Monday, 31 October 2016

Here Path Half week

31st October 2016
After the Stumble run last weekend I was feeling quite confident about the HerePath. Monday I had a rest day, the weather was still really nice to say it was late October, except Monday it poured down!!! All day, I could just imagine the HPH route being even muddier after the cattle had been there as well.
Tuesday I decided on one last long run before Sunday, so I was parking at Thurlbear church late on Tuesday after noon, it was warm and quite humid as I set off up the road. I felt ok and reached the Staple Hill car Park in a good time, deciding to avoid the muddy section. By the time I had got round to Bickenhall and 11 miles gone I was feeling it once again, despite a gel after the descent of Neroche, little did I know this was to repeat its self again in the race. I got back to the car 12.4 miles covered in 2hr 13 mins and a pace of 10.53. I told myself this was a training run and I would be quicker on the day!!! Famous last words me thinks!
below are several photos from the route

                                                    Thurlbear church, the starting point of the race
                              first hill
                         sign for another 1.5 miles uphill
              at last in the open
                        this is a steep track, much steeper than it looks in the photo, definitely a walk
                                            Part of the 2 miles down hill bit after Neroche

Wednesday was a Wobblies day, a good run down to the coast and Coffee and cake in West Bay, another 38 miles clocked up in good company, I am still riding my summer bike as the roads are not too bad, as well as wearing three quarter tights.
Thursday I did a short run round town to keep my legs ticking over 4 miles covered.
Saturday was visiting Grandchildren day as it was Mrs IanBs birthday on the Sunday. We were greeted by, banners and balloons! We had a lovely lunch and spent a great day with the twins and grand daughter, much cake eaten as well! The children particularly enjoyed the balloons and the year old twins, seemed to enjoy reading the birthday cards.
Sunday race day, the clocks had gone back the night before which meant an extra hour in bed, although I was up at 6 :00 thinking about the day ahead. Breakfast, energy drink made, gel in pocket and cereal bar ready to eat an hour before as it was a 10:30 start.
Picked up Rachel at the top of the lane, who informed me she hadn’t run this week and only once the week before!!! Ermmmm!
Parking was easy even though it’s a narrow lane, the joys of being early. Numbers collected, I was number 2 this time for some reason.
Race Director gave us the information as usual, then it was start line, we were quite near the front, purely by accident. The weather was misty, no wind and reasonably warm, unlike the cold wind at Minehead the week before. There was a full field of 200 today.
 We were off and the first mile is mainly roads so there was a fast pace, 8 minute miles! Too fast for me to keep up for very long , we hit the first off road section as the path started to climb, the pace still quite high, runners over taking us on the narrow tracks, as the paths went up and the miles increased we did slow a little and the field thinned out with lots of heavy breathing !! I kept trying to sip my ‘Tailwind ‘ drink to keep topped up.
We were soon at the first road where we turned off for the very muddy and wet section, the path twisted in and out to start with, through very wet dips before emerging onto the hillside and the narrow path that was a cattle run, full of deep mud and water, this was a walk, over the stile, but fortunately the runners were spaced enough to avoid queuing. The mud continued till we met the road again. My Inov8 gaiters now giving their worth by keeping it out of my shoes. The track steepens here and we were soon walking , as was everyone else. We continued to the top of the Blackdowns and Staple Hill before descending a little to the first water point, where we were greeted by Rachels schoolchildren cheering us on and at one point running with us! [ Rachel is a teacher in a local school whose children  man the water stop, she also runs the school running club] this did give us a boost. 6 miles gone, just over an hour so going well,  mostly uphill, I was feeling OK, a couple of sweets and a drink of water before descending on a steep downhill towards Britty Common, this is one of my routes so I was familiar with it. Crossing the road once again we climbed up to Neroche Castle before descending a good 2 miles down a good Stoney track to the road, I remembered my descent the week before on the Stumble, but sadly couldn’t replicate it, especially with 5 miles to go, so not as fast as I would have liked to pick up time.
  I decided it was time for my gel [ I had taken an out of date one May 16!!!] before the final 4 miles. As we hit the road section near Bickenhall I started to feel tired, legs were getting slower, Rachel seemed to be going well [ as usual] drink stop again before a mile of uphill road running, I could feel the energy starting to drain away and Rachel started to pull away, I couldn’t stay with her, we entered  Bickenhall woods which seemed to twist and turn for ever before emerging into brilliant sunshine and my most hated bit of the run round a field, quite sticky mud, just managing to lift my feet enough to clear it, back into the woods once again, lots of mud this time and more uphill, but!! I knew it was the last uphill and I know I always struggle on this section, only 2 miles to go and the last mile is down hill. I walked and Rachel did wait for me at the end of the woods. We ran together round the road to the final down hill through more woods on a forestry track, seemingly going on for ever. Time was moving on I knew I would be slower than last year. The fast start I think didn’t help. We finally came out of the woods and the final 200 metres uphill to the finish, 2h 22 min 58 secs that’s 6 minutes slower than last year. I was very tired, it had been a hard run! I still don’t understand how Rachel manages on so little training!! ‘youth and agility’ obviously outweigh ‘age and cunning’ !!
We collected water and our momento, this year a glass with the race and date on etc. before driving home for a well-earned shower and lunch!

I thought I would have gone better than I did, so a little disappointed, I think I went too fast too early and made a mistake of an old gel, clearly not as effective, in fact I didn’t notice any difference!
We did manage 113th out of 200 which was quite good and I noticed I was 2nd in the over 60 category, there were 4 of us.
Monday a nice surprise when I had a package delivered, it turned out to be a trophy from the Minehead  Stumble, for coming 1st in the over 65 age group, I didn’t know they had one other wise I would have stayed to have it presented! My first trophy for running, a very nice paperweight.

The HPH is possibly my last event before the Grizzly next March, what I do know is I need to get more miles in and hours running before then!

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