Today was a race that I was kind of looking forward to and kind of dreading! The Gold Hill 9.5k is a toughie. On the one hand there is some lovely scenery and spectacular views but on the other hand for every mile of downhill near the start there is, of course, a mile of uphill at the end!
I purposefully didn’t run after Wednesday to ensure that my legs were nice and fresh.
I did ride to work on Friday though (that was fun with the 30mph gusts and all the sand on the prom!) and I went out for a short ride with Mike and Elliot yesterday. I thought I was taking it very easy but I did ride up a few hills that I would previously have pushed the bike up (I’ve finally got to grips with standing up on the hills!) Unfortunately though, yesterday was NOT the right time to learn this particular skill as when I woke up this morning I could immediately feel that my calf muscles were like two big knots! Darn it! Not the best plan before one of the hilliest races we do!
…is about an hour away from home and the race didn’t start until 11am but I always worry about delays when the races aren’t right on my doorstep. I’d arranged to pick Belinda up at 9am so I had a quick toast breakfast and grabbed a cereal bar to eat in the car on the way as I knew that otherwise I’d be starving by about half way round the race! Not being able to eat for 2 hrs beforehand is a bit of a pain sometimes!
We got to Shaftsbury by 9.40am….just slightly early! So in typical Rose and Belinda fashion we decided to multitask and do our weekly shops at Tesco. 1 Sunday afternoon job saved…….
Shopping done and safely back into the car we headed off to race registration. Belinda already had her number but I hadn’t received mine and an email to the organisers to arrange pick up on the day had had a surprising response when they said they hadn’t received it. I’ll have to check my bank statement to see if they’ve cashed the cheque. What a pain!
Number safely attached, group photo done and down to the start we headed. I was feeling ready for the off and off we went!
You should be able to see from the elevation chart that the first little bit is pretty much flat or downhill until just before the first mile ends and up Gold Hill we went! I’m sure you are familiar with that hill from the old Hovis advert that was shown for many years. It’s a heck of a climb but luckily doesn’t go on for too far and in fact seem easy in comparison with what is to come!
I can remember feeling absolutely knackered at the top last year and wondering how I would carry on so this year I was prepared for that feeling but luckily it didn’t come and the views from the top of town there are spectacular and soon take your mind off your wobbly legs!
The next couple of miles went by fairly fast. Again it was frustrating having to hold back on the downhills but I know it’s what I have to do to keep injury free so hey ho.
After those first couple of speedy (ish!) miles the real slog starts, almost unrelenting uphill after uphill after uphill. Every time you turn a bend there seems to be more of it and the closer back to Shaftsbury you get then the steeper it is!
I was quite pleased today that I managed to push myself more than I thought I would be able to. I did have to walk/run up the hills but there was at least as much running as walking which is good enough for me.
With about 1.5km to go another Purbeck Runner said to me that we should try for a sub hour time, this only gave us just over 10 mins so was a pretty tall order but it gave us both a bit of a push up the last hill. My best pace of the race was achieved in the last couple of hundred metres so maybe I should have pushed a bit earlier!
I came in at 1:02:35, so about 40 seconds slower than last year. I was annoyed when I first checked it but actually I deliberately didn’t check last years time beforehand as I know that I was feeling a lot fitter and stronger this time last year and didn’t have the knee problem. So all in all, a good days work!
One thing that DOES annoy me though is that I so often forget to stretch after a race and my poor calves really didn’t me to neglect them today. I’ve had a good old session on the foam roller AND a long bath since though so hopefully they’ll feel a bit better in time for my ride to work tomorrow! Another thing that I forget quite often is to hit the ‘stop’ on my garmin so my last bit is always longer and slower than it really is – thereby affecting my averages AND it means that I have to wait for the official results before I know my results. Very annoying indeedy!
Mind you, I don’t know why I’m moaning about my aches…these guys did it all in full fire kit…including boots! Respect!
Anyone else been racing this weekend?