This was the question that was dominating my Facebook feed on Saturday as the Beast from the East and Storm Emma were causing concern as to whether this weeks race, the Trotters 5 mile trail race, would go ahead or be cancelled. The Trotters 5 mile is the second race in our CLGP championship and another one that I really enjoyed last year.
With many other races being called off, I was quite surprised when it was announced that the race would go ahead as planned. The Trotters 5 mile is a two lap mixture of road, farm track and woodland trail around the Smithhills Country Park just north of Bolton. With the uncertain ground conditions I decided to head off to the race early, armed with a variety of footwear, to do a recce of the course an hour or so before the start, so at the very least I knew what to expect come the race. It was a cold damp Sunday morning but thankfully the winds that Emma had bought had pretty much died down. My recce of the route showed me that the Race Director had got it pretty much spot on as the course was very runnable even in road shoes. A quick Facebook update to let my team mates know about the route conditions and it was back to registration to collect my number, meet up with club mates and get ready to race. I opted to wear my Merrell Bare Access 5 light trail/road shoes as they have a better grip than my Prios and a little more cushioning which was ideal given the uneven terrain.
The course is two laps, beginning with a downhill section, followed by about a mile of uphill, then a drop back down to the start/finish area to do it all again. I learned a valuable lesson here last year as although it is a chip timed race, it’s your gun time that counts in the championship (as I found out afterwards costing me two valuable championship points). So armed with my new knowledge I headed to the front of the group for the start and after a quick briefing we were off. All was going well as we made our way up through the wooded section, but as we neared the top I felt I had to walk for short way as my legs were feeling very tired. I kept up a good pace on the downhill section and I was on track for a good time as I finished the first lap. Second time around and the hill got me again – note to self/coach “more hill work needed” – but despite having to walk a short section of the hill I managed a strong finish and recorded a time of 34:45 over a minute faster than last year #fasterasigetolder. This placed me third in my age category for CLGP entrants and I was really pleased with my time, it all bodes well as I continue the running style transition. My only concern was how tired my legs felt on the hill sections.
I’ve now completed two races in the CLGP championship, there are 10 overall and it’s your best 7 that count to your score. The next race is not until 9th May, so I can now focus my attention fully on my training and building on my endurance and speed in the new style.
Thanks to everyone at Burnden Road Runners for all the work they put in to make sure the race could go ahead, I really enjoyed it.