My next big debate was what to wear- both on my body and on my feet. This was not made an easier when I realised that all the warmest of my gear is still en route back from France. In the end I had more than enough and after a last minute change I did run in my orienteering shoes which have metal dobs. They gripped beautifully and my feet don't seem to have suffered too much.
It was great to meet up with so many friends again and say Happy New Year. I travelled with 3 Preston Harriers and caught up on their news and then met many forumites and ultra friends. It is always good to catch up with Nick, Andy Splatcher and Mick but I also managed to say Hi to Elise and Linda. Sorry I missed a chat with you Clare.
I had promised I would set off more conservatively than last year and duly started away from the front line, but by the railway crossing I could feel the competetive streak emerging and I knew I was going to run- if not eye balls out then at least respectably. It was a winter wonderland with some lovely settings and views. I had only done this route once before so I was hoping to have company and easy route finding. Not long after CP1 I made my only error- fortunately it wasn't far and the local postman put me right, much to Protodoc's amusement ;) The run through the woods below Hardcastle crags seemed further than I remembered and I was losing ground on some fast men up ahead of me. Nick was going very well in his Kahootas and was cheery as always. The descent to CP3 wasn't too bad in my shoes and I made up some time. My treat was food at the CP, whereas last year I just ran on through.
Everyone seemed to escape off ahead again as my stomach was digesting what I had stuffed in but they were still in sight.
Thanks SportSunday - great pics
The photographers had picked a good spot with a huge drift blowing spindrif all over us. Then it was the long slog up towards Stoodley Pike.
Once we breached the top I got second wind and blasted to catch the others up and got very wet feet in the process. Ienjoyed the decsent to CP4 though. This was fueled by my determination to stay with the lady who had just overtaken me- but infact she was doing the shorter course. I was now back with some of the men that had been infront and must thank Protodoc for his company almost from here to the end. He made me run faster than I would have done left to my own devices, chatted away and knew the route well. I had a bad patch immediately after CP5, which I think was due to my dobs on the tarmac being less than comfy, but as soon as we left the tarmac I was happy again. The fields and paths here seemed to have collected lots of snow but it was a delight to run through with hardly any rocks and no boggy bits. The dobs were very helpful on some of the lanes and steeper fields. From Stake Lane I suddenly realised I was on my own but I needn't have worried as there were lots of footprints to show the way and I even managed to help out a lost runner on the final stretch.
4hours 22 was about 7 minutes slower than last year but OK I felt. I handed over my tag and prepared to add my extra miles before the warmth and food on offer made me change my mind. I did at first question what the hell I was doing but once I got going again I covered the flat ground quickly. There were lots of walkers and cyclists to say Hi to and the path at Hebden Bridge was crowded!
(never take your own photo from arms length!)
I got some bemused looks as I passed some of the people once I turned round and ran back but job done. 27 miles and No3 completed.