High Peak 40 - the road of doom

Beforehand my goals were to
  1. i) beat my 2009 time of 9.43
ii) run the whole of the never ending gently rising road of doom.
In retrospect i) was never going to happen, and in fact it took a concerted effort to squeak inside 2010’s 9.59. I didn’t strictly speaking manage ii) either, having a couple of short walk breaks on the steeper bits. But I did take 6 minutes off my 2010 time for that stretch, which I’ll take as a mini result.

The weather at the start was foul and (after a last minute change of clothes which left the back seats of the car covered in sudocream....) I set off in long tights and a fairly heavy duty jacket. I was also trying out a new bit of kit-an OMM front pack attached to my 10l OMM ‘last drop’ rucksack. I really like this pack for ‘shortish’ races without a huge kit list, but the lack of  easy access pockets for food is a problem

The weather cleared up soon after the start and I had to stop, unfasten the front pack, remove my raincoat and then reattach it. Which took forever (or a couple of minutes at least). Rushup edge felt like a bit of a struggle, although not as much of a struggle as the splits revealed afterwards. I was, on average, 2 minutes a mile slower on that stretch than last year. Where have my (pretty crap in the first place) climbing legs gone?...

It started raining heavily coming down from Hollins Cross, so it was back off with the front pack and on with the raincoat. The climb out of Castelton was slow again. And then it stopped raining again and I was overheating and the jacket had to come off again. I was seriously rueing not having worn a lighter jacket which would have coped with the rain without boiling me. Hopefully getting the front pack on and off will get easier/quicker with practice...

By keeping running through Tideswell (and past a bloated dead sheep) I was gradually passing people who were walking. The one problem was food. I was planning on supplementing gels with biscuits and snacks from the checkpoints. But they mostly had sweet flapjacks which I was struggling to eat (note to self: carry a back up stash of savoury biscuits in future).

The climb out of Deep Dale 1 wasn’t too bad and then on to the road of doom. And with a combination of counting footsteps and inventing pace and heart rate goals, I ran all but a couple of hundred metres of it, making up the time I’d lost on the big off-road climbs.

The last couple of miles were a bit of plod (probably due to not taking on enough calories), but I managed to just make it round inside last year’s time.

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Christopher Thomas and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence