The Ups & Downs of a week of Racing 

“Let’s just say it and be done with it. Racing hurts. But here’s another truth: having put in the effort to prepare for a race and then not giving it your all hurts even more. The first kind of hurt goes away in hours or a day. The second kind of hurt can last a lifetime.”

-Larry Shapiro, Zen and the Art of Running

341 days till the 2018 Virgin Money 

The 1st real tests of where my running fitness after Blackpool came in the last 6 days.  First off was the 3rd race of the 2017 Trunce series.  I’ve mentioned the trunce a few times before but for the uninitiated here is the Website.  After finishing work I fuelled up, changed and eventually set off over the hill from Stocksbridge to Oxspring.  I tried a shorter than usual way which to my surprise/horror encountered my hayfever nemesis, a huge field of bright yellow rapeseed.  I held my breath as long as possible while I thundered down the footpath running down the middle of the field.  Entered the race and made my to the start which due to crops on either side of the old start is now under the bridge cutting off a little of the race distance and more importantly a bit of the uphill start.   Race organiser Andy Plummer did his briefing mentioning a new fence across the field at the top of the quarry meaning the short cut some people tried was no longer available to them. Then we off heading up left then skirting the long span of rapeseed filled fields. Again I tried to control my breathing to avoid the pollen and made it Ito the first downhill.  What with the hayfever and increased size of the field of runners I had to actually queue a few seconds at the kissing gate halfway down.  Through, I chased the people in front but being a downhill expert/nutter found myself skipping to aviod the guys ankle in front.  We made it to the first river crossing and I put my own evidence of going straight through the ankle deep water instead of using the stepping stones by flying past 5 guys and hearing a few of the spectating crowd say “now that is how you cross the river”. 

On the the road I chased a few more down before jumping of the 4ft high wall drop, across the single file bridge and start my ascent towards the quarry hill.  Now I always find it beneficial to fell walk up the quarry to recoup energy then at the top push on before dropping down the hill through ankle breaking and winding woods.  This time on the ascent, a mountain goat of bloke in my estimate, his late 50s or early 60s went jogging past.  Over the hil, and starting down the hill he was a little in front and I did mange to get some distance back as he faulted on the cattle grill while I now know exactly where to put my feet so I don’t even need to slow down.  Through the woods I got stuck behind a few runners who weren’t as adept at downhill controlled falling. Into the knee deep river crossing and up the little field back onto the road.  Again I crept back a little to the mountain goat and back across the ankle deep crossing there Was only one runner in between us.  I made catching the goat my target.  On the last uphill again I walked watching the goat and other guy pull ahead a little but I was just biding my time till was back on the flattish last mile.  I went past the guy I front and was trying to chase the  goat but he was moving quick enough to keep me off .   Back down the downhill finish when even with a sprint I couldn’t catch the goat.   28.11 which was 15sec slower than 3 weeks ago.  I will settle with that as I wasn’t going full out trying to save my legs for 2 nights later. The final South Yorkshire 5mile race at Penistone.  

Last year at the same race I failed to finish.  Dizzy spells meant I pulled out after only a mile and a half. This year I had a point to prove.  I again made my way up Underbank lane. This time waking to save some energy for the race. At the top with only downhill to go I jogged across the fields only stopping when I stood on a pressure plate in a newly sowed field and hearing the boom of the noise cannon that  I thought initially that the farmer was shooting at me. Cue comical dive to the floor.  I picked myself up and made the 2.5mie journey without any other incident.  When race time came I moved with the rest of the crowd onto the road and with Keith Binneys starter pistol we were off for a small lap of the estate before moving out into the rural area.  I had started well but fatigue set in early and a few people went past including club mates Chris’s Moss and James Thompson. I knew  another club mate Rob Jones wouldn’t be too far behind and on turning onto back lane for the climb up to the top and cranberry rd . he did indeed go past. I told him to push on as I was trying to save my energy  for the 2miles  of downhill joy to finish the race.  

Also two striders went past me.  I was confident of catching all the mentioned and sure enough when we hit the descending I shot off quickly going past the striders then Rob and a Barnsley Harrier.  I kept pushing getting closer and closer to Chris and James but then with around a mile to go I could feel the fatigue. Unusual for me on downhills but the Barnsley harrier had obviously been tracking me since I past him and he went past back in Penistone.  Only the slight hill left I didn’t have enough energy. I caught a young Doncaster runner but he then found enough resolve to pass me again.  

Over the finish where I saw Chris Moss and James sat having finished less than a minute earlier. 33mins something on a course I should be capable of 30min something on. I jogged across to Tesco for a couple of bottles of Erdinger alcohol free Isosonic recovery beer.  

So what happened? Why didn’t I do as well a hoped? I’m still recovering from the marathon, I probably didn’t take it as easy on the Monday at the trunce,  I had had a hard day that morning at work, I’m not aggressive enough in my racing tactics, I don’t have the speed endurance at the moment.  . All of this had taken its toll on me I reckon.  Lessons to learn.  Still work to be done. next up is next Saturday when I run my 100th parkrun.   I would have loved to be a PB run but I will be happy to go a minute slower and just go sub 19min.  Let’s see? 
Anyway Bye For Now

Sorry it’s been a long one. 

“Men of Oregon, I invite you to become students of your events. Running, one might say, is basically an absurd past-time upon which to be exhausting ourselves. But if you can find meaning, in the kind of running you have to do to stay on this team, chances are you will be able to find meaning in another absurd past-time: life.”

— Bill Bowerman


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