Duncan and I are trying to run at least 5 of the Long Classic Series (to get a final ranking). The Ochil 2000s was his 5th but only my 3rd. Still The Breweries and Skyline to go.
As mentioned in my last post, the race route has been [permanently] changed due to substantial forestry planting up valley from Menstrie. The new route is much more runnable, but with an extra 2kms and an extra descent/ascent of 200m, it makes quite a difference. An increase from 31.5kms (1200m) to 33.5kms (1400m) may not sound much, but when your legs are tired, it is like adding another mountain.
The weather was mostly sunny with some clouds and was supposed to be about 18 degrees. I think it was sometimes warmer – hard to tell when you are running and there is hardly a breath of wind. It was definitely a sweaty race to be sure. I will not go into all the chafing and nappy rash!!
The Ochil 2000s race starts very gradually and to be honest, the first half of the race (to Ben Cleuth) is a real pleasure. Not really boggy, paths all the way and really quite fast – well – perhaps I went too fast – but the conditions were perfect. There were 62 runners and we all very quickly spread out – often it felt as if I was running on my own.
After Ben Cleuth, the race becomes more technical. The paths to Ben Buck and Ben Ever are less well defined (still runnable), and then the section over to Blairdenon Hill is through a horrible peat hag which can really destroy the diminishing amounts of energy in the legs. I luckily know this section quite well and managed to catch up a few guys. However, by Blairdenon (the marshal shouted I was 26th), my legs were starting to feel quite fatigued. I had been running for 2 hrs 30 mins by this point and I think the profuse amounts of sweat poring off me was taking its inevitable hydration toll. I was armed with gels, muesli bars, salted peanuts and electrolyte which when combined, I think, saved me from serious collapse.
From Blairdenon I was now on the new section which Andrea and I had scouted 2 weeks before. The jog (not really running by this point) to Colsnaur Hill was uneventful except I helped a couple of runners who had not looked at the map and were disappearing down the old route and therefore I managed to temporarily make up a couple of places. The descent from Colsnaur is long. Very enjoyable (when fresh), but you can clearly see Dumyat to your right the whole way and you know that what you go down, you must come up. My leg muscles were wanting to cramp the whole way down, but managed to keep a steady, albeit slightly slower than ideal, pace.
As I started walking up the steps from Menstrie, I could not help thinking that Menstrie would have been a great place to have the finish line, but alas, there was still 5 kms to go and Dumyat!!! The initial climb out of Menstrie is quite steep and my legs protested and I had to stop as a wave of cramp rippled through my thighs. After a couple of minutes of attention seeking screams and grunts, my legs realised that no one was around to provide sympathy and they settled down. I then sucked down a gel, crunched on some peanuts and drank electrolyte. Amazingly, my legs seemed to behave after this and I managed to get up Dumyat (passing another runner who had worse cramp than me – I gave him some peanuts) without too much fuss.
The final 4 kms descent was a slow and careful affair. I played a little game trying to identify which legs muscle were trying NOT to cramp up. Bar a brief cramp at the style, I managed to stumble down through the woods and was very happy to reach the track and road at the bottom. I gained an extra place as the guy in front of me got a little lost and went for a run around the Uni. He was one of the guys I had helped earlier, so I guess he owed me 🙂 .
Congrats to Duncan for coming in as 2nd SuperVet – a tough race with the heat and a great training race for the Breweries and Skyline to come.
Full results here:
Duncan: 20th: 03:53:58
Moi: 25th: 04:16:35