Tuesday 6 January 2015

New Years Day - Hardmoors 30 Ultramarathon.

I was going to title this blog something along the lines of "I'm never tapering again" having spent the last week climbing the walls, but it was quite novel and refreshing to set off in a race without lead legs! No traces of fatigue from speed work or hills in them.

As the actual title suggests, the route of the HM30 has been altered slightly, mainly due to the race outgrowing it's usual base at Ravenscar village hall. The same ground is covered, just in a different order. The start is now at Robin Hoods Bay (RHB), going along the Cinder Track north as far as Whitby, back to RHB on the Cleveland Way, back onto the Cinder Track through Ravenscar and as far south as Hayburn Wyke before rejoining the Cleveland Way all the way back to RHB. Quite straight forward really...

As I say, my legs felt good and I ran with Tim (Mr Chia Charge himself!) to Whitby in approx. 70 mins, then it got muddy and hilly along the cliff tops but I still made it to RHB in 2 hours 30 which is some sort of record for me!! Approx 14-15 miles.
The indoor checkpoint here had loads to choose from, I went for sliced banana and two big chunks of water melon, washed down with a bucket of squash. Then it was back onto the Cinder Track. Having run (relatively) quick on the first half, my legs were now a little tired and my bad knees decided to start hurting. The track has as almost imperceptible uphill all the way to Ravenscar. Other runners around me were also doing a run/walk thing so I felt ok. They did gradually pull away and I was annoyed I couldn't keep up.

The Ravenscar check point was a wind swept car boot, but the water was cold and the Jaffa cakes plentiful!

More horrible track, but the slight gradient was now downhill. It was still torture and it seemed to take forever to reach Hayburn Wyke, the most southerly point of the race.
The marshals here had fruit, so I munched on a big chunk of orange as I crossed the muddy fields to enter the wooded wyke. I knew there was a steep descent almost to sea level, with the inevitable climb back up, so I had already decided I would walk through the wyke. I had forgotten just how many steps there were on the way out!!!

Once on the cliff tops, I began shuffling on again. My knees were very sore, but the soft grass/mud was more forgiving than the cinder track. The way was broken up by various undulations, stretches of mud too sloppy to run through and the occasional gate. This actually made the running much more comfortable.

On the approach to Ravenscar, the rain came. It was forecast. After a little while, I gave in and put my waterproofs on. I hate running in my coat, but it's preferable to hypothermia! Still walking, I stamped into Ravenscar, the weather so bad now they'd moved the check point behind a hedge!! Ray was marshalling here and gave me some trademark Hardmoors coke! Maybe the small caffeine injection helped?
I knew it wasn't much further now, but I also knew there were two more drops to sea-level and the big hill in RHB before we finished...

I forced my sore legs and burning knees into a brisk shuffle once again, and tried to run as much as I could. The descent into Stoupe Beck, and then into Boggle Hole were bloody painful!! And slow. The downhill worse than the uphill now.
After Boggle Hole it's pretty much flat. I could see RHB against the cliff, the lights looked welcoming in the gathering gloom. I hit the flag stones on the cliff top and almost cried with relief! I felt my way down the boardwalk steps under the trees, I was determined not to use my headtorch! At last, down the last few steps and I was in RHB harbour area, the smell of fish and chips hit me and was wonderful, the queue was massive, so I pressed on!
The beck was festooned with lights and looked lovely as I climbed the hill, I couldn't run it, but maintained a brisk stride. Almost at the top, I spotted the entrance to the village hall car park and managed to run the last bit and into the hall! What a wonderful feeling!

I collected my medal and a finishers T-shirt before getting some cake and a nice cup of tea. My unofficial time is 7:15:xx which is a full hour faster than in 2013, and I'm not injured this time!! (Although I did get stuck trying to get into bed last night when both thighs went into cramp!)

What a great way to see in the new year! I must say a big thank you to Stonehenge and his pal Neil for transport. It was good to see friends such as Flanker, KinkyS, Kinky's sister, Loucass as well as non-fetchie pals such as Ray, Anthony, Tim, Emily and of course, Mr and Mrs Steele who organise the whole thing.