I’ll get back to writing up Tour of Tameside soon but first I want to share my most recent race experience.
No idea why I thought that was a good idea to sign up for a race, one week after a four day event, but everyone else was and it sounded like fun. It probably should have been fun, however in hindsight I was a little too broken to enjoy the experience fully.
Sunday morning we set off early in the gloomy low cloud and drizzle to drive over to Sheffield. Not a view to be had over Snake Pass so spirits were damp as the weather looked awful until we reached the suburbs of Sheffield. This was not a race I wanted to run in wet and cold conditions due to its unusal format.
Described as a multi-stage trail running endurance race, it was about 15 miles off road round the trails of Sheffield however broken up into stages. The running part was about 20km and the total distance about 24km. Lovely trails and lots of hills. I used to live in that part of Sheffield but never realised there were so many wonderful trails.
11 timed stages with unique character totalling 20km of great trails & Parkland.
9 liason stages in between timed stages that allow recovery – 100m-750m in length
600m of total vertical elevation
Such a great concept however one I really struggled with. I’m a slow plodder. I enjoy running at a steady pace and I’m good at it. Running for short bursts of no more than 2.8km, and then stopping for a walk was more challenging than you would expect.
I found it hard to work out how to pace myself and definitely went off too quick at the start. It was difficult to work out what to do with the recovery stages. Some had more time allowed than others, and if you stayed too long there was a time penalty. I didn’t use all my allocated time for these and often started again straight away, even at the food station with a 15 minute time allowance. I think this was partly just wanting to get it over with and partly not wanting my legs to seize up. I messed up my timing on my Garmin as I couldn’t decide whether to record the recovery stages or pause my watch. I also forgot to change my watch from miles to kilometres so had no idea how far I was running.
The organisation of the event was fantastic. Friendly marshalls and a good pre and post race set up. At the start and end of each timed section, we had to use a timing device to clock in and out. Sounds complicated but it was really simple in reality. Over the finish line and straight to the timing tent for a print out of the results. Very impressive.
My total running time was 01:55:22 and I spent just under a hour on the recovery stages. Pretty pleased with that off the back of Tour of Tameside.