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Loopy Indeed, and fast, and those little sharp spikey ascents just keep coming!

Is it good to arrive super early… absorb the race set up, deliver VOOM FLAGS, have too much time on your hands, so float away for coffee at Chinty’s in Keswick? Probably not!  As then one might be a bit late…. 


BUT… Just enough time for a shoe change and speedy warmup.  Fitz Park has an excellent skateboard track - perfect for a warm up when no time to whizz up the fell… tiny steep ups and downs and little diagonal traverses, we can learn to use what's around us, and jumping around over the long grassy tussocks and bog land surrounding it! Getting the ankles mobile is the key for me, then a run around of short 20 second bursts for the last 5 minutes.


No deliberations on kit for this one, a cool day, no biting winds, just lovely gentle wintertime breeze - a perfect day for a race. 

 

And ready at the start… of course the lovely wise words of warning from Paul (RD), slippy woodland sections, respect & be smiley to the multitude of Saturday morning walkers, narrow trails be careful overtaking each other (that won't be me!), the reminder to have fun always makes me smile too… And we are off.


Jiggling around, forwards / backwards, finding your space, and pace, and position in the pack… past the houses, up the road, over the A66, and you are mainly in your right position in the field.  Along this stretch I felt a ‘ping’.... In the right glute/buttock… oh no, could I keep running? Yes, keep the strides tiny, don't push, just tiny steps, don't pull the hill towards your, push down and away behind you, it didn't hurt then.

 

 

Jog/steady/don't speed up/don't slow down… just keep running steady, the words rung in my head from Steve Hopwood (Zone2), my coach.  And this is exactly what happened, I ran every single step of every single short sharp ‘up’, around the woods, along and up, up and along, picking feet up feeling like a prancing horse over tree roots, steady breathing, trying to use nose only, I find it keeps the pace even and enables you to keep going.  A few overtook me on the flats, but running consistently on the ‘up’s enabled me to tick off runners very steadily one by one, the more you pass the more you can't stop the running. Out of the woods, now different tactics…


The long slow ascent from the eastern point of Latrigg was tough, but still kept running.  Weaving around the track to the north, and the lovely encouragement from marshalls at Latrigg Car Park, they are knowing of the even longer final push to the summit!  Sneaky VOOM Pocket Rocket + caffeine, the purple one before Car Park… for that finish push… pushed the boat out and had 2 pieces in 1 go!

 

 

I just couldn't keep the running going, so I made a little strategy… walk 10 x 2 steps, run 10 x 2 steps… and as the gradient lessened, walk 10 x steps, run 20 x 2 steps, it gave something to think about, and gained good rhythm, I could hear deep breaths behind me on the approach to the summit, had to run now, and over the top and down, all down now, or so i thought.


Ah… the glute, sort of forgotten about the pinching on each stride, had got used to it, but no, it definitely did not like downhill, oh so frustrating, the right leg just wouldn't swing forwards. Blast! Ok, not to make this worse, don't push it, it's only a race, remember ‘we are supposed to be having fun’! So, jog steadily, laugh at yourself as folk overtake. 

 

Oh… the traverse back to Latrigg Car Park, this would usually be my favourite bit being the only lovely uneven tussocky ground, but not today, the angle of my foot gave serious pain in the glute.  I pushed across to the car park, and jogged down to the finish, lost tons of places, but still super happy……. I had run every single step all through the woods and up to Latrigg Car Park, a good mission accomplished, even if the last part went wrong!


The descent was furious as runners spun past hikers (courteously of course!), and past each other on bend and steep loose gravel in parts, I jogged down watching this fast furious battle go past me a number of times, all fighting for that slightly higher position at the finish.

 

Races are a journey, however short, and everyone learns something about their running form on every single race, and we each take something away from each route we do.  The Kong Winter Series is a fabulous test of where you are in the fell running field, each race being so individual, with slightly different skill sets needed for each, giving everyone a chance to have fun on their favourite bits.  Loopy Latrigg being the short and sharp and fast one!

 


161st / 218 - Runners

39th / 73 - Female Runners

6th / 27 - VF50 Runners

Lost 11 places from Latrigg Summit to the finish

Finish Time: 1:02


6h VF50 Uphill race to the summit

16th VF50 Downhill race to the finish

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