Tuesday, 28 September 2010

3 Shires 2010 and sore legs!

I’d not done much running in the previous weeks but with Ben Nevis, then the Horwich Downhill Race, Orienteering on Formby Dunes I don’t think I’d let my legs recover from the Ben. Whilst they had felt fine after the race I maybe should have rested them a little more. Anyway, the Thursday before 3 Shires I went for a training run with Albert and Tony up on Winter Hill, nothing to hard and only out for 1 1/2 hours. I do have to push a little harder when in company as I don’t like people having to keep waiting for me and if I run alone I tend to go easier on myself. Anyway, after the run I felt fine. The Saturday morning of the race I woke at about 3AM to make Lucy’s bottle and couldn’t walk down the stairs. My calves were murdering me! This wasn’t a good thing on race day.
I really like this race. I don’t think it is just one thing in particular. It’s a race I took Chris to twice before doing it myself and I like the village of Little Langdale. I like the buzz of the race. I like the run through the ford at the start. I like the spectacular route the race takes and I love watching this video on youtube  and up to last year it was the longest fell race I had ever entered. It’s just great!!
Me at the startI’ll not got through the full details of the race route as I have already done that in blog entries from last year (1, 2). Parking this year was at Hodge Close quarry because the recent rains made the field too wet for cars which meant a 25 minute walk from the parking to the start. We met Ian and Pauline Charters and Mick Green on the way so there was plenty of chat as we went. My legs were still feeling sore and I was already having doubts about completing the race. The race was delayed starting so Albert bought a 2nd round of tea which meant I would need a couple of toilet breaks en-route.

The race headed of and with the narrow bridge over the ford out for repairs it meant everybody got wet at the start. After the ford my legs felt slow and heavy with a steady stream of runners passing me I felt slow too. By the start of the climb up Wetherlam I think I was about 20 from last and by about Click to see larger picture. Runners look like ants heading up the hill 100m into the climb I was considering retiring. I had to keep stopping to stretch my calves, of course losing the odd position when I did. By the time I got 1/2 way I decided I would just see what my time was at the top and if it was much off last years then I would retire.
Surprisingly I made the top in the same time as last year so carried on however this didn’t remove the thoughts of retiring. The run towards Prison band and up to Swirl How still felt slow and heavy but I did manage to make up a couple of positions on the climb. The 3 Shires stone would be my next opportunity to retire and on the descent round Great Carrs and down to the stone the retirement feeling was starting to fade. Hitting the checkpoint in 1hr 50min (the same time as last year) I continued onwards to the top of Blisco. Again I managed to pick up a couple of places on the climb. At one point a sugar rush kicked in so I started running but after about 25m slow running up hill the sugar rush ended and I carried on walking.
On the run from Blisco the runners trod was pretty well defined in most places. Eventually it starts to drop before cutting across to the fence crossing but I always seem to stay too high and veer off the path. I have a marker that I head for and it works for me. Not sure if it is much quicker but it definitely isn’t slower.
Passing Blea Tarn (without falling and getting cramps this year) the climb up to Lingmoor was as hard as I remember from last year. Slow steady steps, pushing on for the top which isn’t too far (on fresh legs) but eventually it comes. The marshalls guided me along the right route as last year I ended up sticking to the wall which isn’t the best way as there are a few more ups to tackle on those “fresh legs”.
Running in to the finish I noticed the line of runners queuing for the free tea and pasties after the race and the thought of a pasty made me smile. Imagine my disappointment on finding all the Meat & Potato ones had gone and only Cheese and Onion were left. So I sulked and just had two cups of tea and some left over flapjack.
I finished the race in 3hr 36min which was 3 minutes quicker than last year. Considering how I felt slow and had heavy legs all the way round I’d hope that on good legs my time would be quicker still. We’ll see how it goes next year.

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