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Saturday, 4 April 2015

Compton Downland 40/20 Race Report

As the eponymous song begins "Woke up this morning feeling fine....." as I drove up to the beautiful albeit windy Berkshire Downs in good time for what might be the last ever Compton Downland 40/20. Essentially this race is a 2 lap 20 mile route through picturesque rolling big hills and chocolate box villages. Competitors can switch between the 20 and the 40 and vice versa as the entrance fee is the same.

At the start I bumped into Kelvin Gower who's blog you can follow here and we had a chit chat and ran the first mile or so together. The rain-soaked clay undulations were some work at the beginning. I chose to set off at a relaxed pace for lap 1 so I could keep the powder dry for lap 2. CP1 came and went, well stocked and ready for munch on lap 2. I got into a reasonable rhythm but became irrationally irritated by silly distractions; laces too tight, laces too loose, long sleeve on, long sleeve off, tightness of my waist belt, hair in my face....just about anything with my own race admin that I couldn't begin to take in the awesome vistas, steep ascents and descents. Even the runners around me did my head in. Of course this is my own head shit going on and I need to point out that I am not having a go at them. So I ran alone. Through choice.

As I progressed towards CP2 about 9 miles in, I was thinking about how long it would take me to return from the doldrums and ran through the delightful village of Streatley. Momentarily distracted I felt OK and quaffed a mega-crazy caffeine gel at CP2. A dull ache in my leg that I had thought was symptomatic of my moody maudlin mouvaise became more pronounced. Ouch and mother fucking ouch. Piriformis. Literally a pain in the arse.

I decided that this was a one lap race and not a step-up-to-50 ultra. Damage limitation ensued. I switched from my normal mid to forefoot strike to a flat footed run. All sorts of other niggles kicked in. Stomach cramps, hamstring twinges, bad back, even a pain in my forearm. Clearly somebody had the voodoo doll out somewhere. So I shuffled to the finish, taking in the awesome scenery and the big hills. The race then joined the Ridgeway for 2 or 3 miles. Wow. Hopefully I will be in better form next time I'm on this hallowed track in a few months. I twas gorgeous but lap 2? No way. Kelvin whizzed past looking in fine fettle. He was really enjoying himself. I had 2 miles of undulating mud to cope with and then some streets. I peeled off after 20.1 miles and 2043ft of gain. Race over. Not a DNF but a race cut short.

I'm not an easy catch is perhaps the most unlikely of statements. Mine should state: You miserable little shitbag. I'd be happy with that. My shortest race in a couple of years now, but scenery very enjoyable. Me? Well I am just pretty shite.

I'll be back. It may take some time.