Monday, 19 October 2015

Exmoor Stumble run

19th October 2015

I was at Minehead early, actually one and three quarters hours to be exact, I like to be early to park etc.
There were a few cars in the park, I waited a short time before having another 30g of muesli to make sure I wasn't hungry half way round as it was several hours since breakfast one.
I went to collect my number and surprised to bump into a friend, Jane who we used to go MTBing with and I worked with her husband, I even trained Jane when she was a member of our Ten Tors team, now a mum of two boys!!
After pinning my number and having another drink of ISO  I went for a walk, to loosen my legs, jogging at times to raise my heart rate [ I sound like a real athlete!] the weather was chilly with grey skies and misty and suspect it was thick cloud on Dunkery Beacon where the 15 mile route went.
I walked up to the start in good time and waited nervously with the others for the off, we were given a briefing and then walked to the start real, there was exciting chatter in the group, everyone looked fitter and better prepared than me, I had decided on my Asics short sleeve top with a pocket for my gel, and elastic bandage should I have trouble with my calf, three-quarter tights and my Salomon Speedcross shoes.
It was 11 am and we were off!
I set a reasonable pace as we ran up the side road to enter the woods and the off road, some of the cobbles were quite slippery in places, I managed to keep my place and no one overtook me my pace was around 10.5 steady. the track started to go up and we began to thin out, under foot was damp, but not too muddy, the air was still and chilly, and everyone was quite, the sound of heavy breathing breaking the silence, no banter which was surprising. The track steepened and then went into a single track, here I was forced to walk as it was single file and people walking made it impossible to pass [that's my excuse anyway] we went up down and around until we hit the main ridge at approximately 295 metre above sea level above Periton Hill, above Minehead, the views starting to open up even in the mist. It was the water station, a quick slurp and off again. Down hill this time towards Wootten Common about 3 miles covered, nearly halfway, I felt good even though my HRM showed my heart rate well up in the early 160s, legs felt good as well, a fast run down through the trees, I had been using two women in front of me as my pacers, both looked as though they were regular club runners and set a good pace so I decided to hang on to them, we soon started to climb again back to the ridge and headed over Hopcott Common, fine views now we were on the ridge, Butlins rising up out of the mist, great view of the curve of the bay, a fast run along the ridge before entering a technical downhill section that was loose and rooty, muddy in places. I hung on to my pacers and kept up with them easily on the technical bits, the wide sections they seemed to pull away.
I noticed my pace was down to around 7 min miles as we ran down, we overtook several other runners and only one overtook me, annoyingly he was an over 60!!! and pushed me back into 5th in the over 60 category. We continued to descend and only 1 mile to go we were out of the woods and onto a track before hitting the road, we were moving very fast now and my watch said 6 min miles!!!
My pacers now drew away but I hung on and finished only 30 secs behind them.

6.9 miles in 1hr 6 mins and 58 secs putting me 34th out of 74 and 5th in the over 60 catagory9min 45 pace and 1099ft climbed, very pleased with that as I did 1hr 12 mins last year and 1hr 17 the year before.
I really enjoyed the event, the fast run down through the woods was very exhilarating, I felt I ran well, I thanked to two women in front as I finished as I felt they had paced me round.
Tea and cake as I collected my finisher Tee shirt, a tasteful black this year with yellow writing, same logo etc. as previous years.
Perhaps next year I should graduate to the Stagger and its 15 miles as I have done the Stumble 3 times. I always feel guilty not doing the stagger, but it is a very hard run with a lot of climbing.
This all stands me now for the 13.7 mile HPH next week. My friend Rachel is still suffering from germs and a heavy cold, I do hope she recovers in time, even though her training has not been great.
Its spinning tonight to loosen my legs then one more run around the HPH route tomorrow afternoon as the weather still seems to be holding, spin on Thursday and a final short run on Friday.

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