Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Millbrook Monster

My other home of Mossley (aka Chateau Beardy Guy) is a small village nestled at the confusing crossroads of Yorkshire and Lancashire. And sometimes even Cheshire. It is full of hills, so much so, that the parts of the village are called Bottom and Top Mossley. Way above Top Mossley is a street that reaches so far into the clouds that sometimes you come across men called Jack with a handfull of beans walking down it. As a result the locals are prone to running up and down hills at speed. The Beardy Guy is no exception to this. 

We had been alerted to a local event named the Millbrook Monster - a 10k on challenging terrain. Beardy was all up for it, myself unsure. We went for a bimble together the day before and I did ok on some of the undulations, walked the mega hills and felt alright but a bit tired on the flats. Beardy declared that I'd be ok on the Monster and buoyed by his unwavering belief in me, I agreed that nothing too bad could happen. 

Well, what can actually happen is that you end up the only non club runner in a pack of local elites with Upper Millsford Cheshires Knuts Harriers branded across their chest. And that the hills are so steep that mountain goats are taking chair lifts up them. Or you summit a hill and the earth falls from under you, only to find yourself on moors so desolate that even serial killers are scared. Ok that's this city girl's perspective! 

The hill starts as soon as you have crossed the start line, off road and I managed to keep running, past the first walker, past the man taking a leak, past the girl who made me sound less asthmatic than I am. It was all going well until a marshall said: "that's a good warm up for the real hill". What could she mean? Not that big hill on the horizon looming up at us? Uh yes... I powerwalked whenever I couldn't run, until the ground turned to shale that I was just falling over and two of the four places I had made became just two and my calves burned to the point I was sure I could cook on them. I felt at one stage like I was going backwards and realised because of the shale, I was. Never fear, when I got over that bloody hill (what no flag to stick in the summit?) I wasn't going anywhere because I was on the moors and the wind resistance was rendering me motionless! 

I loved the downhills and took my two places back, zig zagging with confidence even though there were a few slips. Now if only I could get that confidence on the bike. I clocked a few 4:50s on my sportsband (usually  near 6 - kms per minute, minutes per km - who knows?!) as the ground turned to tarmac again. Running downhill on the hard stuff proved a bit painful and I went to the roadside until the road flattened but I couldn't get my legs to do something that was neither uphill nor downhill. 

At about 7km in, I realised that my fuel system always always needs something to eat. I adopted a mantra which was simply "sugar". I was actually looking at plants to consider which ones I could chew. Sugar sugar eight. Sugar sugar. A marshall who I guess must have been an experienced runner, was lovely the moment she saw my blank face and gave me calm instructions on how to run through the sugar low. It's really quite lonely being at the back of the pack - can't see who is in front or who is behind. The marshalls really do help. Sugar sugar nine. 

At the last 400m I could see someone ahead of me. I wasn't going to  beat them on the finish line (unsporting) but I also wasn't going to waddle behind them, so with all intentions of encouraging them to a quick end, I sprinted to the finish, only to surprise Beardy One with my early return. I finished about 1:03 (my time based on my start line crossing) which given that even He of the Hills had to walk the summit and confessed it was a bit hard, I was dead proud of. And I was not last. 

And best of all we got a hot sausage sanger at the end for free. I am so easily pleased that I completely forgot to kill the Beardy Guy for thinking it was a good idea to send me up such a bloody difficult hill in the first place! 

No comments:

Post a Comment