Monday, 16 February 2015

Carnethy 5 Hill Race

Love not Hate?

Ahhh the C5. I decided to change my attitude to this one this year. It's clearly bad form to go to the same party every year and slag it off. So I decided to focus on the positive. What little there is. And it's not as if there isn't plenty of worse stuff going on all around. I spent the week cycling 12.5 miles along the coast to work and mostly cycling 12.5 miles back at the end of the working day. Between falling asleep into my dinner I would notice snippets of news on the telly like the following and feel uncertain of whether I had dreamed them or not. The Police, god bless them, now having to ask 12 year olds whether they'd mind awfully being searched. Can I just suggest the fucktard who came up with this genius crimewave stopper does not live in my neighbourhood. No doubt where they live the kids are kept busy with music lessons and ski-ing weekends, and don't have pockets full of stabby knives, whisky and housebreaking equipment. And can I remind the same fucktard how well it worked when we handed over all authority to the kids in secondary schools and let them assualt teachers without any come back. Did that work out well?

I had to stop on the cycle to work as this was too beautiful not to snap. See the powerstation. I am aiming for a mile past there. Oh rapture!

Anyway I mention the cycling as it has been the only training done for the C5. I also left arranging a lift until the eleventh hour in the vain hope that I wouldn't manage and have to forego the race for want of transport there. It was apt that the lift I reluctantly arranged was from Jim Davies (Borrowdale), the person to blame really for myself running this race more times than any other. In the car there Jim passed comment on the changes in my lifestyle since we first met. He always ran hills. Back when I was still smoking and drinking. Slowly I swapped that for a bit of running then probably on his recommendation a bit of hillrunning and then entering the C5 about 14 or 15 years ago. He likes this race and his name was on the mug they gave us this year for the most top ten finishes. He has won the race and this year scored another top ten finish (and first m40). He won't hear anything of my position that it is a desperate course with only a couple of hundred yards of decent running between 2 massive and unpleasant slogs up horrible ascents with an ankle breaking descent into an ugly swamp for pudding. He says it has a bit of everything. Clearly it doesn't and he wouldn't touch it if it had for instance 26.2 miles of road. Jim is built for hills and does them VERY well. I am not and don't.

So why do I sign up? Well it is very social before and afterwards and I would almost feel left out if I wasn't on that bus with 500 other runners, nervous with anticipation, bumbags flapping in the wind. Actually this year was really mild and with so little wind that I ran in only a vest and shorts and left the gloves and buff in the bumbag. Well it was a small back pack. And the course was in very good condition. Just a pity I wasn't. If I was as fit as last year I might have romped under the hour but work during the last few months has been unseasonably busy and so I have had to rely on cycle fitness (to work and also at spin classes) for any kind of training.

Steven F warming up. Behind him the first hill Scald Law, highest of the Pentlands.

I had bought new hill shoes Inov8 265s the new blue ones. I had only had them on a couple of times but they felt fine at Wintervals so I gave them an outing at Devilla. The ground there was so hard I should have worn Hokas and as a result my calves were sore for 3 days afterwards. However at the C5 they were excellent. The photo above was taken by Mary who acknowledged it wasn't her best shot of the day. She was waiting just over the summit of Scald Law. I was feeling okay at that point. Mainly because I had anticipated the first 20 mins would be MUCH worse. Not that I was scampering along happily. It felt like I had swallowed a red hot sword down into either lung and my legs had been mashed with a meat tenderiser, but when I topped out and wheezed past the trig point it was around the 17 minute mark. Last year it was past 18 and the hour was shot already. As Mary's photo shows I had decent posture and was still running.

Thanks to Mark J for this photo.

Nothing of note between there and West Kip except those dreadful steep kips. Various ladies around although I am moving through the pack and see one or 2 quality runners which makes me feel like the cycling may be paying dividends. It should be pointed out that I cycle not in a sedate manner to work but like it is a competition: I make a mental note of time of departure and time of arrival and always arrive drenched in sweat. (I change clothes for the day's work then change back into the cycle kit off the radiator at the day's end.) The other day I passed a dude in lycra on a road bike who sat on my back wheel for a mile till I pulled up the hill from Port Seton to Longniddry where I dropped him on the climb but nearly required hospitalisation afterwards.

Down to the Howe and Steven F and I have exchanged places again. And Olly as well. He is the organiser and has to be a saint for taking on this mammoth task. He said at the start over a hundred folk are helping out and what with the buses, the kit checks, the marshals and the route markers not to mention the dinner ladies afterwards, well, I take my hat off to them all, and feel generally guilty about my lack of enthusiasm for the course. Right now we are at the worst part. We have enjoyed a half mile of decent running from W Kip to the Howe but now we have a long march up a dreadful climb. I think I noticed it was about 38~40mins at the bottom and it would take till about 55 or more to get to the top. Young girls and old men are scooting past and your legs are already trashed from the first ascent. There is little relief and going slower doesn't help. March or run and try not to let too many buggers past. It is awful. I tried to hang on to Olly who was in danger of having a good run despite all that organising stress.

"thanks" to Eilidh A for this which I subtitled on facebook as "my cup runneth over." 
It marks the first blind summit where you get a moment of running before the hill steepens again. I was feeling totally wrung out.

However up ahead I got an occasional glimpse of Alan Smith. And Steven F was still behind. Hey maybe this was the year? Maybe I'd pull this one out of the bag? I caught Olly just before the summit and tried to say something encouraging, but I was now set on catching Alan S. So much so I missed Mary taking photos and she thought I was ignoring her in a stew of hate. I was mainly watching my feet and trying to speed down a 4 minute descent in 3 minutes.

Alan, me, Olly. Taken by Mary - how did I not see her?

There is a short stretch of decent running before a marshal flags you off into the shin deep heather and you have to trust to fate and fly through this. I followed Alan and his line since he is a legendary descender and found that I just about had enough in my legs to cope - maybe all this cycling was working. Just before the gate I overtook Alan which gave me a huge boost mentally which was immediately wiped out when I sneaked a micro glance at the watch and it said 58.5+ and I relaxed into a slog across the bog. There is no way I can run from the gate under 2 minutes. So again the hour slips away. However I finished about a minute faster than my own pre-race estimate and ahead of some proper runners and generally felt a lot better about the race than I usually do struggling up that last grassy knoll. 61.16 a palindromic defeat and victory. Could have been worse.

"thanks" Allan G for this rather raddled portrait. 

I went and got my camera and stood near the swamp taking photos of runners with Allan G who gave me the heads up about who had done what. Charlotte had had a terrific race getting close to Angela M's record and comfortably crossing the line well ahead of any of the strong competition. In the men's race lots of skinny dudes had run fast. Yeah yeah who cares. Oh and some hadn't. It is always interesting to see those who should do well but are caught out. And occasionally those who excel more than you would expect. It's certainly more difficult to predict the results than a half marathon. I suppose it's more about who is good at walking up hill. Not really a running race! Not proper running! Okay enough slagging off. 

Laurie gets a quiach for 21 appearances, along with Bruce Smith, Keith Burns, and Dick Wall, troopers all.

There was still one last race I won: Bernie had said it was his intention to get to the line before I got the camera out and got a photo of him short of the line. He didn't stand a chance - even with the camera back at the marquee. I was waiting for him and must have had too big a smile, as he waved me a doubled handed set of Vs. Sadly this was the missed shot of the day and I only got photos either side of his abuse.

There was only a small showing from Porty this year - Just myself, Bernie and Helen F who seemed to enjoy herself.

Joel: famously small bag

Mary and her special Klimt tights. 
Possibly the best and worst on show today, strangely camouflaging

Well it is Valentines Day

Now who would write out their previous best as a target hitlist?
(It worked and Mike L managed a pb.)

Now here is something I can be very positive about. A free beer (and mug) for every finisher. You can't fault that - and excellent label design showing the race profile. Many thanks Jeff Roberts. 

So yes it is a fabulous race and I love it. Well maybe not but there are very good aspects to it, and I do totally respect and take my hat off to Olly and his team for taming the monster that is the C5. I had the chicken pie not the quiche this year and I enjoyed that. I got a lift back to Porty from Jim after he picked up his prizes for walking up hills quicker than most and doing a darn fine job of it. I hope the weather is as good next year, and if I am a bit quieter at work I may put in some more training and chase that hour again. Only another handful until I am on my way to a quiach for 21 appearances. Which I don't really want but you know it's not really about what I want. 

No comments:

Post a Comment