Saturday, 23 January 2016

Trailscape South - Marathon #95

Everyone went the wrong way in the first mile because the arrow was almost out of sight in some trees.  Other than that this was another well marked, easy to follow trail marathon from Trailscape.  And as with Trailscape in Newport I found myself in the lead for a few kilometres, before a trickle of leaders started to pass me.

The route was the now standard Trailscape format - two laps with hills and mud, but this time also a load of miles along a disused railway, which gave some respite from the sloppy, shoe sucking mud across the fields.  After the initial downhill and field / bog, I settled into an easy pace along the old railway, before turning for the first climb past Ashdown House School.  This climb wasn't big, maybe 50 metres, but really knocked the wind out of me.  Some of the boggiest fields followed and I slipped over once, before my favourite section - a short downhill blast through some trees.

Soon back on the railway for more of the same, and I had settled into 6th or 7th place now.  The second climb was back the way we started, squelching uphill on mud.  The initial fog had lifted and the sun was threatening to make an appearance, but it was still a cold morning.

Halfway done in 1:57, now flying downhill and back out for another loop.  Apart from another tumble on the mud, this lap was uneventful and I felt strong, perhaps pushing the pace just a little too hard on the outbound railway section in order to stay with another runner.  I still felt good on the final climb home and passed a marathon runner, but then my left calf cramped up with a kilometre to go and I lost that place as I had to keep stopping to stretch it out.  The cramp cost me a sub-4 as I finished sixteen seconds over, although pleased with my time for almost 27 miles, including a lot of mud.

I like the Trailscape series - there is always a good atmosphere, excellent, tough trails and nice tshirts and food at the finish.   Although I do have four now,

Trailscape South number and medal

4:00:16 for marathon number 95.  The 100 feels very close now.  Claire had dropped me at the start and gone for lunch with friends in Tonbridge, so because I'm training for a 100, it felt completely normal to put in an 8 mile cooldown run to go and meet them.  That run went well although carrying a heavy backpack slowed me down.