Monday, March 24, 2008

Do You Like Hills?

My 10 mile PB is slow in comparison to most of the rest. For some reason I only ever manage to fit in hilly 10 milers. I do flat halves, and tear my 10 mile PB to bits in the process, but I can never manage to get to flat 10 milers like St Annes or Snake Lane.

I thought I'd found one. In Lancashire, not too far from Blackpool. I signed up, then found out it was hilly.

I got to the start. Someone asked me whether I'd done it before. I said no. In a concerned voice, they asked "do you like hills?". It worried me slightly when I saw runners from scary clubs like Keswick turning up. They like their hills up there, that's for sure.

The weather wasn't great either. A bit of everything, with an honourable mention for the gale force winds and hail parts of proceedings.

The first 2 miles were great. A few uphills, but mainly down. And the wind must have been behind us. Then it started going up, but I was still mocking. Is this what Lancastrians call a hill, I thought? After 5 miles we still seemed to be going up. I was getting a bit sick of it, but thinking that while it was a long slog, at least there weren't any really steep bits.

Then we got to the really steep bit. I may have given the Lancys some credit at this point, but I consoled myself that we must start going down soon. And indeed we did, a nice downhill. The only problem was that you could see the people further ahead going uphill on the other side of the valley. That hill at 8 miles wasn't horribly steep, but it was at the point in the race when you'd rather not head back uphill again.

And finally downhill to the finish. It was a net downhill course, but there were plenty of undulations between the start and the end (they joked at the start that it was "fast, flat and accurately measured". Judging by the laughter, no-one expected it to be any of them - although my Garmin made it spot on 10 miles at the finish). I actually managed to collide with someone at the finish. At the end he was doing a bit more of a sprint than I was, and didn't expect me to lift my elbow as I reached for my other wrist to stop my Garmin on the line. He ran straight into it. In the results we were on exactly the same time, but they put me first. Yay!

It was a PB by about 7 minutes in the end, which says more about my previous 10 milers than about that course. I've still done faster over 10 miles in a half marathon, but at least there's a bit less of a discrepancy now.


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