Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Belatedly- the Long Tour of Bradwell

I knew this wouldn't be good and I was correct: I was rubbish. It is a tough race - short enough that you need to RUN, long enough and with climbs to get you and this year a bit muddy in places. It was good to see friends again and a lovely surprise to meet up with one our main sponsors and supporters, Si Berry from Betaclimbing designs.

 My lack of fitness showed and my foot caused me as much bother as it ever has. The shame is that it is a lovely race - great route, wonderful and varied views plus a very nice RO and team etc. Oh, and the weather is always wonderful. Except this year we started in light drizzle.

I started steadily and quite enjoyed the pull up onto the first tops. I then lost lots of places being a real softy on the greasy descent of Cave Dale. Castelton came and went in a blur as I tried to catch up runners as we headed up again to Hollins Cross before dropping to Edale. I didn't find the best route to the CP on the Druids Stone but it was OK. Then the wheels started to come off. My foot was really sore and my legs were just fit enough to run - even on the drop back into the Edale valley.  Climbing up to the ridge and Lose Hill I slipped on a stone and jarred forward. Suddenly I was doubled over with a sharp pain under my left ribs. This has happened twice before and is very weird. It feels like a golf ball size lump that cramps and then with massage and rest it disappears after a few minutes. I am falling apart!
I felt chilly after the heat of Albania
 I plodded on the best I could and tried to enjoy the day. I was thinking that I should have caught Bob and Dick up well before this - they had set off early with the ROs permission. I found Dick at the next CP but Bob was still up ahead and climbing onto the moor and Win Hill when I met him.

At least now the sun was out and the views were lovely. I ran reasonably well on the moors and down to the reservoir but my foot was agony by the time I reached the old railway line. This should be a fast run but I was reduced to a walking hobble. At the next CP I fell into a chair, removed my shoe and tried everything I could to ease my foot. I nearly dropped out there but sheer bloody mindedness made me continue. The pull uphill and onto Stanedge seemed to go on and on and it was a relief to reach the top.
Thanks to Nick Ham for these 5 photos
I briefly caught Nick again at the top Burbage CP and then spent the rest of the race trying to keep him in sight or trying to catch him up again. It was now warm and sunny - normal LToB service had been resumed. I did manage to 'run' (slowly) a fair bit of the section down through Burbage and towards Hathersage but any hard surface made my foot worse again. The woods up to Abney were muddier than usual but I reached to top with Nick in sight. I even gained on him slightly as we struggled up the last lane. Unfortunately at the top he shot off along the gravel road and I was all done. I had gone for comfort not studs and so was slower than I would have liked on the drop through the bracken too (and the comfort hadn't worked anyway). Normally reaching the village picks me up but this year I didn't care if people saw me walking some of it. What a relief to finish. A PW of 7 hrs 29 , about 20 minutes slower than last year I think, which is less than I feared at some stages. On the plus side Nick was beaming and pleased to have beaten me and in the end I did actually increase my short race Runfurther points. (yes I was surprised too).

Not sure what to do about my foot now but I think I need to try again to get it resolved. Having tried a consultant who was sure he would find a neuroma but then failed to do so perhaps I will try a sports podiatrist next.
This doesn't bode well for a 220km race in the Pyrenees with 13,000m of climb in a week or so time.

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