Saturday, 14 June 2014

Black Rock 5 Race 2014; Kinghorn or bust

The Black Rock 5. Well up there when it comes to great races. It's a 5 mile village and beach run held at Kinghorn village in Fife. The time of the race is determined by and large by the tide. This year the start was a near nocturnal 8pm.

With three of ‘team Mac’ having entered a month ago in the online frenzy in a field limited to 1000, we decided that to get the full Black Rock experience, we should tent at Pettycur and stay over on the night.  Trouble was, you can’t book in advance and there are only 12 pitches; so we horsed it up the A1 to Kinghorn on Friday morning to arrive at Noon. As it was, we needn’t have worried as there was only one other tent there.  After erecting the 'luxury' shelter, we nipped off to Kirkcaldy for lunch after considering the local pub, the Ship. It had changed since we were last there from what we remembered as a cosy hostelry to a restaurant affair. Not quite what we had in mind.

As with all top athletes, I read to settle my pre-race nerves (joking) and drank copious cups of tea, interrupted only for a small rhubarb tart and a 2 hour kip in the tent in the late afternoon.   It was soon 7pm and we walked the mile along the road to the race HQ. The village was heaving with runners bobbing up and down the road. Numbers and chips secured, I left Mrs Mac and the young ‘un to their own strange pre-race rituals and tried myself to look sporty, warming up along the road to the beach. We were soon under the viaduct at the start and it was a pretty quick pre-race speech before we were launched westwards with bodies tumbling forwards in a helter-skelter dash up the hill.

I moved up along the road and as we hit the beach I fell in with a couple of HBT’s. One of them was Huw Jones. I recalled I had finished close to him in a previous race, so with no idea of my form currently, I dropped in behind him. We tramped through the small pools and across the brown catenary rippled sand, picking our way to find any semblance of a firm foothold.  As we splashed from pool to pool, across the wet sand, there was something mesmerising about the sinuous geometry of the beach as the tide receded and we neared the turn.

Before any time at all, we got to the rock (with piper a top) and waded through only about 30 metres of water this year, before resuming on the return leg. Jones kicked just after the rock and I was slowly dropped coming back; but I didn’t fancy capitulating too soon and as we hit the tarmac I tried to lift the pace a little back into the final mile and through a good and noisy crowd in the village. Just before the viaduct I was passed by another HBT and fought to stay with him until the killer finish, up the short steep hill past the Auld Hoose and up to the Ship Inn. An Edinburgh AC runner passed me at the final ten, but by then I was reaching for the oxygen mask.  

Pleased to have delivered a 28 minute run and surprised by 3rd V50, although I wasn’t on the same page or even in the same library as the v50 winner from Portobello who had a stormer, taking over 2 minutes out of me and the 2nd v50 from Dundee Roadrunners who finished just in front of me. Picked up my bottle of ale and waited for the others to come home before showering and getting a change of clothes. Strangely the showers were boiling, but only discharging a thimble full of water at a time.

We made the most of the evening visiting the Crown and then the Auld Hoose, where we chatted with a few of the locals.  It’s a great race and a good night out.

On the way back in the dark to the campsite, we tried to avoid crunching the hordes of snails who seemed intent under a full moon on Friday the 13th of reaching the beach themselves.  Less bright this morning. Lying on the ground for 7 hours is not quite what its cracked up to be. ( -thanks to Mrs Mac for the photies 

Monday, 9 June 2014

Blaydon Race 2014

Nice night for a run along the Tyne to Blaydon at tonight's Blaydon Race. Some men and women were running fast; some not so fast. Took ages to load up the first batch of photographs. Photos now on Flickr. More to be loaded up on Wednesday. Results in due course. Well done everyone.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Out of action & the Outlaw

After beating myself up following a sloth filled display at the Edinburgh half, I overdid it at the track on Wednesday doing 4 x 200's after a 5 mile warm up. I woke up the next morning to a hamstring injury.  Quite literally a pain in the ass. As it was, I wasn't letting myself off the hook that easily and, on the evening, elected to jog ahead of the group as they did their efforts up on the road to Pigdon. A dog came at me at the top of the hill and I swerved quickly to avoid it as it lunged at me and whatever was a strain became a tear. I winced. It was only a King Charles spaniel on a lead, but they've got teeth just like any other canine. The owner was apologetic as she balanced a glass of red in one hand and a mobile in another. Who needs multi-taskers like that? It was a long 4 mile walk back to base with the group disappearing off over the horizon. Adios.

No more running then for a wee while.

The weekend was booked up some time ago. I was supporting our kid at the Outlaw Half Ironman in Nottingham. She had to be up at 4.30am. I thought that was the first event!

We had to get to the event by 5.30am. It started at 7am. As I was the transport and bike mechanic, I was tucked up at 9pm and as the sun rose we were mixing it with all the wired triathletes and their dozy entourages, as they hung up their bikes and placed their shoes 'just so'. I tell you, there was some kit there. One bike was shinier and more sparkly than the next. I could smell the pound signs. Any roads, as she spent the next 5 hours somewhere in deepest Nottingham, I got out on the lanes in 70 plus temperatures for a steady 35 miles. The place was hoaching with bikies. You couldn't turn a stone over without two or three of the lycra clad blighters crawling out.

A good weekend and needless to say, the glute is still sore and so, this week, it's some proper R&R. Regrettably, that means the Alwinton fell race is out, but I might recover enough to make the line for a jog at the Black Rock on the 13th. Wish me luck.