Sunday, 15 November 2015

Tinto Hill Race

Abigail's Party

Winter's here then. Ushered in by a-big-gale that happily never really stormed in as promised. While I find my running mojo reluctant in the grim drizzle, at least Wednesdays and Thursdays I am out giving it 100% at club and Wintervals. Wednesday was a "rewarding" session with Willie taking us for 8 x 800m (Yasso 800s) on the prom. Richard L would storm the first half and I'd try to catch him then push the second half. I was all too aware that he was blowing out coughy flavour bugs and I was half a second directly behind breathing them in. We might as well have been snogging. Most of the reps we were hitting 2.40s. Halfway through Friday night I felt the first tickle in my throat.

Thursday evening and the rain is holding off. Headtorches on for the Carnethy boys wintervals in Holyrood. Legs are a bit fried from Wednesday. Iain has us do figure 8s round the grassy oval below the crags. No hills as we are saving ourselves for Tinto. Laucht the Cough is there again but I manage to stay ahead of him this time. (Too little too late!) In fact I am always further up the field (it's not a race) (of course it's a race) when we do flat stuff. I wouldn't be able to keep up with Nasher in a hill race but he is just at my shoulder at the end of each of the 4 six minute reps, thanking me for keeping the pace going, giving him a target. 

I carried Mary's waterproof (shockproof) camera but there was insufficient light and a bit too much shoogle for decent results. Alan Smith in the turquoise vest up ahead.

Normally I avoid looking up what I did last time until afterwards. I found myself checking the records for Tinto because I couldn't remember. Haven't run it since 2011. Four times in all; quickest was 2011; 36.36 slowest was 2008; 39.24. On that occasion I noticed a dude, Bernie Devoy (unattached) was a couple places ahead and talked afterwards about joining Portobello. I mentioned to Mary that a stronger runner, an interloper, in my age group, was threatening to join PRC and ruin my dominance of the v40s! Every beer and cake for the next 6 months (he took his time signing up to wear the Porty vest) Mary would taunt "I don't think Bernie Devoy is eating cake and drinking beer." Since becoming team mates and friends with Bernie, my potential nemesis, we found out that he has been known to smoke cigarettes. Each to their own training plan!

This photo, taken by Mary Lye gives a great idea of the conditions towards the top.

The weather wasn't that bad. But it was cold and with a slight headwind as you went up which you only noticed when turning around and going down. This, and the soggy underfoot conditions at the top made for the slowest times in 15 years for first man and 14 years for first woman. I was aiming low -  hoping to get under 40minutes; being fit on the flat, but fat on the flit. And not really hill fit. I was only really doing this as a counter for the PRC club championship. At last, the 8th counter and I am free of obligation. Till January! Actually I have been really disorganised about targetting races and only just had the requisite number to sneak ahead of champs stalwart Stavert who has been doing a very keen job this year and really deserves more than just the second place on the podium in our age group. And would have got first if I didn't turn down the opportunity to wear the Scotland vest in Dublin this weekend. I didn't make the team this year, until one of the team dropped out and I was asked to step up. It was a bit late and I had lined up a double race weekend here and so wasn't inclined to change plans. I hear there wasn't a full team in my age group. Oops.   

I turned at the top about a minute behind Michael G. I also saw Jim H coming down before I even got to the summit mound and wondered if I could catch them both. I was no longer chasing Alan S as there is no way you can give him any kind of head start on a descent and expect to catch him. And he was only second v50! So thoughts should have been on self preservation and just getting the champs points. But you know how it is and as soon as we got past the waterlogged sections at the top (Steve saw someone fall and slide 50 yards and actually use it to their advantage) I gave it full steam ahead and began to close the gap on MG. 

Photo: thanks Mary L

photo: thanks to Scott C for this masterpiece!

Michael had been on the ground but happily done no damage. I had him in my sights for a good bit, got my breath, then made a move on this corner going past on the higher inside. The above photo looks quite sedate but we were actually doing about 60mph. (I didn't catch Jim H. Curses!) When we got to the finish Michael apologised for the bad language. I hadn't heard anything but he insisted on confessing he cursed me heartily as I went past. Proper friendship! 

photo thanks David L 
who braved the bleak conditions to cheer us on and take photos - beyond the call of duty
Andy S just behind giving it welly! He left me behind on the ascent and it was only with considerable effort that I got in front just before the finish.

photo David L

Carnethies Gordon (above) and Digby (below);
doing a great job at registration / kit checking.

you can tell Fiona is doing it wright because she had trashed quads on Sunday

Andrew was fuming when he found his sprint to the line blocked. Fellow Speed of Light-er Tim admitted "I forced Andrew into the fencing when he tried to pass me." 

This gives an idea of the constant climb to the top (not my cup of tea!). It was difficult to see my watch while stumbling over the blocky snowy ground round the summit but I think it was about 27mins. Then 12 mins back down. 39.05 so second slowest Tinto but all in all not bad and just scraping into the top 20. (5th m50 but there were seven m50s in the top 22, only three m40s!)

Jocelyn first f60

Amy and Mary both in high spirits


  1. I had wondered if you would mention the skullduggery in the midfield. I didn't see it, but Mr Stavert was annoyed enough to stop before the line, rest his arms on my shoulders and catch his breath before muttering a few choice words then walk slowly in protest across the finish line. Mike (Fife AC)