Friday, 7 August 2009

The Tour of Fife

Last week I took part in what must be one of my favourite events of all time – the Tour of Fife. The idea of this event is that you compete in 5 races, in 5 days, in 5 different locations around Fife. Your cumulative time gets added up each day, and dictates your position at the end of the tour! Much like the Tour de France, but without the yellow jersey. A team of 8 CAACers took part in this event. Nick who is injured, was team photographer and supporter and it was great seeing him popping up all over the courses!

29th July - The Chicken Run, Strathmiglo
This was a 5 mile out and back race, so called because the course took us past a chicken farm. The course was described at mostly flat, although the 1 mile uphill at the start made me wonder whether Fife runners had a different perception of the term ‘flat’ I felt strong on this run, and gave it my best shot (trying to forget this was only the first of five!).
Time: 34mins 52s

30th July – The Chariots of Fire Beach run, St. Andrews
A 4 mile race along the beach where they filmed Chariots of Fire. This was a tough one I found, with every type of sand being run over at some point. This was also an out and back course, so once again we could wave and shout out words of encouragement to fellow club members along the way. The run out was mostly against the wind, so it was a welcome change on the return. You could see St. Andrews in the distance on the run back, though it never looked to be getting any closer.
Time: 27mins:24sec
No run along the beach would be complete without a dip in the North Sea! This also doubled up as an ice bath for those weary muscles. This was a great night!

31st July – The ‘Up Hell’ Time Trial, Lomond Hills
It does exactly what it says on the box! You get paired off and a couple of runners head up the East Lomond Hill at 30 second intervals. It is 1.5 miles straight up! Despite the beautiful weather of the two previous nights, it all changed for this race. Cold, wet and very foggy! This said, I think it added to the whole atmosphere of the race. Katherine was up visiting this weekend, and I felt sorry leaving her at the top with a waterproof and brolly!!
I was paired up with Dean. The head to head didn’t last long though, as he sped up the hill. The unrelenting uphill grind makes this a tough race, but believe it or not I enjoyed every minute of it, especially as I reached the summit and saw the various supporters. First of all Katherine and then the CAAC crew! Coach Dave and family were dressed up in King of the Mountains gear complete with cowbells and clappers. They really helped get us all up the final stages of the hill. Then with the finish line appearing out of the mist, out came the Devil in true Tour style! The lactic acid was burning in the legs over the last 100m but it was worth it!
Time: 14mins 26s

1st August, Run Forrest Run, Tentsmuir Forest
With less than 24 hours to recover between races, this was always going to be a tough one! However, the lead up to the race added to its toughness. A blockage on the road leading to the Forth Bridge meant that we got stuck in very heavy traffic. Nick managed to get the organisers to push the start time back by 15minutes which was a saviour! However, the drive up was a tad stressful to say the least, and I’m not sure Katherine was too keen on her rally driving experience! Anyway, we got there in the nick of time. I parked up, got into my kit, quick nip behind a bush, and then ran to the start line! This was set to be a 5 mile race, 2 laps of a very beautiful forest! The sun was shining and it was hot! The midgies seemed to like it! With all the adrenaline pumping round me following the recent high speed car journey, I set off quite fast, covering the first mile in 6min30. I wondered whether I would be able to keep it up. The first lap was fine. The second lap however was very tough. I think many around me were also suffering from the heat and accumulation of races! Many other CAACers, despite finding it tough, had really good runs, with a couple of PBs thrown in! I crossed the line and collapsed in a heap! Only one to go…
Time: 35mins 45sec
The post race festivities were great! Picnic in the sun, complete with birthday cake and bubbly for Grant’s birthday! Some mad ones went for a dip on the ocean. Katherine and I settled for a nice walk along the beach followed by a trip to St. Andrews. Another great day!

2nd August – Arso Vertitus, Falklands
The final race of the Tour. And apparently they’d left the toughest till last! They weren’t wrong! A 4 mile race taking in 2 slightly different loops. The run involved some road, some off-road, some steep uphill including steps, some steep downhill, a run under a waterfall, and a pitch black tunnel! Not bad for 4 miles of running. It was indeed tough, but the course was beautiful, and the views of Fife once you made it up the hill were pretty spectacular. The last mile was all downhill, and I tried my best to close down a Carnegie runner on the home straight. She just got me on the sprint finish. I crossed the line feeling extremely pleased that I, and all the other CAACers had completed the Tour of Fife!
Time: 30min01sec

FINAL RESULT: 2hrs 22:28
Position: 72nd overall (13th woman)

The end of the Tour was marked with a cake eating extravaganza and prize giving. CAAC did great, with individual prizes for Gillian, Susan and Grant!

Thanks guys for a memorable tour – I’ll definitely be back for more next year!!

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