I arrived in masses of time which meant I got a car park space at the school and had opportunity to catch up with many friends. I had not seen Joyce for ages not Dave Tait. I also found Jon Steele whose adventures last year got me into all this. He was a postive and supportive as ever. I had not realised until I got home that Rombalds was also his No 6. A lucky omen perhaps.
I had intended to run a little more conservatively than last year when I stupidly tried to race Helene for a while (until she pulled away into the distance that is). Knowing I would have to go back out and add 4+miles was one reason and also trying to look after my body a bit too. Despite that I couldn't help myself and soon decided that I had to be ahead of Joyce. I was steady on the road section to the bucket drop but seemed to be loosing places rapidly. Climbing up to Baildon Moor seemed tough and either my legs or my mind seemed to lack power. By Rombalds Moor Nick had caught me up and we ran together along the controversial flagstones almost until the route turned north and headed for the 'new' or moved CP.
He missed my trip and bounce along the floor. The grass and paths across to Ilkley were a bit icy in places but mostly gave easy running. I suddenly realised I was hungry and had a small piece of cake and half a mug of tea before climbing to White Wells and into Rocky Valley. Being in a little group was making me keep my pace up and it was good to have confirmation that I was still on route. Before long we hit the grassy descent to Burley Woodhead where Rachel FR's dad gave me a friendly cheer. I hoped I could remember the nav for next bit without having to slow and read the instructions. Luckily there were two runners just ahead and I kept them in sight until the climb onto the ridge above Ellar Ghyll. Then the wheels came off. The group I had been with all pulled away and the tank was empty. I foolishly had not eaten because I did not feel like food. I stuffed down a finger of fudge and tried but failed to catch them up. Climbing up The Chevin I managed to overtake a few people and this cheered me, plus the fudge was now working a bit. The woods just before the top are beautiful and I had a quick chat with Heather who was also suffering. At least I knew that from the last CP it would all be downhill. I had forgotten how wet and muddy the track was, probably because last year it was snowing quite heavily. By now I could smell the finish and was overtaking people again. A quick glance at my watch told me I would be slower than last years (3 39)but easily inside 4 hours. I was at 3 51. So not too bad. After registering my finish I went back out and began my extra miles by walking back up towards the last checkpoint. I chose this despite the uphill as I knew I would see lots of people finishing and be able to cheer them on. First Nick, then Jon , then Joyce and more.....
I didn't manage to run much of the hill but picked up once I got the the track. The marshalls at the CP were a bit bemussed to find someone going the wrong way and the cameramen just beyond them clearly thought I was nuts. I did a nice little loop along the ridge and explored beyond where I had been before and then when I knew the total would be over 27 1/2 miles I retraced my footsteps and ran down the last bit of the route all over again.
It was good to get back inside and sit down with food and drink. I am rarely great about eating and drinking when I run but today I was plain stupid! Lesson learned, maybe.