so what became of our first outing of the year at the haworth hobble?
well here are some clues...i couldn't decide on which title best summed up the race for us so here they all are..i'll leave it up to you to choose the one you think is the best match to our woes (for which should i take 110% blame)..
'on going the wrong way'
'dont follow the lost'
'excuse me we're not from these parts and we're looking for..'
'i can laugh about it now'
anyway, off we set at 5am-ish, arriving in howarth in good time and to be greeted by chance by a very cheery john k,who kindly looked after the pooch whilst i did all the registration stuff etc. we had a good chat as usual about our planned adventures for the year and before long we set off from the start at 'hovis street'.
it took a few miles to settle into a good rhythm and with a strong-ish wind in our faces it added to challenge. but overall it felt good.
as the race went on the field was thinning out, as you'd expect,and we were alone with two guys and girl about 150m ahead of us, moving quite nicely. so we ( ok, i!) decided we would keep them in sight, to help us (me) maintain our momentum rather than needing any route-finding help (as i felt i could remember the course from last year)
the three runners in front then took a wrong turn right (heading down to todmorden)..the same error we (i) made last year. i was about to shout to them but they'd vanished round the corner and out of sight so off we head the right way...then doubts started to set in...who was right...3 vs 1? maybe they knew where they were going, maybe i didn't...self doubt started to creep in so i decided on compromise. being higher up than them i could see them making a descent into the town so i decided to try and somehow come off the ridge i was on and meet then lower down (though they weren't to know this). anyway to cut a long story short i lost them and in being so fixated by where they were i totally lost my bearings in todmorden, trying to get to stoodley pike, which i didn't know until i saw a shop i passed driving to the race. problem was that shop was at the opposite end of the town to where we needed to be. instead of maintaining any composure at this point i started swearing like a trooper (to myself) and then asked a young girl (no joy)then the next unsuspecting passer by for directions.
off on a wild goose we went..up a steep road...to a dead end..then back down..
despondent, dejected..i felt like throwing the towel in and getting a cab back to haworth..the only thing was that i doubt any cab would have taken us in the clarty state we were both in.
up to the point of realising we were lost we would have been on for a course PB of about anywhere between 15-30mins. now all was lost as we added an extra 3 miles to the official 32! and i was so low that i walked them in protest at my own stupidity.
but hey! all was not lost...heading up to mankinholes i met a guy (i think he was called george somebody) who informed me that he was the inventor of the route and original race organiser when it first started 25 years ago. with my routefinding (through the towns only) confidence shaky i felt like i couldn't have been in better hands to see me accurately through hebden bridge. so i decided to run at his slower pace for this added security that i might have needed that lay ahead.
as we started our descent off the moor into hebden bridge he then told me that he hadnt run the course in years, couldnt remember the exact route and did i know!!!!?
by which time we'd overshot the point of where we should have dropped down and instead ended up with another extra mile along the canal into the town.
i bid george farewell and thanked him for his company as he headed off for a bottle
the next 8 miles or so were emotionally scarring (the whole had become that way post the 16-18mile mark). i walked loads, soul searching...did i really want to continue to do these blah blah blah...
i was also feeling a queasy stomach and couldnt face anymore gels, sweets or carbo-drinks. then up popped the last checkpoint with HOT TEA! it was like a mirage in the desert. i thanked them so much as we headed off up the last climb. once we crested the top i thought 'right, come on now lad, lets get going'. and so we did, going past about 7-8 people in the last three miles with a nice steady run..finishing in...a lot lot longer than we should have.
back at the finish, a quick cuppa as i recalled my sorry tale to a very sympathetic brit nick (another smashing chap)
well the upsides were : charlie had a belting day out and was (mostly) oblivious to my angst and foul mood; we covered 35miles (good training for time on your feet given how much of that last 12miles we walked); we eat pork and pickle pies on the way home; and did a nice 5mile warm down the next day giving us 40m for the two days.
lessons to be learned..and as for giving it all up....
...i can laugh about it now;)