting) after the race
That's another fine mess you've got me in to

Sunday, 22 July 2018

The Chevin Fell race June 2018

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This was the first time I took part in the race in 2013
The Chevin scowls down on Otley from a height of 925ft. Why anyone would think it would be a good idea to run up it from station road in Otley then immediately plummet back down, is anyone's guess, although I heavily suspect excessive beer consumption was involved. 
Amazingly, given my injury record, I lined up to compete in this race for the 6th year in succession on an overcast, yet warm Wednesday evening. Last year I had been the first Fellandaler home in 22:42 finishing in 34th position out of 136, this year I was in much better shape and had been doing some specific short hill sprints to try to improve the speed of my climbing. that said, I decided I had no chance of beating Paul, the current leader in our club's championship as I haven't beaten him in quite a while and he has been much better than me at climbing for probably a year. Because of this I hadn't bothered to taper and had done a fairly hard week of training figuring that I wouldn't beat Paul but would probably finish second Fellandaler and pick up the points to keep me second in the club champs.

For this one I chose to wear my Altra trainers (Zero-drop, foot-shaped, reasonably flexible, heavily cushioned). Every year the steep descent and especially the tarmac section, is very hard on the feet as you slam down hard and fast towards the end of the race. Most years I have ended up with soft tissue injuries to my plantar fascia. I thought that the Altra's huge cushioning might prevent this. 
As ever, lots of people chose to wear fell shoes, which is huge over kill on the very dry paths that this race is run on.

I'm on the extreme left performing the classic nursery rhyme "I'm a little teapot" Also- fair play to Hyde park Harriers for some excellent photobombing

A slightly disappointing 8 Fellandalers turned out. I say disappointing as there were 14 last year and we've had at least 10 for the last few years.
In 2017 a few of my team mates had set off fast and some over took me going up the hill, but as the climb went on I over took them all, only Patrick, a second claimer finished in front of me (By over a minute!)
An air horn signalled the start of the race and off we went up the steepish cobbles. A sharp left at the top, then 2 sharp rights and we were at Johnny Lane, a steep and painful section of tarmac where the suffering starts. I settled in to a reasonable running pace and began to over take the people that had clearly gone off too fast. I've learned that if I go off too fast at the start of races that start with tarmac and/or flat sections, I blow up as soon as I hit the climb, so I am careful to take it a little easy.
At the top of the tarmac the path sweeps right on to a rough path, then left and up past the White house and all the while I was overtaking people.
I hit the steps in good form still and continued to power past other runners. I was actually running up the steps rather than doing a jaunty walk which would be my norm in the past.
Around 3/4 of the way up, to my surprise, I caught Paul, who was walking at that time. I was doing ok so I kept going, and moved a few metres in front before walking for a short break. The top of steps soon loomed over me though and I had enough to sprint up to the top.
A quick right at the top of the steps and the surprising undulation along the track until the final climb is always difficult to deal with. You've just expended a lot of energy to get up the steps but you feel that you should be able to get up some speed along what seems like a flat piece of path, but it's deceptive and most people trudge along. I couldn't seem to get a great rhythm going, but I was going along quickly enough.
I soon came to the left turn to go up through the short, sharp, climb up through the bushes where there is usually a bottle neck and it can be frustrating if people are walking as there is no way to pass. This time I arrived with no one else around so I bounded up the path. At the top Martin was taking a video.
"Where's Paul?" I asked him. he didn't respond, so you can audibly hear my slightly manic second shout  of "WHERE'S PAUL?" on the video. "Can't see him" Martin answered. he wouldn't have been able to see too far through the bushes but I was satisfied that Paul wasn't right up behind me.
A little trot along a rocky path to where Debi had positioned herself at the bottom of the short, rocky final climb up to surprise view with her camera:

Along the summit at surprise view, then plunge the 900ft back to station road.

Thanks to Anne Akers for this excellent picture

Now it was time to see if my plan of wearing the hugely cushioned Altras would help on the descent.
A quick sprint across the top of surprise view, a sharp left-hand bend and soon on to the rocky path.
The altras were were doing a fine job, I came down quick and hard. I still had enough left to push all the way down. Last year I had been holding off at least 3 other Fellandalers, but this year with no one else in sight I probably didn't push quite as hard.
The blessed relief of station road appeared and in the absence of rivals to race, I ran in hard without really sprinting as I've done in the past whilst trying to beat other runners.
And now the good news: My fastest time in the 6 years of doing this race and by far my best climb.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

The Tour o' Pendle. 18/11/17

Tweet me up @scott_leach

I knew this one was going to hurt and it didn't disappoint...

 Which Witch?

The classic Tour of Pendle fell race is generally acknowledged to be one of the hardest on the calendar at about 17 miles and nearly 5000ft of ascent with many boggy sections, very steep climbs and descents and the infamous drop that is "Geronimo" I knew this was going to be a very, very tough race.

Recently I've been running well, the last two weeks I've done 2 fell races and my climbing is the best it's ever been; finally I can run up hill for a good distance without wanting to vomit or finding religion, but unfortunately, 2 weeks ago I started with an achy left knee. After a decade of knee pain, I hadn't had any in about 5 years since I got some excellent physio treatment that corrected my mis-tracking knees, so to start suffering again came as a surprise.
   I had done the Shepherd's Skyline race with no real issues on the Saturday and on the Sunday I popped out for 10 miles on the road. Sure, my quads were a little sore, but nothing else. But later that evening my knee started to get achy. Nothing too dramatic, but enough to be a pain. I didn't do much running during the week then I headed out for the Burley Moor fell race last Saturday and I did pretty well. However, afterwards the ache turned painful, like a toothache, so I stopped running, trying to save myself for Pendle. By Saturday it felt ok, providing I didn't want to completely bend my knee or do any deep squats. I spend a lot of time at work on my knees (Bandaging patient's legs, get your mind out of the gutter) which didn't help. I considered pulling out of Pendle, but I'm nothing if not stupid and stubborn and I really wanted to do the race to make sure I had a qualifier in for the 3 peaks. Also, I desperately need to improve my climbing over 3000ft. As soon as I hit that magical 3k foot mark in a race, I tend to deflate like a football kicked in to a garden owned by the neighbourhood grumpy old man with a hunting knife.
My moob. I know you were dying to see it
Anyways, Sophia and I arrived in Barley about 45 minutes before the race, thinking we would be very early, but in fact the cars were already parking along the road probably a mile out of the village. Pendle attracts 500 runners in a sell-out making it one of the most popular fell races of the year.

A Bit of Shopping

I made my way to the Pete Bland stall and was relieved to find that they had a healthy supply of the waterproof race map. I really didn't fancy carrying around my laminated copy of the low-resolution map printed from the website and an OS map with the check points pencilled in. If the clag came down and I got separated from other runners it could be very, very easy to go entirely the wrong way and end up in a shopping park in Burnley (a fate worse than death) I also grabbed some shot blocs as my emergency food to make sure I adhered to FRA rules along with the full body cover, hat, gloves, whistle, compass, sherpa, donkey and a helicopter.

In the village hall there was no wait to pick up my number and I went about the laborious task of getting all my kit in my bag and on my person, stuffing flap jack in to various crevices. I spotted Paul and Simon from Fellandale as well as Amanda in her valley striders vest and Mike in his Kirkstall one. Unusually, we picked up our race tshirts at this point. Again, I briefly considered going home. "No, I've no idea why I'm not on the results, I definitely did it though- look at my tshirt"

My knee was feeling decidedly average, but my aim for today was just to get around, there would be no racing involved and I figured there would be a fair amount of walking and I wasn't wrong on that front.

 Like all fell races the start was low-key. We trotted along a mile or so of tarmac, then on to a hard packed trail before hitting the hills. Paul went off a little quicker than me and as my race tactic was all about preserving energy and getting round, I let him go and didn't see him again. Patrick was up front somewhere and I never did see him.

Off we went up the first hill, I settled in somewhere in between "power-hike" and "fast plod"
And then to the first descent. I deliberately took it easy, the last thing I needed was to burn out my brakes early in the race as I would definitely regret it come the last couple of descents if I did. (By "brakes" I mean my quads) Throughout the race I kept repeating to myself, "Don't burn out your brakes! Long way to go!"

Occasionally I caught up with Simon and each time he gave me helpful tips on what was coming up. The one that stuck was "The race doesn't start until Geronimo" So I needed to get there in good shape.
This was my phone recording on strava after my Garmin died. I have been unable to resuscitate it. Sad face 
Early in the race I began to get some odd feelings of discomfort in my thighs which really didn't bode well. My knee seemed to be holding up ok though, with only a mild discomfort on the way down.
Then total disaster- my garmin watch alarmed low battery. Still- never mind, it's generally got a couple of hours before low battery becomes watch shutting down...but not this time, a few minutes later it turned off, dead to the world. Then I remembered that I had my phone on me. People looked concerned as I walked for a bit starting strava on my phone and even asked if I was ok. "If it's not on strava, it didn't happen!" I replied


Maybe because I'd heard all the horror stories but Geronimo didn't look half as bad as I'd been expecting when I stood at the top looking down. I snapped off a couple of photos before heading down.

Looking back at Geronimo. If you squint you can see the runners making their way down

I trotted down Geronimo not really going hard, but still over taking a lot of other people. It's important to point your toes downwards rather than turning your foot sideways, which was the mistake a lot of people around me were making. You have to trust the grip on your fell shoes and my mudclaws were coping well, despite the lugs being quite warn down on them.

At some point between there and the next climb I landed heavily in bog mud. My left leg disappeared straight down to the knee. I went to pull myself out and - Uh oh!- the shoes didn't want to come out with my foot. I curled my toes upwards and pulled again. On the third attempt it came out, but it had had the effect of pulling my heel out of the shoe which inevitably filled full of thick, smelly mud. I stopped to scrape the mud out, then stopped again to retie the shoe lace as dragging myself out had loosened it.

I was moving well up the next climb and then we hit a long, grippy, grassy downhill. I was feeling strong so I decided to take it a little quicker. I over took probably around 20 people, who were, admittedly moving pretty slowly as I was towards the back of the field. But then my knee started to hurt. The dull ache turned in to a stabbing pain on the outside of my knee. I tried to change my gait, the way I was landing, but to no avail. By the time I hit the bottom, I knew I was in serious trouble.
I spotted Amanda with a marshall, and she was standing still. "You ok?"
"No, hurt my foot"  Later I found out she'd had to go to A&E after her first ever DNF. No stress fracture showed up on the scans, but it's suspected. Hope it turns out to be something lesser and she gets well soon!


The quick descent meant I had caught up with Simon and we had a quick chat. "3 or 4 more hills from here" He said, "I can never remember how many"  I was really hoping it was 3 (it was) To my relief I found that I could go upwards without pain and I was actually moving fairly quickly and overtaking quite a lot of people. Simon was slowly moving away from me in front.

Going down the next hill was agonising. More than once a very sharp pain stopped me in my tracks and I came to a halt. At the next check point I seriously considering, dropping out. But like an idiot I carried on up the next hill. I began to over take all the people who had passed me coming down the hill, but now my knee was beginning to hurt even going up. How the hell was I going to finish this race?!

Queuing to go over a stile early in the race
After the last climb I had the incredible frustration of not being able to run on the last long, long downhill to the finish. I tried again and again to run but each time I was met with stabbing pain.
I was passed again and again by dozens of runners.

Lots of people asked if I was ok, most thinking that I was having a spectacular blow-up, so I just answered "Nope, knee's gone" Most annoying is I still had plenty of energy, without the pain I would have been charging along to the finish.

I managed to find a way to move a little faster- I just needed to keep my knee fairly straight as I bimbled along. The path down the reservoirs seemed absolutely endless. I ran (walked) in to Ted Mason. "Alright Ted, don't tell me you've already finished and are now walking it backwards"
"Nah, just off to find the missus. You bonked then?"
"I wish, my knee's gone"
Gone where though? Off to Painsville to the House of Agony, that's where.

The Pendle Hobble

I discovered that I could do a sort of double hop on my right, good leg as long as I landed with a straight leg on my left, so I managed to go a little faster in places. Eventually, mercifully, the finish line approached. By now my thighs and hips were beginning to cramp. I'm not sure whether this was due to the long slow trudge in the cold (I was now freezing, especially my hands in the wet gloves) or if it was invetible due to a lack of suitable training.

I was in a world of my own, hopping along, so much that I nearly ran straight past Sophia until she said "I thought you must be injured"
"Yep, knee's gone"
Then I hopped through the finish line.

In the village hall, I chatted to JP and gave him the thrill of his life when I slowly stripped off the layers of wet clothing whilst scoffing the bag of midget gems, dolly mixtures, cola bottles and milk bottles that I hadn't touched during the race.
Mike came through the finish not long after me. His ankle had held up about as well as my knee but he was just pleased to have got round.

Mmmmm, Betty

Man at C&A
Later I undressed in the shower to prevent me from dropping mud all over the place. Taking off the socks that had stuck to the mud, that was stuck to my leg hairs was an interesting experience. Then I scrubbed like a man possessed to remove the rest of the mud that was not in my socks and settled in to a long bath with a bottle of Desperado (Don't judge me)

Addit: I managed to retrieve the first part of the race from my garmin before giving it a burial!!

More parkun days

A Halloween parkrun day
07:15 Thy alarm calleth and that right soon
07:20 Stumble to bathroom. Certainly have appropriate bedhead hair style for Halloween run
07:25 Set off truly MA-HOO-SIVE pot of coffee
07:35 Put on skeleton onesie over shorts and tshirt
07:45 Infusion of life-giving substance: Coffee!
08:14 Ask Sally sat nav to take me to Brighouse. Idly wonder why it's pronounced Brigg-house instead of Brig-us which would at least be consistent with bizarre West Yorkshire dialect
08:15 Sally sat nav (Who has clearly had a stroke) pronounces it Bry-gouse
08:15 Sally sat nav says destination Bry-gouse will be reached at 08:47. Hope the car park is near!
08:17 Select "Unwell" by Matchbox 20 on stereo
08:20 Skoda DJ plays "No Alarms" by Radiohead. Cheeky little monkey
08:48 Pull up outside Wellholme park, Brighouse. Can already see parkrunners milling around. None seem to be in fancy dress. Uh oh
08:49 Get out of car to find witch and another skeleton getting out of 2 cars in front. Phew! "Least I'm not the only pillock" I remark. "Oh definitely not" says the witch. "There'll be plenty of us"
I ask where nearest toilets are as feel ominous belly rumblings. Pointed at Tescos in distance. hmmmm, bit too far!
09:00 RD urges us to take free brandy snap at end as he doesn't want to take it home!
09:03 Various witches, ghoulies, skeletons, draculas etc set off on a parkrun!
09:05 Feel like am running in treacle. Legs won't move
09:07 Legs beginning to loosen off
09:09 Keep calm belly.....keep caaaaaaaaaaalm
09:12 Am actually over taking people
09:15 Running along, not pushing myself. Listening to my breathing. Got 10k tomorrow so no racing today!
09:17 Glance down at watch. Says am doing 4:01 per k. It must have had a stroke too, although have been over taking quite a few people...
09:20 Cruise through line. Unbelievably have run 20:36 at only 70% effort!
09:21 Partake in free Wright's & Co brandy snap!!!! Made right here in Brighouse!!
09:30 Attempt to take slow-motion videos of runners in fancy dress.
11:40 Scott, your time in position 9 today at Brighouse parkrun was 20:37. Even as a skeleton you were damnably sexy

A racecourse parkrun day
Yesterday: Sophia: What time are we leaving tomorrow?
Me: No later than 10 to 8.....
Scene fades to black...
07:00 Alarm. WTF is wrong with me?? It's my day off!!
07:05 It puts the coffee in the machine
07:10 Select Yorkshire 3 peaks tshirt. YORKSHIRE!!!
07:20 Dear, sweet, coffee, my bestest friend. I love and adore thee, you're always there for me. Ahhhh
07:30 Sophia- "What time do we need to leave?"
Me: "10 to 8"
07:40 Sit on sofa sipping coffee, fully dressed with all required kit in bag. "SOPHIA, YOU HAVE 10 MINUTES!!"
No answer from upstairs...
Sophia: "Oh ooooooo, uuuuurr"
07:55 Me- "You are making us late, we need to leave, now!"
08:00 Sit in car waiting, banging head on dashboard
08:05 Eventually leave
08:10 Marvel and delighted at incredible sight of Red Kite wheeling over car, coming in really close giving spectacular view, right until last moment when it suddenly dives and clips top of car!!! No sign of injured bird on road?!? Think it's ok!?
08:07 Skoda Sat nav shows estimated arrival time at Catterick to be 08:52. Oh brill
08:30 A1M diversion... here we go.....what could possibly go worng?
08:35 Approaching Northallerton. Do we divert to the parkrun there? From memory it's all on grass, neither of us have suitable shoes. Decide to push on to Catterick to avoid comedy skiddy, muddy parkrun falls
08:40 For first time in years, may not be adhering *strictly* to speed limit...
08:53 Arrive at car park for Catterick racecourse after miles of twisty country roads to find lorry blocking entrance! Oh no!! Man directing truck stops it to lt us get through! TAAAA!!
08:55 Fast walk/jog to start whilst trying to strip
08:57 Hop on one foot taking off jogging bottoms etc and stuff in back pack. Look around for suitable storage. Marshal offers to transport bag to finish!! Gratefully accept 
09:01 Hilarious RD briefing from the very charming and exotic Atmaram Dahal.
09:02 Not a dry eye in the house as very young boy receives his 10 junior milestone tshirt
09:05 Let the parkrun commence!
09:07 Unsurprised to see 2 juniors sprint in to lead as 2 j11-14 ran under 18 minutes last week
09:10 Random thought- Is parkrun at racecourse still not a race? (Don't answer that, it's a joke!!)
09:11 Over take all but one of the juniors that set off sprinting from start
09:12-09:25ish Concentrate on staying bouncy, keeping my form and not dying
09:20 Triumphantly (not really) pass very bouncy chap who had over taken me much earlier. He is very bouncy with very large arm movements, he looks like he is sprinting
Watch has been showing less than 3:52 per/k average- On for my first time under 19 minutes at a parkun!!!!
09:22 End is nigh, just need to keep going!!! 30 seconds to cover the last straight and go under 19!!!!
09:23 Watch bleeps for 5k with probably 100m to go, bugger! That means the average speed is wrong! JUST GOOOOOOO!!
09:2?? Cross line in cloud of steam and burning rubber
Timer calls out 19!
09:23 AH F**K!
Wait... there's free cake?!!?
09:30 Do a lap with Sophia who smashes her parkrun PB too!!
09:32 Feel stone in shoe, stop to empty them out. Discover is an actual flipping blister! OH FFS!
09:25 Free cake and tea!! I LOVE parkrun 
10:00 Go for a wander around Richmond and buy extra special bottle of French sparkling white wine (Not from the champagne region) to celebrate PBs
10:37 Scott, your time in position 4 today at Catterick parkrun was 19:01.Congratulations on being awarded the nationwide "Sexiest" parkrunner award. Good luck in next week's "World's sexiest parkrunner" finals. We think you're odds on favourite!

A teenage parkrun day
07:00 Oh god, it's the alarm. Mum you are so stupid! Why did you set the alarm? God I hate you!
07:10 No Mum! I hate you! I'm not going! parkrun is stupid!
07:30 I'M NOT GOING! parkrun is so lame
08:05 DAAAAAAAAAAAAAD, tell her I'm not going!!!
08:25 From downstairs: "We're leaving!"
From upstairs, "Urrrrrgh, you WOULD leave without me too! God, I'm ringing child line. You two are abusers"
08:30 Mum, what have you done with my shorts?!!? *I* didn't put them there, what are they doing in the corner of the room?!" WHY HAVEN'T YOU WASHED ANY OF MY THINGS?!?!?
08:47 GOD! I look so fat in these shorts and they smell!
08:50 I'M NOT F£&^%*G GOING!!
08:57 Scuff shoes all the way from car to start line. Everyone looks so lame. Look at these stupid clothes
09:00 Set off like a maniac sprinting. I'm leading parkrun!
09:02 Totally knackered. I'm not finishing this, it's so stupid
09:10 Muuuuuum, I want to go home!
09:20 Dad, you'd BETTER be buying me icecream afterwards or I am NEVER doing this again!
09:35 Sprint last 200 metres. 2 minutes off my PB, I am amazing! I LOVE parkrun!
09:50 Eating ice cream with my lovely mum and Dad. They're ace, I love them. Can't wait for next week

Nostell Priory
A parkrun 15th tourist/birthday weekend/taking-it-easy-race-tomorrow day
07:30 Woken by alarm on new phone. FRIGGIN' 'ELL! Vibrate and LOOOOOUD alarm!
07:40 Put on long-sleeved top for first time in months. Sad face
07:45 KWORFEE!!!
08:15 "Sophia! Shift it or we'll be late!"
08:20 Set off for Nostell parkrun @ Nostell Priory
08:30 Skoda DJ selects "Shiney happy people" by REM. Nice one SDJ, nice one
08:35 Pass Pontefract racecourse, which is amusing, as it has it's own parkrun!
08:45 Arrive at large National Trust stately home, put spare barcode in window for free parking. Been once before for a cross country race. Probably not the same route...
08:50 Repeat slowly to myself, "I must not race, I must not race, I must not race" Tadcaster 10 tomorrow!
09:01 Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's PARKRUN!
09:02 Bit of a scrum at start, end up sprinting to get in position.
09:04 Passed by familiar sight of Terry, local cross country champ. Hard to miss with trademark mohican! Guess he'll be first finisher then!
09:05 Section of very sharp gravel+barefoot shoes= careful running!
09:05-09:10 First lap enjoying scenery and breathing in fresh air
09:10-09:21 Passed by numerous sweaty-bettys furiously chasing their PBs. Bounce gently along in all my smugness
09:25 Head back to find Sophia whilst trying to avoid electric fences down the side of paths made to keep the cows in!
09:30 Find Sophia and identify a lady in purple parkrun volunteer top to be her nemesis for today.
09:32 Sophia is overtaken by nemesis. Come on Sophia, get a wriggle on!
09:34 Nemesis says that I ought to do another lap after this one as she knows I've already finished but if I am doing it again I should do another full parkrun.
09:35 Nemesis is in front coming to final hill before finish in front of house
09:36 No amount of "motivation/abuse" will get Sophia to catch nemesis. Not sure she is taking nemesis seriously.
09:38 Inform Sophia she could be on for a PB. Motivation found!
09:40 Pat gorgeous Airdale doggy. Thanked by owner who said doggy was refusing to move until someone fussed her
09:50 Coffee and muffin demolition
10:00 Pat gorgeous dog that looks hilariously like Alsatian-corgi cross. Body of a corgi, head of an alsatian! Owners have no idea what doggy is as they are surrounded by all their lovely rescue dogs
11:51 Text message: Scott, your time in position 13 today at Nostell parkrun was 21:39. Well done on your first run here. The magnificence of our stately home pales into insignificance next to you
11:51 Text message: Sophia, your time in position 178 today at Nostell parkrun was 38:25. Well done on your first run here. You really are a very lucky girl to be going out with the best parkrunnner in the universe
36 second PB for Sophia! Jeroboam!!!!


A parkrun birthday. "The return of the prosecco dictator"
06:00 Woken by Sophia having conversation with cat
06:30 Woken again by Sophia having conversation with cat
07:00 Woken yet again by Sophia discussing philosophy, art and history with Bella the cat. Turns out Bella hates Gauguin and is really quite right-wing
07:10 Bella has hilarious cat cold- cutest tiny little sneezes and catty wheezing. Also- cat snot being sneezed on to sleeping human's faces
07:30 Woken by tinkly alarm. Immediately go tinkle
07:45 Coffeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee...bah....gum, lad!
07:50 Choose subtle "Rombald's stride " tshirt (22 miles of blood, toil, tears and sweat)
08:00 Take short trip around porcelain collection at the smallest room exhibition
08:01 Give Sophia first "AWOOGA" warning
08:30 Miraculously leave on time.
08:35 After some encouragement, Skoda DJ plays blinder with "Red morning light" by Kings of Leon, followed by "Given to fly" by Pearl Jam. Awesome!
08:45 Arrive to usual deserted park and select x-talon fell shoes for "firm going" grass course
08:50 Greeted by Joseph (World's most handsome whippet (TM) ) who feigns being pleased to see me whilst checking me out for treats (not got any with me this week) and soon returns to usual insouciance upon discovering truth
08:55 Survey this week's "competition" to see likelihood of finally completing collection of first 10 finish tokens with a No1. None of regular fast runners around. Some fit looking people. Hmmmm
09:03. Nope. 3rd place
09:04 First lady just in front. She becomes target for today
09:06 Catching first lady, her breathing sounds laboured. Soon pass her
09:06-22 PAIN! SWEAT! LUNGS BEING SCOURED BY BRILLO PADS! 3rd and 4th kilometre collapse!
09:22 See finish tunnel appear like an oasis to a thirsty man wandering in desert
09:22 Wonder if will vomit?
09:23........Nope. Phew!
09:25 Take off socks and shoes and head off to find Sophia for barefoot lap on her 13th parkrun!
10:15 Text message: Scott, your time in position 5 today at Wetherby parkrun was 20:02. Well done for avoiding the evilness of a sub 20 time and remaining a good person for at least another week. JEROBOAM!!