Friday, 15 February 2013

Long Mynd Valleys 2013

I usually try to get more than 20 miles training in per week but I thought I'd rest up before the Long Mynd Valleys (LMV) as I know it's a tough race since I did it last year. The hills are brutally steep and unforgiving. If ever you hear a marathon runner talk about 'hitting the wall', well I challenge them to hit the wall while literally hitting a great big grassy wall. As I read this week on the FRA internet forum, the LMV really sorts the men from the boys.
When I did this last year I got given advice from fellow Glossopdale Harriers to save some energy for the latter half of the race as it's where the race really begins. I did this and had a relatively good race in 2012 and got round in 2 hours 34 minutes. The conditions were snowy but most of it was pretty run-able and the downhills were great fun, just sitting down and sliding down on your arse.
Profile for the LMV fell race
This year there was no snow on the ground but it was pretty muddy in parts. I decided to ditch the save 'something for the end' approach to this race and decided to just go for it. I felt like I'd paced myself pretty well and was suprised when I'd caught up John (a much faster runner from Glossopdale) after about 3 miles. Turns out he wasn't feeling too well and was boardline hypothermic when he came into the finish. The weather was pretty harsh all the way round, mainly snowing on the tops and raining down in the valleys, the wind added, it made things harsher. I'd opted for just wearing one layer for the race and not bothering with wearing my coat unless I felt cold. I did get a bit nippy at points but just ran harder to warm up (I still had full waterproofs & emergency kit in my bumbag just in case). Throughout the race I was mainly gaining places until the last three hills where I stayed pretty level with other runners around me. Where I lost places on the uphills, I gained them back on the downhills. Just shows I need to work on getting myself uphill faster & lose a bit more weight to help me.
I came in with a time of 2:21 this year, an improvement of about 13 minutes. As with last year, I've been aching for the whole week afterwards, and 5 days later my legs are only just coming right... it's the downhill running that gets your legs. Looking forward to next year and hopefully more improvements.

About 4.5 miles into the race.
10 miles  in, about to start the last ascent.

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