The Witch’s Promise

Lend me your ear while I call you a fool.

I completely ignored the hint of a virus and ploughed on regardless with my hardest weekend so far of the year. Oops!

The week had started on a good but tired note, a gentle 5.2k recovery on Monday followed by Littleborough Lions 5k on Tuesday.

I knew I had blown my 5k PB chances with the 3 day event the weekend before, so sensibly decided not to try for a 4th PB in as many weeks and settled for aiming for around 19:30.

With a bigger than usual club turnout for it being a Grand Prix race, I knew I should have a few pacemakers to help/ tempt me. All went to plan until the descent to Smithy Bridge, when I was closing gradually on Michael and John ahead, so I put in a small extra surge to close the gap completely. Tactically, a good move, but for my legs the wrong one.

As we climbed up past the station, Michael pulled away a little as struggled with breathing but I managed to work well to contain losses and then start to reel him in towards the top. A glance at my watch showed pace was slow, too slow, so decided to push early for the finish. Surprised myself with a strong run in for the entire last mile and hit 19:08 officially (19:15 watch time). Maybe I should have had more confidence in my tired legs. GPS.

First v40 finisher, but no specific prize category to recognise it so consoled myself with a pint to mark the end of ‘speed month’. Coming up next a month of gentler off road runs to try and build a little more strength and endurance, well one more hard uphill mile planned next Weds.

A fairly steady packrun followed on Wednesday before just the slightest hint on Thursday things were not right, put it down to tiredness but Friday I should have listened.

Pendle 3 peaks_1

Set off Saturday morning uncertain of whether I would race the new Pendle 3 Peaks Fell Race as there was a lot of clag on the hills and I wasn’t feeling right. I wasn’t really sure I could be bothered with the mental effort on unfamiliar ground. The cloud was forecast to lift during the morning so I kept options open. After a steady Pendle parkrun – well 4.5km steady, the last 500m uphill hard effort – for 23:56. GPS

The clag and my head were both clearing as I whizzed over to Barley so decided on a gentle trot round. A quick change, help out on registration and I was ready to go. Headache had almost vanished, and I set off very steady. Wasn’t really sure how long it would take, but plan was to leave enough in legs for Alice’s 10k on Sunday, I had a vague guess of less than 2 hours but much would depend on the terrain and was completely irrelevant really, this was just a fun run!

After a very steady start, I upped effort on the first climb and steadily gained places, on boggy ground. Concentrated on keeping it comfortable and enjoyed the long run down to the first of the ‘3 peaks’ – for some reason the first hill didn’t count!

After crossing a stream there was a tough climb up but I started making a bit of progress and feeling strong. Halfway down the next steep downhill and bang, maybe a rabbit hole, but foot went forward toes down and there was a unpleasant sound from right ankle. Before the pain could reach my brain it went sideways and there was a brief but distinct tearing sound as the ligament fibres pinged.

I got my foot flat and started walking, thinking more about the location of the sensations than the actual pain and why here, the furthest away possible. Who would do the results if I couldn’t get back and how would I drive home if I could? By which time endorphins had kicked and I gingerly attempted a quicker hobble to get to the bottom of the hill.

Having had millions of sprains, I find the best thing is to keep going to stop the swelling building too much whilst considering options. First sprain had been front so that should be ok to run on as long as it didn’t swell. Second sprain was more of a worry, louder and to the side, but very brief so should be ok if I could protect it and not repeat it.

I kept moving, carefully reaching the bottom, smiled and thanked the marshals and continued on, slowly and tentatively. By now I was sure I would be ok to finish, just so long as I didn’t go over on it – cue rough traverse for a mile. Lost a few places but main thing was to get back with causing damage.

Gradually was getting range of motion back and wasn’t feeling too bad, concern now was left ‘bad’ ankle was taking all the strain, partly from sprain partly from traverse and first tendon, then knee started hurting.   Oh well, left leg needed an extra workout to get me more even again.

Fortunately the traverse came to an end and it was now up a monster hill, managed to get running again before top and ankle not too bad, just a shame ground was littered with ankle twisting rocks, and we were heading towards a bit of clag.

Another descent and I was forced to back off again, got overtaken by Nicola from Trawden who swapped places with a few times and as we turned down a rough field to a checkpoint she vanished (gaining 40 secs in a very short distance).

On the way back up, I got it back sooner than expected and there was just a climb up big end and a long run down to the finish. I decided to go max effort on the climb which got steeper and steeper, until it was hands on, gaining about 6 places. A final easier push to the Trig Point and then managed an ok-ish descent, still giving back all 6 places by the finish in 2:01:22 – pretty much on target.

Hobbled off to do results but foolishly didn’t slap on an icepack for some reason going for the pint of Pride of Pendle instead.


mi alice 14907874940_0ef9f1bef7_o

Sunday, was one of my favourite races, Alice’s Run 10k in Mytholmroyd – a surprisingly undulating multi terrain run up and down the valley to Hebden Bridge all in a good cause. Nice T-shirt too.

Took a bit of hobbling to get warmed up enough to walk to the car! Despite the previous day’s efforts and a headache that screamed viral attack incoming, I was still up for a fairly hard effort on a nice sunny morning and set off with a 42:30 in mind in the hope that it was smooth enough to not trouble ankle.

All was going well until about 4km when I just started tiring a little, but managed to just about hang on at a distance to a couple in front until Hebden station at around 6km, when I was delayed a little crossing the road and couldn’t seem to get legs going again until the old clog factory by which time they were gone.

It was now a battle to hold off the guy behind who was closing, forced to walk a couple of times on final ups as legs too tired but was managing to get legs going again. Ankle was aching and knee hurting but nothing major.

Going into school field put in an early final push to grow the gap and able to ease off before the line. Misread watch thinking I had hit target but actually a minute slower at 43:31. GPS

Saddened to hear that 2015 will be the last ever Alice’s Run. Great route, great race.

Now the nasty cold could come out – at least a couple of days off would rest my sprain and other pains.