Wednesday evening saw the latest instalment of the Esk Valley Summer Series, Whorlton Run starting from the little village of Swainby. It was a warm and muggy evening, so I was surprised to see just one other Harrier.
The race was started by a man with a shotgun! Eep!
The first mile or so was on flat tarmac (this one only just scrapes in as a fell race really) and I was bored already. For the first time in a race I thought about giving up. I'd always thought I enjoyed my races, just the training I was struggling with??
as we rounded a corner, we were faced with Clain Wood and the massive hill we needed to climb and I really thought, this is silly. Anyway, I pressed on. The climb was on good track and road I ran as much as I could but eventually it got too steep to run with any sort of conviction. Climb continued through trees then briefly back onto the road before turning straight uphill. And I mean straight up hill! No one was running this, the field closed right up. As I scrambled up the bank, clinging onto the fence for balance and grabbing handfuls of wet bilberry bushes with my map clenched between my teeth and sweat dripping off my nose (sorry Flip, 'glow' dripping off my nose) I realised I was having a whale of a time!!
At the top was Whorlton Moor and the ground levelled out and we could run once more. It was easy going here and I loped along at a fairly steady pace. I could see Flip up ahead, but then as the route turned sharply downhill I lost him to the heather!
We crossed the rough ground and entered the woods on good track. To my amazement, I passed about 4 people on the downhill section!! Normally it's the other way around and I got this odd giddy feeling, I was at the front of my pack. I ran on, working to keep them behind me. We crossed a stream and the road at Scugdale before skirting another wood. The track undualted and I passed more people as I was able to run the 'ups'. I almost caught up with Flip once more, but he was faster over the fields marked with molehills and rabbit holes.
The final straight was back on tarmac, and only one of the people I passed came to overtake me. The finish was up hill and outside the castle ruins at Whorlton so we had a quick guided tour from a local runner!!
Back to the pub for tea and medals!!
No rest for the wicked, or tired legs, back out on THursday for the HDSRL fixture hosted by Swaledale. Slightly more Harriers for this race, 11 in total, mostly women.
We didn't really warm up as the heavens opened!!
Thankfully, it stopped raining in time for the start but it remained sticky throughout the race.
There's not a lot I can say about it really. The course was mostly flat, one bit went along rough track which was almost flooeded in places, but I managed to keep my trainers dry!
Everyone moaned about the 'big hill' about 4.5 miles in. I ran it without hardly breaking pace (I'm a fell runner don't you know?)
However, I am pleased I didn't have to do a head-to-head sprint at the end as I don't think my poor fell battered legs would have managed it!
For what felt like an old lady shuffle, I managed 9 min/miles or there abouts.
The club and pub had laid on a good spread of sarnies and acres of cake!! I was famished and ate loads!
So, a good two days of running. When I feel like crap and am about to spit my dummy out, I must remember how I felt on Weds night when I was running strong and enjoying myself on rough terrain.
Also, my form is looking better on the HDSRL photo, especially as it was taken right at the end of the race.