The route to Carnethy

The last post I made had me running 11k out of Glen Loin and into Arrochar on a crisp and cold friday morning. I had intended to do another run that weekend, but just couldn’t find it in me. I had a cold working on me and felt pretty crap.

I cycled to work on the Monday though, and on Tuesday I did a proper hour at the gym with some high intensity cardio. But that was it. I was trying to rest up before the Carnethy 5 hill race on Saturday.

But a few things were bothering me. I’ve had recent niggles with my calf muscles and a pain along my right foot, plus a recurring soft tissue problem in my left knee. I’ve also snagged something in my groin area where I had an operation to repair a muscle tear –I’m pinned on the inside with a Kevlar patch and I think a stitch or pin might have come loose.

So on the Saturday of the race I resolved to do two things. 1. Take some pain killers before the race start, and 2. finish the race.

The first kilometer stretch across rough ground was OK. As we hit the first funnel, I spoke to a chap saying “after you mate”. He replied ” Aye, and now the battle for 400th place begins”. I should have taken him seriously.

Grin and bear it!

The thing that I was most surprised about was my calf muscles. They tightened just 10 mins into the uphill run, and as the gradient steepened, I knew that taught feeling was leading to a pulled muscle. I had to keep stopping and stretching. The calves never quite recovered after that – there just wasn’t enough downhill to change the emphasis onto different muscles.

I know I can do the gradients – I ran almost all the hills in the trail marathon last year, and ran massive chunks of uphill in the BMF Pentlands 10k a couple of years back. Hills is what I run, walk, cycle and hike. But last Saturday I felt cowed as I hit almost all the inclines at  poor walking pace. I wasn’t out of breath, just at the edge of my pain threshold.

I tried to make up time on the downhills, but my new New Balance trail shoes might as well have been primary school gym shoes. They were poor on wet grassy boggy terrain. I went down a fair few times and on one fall I went down like a sack of spuds and knocked the wind out of myself, as well as a chunk of pride.

On the positive side, the heavy legs never really set in, and when I got onto the final kilometre stretch to the finish line, I could flat-out sprint it like a man possessed.

I slowed up the last 50 yards though. An old fellow who I had kept passing on the downhills and who had kept passing me on the uphills was just ahead of me and close to the finish line. At the rate I was sprinting I could maybe burn him off, but it just didn’t feel right. His pals clapped him in, and my pals did too.

It was only later I found I had come in 459th place, and the fellow who had come 458th was in his 70s!!! Bill Gauld (male vet 70+, Carnethy Hill Running Club) had beaten me (male 40, Unattached) soundly, and also given me a wake up call. Which is this: I need to look after my body a little better, and I need to be more consistent with my training.

If I can do that, then it’s actually theoretically possible I’ll be able to run the Carnethy 5 in the year 2042 in a faster time than I did in 2012. Now there’s a challenge!




About RennyRambles

Running, rambling, cycling, swimming and scrambling to my heart's content. Happiest on a trail, with some jelly babies in my pocket.
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