We started out together but since my training has been so poorly due to the damned allergies plaguing me I told the other 2 that I would just see them at the end and hoped they wouldn't have to wait around too terribly long for me (turned out to be around 16 minutes). My plan was to walk every uphill because despite taking clarityn nearly every hard effort is resulting in hellacious sinus pressure headaches--better to be a slowpoke rather than having to get a lift back to the finish line due to not being able to focus on the path.
Picture courtesy of SL Images. Cheesy grin and thumbs up courtesy of moi
Anyway enough whingeing, I actually was able to keep my friends in sight with the power hike up the hills and bombing back down them up for the first few miles until I decided to strip down to my crop top (hey, it was actually warm for once!). That involved having to unpin my bib, take off the hydration pack, pull off the vest, fold the bib to fit onto my shorts, repin said bib, wrestle the pack back over my shoulders, realise I hadn't closed the top of the pack so had to take it back off, decided I wanted to eat something, put the pack back on AND finally back to moving forward. Whew, that was a workout all on its own!
What was good:
*Stiles. Wasn't bothered about the time so enjoyed the slowdowns at the stiles in the beginning and middle. Towards the end it seemed like the gaps kept getting narrower though and those rocks don't give any!
*Multi-Terrain: Nice mix of road, trail, footpaths, and fields. Keeps it from getting boring although I know some don't like it because it's impossible to maintain a steadyish pace. There were even some technical bits to 'dance' over.
*The views: Absolutely gorgeous vistas, I'm still oohing over the section where I glanced over and could see the Crich Monument in all its glory on the next hill over. Shining Cliff Woods also warrants a return trip for a more laid back exploration.
*Chatting with other runners/walkers: Fell/trail races are far more laid-back generally so there's always laughter and chatter at least amongst those of us towards the back of the pack.
*No litter: Everybody was VERY good about not throwing their cups down too far from the water stops and I didn't spy any gel packets about
*The water stops/check stations: Awesome volunteers! I didn't stop for water because I had the hydration pack but the jelly babies, crisps, and encouragement were very welcome.
*Race marking: This is going to be in the good and not so good. 99% of it was very well marked but there were a few instances towards the end that I questioned if I was going in the correct direction. Part of that appeared to be other trail users messing about with the signage though.
Not so good:
*Nothing in this section that pertains to how the race was set-up except for there being a couple of spots near the end that should have been marked better for those of us that are directionally challenged--like the section where the path splits 2 ways at the water treatment plant. Yes, I was the dumbass that went the wrong way here and ended up with bonus mileage and I also couldn't remember the where we turned into the rugby club carpark for the finish.
*Wearing the hydration pack which coincidentally is the amount of weight I need to lose right now! It's a pain in the arse wearing it but I NEED to get used to it before the 30 miler in November.
*Catching a sharp rock with the side of my foot in such a way that the rock went under the big toenail on my left foot. I was afraid I'd torn the nail off but thankfully it only loosened it, bad thing is it's still extremely tender today.
*Of course there was a fall, only the one though and there was no blood so not sure it even counts.
*I am listed as a male in the results! Still debating on whether to bother contacting them to change it or not.
The aftermath! I look peeved because I was still fuming about going the wrong direction so close to the finish :-)