Mar 2012

Delusional goals and dubious complements

Wuthering hike: delusional goals
With a previous best (in 4 outings) of 7.13 I followed the time honoured technique for delusional goal setting:

What’s the nearest ‘round time’ beneath by PB?
7 hours.
Let’s aim for sub-7.

But that 7.13 came on an almost perfect day (calm, sunny and firm underfoot) after almost perfect preparation, including 3 weeks trekking in the Himalayas over Christmas. This year I was playing catch up on training after a fortnight in India where the only running I did was to the bathroom...

So on a slightly miserable, muddy day sub-7 was never going to happen. And reality kicked in when I went through half-way in 3.30 with the big hills still to come. The goal then switched to beat last year’s 7.31 and I just managed it (7.27), with the added bonus of squeeking past Dick Scroop in the last couple of hundred metres. (Dick is, ummm, somewhat older than me and, when he’s on form, significantly faster than me. But when he’s not having a good day I have a habit of catching him in the closing miles.)

Hardmoors 55: dubious compliments
After last weekend’s lesson in realistic goal-setting, my goal for this one was to finish in under 13.42 and beat my ‘Wuthering Hike-Hardmoors’ double-header time from last year.

In both of the past two years nobody who reached the 22 mile cut-off at Osmotherley after me, made it to the finish within the overall 15 hour cut-off. But I was never in last place, there were always people behind me. This year though I was dead-last from mile one to the first check-point at 10 miles. The sweeper was great though. Unlike at the
Brecon 40, I never felt herded. He hung back only catching up for a quick chat just before the first check-point:

‘You’re running like a metronome. How are you managing it?’
‘Umm, this is the limit of how fast my legs will go...’

Followed by an ego boosting discussion of how many people I’d be able to catch in the 2nd half of the race if I kept my metronomic plodding up.

The first catch came at the check-point and I continued to steadily reel people in as the route headed across the moors. Dubious complement number two came when I snuck past someone on one of the tricky descents:

‘You’re a good descender.’ 

Nice. But my ego came down to Earth with a bang when he followed this up with ‘I come from the Netherlands’.

Last year the weather had been (relatively) hot and sunny. Perfect running weather for me. This year a brief but nasty storm hit in mid-afternoon, so getting close to last year’s time was going to be a challenge.

Like last year a  ‘splash and dash, no sitting down’ stop at the 2nd and final indoor checkpoint at Kildale took me past a handful of people. And by keeping plodding on I managed to finish in 13.36, two minutes inside last year’s time. A miniscule PB, but given the weather I’ll settle for that.