Sunday, 13 March 2011

Grindleford Gallop (Re-run)

Had another crack at the GG (21 miles, off-road, 3000+ feet ascent) yesterday.  After last year's pleasing performance I thought I'd be able to break that time, hopefully cracking the 3 hour barrier, but apparently it takes a little more than hope to pull that off.

The weather was an exact repeat of last year where it was cold enough to think about putting on an extra or warmer layer but then turned out sunny.  Fortunately, I guessed right as I went for the t-shirt under club vest instead of the Helly.  I didn't go for the club coloured shorts which caused so much mirth last year.  I was in stealth mode (all black) apart from the club vest.

There was a good club turn out again of some 20 runners, with this being a club championship event.  There were some notable exceptions though with Andy (last year's outright GG winner) having to work, Neil (last year's club champion) not able to make it and Julian (Duracell bunny) also not in.

(c)2011 Caz Whittle

After getting held up in the bottlenecks near the start last year I made sure I was near the front this year.  Even so, Al (running as a very poorly disguised Mat) took off like a bat out of hell (clearly too much London Marathon training under his belt).  Pete D soon overhauled me after a mile and they soon disappeared over the first hill up to Eyam.

I thought I'd be stronger on the hills this year but was soon reduced to a walk as the stronger runners over took me.  As usual I retook some of them going down into Eyam but the old freewheeling downhill technique has well and truly deserted me after my major face plant last April.

This year I used a different feeding strategy.  I carried a 500ml bottle but instead of isotonic drink I started with 500ml of energy drink.  I also decided not to stop and top up at the checkpoints.  As with last year there were three drink stations, the latter two of which were also cake stations.  I had half a plastic cup of orange juice at each of them and took a piece of cake from both cake stalls which I ate while walking up to Ball Cross and Baslow Edge respectively.  I also popped the occasional glucose tablet. I'm not sure this was enough. Especially on the fluids.

Most of the walkers this year were very good, opening gates and waiting at stiles etc but I had a few cases of them blocking the route which brought out the trail rage in me.  I admit to expressing a few expletives in their direction. 
I think one or two bad words also slipped out as I slipped on one of the stiles and skinned my shin on the rock step on the way up to Longstone Moor.

Looking at last year's splits if I was to get anywhere near 3 hours I'd have to get to the third checkpoint (Longstone Moor) inside 1:05 and the sixth (Baslow) inside 2:10.  I managed the first (just, at 1:04:46) but failed the second (2:17:42), largely due to having trouble on my downhills.  I used to rely on them to make up ground but I really struggled this time with achey quads and a sore (only downhill) left knee.  Instead of racing down the lovely grass slope to Edensore I tottered down like an old man (yes, I have looked in the mirror recently).  

So, down through the lovely Edensore and into Chatsworth House grounds.  I remember running out of steam on this section last year but I found I was OK this time.  I could see the runners in front me and one o fthem was getting overhauled by the others.  As I approached him I suddenly realised it was Pete.  I wasn't expecting to see him again, although he had cycled from Whaley Bridge over to the start of the race so it was all beginning to tell in his legs.  (He cycled back after the race as well.) I offered him a glucose tablet and we went through the spinning gate at Baslow together.  That was the last I saw of him until the end but I was fully expecting him to pass me as I struggled over the last leg. 

The run along the edges was a little shorter than I remembered it but the run through the trees coming of Froggat Edge went on forever.  Then it was down the rocky path through the trees where I lost a good minute or two.  I nearly came a cropper on this path as I clipped a rock and tripped my self up (Pete saw a runner who did fall being seen to by some walkers and I saw him by the ambulance at the finish later.)  Safely reached the bottom, past the car park, over the bridge then finished ( a good ten yards shorter than last year).

My splits (below) show that I was up on last year (by a whole 19 seconds) at checkpoint 4 but gradually lost time over the next few sections ending up three and a half minutes slower.  All in all not too disappointed considering that the evening before I thought I might have to pull out due to a severe pain in my right side (suspect it was my bad kidney) which didn't disappear until I started the race.  I also think I allowed myself to become severely dehydrated which wouldn't have helped especially in those final sections.  

2010 Splits

46th602Mick Wren
Goyt Valley Striders

2011 Splits

61st383Mick Wren             M5003:12:2400:28:03

In terms of preparation for the Lakeland 100 I'm quite pleased with my level of fitness considering that I've been concentrating on core and short sharp stuff so far.  I was even able to go for a run over the Chilterns with the dog at 8 this morning.  Need to get some more miles in though.  

The rest of my clubmates put in some great performances with many breaking previous bests and others finishing their first attempts.  Notable amongst these was an amazing 3:29 from Katy (last years Ladies club champion).  There's been some serious training going on over in Whaley Bridge.  


Sally Smith said...

For someone like me where the GG was the furthest I'd ever run, It's encouraging for to know that experienced runners like yourself find it tough as well. And after finishing the race thinking I'm glad that's over, a couple of days on I think I'll definitely give it another go next year!!

Mary Jones said...

Well done Mick, I didnt spot you at the start and of course didnt see you at the end as we finished a full 2 hours after you having had a very chilled out run/(cake) walk round the route! Are you up for a re-rerun next year?

Mick said...

Thanks for the comments Sally and Mary and well done. I reckon that whatever your level of fitness it's always hard if you're racing so I always admire those who take longer as they're out there plugging away while the faster runners are putting up their feet. Time will tell if I do it again. It's a 300 mile round trip for me.