Friday, 30 August 2013

Ol' blue eyes is back.

I've started running again. More importantly I've started running again and enjoying it. The past few weeks I've been going up to Dashers on a Thursday night and going for a run with the dog. We've both had fun and it's worked out well. I don't really feel up to going with a group as yet, mainly because I still feel slow but also it'd be hard work with Sam.
Anyway, as I say I've had a few weeks of running offroad so, me being me, I decided to have go at the Gala race. Not only did I decide to have a go but I also stated that I would in my Editorial for the August Dash. No jibbing out then.
I'm pretty fit at the moment as I've been really putting in the bike training for the 3 Peaks cx so I knew I could get round it ok. I also knew that my legs are far from used to the battering a fell race gives but that wasn't a big worry, I'd deal with that later.
I've done the Gala race many times over the years and I tend to use it as a yardstick to see how I'm going on. The last two years I got consecutive PB's which is kind of good and kind of not. I shouldn't really be getting PB's in my late 40's/early 50's. Just goes to show how crap I was before, I 'spose!
So I rolled up for the race in a bit of a strange frame of mind - this would be the first running race of the year for me and so I wasn't expecting to do particularly well. It's only a little race and so there was no pressure on me. Plus it's a course I know well and there's lot's of familiar faces knocking about to encourage/take the piss. And, above all that, you get a free pint (or two, or...) afterwards.
I'd opted to not wear my Dashers vest as
a. it was a warm day and I have a lighter weight unmarked vest and
b. I didn't expect to do the club justice, which sounds a bit lame but nonetheless it's how I felt.
Lining up at the start I found myself next to Andy 'Gadget legs' Smith who, as well as being a top bloke, is also bloody quick on his day. as we started I told him to have a good one and said 'See you later' expecting him to leave me in his dust. We got through the lower bit of the park and I was still fairly near the front. Crossed the road and into the second climb through the park. Hmm, can feel it in my thighs but I'm keeping going. Of course I am a one trick pony and that trick is going up hill but even so I'm feeling pretty good.
up to the tower and I have a bit of crack with Jonathan B and Mark W who are spectating up there. This encourages me to push on and trot down the (for me) painful descent to the foot of the moor.
Climbing again now. Good! I see Andy a few places ahead and another 5 or so places is Des who is one of our quickest guys. I catch Andy after a while and notice that Des has had a bit of a walk. 'He's cracking' I say to Andy and press on. I think I was getting a bit carried away here, with hindsight. I spotted Paul Livsey taking photos at the top of the climb and so, just for fun, I put a spurt on and dropped the group I was with and gave the trademark cheeky grin, knowing full well I couldn't keep that sort of pace up!

One of the people I passed was Graham Schofield from Horwich. I don't think he appreciated it as, when he repassed me he elbowed me out of the way! I sarcastically said 'Oh, sorry Graham'.
Across the flat bit and then onto the technical descent which I blundered down inelegantly. I didn't want to risk turning my ankle here. It's such a narrow bit of singletrack descent that nobody can get past. However once onto the wide path back down to the park it's a different story.
Andy shot past and I could hear footsteps very close behind and caught a glimpse of a blue vest behind me. Surely it couldn't be my nemesis Allan Hartley from Blackburn Harriers? I thought I'd killed him off on the climb out of the park! (It wasn't and I had, it later turned out)
Spurred on now I hammered as fast as my dodgy legs could take me, down through the park, across the road, down through the park again and finally in sight of the finish line. Ah, the old familiar 'running through treacle' sensation! I gave it everything and finished without being caught and one place behind Gadget legs.
I have to say I was really surprised to have done so well. When the results came out I was about 6 seconds off my PB, 15th overall and second Vet 50 in  29:07. Results here

 I think people thought I was hamming it up a bit about not doing much running training but it was all down to the bike training. My cardiovascular system is in really good shape and I got away with the crap technique.
A few beers were sunk later and I must admit to feeling pretty chuffed with myself. I'll continue with the Thursday night sessions at Dashers for the time being as it's good cross training for the Peaks. Hell, I might even do another fell race once it's over. Hmm, David Staff maybe...
Anyway next up, Ladies & Gentlemen, is the main event, the one I have trained for for 4 months solid (crazy for a race which will take about 4 1/2 hours!) - the one - the only - Three Peaks Cyclocross.
Cross your fingers for me.