Thursday, 31 December 2009

Happy New Beer

Joy to the world and all that stuff. I'm in a reflective mood so some resolutions:

1. I've decided to live a bit healthier next year, in many ways I took a backwards step, more veg, more good protein, less chocolate and sugary carbs next year.
2. Less or no binge drinking. E.g. get to 5 and have a few soft drinks, fed up of losing mornings. Weddings, parties excluded naturally.
3. Not strictly relevent to running blog but - Try and progress my training and learning at work a bit. Too much time firefighting this year, I'll start saying no a bit more, let a few burn, make more time for progression.

Anyway, last race of year today. As with previous three years I ran the Auld Lang Syne fell race in "wild" Bronte Country near Haworth. Weather varies by year, usually cold (sometimes very), often windy (cold, cold, wind), sometimes snow. This year the route was changed due to some icey paths and instead a more traditional fell run route was followed (e.g. less solid path, more mud n stuff). This meant, after initial runnable paths it was a few miles up to top of moor through a combo of churned mud, churned snow and some water. As per usual this race was popular and the best path was crowded, so I spent the first hald mostly seeking overtaking opportunities, which often meant risking hitting deep mud by cutting a bend. Mostly succesful, but this steady then surge type of running is hard work!

At top of the moor there was quite a long run through crisp and often deep undisturbed snow. In places you could run onto a drift and it was iced up and would support your weight. In other places your foot would sink in a foot. Best bet was to keep to path churned up by the 150'odd runners ahead of me, which didn't allow much of a rythm to be built up. I stopped overtaking and was begging for the "Stoop" stone and the opportunity to head back off the moor. When this came I found myself trading places with the strong downhillers and weak uphillers at various points. I still found a few opportunities to overtake in the overall downhill second half, sometimes taking a nippy surge off main path through some of the snow covered bracken. Though at one time I nearly had serious brown trousers time as a foot plant hit rock and threw my balance off leaving me staggering forward at speed. The next few seconds were slow motion as I placed feet down with as much precision as I could between hazards on this rocky section, desperately trying to regain balance and avoid falling on rocks and cracking something! I got through this bit ok and due to momentum actually passed somebody :¬)

I trudged back up Penistone Hill in 54 mins. Fairly good show I think. Just a whisker behind the leaders ;¬) Ok, ok..... but was well in top half, which is good in this race. For the record Alistair Brownlee (world triathlon champ) won, about 30 secs up on "fell legend" Ian Holmes in 39 something, I think Andi Jones - last years winner - was 4th. I reckon the changed course played into the hands of the out-and-out fell runners like Ian today, so Alistair did great.

Got my bottle of beer for competing and planning to drink it in the next hour as I await my taxi to whisk me away for a night of revelry.

Happy New Year!