Thursday, 1 May 2008

Three Peaks in 04:29:29

Last Week 60 miles, 6590 ft, 10:00:35

An easy week, mostly recovering from the Three Peaks and trying to run off tight calf muscles and bruised ribs from the weekend before. 10 miles on Sunday with Pauline to try run the hills out of my legs seemed to have worked although my calfs remained stiff and very tight. Twice daily short runs, and lots of stretches daily massages seem to have done the trick - my calfs seem fine which is something of a relief because my right one (the one torn in February) was really very tight and stiff. My chest is easing but even tonight is still inhibiting deep breathing.

Last Saturday - Three Peaks - A Roller-Coaster of route and race to match. Rested but troubled by bruised ribs I doubted last year's 04:14 was under threat and so it proved. A steady climb un Pen-Y-Ghent to post my slowest summit time and a steady descent, a fearful descent because I was really concerned about falling again but after checking my GPS track I found I was no slower than last year. Without Albert to drag me to Ribblehead I was around three minutes down on last year but about 80 places further up the field than I had been at Pen-Y-Ghent. From here I just continued to lose a few minutes between every check point and having unsuccessfully tried to remember last year's splits I believed, by the Hill Inn that I was looking at being more than 30 minutes down on last year and in danger of posting my worst time. Next time I'll write the splits on my hand or not bother looking at them - either way would have been better than mis-remembering them.

Beginning to get depressed about my performance I began to wonder if I needed to cancel my 55at55. By the summit of Ingleborough my chest which had been uncomfortable most of the way round was beginning to ache a bit. As well as losing time compared with last year I was losing places, about 30 in all, and although I was passing one or two, I was being passed by three or four which wasn't doing my morale much good. Somewhere around Suber Pot I promised myself I would never do this race again and then, almost immediately, started to realise I had got last year's splits all wrong and while I wasn't going to get a PB I could still get under 4:30 if I stopped feeling sorry for myself and concentrated on the job in hand. With some runners just in front to chase I sorted myself out and caught 3 or, perhaps, 4 in the last mile to sneak in just under four and half hours.

While I drank almost all my carb drinks and the cramp attacks were brief I think I may not have eaten enough although I didn't feel hungry at any time during the race or for more than an hour afterwards. After Whernside I found it more difficult to concentrate on maintaining a reasonable pace, trying to lengthen my stride when appropriate and trying to catch the runner in front. The discomfort in my chest was a constant distraction and while I remembered to keep drinking I don't recall even thinking about eating.

What is done is done and there is no point in dwelling on it - it wasn't a bad performance, it could have been better but no matter what I do now it isn't going to change anything.

Next Week
On Saturday we are going to the Lakes with John Swift for a look at part of the "Joss Naylor" which John will be attempting later on the month. On Monday we will probably go to the Dales and run over the 'other 3 Peaks' (Ingleborough, Whernside and Gregareth) and in between, squeeze a few miles in on Sunday morning over Winter Hill and try to get back to 10,000 feet and around 70 miles.

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