First race back since my fall in February – a local fell race and since I just passed my driving test I took myself along for a leg stretch!
- What? Utterly Butterly Fell Race
- When? 18 September 2016
- How far? 4.6 miles / 850ft. Category BS
- Website? http://www.utterleybutterley.co.uk/
|B||Beat Ladies CR||Yes|
|C||Don’t get injured||Yes|
I missed last year being away on holiday but wanted to do this year and as I’ve been struggling with a hip injury since a big fall at a fell race in Feb wanted to make it a comeback race of sorts. It’s also one that a lot of our running club Meltham AC take part in so was nice to catch up with everyone having been out of racing action for 6 months and only really doing steady mileage rehab all summer.
My goals were far from set in stone and my main one was simply to see how my hip reacted to running at a high effort level and speed for the first time since Feb. If it felt sore or niggled then I’d happily DNF and continue my “comeback”.
As it’s just a local race and in the nature of fell racing, I turned up 15 minutes before the start and paid my £4 entry and wandered to the start line with some club mates and it was great to be chatting with everyone at the start line – I’ve missed racing!
As it’s a fell race, there’s not much point trying to stick to a pace plan particularly so my run was more to effort than my watch and I went out easy up the first gravel track along Butterly reservoir at an easy pace but working a bit while everyone jockeys position.
Protecting my hip was my main aim so happy to sit back in around 15-20th for a bit before we hit the first bit of ascent where my club mate Dan went flying past me at such a speed I checked my own pace on my watch to see if I was going slow or him super fast.
Figured that around 5:55-6:05/mile up a slight incline was a reasonable opening pace for me so let him drift up the track a little before starting to close back in as the track started climbing and as I closed I put in a burst to go past and open a quick gap.
We went off the side of the track and headed toward the main climb of the course where you ascend around 500ft in about 1.5 miles with some good hands on knees climbing and I lost some time behind a slower climber but couldn’t get past.
That said, I was happy enough to catch my breath a little with the plan to push past as it flattened out at the top of the path.
I also knew the course profile was largely climbing for 2.5 miles than flat-ish for the second half so by putting in the hard work early I could potentially ease off towards the end as I’m confident enough in my downhill speed and technique that I’m not going to lose time or places to people of similar ability/pace to myself.
It was great to reach the top of the climb and onto the Pennine Way paving slabs in what turned out to be 9th (I’d neither catch or be caught for the rest of the race) so settled into a hard effort to keep the pace up at perhaps about 90-95%.
The slabs are quite tricky, they’re uneven and undulating but offer the chance to run at a good pace although if you’re in a group, it’s difficult to overtake.
Coming into the final mile and a bit I was able to ease off a little although the heat made it a tough day and crossed the line in 35:23 which was just below the ladies CR held by a very good local fell runner so figured that would be a good target and snuck into the top 10 too. I was 5 minutes behind the winner, scary how fast the guys at the front are running!
In the end, my hip felt fine and the buzz of being back in a race made it a great day out although very hard work having done zero fast running for 6 months!
I’ll probably do some local races but I’ve missed so much training and canceled so many pre-booked races this year that my aim is simply to build my base miles back up steadily until Christmas. I’ll then start a training plan with the aim of 2:45 at London Marathon in 2017.
I turn 40 in November so will also move up to the MV40 age group where I hope I win a few age category prizes.