I had a superb time on The Terminator, today. It’s an 11.5 trail race based in Pewsey, Wiltshire. I said in my previous post, “That’ll Teach Me!”:
I had a poor Dursley Dozen last year and went on to run a really good Terminator (start/finish in Pewsey). I’m doing the Terminator again this year, so maybe it’ll work out well for me once more.
That hope turned out to be well founded.
Conditions were as good as they could be. The weather was glorious: sunny, almost still and quite mild. The course was very dry for February.
The race Starts and finishes at Pewsey Vale School. The first mile is a nice warm-up, through some streets to the edge of Pewsey.
The next few miles cross rolling farmland, again without serious climbs. Although this is a good way to get into your groove, this section rudely messes with your mojo when you get to the first stream crossing: there is no question of picking your way across, you’re up past your ankles in muddy water. Immediately after this comes a bog of the ‘shoe swallowing’ kind! I’ve done enough of this sort of thing to be able to find my way across most bogs by the line of least resistance (the middle line of this one is a kind of Bermuda Triangle, not recommended). I don’t understand why anyone should lose a shoe in a bog, actually: fasten it onto your foot properly!
The race changes character quickly after the rolling section: you get onto a well established path, running up a steady climb, then turn a corner and you’re on the first of four steep climbs. This part of the race takes you up and down the edge of the escarpment of the downs overlooking Pewsey from the south. It includes some fairly technical descents, which are fun if your core muscles still have enough resilience in them. There are sections of rough, rabbit hole-strewn downland and easier tracks in between the ascents and descents.
The approach to the final steep climb is particularly challenging, crossing along the lower part of a steep scarp slope, with no ‘good’ line and various hawthorns to snag you if you’re not paying attention. After this you stagger up the last steep slope, run around the Pewsey White Horse, then go straight back down the only seriously steep descent of the race, which is mercifully short, saving your core muscles too much grief.
Getting to the finish is then only a case of a mile or so of level straight, starting off as a dirt road that turns into a minor road at the edge of town, another stream crossing (again, wet feet guaranteed), a path between a housing estate and fields and a dash through the school sports fields to the finish.
My time was 1:35:19, and I was 59th out of around 600. Somewhere around the top 10% is good for me. More importantly, I passed more people than passed me, meaning my pacing was good (not getting off too fast) and I felt strong at the end.
It feels like I’m reaping the benefits from my training. The long and fartlek runs are improving my stamina and speed. The regular core strength exercises helped me keep it together on the descents (as the name would suggest, your core anchors your legs and keeps you stable), and have brought a really welcome benefit: this was the first hilly race for ages where I’ve not had cramps in my right-hand gluteus medius muscles afterwards. This has been a big issue for me, I think mostly caused by spending hours sat in my van, and exacerbated by my lop sided body (my hips sit well off the horizontal when I stand, because my right leg is longer than my left). Cramp-resistance and more consistent descending were my aims for the strength training, so that’s very pleasing.
This good result has given me greater confidence in my ability to achieve my aims for London.
My next race, on 11th March, is The Grizzly, a real biggie.http://www.justgiving.com/excellentlondonmarathon/