Sunday, 18 November 2012

Full Tour of Pendle

All I really know about Pendle is that it's a hill, has something to do with witches, and my phone thinks of Victoria Pendleton when I type 'Pendle' into it. To be honest, I sort of think about Victoria Pendleton as well, but enough of that.

I'd decided to do the Full Tour of Pendle a few weeks back, remembering a post about the race from DazH's blog last year. I left Teesside in the gloam and pissing rain and headed over the Pennines towards Blackburn way, where it got claggy. Thankfully this soon lifted so I could see a few other members of Pennine had made the trip. Lots of people holding purple shirts made me think that Borrowdale had been on a recruitment drive, until I realised that these were the race T-shirts, and very nice (and purple) they are too! Perfect for the discerning Fell Running Gogol Bordello Fan.

Apparently Pendle looks like this. I didn't get much chance to look at it despite running all over it.
I was expecting a tough race (well, it is an AL race after all), especially after a ravaging cold courtesy of a lairy time a couple of weekends back. I was just over this and would have been well rested were it not for the fact that I've just started building up my weekly training ahead of winter training proper starting, so my legs were grumbling a little having had to run every day after a summer spent seemingly permanently resting up for some grand weekend excursion.

Looking at the race map beforehand I told myself that, even with 3 climbs to go, once you get to #5 you're almost there. Alas, these hills made me really suffer. I'd set off at a pace I was sure I could maintain for 2.45ish, but this was based on my summer fitness. There was a big group of us at #1 and, feeling good, I took the opportunity to stretch it out on the fast running to #2. I was still feeling OK coming out of #4 but immediately coming out of #5 I had to stop and remove something painful from my shoe (there as I last used them for orienteering in a bracken and bramble-infested Roseberry Topping on Wednesday). I lost little time but lost some impetus, and on the climb to #6 quite a few people came past me. I was still within touching distance of a good group as we started the final ascent from #9, but as I neared the top, swaying like a drunk, I had to really focus on the ground to keep going and I didn't see them disappear, but that they did.

I could have done with a broomstick for the last 2.5 climbs and 75 minutes!

Quads screaming I just about managed to get my legs turning over for the descent from Big End and along the road, albeit at a pace much less than normal, but I still managed to take a place to finish in 18th (15th after 3 DQs), a smidge outside 2hr45. a prize for 10th senior and 3rd team (with Dave, John and Dave), along with a free T-shirt, made it a very worthwhile day out to add to the standard enjoyable Fell Running experience. My GPS trace can, as ever, be found on the excellent Attckpoint (and now also on strava!). Carl Bell won in 2:27, just ahead of P&B's English Orienteering International Ian Nixon. This puts me at 112% of the winner's time, which is much better than I'd expected!

Needless to say my legs were wrecked, but I'd said I'd turn out at the XC today at Croft race circuit near Darlington. Thankfully it was a flat circuit (not often I say that!) and, although I was obviously down on where I would normally be, for a first run of the season I was fairly pleased to be under 4min/km (32min for 8.3km) on generally soft going. My legs now feel better than they did before I started. They're still pretty wrecked though!

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