Don’t Speak

Our memories
Well, they can be inviting
But some are altogether
Mighty frightening

Another week, another cold virus – 5th of the winter so far. As many as I have had in the last 5 years, can only put it down to trains and hot desking as I’ve never been healthier!

Felt better on Friday but unsure about the weekend planned double as energy very low. After helping out at Watergrove parkrun, I decided to risk a trot round Windy Hill Fell Race. Thought sub 1:20 was possible but needing to save legs, was happy with anything under 1:30. I couldn’t take it too slow though as I needed to get back and changed to do the results.

Set off up the track at a nice steady pace gently rising to a short steep climb when I gained a few places without really much effort. Onto the bridleway settled into a good comfortable pace if a little quick and reached the main climb up the Roman Road in good shape.

Immediately struggled with breathing and got effort all wrong seesawing places before finally fading in the upper parts of the climb, lungs unable to cope and no energy in legs. As soon as we were through the gate I picked up and had hoped to gain with a better line through the mist but it was too well flagged.

Upped pace once on to the downhill, revelling in being able to actually run so well on the rocky surface with no real issues with ankle for first time in years. Managed to gain more ground before getting some recovery in on the flagged section. Over the motorway bridge and as soon as I hit the small climb up to Windy Hill breathing was struggling again and legs went. Lost a few places but with just the long downhill finish was confident I would get them back.

However passing the transmitter the ground started to deteriorate, and the mix of soft mud and loose rocks played havoc with ankle and I was forced to back off. Even then was still going over every few steps and slowed even more until slightly better ground allowed a bit more speed but head had gone and had to force myself on.

Finally stopped losing places and held position. On to former ground I was able to start getting a few places back but still a bit tentative and struggled with camber on final run down to field.

Misjudged the finish line thinking we had a bit more to go, so missed out on a couple of places but more than happy with 1:15:31 considering. GPS

No time for a warm down, quick change and a pint whilst sorting results.


Sunday was the Liversedge Half Marathon, a race I had done 5 years previously. One of the only two halves I have ever done, and where I set my PB of 1:36:01 (the other was the slightly hillier Langdale Half). Recent Meltham result suggested 1:33 was possible but didn’t feel fully fit for the distance so closer to 1:35 was probably more realistic at a reasonably comfortable effort.

Despite being a GP race my target was much lower and an improvement of 1 second would do, or maybe 2!

The plan was to get to the mid way steep hill very comfortable, take it steady on the two big climbs and then make any adjustments in the last 3 miles, hopefully coping with the last mile better than last time.

Arrived early and had a light warmup just to get rid of yesterdays aches and stiffness. Lined up and we off, settled into a comfortable pace and went through the first few miles of undulation easily despite being much hillier than I’d recalled.

Deviated from the plan slightly by going a little quicker down the steep hill into Bailiff Bridge, and then knew I was going too quick along the bottom road but was feeling comfortable. Decided to keep going and then ease off on the climb. Tackled the steep climb at my own easy pace, not bothered at a few lost places, surprisingly only lost about 20 secs and arrived at the top in good shape.

On the way up had contemplated pace and options. I was probably on 1:33 pace so could afford to back off in the second half, but then things started going a little not to plan. Just couldn’t seem to get my legs going on the flat, head stated going a little so took a dex tab and briefly felt good again but legs still wouldn’t work.

Didn’t worry too much as had plenty in hand to get a pb and adjusted pace to a lower level in the belief it would see me to the end but more up and legs were shot, head fuzzy and getting slower.

The final hill came into sight – where I had died 5 years earlier – and set an easier pace to come out the top feeling good. The long run in was all sloping and suddenly I was fading again, battled positive thoughts against tired legs. Decided that if I reached the final corner within a minute of a PB I’d go for a fast finish, and just as I was preparing Mel caught up and went past. I tried to respond as we caught a suffering Branny but didn’t think I could, until a glance at the watch showed a PB was maybe still possible, just maybe, if I could speed up.

I immediately hared off slowly declining and crossed the line in 1:36.01.4 seconds to equal my previous time, until UK Athletics unkindly rounded the o.4 up to 1:36:02 – spoiling my brief happiness that I could run the same race 5 years apart in exactly the same time. GPS