Tuesday 13 July 2010

Kilburn 7 mile race

It's been one of those weeks when I wish I could go back a couple of days and do things differently. Training-wise it started off well, an enjoyable relaxed fartlek session on Monday, a steady 5 miles of x-country on Tuesday and some fast repetitions on Thursday. Then, on Saturday morning prior to the Kilburn 7 mile race on Sunday, it all went pear-shaped. My legs felt so good I decided on another fartlek session along the banks of the River Wharfe.
My mind must have been wandering as I jogged along the gravelly path towards the river. Next thing I was sprawled on the ground, my Rt leg twisted underneath me, a stinging pain shooting through my thigh and a hole in my elbow that appeared to have scooped up an awful lot of dirt. Normally, I'll be on my feet and on the move within seconds before any stiffness can set in.  This time it took somewhat longer, a good few minutes before I was up again and breaking into a limping, painful jog.

So, what to do next, turn and go the shortest way home or get down to the riverbank and complete the fartlek session.  To keep reasonably mobile I decided on the latter. I must have looked ever so funny, limping past the weekend walkers for fifty yards or so then launching into a fast and fluent 6½ min/mile pace for anything up to 240m. By the time I got home my thigh had stiffened so much I'd difficulty getting upstairs to my First Aid kit.  As a large black bruise began to materialize my wonderful partner was despatched to the local shop for a bag of frozen peas. At that stage I was 95% sure I wouldn't race the following day.
But miracles do happen. The rest of the day (and night) was spent resting and elevating it. Lashings of Arnica were massaged into the darkening skin to bring out the bruising, ice packs were applied to disperse the bruising, Diclofenac helped relax the muscle, Paracetamols reduced the pain. a compression bandage stopped it swelling during the night, and up to an hour before the 2 o'clock start of Sunday's race. Three hours before the race I declared 'all systems go' as we slung our Sports bags in the back of the car.
Ready for action. Well, almost
Conditions were ideal for racing, part cloudy with a cooling breeze, as the 300+ runners lined up for the Start outside the Forresters Arms. Not feeling quite 100% I started farther back than usual, so as not to be put off by runners passing me in the early stages of the race, and soon settled into a comfortable pace. After a mile we hit the first hill where I became aware of a car alarm sounding behind me and getting louder. In fact this noisy 'alarm' was attached to a baby buggy being pushed along at great speed by the child's dad! Strewth, I'd never been passed by anything like that before!
I'd been tracking a girl with the name 'Jackie' on her vest, past the ruins of Byland Abbey and on to the first Drinks station at just over 3½ miles.  I slowed to a walk to make sure of getting some fluid down before tackling the next hill.  I never saw Jackie again!  At the 2nd Drinks station I found myself another pace maker, a tanned young lady with long copper coloured hair, a small tattoo on each shoulder and bare midriff. We ran together to the Finish where I thanked her for her wonderful bit of pace-making. It turned out this 'young lady' was in fact Patricia Brobyn, winner of the LV60 category.  Well, she was young compared to me!
My Garmin measured the course at 7.27 miles with a total of 556ft of ascent which I ran in a slow 61.47 - a long way outside my previous MV75 course record of 53.54 - and 197th of 314 finishers. Needless to say, my below par performance earned me no prize this year. However, every finisher over 65 years old was awarded a bottle of rather nice wine so I didn't come away empty handed. Neither did another 31 male and female Super Veterans, one in their 80's, who'd crawled out of the woodwork at the mere sniff of some alcoholic reward!  
Full results here:


  1. Hi Runningfox,
    Congrats on a great finish for your 7 miler! I love it when I find people who can help me stay on pace:)

    Wow, you ended up with another bottle of wine!! You are a lucky man:)

    BTW, that is a great picture of are looking trim and fit!

  2. Another outstanding effort RF, considering the drama of the day before. I like your pacing method too - just find an attractive female and follow! I shall give it a go when I get back.

  3. Well done! Your know how with remedies to get you going again is very impressive. That's a good time after having a fall like that too.