Sunday 24 July 2011

Snowdon Fell Race 2011

10 mile/3065 feet

Wanted - One longish pair of climbing legs- last seen May 2010.

This is one race that I will definitely return too. Loved it.
A car full of Stoddys left Penrith early on Saturday morning for our first sortie into Wales. Jane (our sat nav) opted to take us along some stunning roads once we got into Wales.  We were still on dual carriageway,but it really didn't feel like it as we passed steeples, castles and roaming dragons.
Very impressed by the coastal road and Colwyn Bay. I particularly enjoyed going through the 3 tunnels where I pretended I was in the Monaco Grand Prix!!
We stopped for a full English at a aptly named cafe caledl "the dragons nest". In hindsight this was a mistake.

We arrived about midday and I made my way to the registration area, where I was pleased to see  familiar faces of Steve Hepplethwaite and David Burton. David had ran this race a few times, so he was quickly interrogated and a quick discussion on the the choice of footwear followed. I opted for an old battered pair of 330s.

A quick change in the car park and I went to the race start area. With still an hour to go I opted to lie down on the grass, whilst the Stoddys went for a wander.

After nearly dozing off I thought I best go for a warm up. I had only ran once since Monday....the day I did 200m reps...the day I felt my groin tighten. By the next day my hamstring had tightened too along with pain in my lower stomach, it hurt to get in and out of bed. On Wednesday I went for a short fell run with Steve B and felt awful, more so on the descent.

So the warm up was a big test for me. I gingerly jogged slowly in a nearby field and if I didn't push hard felt OKish. It was like a who's who of fell runners warming up, so I spent more time retying my shoe laces than running.
Met Sue and the kids again and told her not to worry if I was a long time, I might have to do a fair bit of walking if things were hurting.

Positioned myself in the middle of the pack for the start and before long we were off.
A slower then normal start for me and once on the road I speed up a bit, but still feeling relaxed I started passing a  few runners. The road steepens sharply before you get onto the fell and I was feeling some mild discomfort but nothing I couldn't put up with.

On the climb I tried to get into a good rhythm but was finding my legs were not so keen. I don't know what's happened to my climbing legs of late, but Im struggling a lot at the moment.
I tell myself not to race and to relax. I started getting passed but I wasn't too bothered. The full English seemed a bad idea at this point too.

Eventually I noticed I was catching people back up and passing them too. I didn't seem to be working too hard and it felt comfortable. The views were stunning too when I did look up.
I was aware of my groin/stomach pain but not enough for it to hamper me. I started really enjoying it.
Three quarters of the way up and it steepens again. I bend down and start marching. Im not marching hard enough as a couple of runners get pass me. I dig in again.

The leaders start coming out of the mist now. I notice Steve Hebb is in about 7th and I give him a shout.
The top is nearly reached and I see Pippa running down the railway track on my right, I give her a shout of encouragement too and think to myself that the track looks  nicer running then the rough ground im on at the moment. Within seconds other runners are tearing down the rough path that im on. I can only think that there is a time limit of running down the track before the train comes. It serves me right for been to slow on the climb.

The summit reached at last, in 57 minutes and 93rd. Its all down hill now but not before I have some tricky steps to negotiate just off the summit. I start thinking a hand rail would be useful.

Legs soon realise there going downhill and soon im passing other runners making their way up.
I make one bad decision on the whole descent and it cost me 4 places but apart from that I really enjoyed the run off the mountain. Never really flat out as I didn't want to run out of gas before the finish.

The support was fantastic on the hill but nothing had prepared for what the last half mile would be like in the village. The noise and atmosphere was brilliant and I now understand what a lot of road runners get from the big city marathons.

I cross the line in 1.25 and 81st position.

Buckets of cold water are supplied for hot feet and everyone's got a smile on their face.

Andi Jones first man and Pippa Maddams first women - A double for England.

On the descent

The finish, 20 minutes behind the winner below.

Race winner andi jones
Pippa and Steve H (with his white shirt on too)

The next morning I set off to run 7 mile on the road as a recovery.... I get 2 in but make my way back home very slowly. Bloody groin.


Steve said...

you're such a brave soldier

Dale Jamieson said...

bad luck big guy, though I had a chuckle at the 'tying of shoe laces' comment.

Looks like you need a couple of slow weeks.

Nick said...

Well done considering your previous post, where it sounded as though you'd virtually written yourself off. Like Johnny said ...

Take it easy Stu.