There's me saying the Osmotherly Hardmoors would be my last race, when I didn't realise how nicely this race fitted into my plan.
Last year I had a horrible run, legs would not play ball at all, so this year had to be better.
Hilary collected me and we arrived at Glaisdale without any problems. We had to park at Beggar's Bridge, which meant we had to climb the hill to get registered! Despite having done the route before, I could only remember bits of it.
We set off on time, the first couple of miles are not so nice. All uphill, mostly on road, through houses and then a farmyard before a good stretch of heather bashing. I had coach Sonja's voice in my head ''High knees! High knees! High knees!'' I was already knackered. Bugger.
The next bit was on single track, still gentle uphill, but much easier to run on. I stuck behind a really tall chap and the pace was steady.
We reached the Rigg itself and as I remembered this was very boring! It's a good track, so made for easy running, I ate a few sweets to take my mind off it! Last year it had been very foggy up here, that had hidden the various false summits along the way. At last though, we made a brief detour for a bit of trig point slapping, before starting a wicked descent! First on a narrow track through the heather, then dropping swiftly down two steep grassy fields. It was dry underfoot and we flew down, even me with my rubbish descending only lost one place!
Bit of road, couple more flat fields and a stream crossing before the next big climb, oh my! Up up up into a dark plantation and eventually back out into the light on the moor. We followed the moor/pasture boundary on narrow boggy paths for maybe a mile. I was quite enjoying it, and a couple of times my legs outran my lungs and I had to adjust my pace to get my breath back.
We met the moor top road, and a short distance later turned down a side road which turned into a lane, and became a muddy track. A lot drier than last year, but the deep tractor ruts make it awkward to run on. I gained speed on the way down, almost catching a lady who'd overtaken me a few minutes earlier. Almost finished, my knowledge of the route gave me the upper hand as the lady missed the final turn, I yelled to her left turn, but I was now in front and trotted over the bridge and up the muddy bank beside the pub, there was no way she was coming back past me! It was only a few meters but I had to fight down the vomit as I crossed the line!! Nicely done.
We went back down to the bridge and washed our muddy trainers and legs in the river, before getting changed and walking back to the pub for a bowl of curry and rice and to watch the prize presentation. Hilary won her age category and was 4th or 5th lady. Don't know my results yet, but I am certain I had a better run than last year. Out of breath a few times, but I ran much better and my legs were fine the whole time.
That really IS my LAST race before the HM55.