Sunday, 24 June 2012

Kinder Trog 2012

No more be said really
Had a bruised foot for most of the week, so I wasn't all that sure I was going to run this until last night. Once at the race, there were hordes of Glossopdalers around. Yes, its a great local race, but I didn't expect a turnout like that.
The Downfall. Going down for once.
Until I learned that it was a championship race. Ah- that explains it then.

Stevie K at Millhill
My main goal for this race was to beat last years time of 2 hours 19 mins. Placings didn't really matter, only the time. (as ever). Its been pretty claggy these past couple of days, and it was still raining when we got up this morning, so it was fairly obvious it was going to be a muddy and puddly course, perhaps slower underfoot than it was last year. However, the main cause for concern was the climb up through Dimpus Clough kind of area where I blew up rather spectacularly last year and lost about 12 places in short order. Determined that this wasn't going to happen again, I made sure that I had water with me (something that I definitely needed last time, and also a cheeky power gel, just in case. The plan was to stay relatively hydrated all the way around, starting out relatively slowly, but making sure I had enough to get up those hills in the latter part of the race.

Julien displaying the correct torso wear for clag
The start was buzzing with activity, and Julien was saying that he really wanted to start slowly this year so that he didn't burn out too early. I offered to drag him back by holding onto his shirt, but was declined. Stevie K turned up despite having a family birthday to attend (I trust the birthday person was given a suitably decent present?!), along with him, some Dark Peakers, Tom Brunt and also Iain Ridgeway were out in force, so it seemed like a fairly competitive field.

At the gun, a number of people, despite talking about holding back, surged forward and blasted down the road. They could do what they wanted, I had a plan and was sticking to it, nice and gentle, not pushing too hard, and just enjoying it. The rain had stopped (mostly), and occasionally it looked like it might even brighten up at some point.
I saw John and Alistaire thrashing away up the hill somewhere near the front of the pack, with Julien, kind of doing what he said he would, running along a few yards in front of me, but not giving it all to stay with the really fast guys.

John at Mill Hill
Up the first hill I passed someone that looked very much like Sarah Ridgeway, and further up the hill, saw John and Alistaire hanging on by the skin of their teeth. Julien passed Alistaire, who did not respond, and then passed John, who attempted to stay with him.
By the top of Lantern Pike I had overhauled Ali, who was paying for his very fast start, but John was still out of reach.

I ran with Dave Soles up through the lanes to Monks road, expecting him to overrun me on the way down to the Grouse, but never really saw him again after he stopped briefly at the watering station. Another bonus of having my own water bottle, not having to stop or slow down at specific times.
Me chasing John
All the way up the path to the top of Kinder, I managed to keep John in sight, though Julien had rocketed off somewhere up ahead. John has been running up in Scotland for the last few weekends and so I was slightly wary of how good his form was going to be, nevertheless, I needed to keep him in my sights as the top of Kinder looked properly clagged in, and I would need to follow him if there were any short cuts to be made.

We passed Lynne (who was out for a run with a camera) and Geoff Briggs at Mill Hill, without much of a change in places, and I finally managed to catch up with John on the steeps going up onto the plateau. We ran along exchanging pleasantries, and I brought him up to date with who I'd passed, who might be behind us and who wasn't.
Neither of us were going to look back.
Keeping John in sight toward Kinder (thats in the mist)

We made it to Kinder downfall without much ado, apart from the ridiculous amount of cloud surrounding us, then down the West side of the plateau, past Red Brook. This was where I started falling a lot last year, so I was making sure I was hydrated, and not getting too tired. Down toward Kinder Low trig there were a gaggle of about 5 people in front of John and I, and as we started down the hill I downed my gel and in the process, noticed that we were following the same line as we had done on the Solstice run.
The wrong line. 
Mentioning this to John we immediately hung a sharp right with the chap behind us doing the same thing. The gaggle of runners in front of us noticing a little too late, and ended up having to follow us, but the damage was done and I'm pretty sure none of them caught up with us again.

Alistaire running into the clag
We gained the path, and I was mentally preparing for the hill that was about to come. The nemesis, with a group of people behind us that would definitely want to catch us as they had just made a minor navigational error. John, me and this other bloke thrashed down the hill, into the bottom, jumped across the stream, shouted our numbers at Grouse, who happened to be marshalling there, and proceeded to march as fast as possible up the hill. I clung onto their coattails (not literally- figuratively) and with the very loud encouragement from the Mountain Rescue guys at the top of the hill.
We got to the top without being passed.
Brilliant. Mission Accomplished.

Claire enjoying the run
The run across South Head was hard, through bogs, puddles and bits that you had to decide if you wanted to expend energy jumping over the bog, or not bothering, and then expending energy extracting yourself from it instead. John pulled away from me, and I could no longer see Julien, their long distance pedigree was showing. I pulled on along the path, trying to keep up, or at least not let the distance between us get too great, overtaking a Dark Peaker in the process. It wasn't until coming up to Peep o Day that we all really started to feel it, and I finally caught up with John for the second time in the race at the top of Big Stone.

We ran pretty much side by side, with him leading most of the way for the next 3km, and then with me leading the last 1. Not a place that I actually wanted to be, John on my shoulder, I felt sure that he had something up his sleeve to negate a final kick.
The gap at the end
We passed a runner on the way down a nasty slippery hill, and I led across the fields and down the road which is the start to Cracken edge, very nearly slipping and falling. Then down through the town, across the bridge, and then I let loose with a sprint for the finish, thinking that he was right on my tail. John was in fact a way behind me as he just didn't have the speed for the last 100metres.

I came in 19th, in a time of about 2 hours 10. 9 minutes faster than last year. Talking to everyone else that was finishing, it seemed that nearly everyone else had had a much slower run than last year, so thats a bit of a result.

Glossopdale had a pretty good day with Mark O coming in 9th, Julien was somewhere in the top 20, I was 19th and John was 20th. Ok, so Dark Peak won the team prize, but I think we would have come a comfortable 2nd.
Sarah Ridgeway came in a little after us, only 30 seconds outside the Female course record, which was a fantastic effort.
At the end

Still, the plan worked, no-one passed me on the big hills where I really felt let down last year, and I wasn't dropped too badly (most of the time). I think hills still need work, but longer hills rather than shorter ones, and also running through bad terrain at the back end of a race. Its good to know I have things to improve upon, I just need to get another 10 mins or so quicker for next year, and I'll be under the magical 2 hour boundary!


The Andies
The end of quite a race

Chewing the fat.
Best continue training then.
And for those that are interested, here are the super-quick results. Well done the organisers!

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