Kinnoull, What Happened There?

I’m now well into the first week of my taper. I had Monday off, went for a lovely mountain bike ride into Tentsmuir Forest on Tuesday, had a short, sharp training run on Wednesday, then yesterday went over to the outskirts of Perth to do the Kinnoull Hill Race. The race is a 4-mile dash around Kinnoull Hill, a fine wooded hill, with a folly, Kinnoull Tower near the summit, only about 1 mile east of Perth’s centre.

I had a little trouble finding both the registration and somewhere to park, so, for the second time within the last week, I arrived very much ‘warmed up’ to a race start.

I was very aware of the ‘weight’ of the recent miles in my legs throughout the race: I didn’t even make the overly eager, too-fast-paced start I do for a lot of races. I was wary that, once we’d got to the summit, only about ¼ of the way in, there would be lots more big climbs, but actually it just rolled after that until the dive down towards the road near the end.

There is a very well marked ‘bear left’ near the end, which I managed to miss anyway, thanks to running in convoy with other competitors. One minute I was charging past pieces of red and white marker tae every few meters, the next I was wondering why there was a fence to climb over of the race route, and suddenly realised there was no tape! There was, at least, still a path on the other side of the fence, so we charged onwards, ending up on a road that took us to the A85 (which we shouldn’t have been on), then going up a side road to the finish line from the wrong direction.

The people taking down the times were a little perplexed, and the couple of women in our breakaway were annoyed because they had been in 3rd and 4th positions. I had no real ambitions for any glory, just a desire to give my legs a hard, but short, workout, so I didn’t mind too much. Looking at the route we took on my Garmin Connect page, I would say we must have run a little further, which must be all the more displeasing for those who missed out on a prize.

It’s not the first time I’ve got lost in a race, although I could definitely blame the marshals the last time. That one knocked me down to 3rd, only losing one place because the other ‘lost’ runner and I were so far ahead of the field (which is why we caught the marshals out). Lesson: always look for the course markers, not just the runners in front.

I finished ahead of my Friend, Dave Turner: I would normally expect to beat him by a narrow margin, but still beating him despite the detour, and with seriously sore thighs from my recent exertions, was a good indicator of my current fitness. I hope that bodes well for Kent.

I’m off walking in the Cairngorms with my girlfriend, Jan, over the weekend, which should give my legs a gentle workout, in keeping with the taper.

Please don’t forget why I’m blogging:
http://www.justgiving.com/excellentlondonmarathon

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