28 November, 2009Oh, my God! Last night's hillrun was savage. It started at the 3rd car park in Djouce, just at the dead lake (Paddock Lake) on the east side of it. A big crowd lined up on the narrow track and I was lucky enough to get a very good start. In around sixth place up the main straight, I sat in and just stayed clear of the flying feet. Around the south side of the lake and through the water splash then up the grassy single track and into the forest.
From here we tacked through on a double track which was littered with branches and it felt a bit like the hurdles for a bit as we jumped over them, then it felt a bit like an assault course as the branches above were now in the way, but it wasn’t too long before we were onto the red road. We came out onto the corner and continued our climb to the top. I was holding my own here with a only a few bodies passing me out. By the time we reached the top the cramps in my stomach were screaming at me to stop and regret was now filling my head that I didn’t take advantage of the last toilet I passed!!!!.
Ran through the pain and got to the top for a short relief as we headed down the wet double track and out into the opening. Sharp left after the rocky section and follow the double track all the way to the fence, over the style and down right side of the wall. Quite rough here and I caught two guys who had earlier passed me out. Bike moment here were I took an alterno line through the rough leaping over stuff to get past them. Quick change to the left hand side of the wall and on down to the river, over the bridge and followed the Wicklow way up the far side. Very steep here and I slowed to a fast walk. This is hard. Calves are sore. At least one body goes by me here. Up past the Mountain Meithealers track repairs and I try to spot the section PeterX told me to avoid on the way down - the bit with branches stuck in a hole to divert people. Then forget to look for it. Sure I am sure I will see it. Hang a right down towards Ride Rock. The lungs and legs find it hard to recover but at least its downhill, although it's quite fast and gravity is not helping too much.
The ever familiar sound of Beth breathing comes up behind me again as we go down Ride Rock. As I hear her approaching I put a spurt in - well less of a spurt, more of a sput. She flies past and I don’t give chase... It's a long run. At the end of Ride Rock, we go around the two hairpins onto the track heading towards Crone. Not on this for long as there is a 90 degree left which heads up the “ride”. Savage steep track and again after an initial bit of running it's slow to a walk. This goes on and on and on and on and on. You cross a couple of tracks on the way up each you think is the top... it's not. I hear very heavy breathing behind and a super fast PeterX comes jogging by me. He is the only one I can see running this section, although I am sure the leading few are at that sort of madness too.
As we reach the top, another runner is hot on my heels, but, once onto the Paris Roubaix, I somehow manage to coax my sore legs into running again. We hit the stone wall and hang a 90 degree right this time and stay on the outside of the wall. Up through the heather and there's someone taking pictures. “Must keep running...” “Smile for the camera...” We continue along the wall and come back out above the Wicklow Way. Very steep here and the speed picks up. Big steps jumping and leaping. OUCH. I jump into the bush the Meihtealers have placed there. It just appears out of nowhere, so be warned if you are biking up there.
Stay as far right down to the river as possible as it's less steep. Not feeling as bad now must be the fact that I’m heading back to the finish. Cross the bridge and up the outside of the wall to where its broken. Managed to run all this section. The same guy is behind me but I have opened a bit of a gap on him now. Over the style and up the punishing little kicker which is marked so you have to run right to the top, no cutting the apex.... Back down for a very short breather. Sharp right and over the rocks and up the double track heading towards the red road. Going under foot is nice and soft here. hope we get a wet race one of these days.
Onto the red road, savage this section, very fast and hard underfoot and the body is pounding with every footstep. Still ahead of that guy as hit the corner and enter the forest. More ducking and diving here avoiding the branches. Find it hard to see where the course goes and nearly make a mistake.
I hit the grass just before the dead lake. I think someone tells me I am 15th. Run across the grass before the water splash. Oh no! foot goes into a hole which is covered with grass. I tumble forward, hands reaching out. I am running on all fours now. Stop myself from tumbling over and get back on two feet. Ohhhh, legs like jelly. Through the water splash. Legs still like jelly. Quick look back - white t-shirt is still behind. How far is it down this track to the finish? Close eyes, head down, arms swinging... “Not losing this place”. Heart doing ninety. Legs like jelly, I hold off the charge and by the finish he is on my shoulder. But its over. Stayed ahead. Love these mini battles. It's the same doing this as it would be running for 1st place for me. In the words of a naff rally game on the PS1, you have got to ”give it everything you’ve got!!"