Now. I've said before, but it's worth saying again, hill running really isn't my cup of java. If the "Creator" had meant for man to run up and down hills over tussocks of grass, gorse and heather and the like, then he wouldn't have endowed us with the free-will, the intelligence and the raw materials to develop tarmac. Would he?
I appreciate that "running" is a broad church that encompasses many different "disciplines" however, so every now and then I like to, at least, keep on nodding terms with hill running and off road racing.
The Traparain Law race is one of my few annual "nods" then towards hill running.
That said..... I do get some degree of masochistic pleasure out of the Law Race. The dash along the slippery muddy paths by the side of the Tyne...the wade through the murky waters of the Tyne...the climb up the slippery slopes of the Law..and the hell-for-leather run down the other side.
So, it was with a little disappointment we were informed that because of the previous few days heavy rainfall the river crossing was off. The route was detoured along to the wooden bridge out and back (an additional mile apparently).
There was a good turnout of Dunbar runners as someone had seen fit to make this a club championship race.
In fact, the good weather had ensured a good turnout in general - 96 runners I heard.
As per usual with this race we were told to get into the starting enclosure, given brief instructions and then told we still had three minutes to go!
Finally we were off.
The riverside pathway wasn't too bad on the way out though I did feel myself slip a few times.
The path at this point is pretty narrow, so whatever position you are in, you know your more or less going to stay there.
Once over the bridge we "doubled back" until we got to the climb through the side of a couple of fields that brings you out near the foot of the Law.
Didn't feel too bad going up here. It was near the top, just before we crossed the road to the entry of the footpath onto the Law itself, that Ian passed me.
|Photo from Sandy Wallace|
It's when you get to the top though and start to run again that you suddenly realise how much the climb has taken out of you!
As expected my descent was absolute pants!! Not only did Ian pull away at this point, as I knew he would, but runners were queueing up behind me. In fact, after the race, I incurred disapproving looks and comments from one of the elder statesmen of running in East Lothian when he overheard me tell a club mate that I had pulled into the side at one point to let a couple of Carnethy guys past me (sorry George)!
I lost count of the runners who passed me! Leading lady Charlotte Morgan of Carnethy who was just behind me on the climb went tanking past.
However, once we got back onto "the level" I just tried to pick people off one by one. I caught up with Charlotte just before the style that takes you back onto the road (aahhhh ..."tarmac") and was surprised when she pulled over at this point (I later discovered she had taken a tumble earlier on and was running with a knee injury).
On the road I did manage to get past the two Carnethy guys I'd pulled in for.
The riverside path on the way back though appeared to be a bit more slippy than it had been on the way out. Either 96 pairs of shoes over it earlier had mashed it up a bit, or the soles of mt shoes were so packed with mud and crap the grip was non existent.
Whatever the reason I took a wee tumble about a mile from the end. Luckily all that was hurt was my dignity (and I don't even have much of that).
Got in in 49:26 - which for a 6.6 mile cross country type hill run is OK for me.
Popped out of the tea tent just in time to see Megan get her first lady prize and Rhona get 2nd.
Dunbar ladies also took away the ladies team prize.
All in all a good day out and a great race.
I thought we had missed all the "gala fun" (my views on that are already documented).
However, just as we were leaving the gala field we did manage to see a fine last minute display by the young ladies of the combined East Lothian Slappers Synchronised Fighting Team. The subject of their performance appeared to be a discourse into the futility of territorial disputes and was expressed through the combined media of shouting, swearing, kicking and punching. I'm not really sure I understood all the subtle nuances of the language used, but the sheer skill involved in some of the footwork was breath taking (kicking people in the head as performance art - who'd have thought it?) And, as it's very much a family gala and children are there, the slappers like to add a sort of "Seasame Street" style of learning element to their performance. Yesterday's fight was brought to you by the letters "F" and "C" and the words "hoor" and "bitch".
Today? Well today saw me head out for a bit of LSD - 17 mile and all of it on tarmac. Lovely.