I thought I'd give the infamous Tour of Fife another go this year, having completed it in 2009. Five races in five days...a sure way to get you fit! There were a couple of new races this year along with the old favourites, and a record number of CAACers taking part.
Race 1: The Black Hill Race, Falkland
The first race of the series started on the Falkland estate - a 5 mile hill race round the tracks and up and down the hills. It had been a few days since I'd been running, and my legs felt fresh. I ran with Gillian for a little while, but soon realised she was running at a pace I wouldn't be able to hold. I tried my best to hold my position as high as possible among the women. I was fine going up the hills, though my downhill often lets me down, and a couple went past me. Was a really sunny evening, a bit muggy, but great conditions. Not often I run in sunglasses in Scotland.
Race 2: Hill of Tarvit, Ceres
This race was described as an undulating trail race. It was 3 laps of the estate of Hill of Tarvit, a really nice stately home and grounds. The great thing about racing is seeing places you probably wouldn't have thought to have gone to otherwise. It had rained lots during the day, so it was much cooler and better for running. The first lap felt tough, as there was indeed a couple of hills. However, this was followed by some flat and a great run through the forest which was great fun! Laps 2 and 3 felt much better, and i really enjoyed the course.
Race 3: The Up Hell Time Trial
This is a regular feature in the Tour. You get paired with another runner and start at the bottom of the Lomond hill. Then you head off uphill approx 1.5 miles straight up as fast as you can! It's the most painful of all the races. Your legs are burning, your lungs are screaming. And just when you think it can't get any steeper...it does. Fortunately there is a CAAC fan club complete with cow bells and polka dot jerseys to get you up the last bit. This hurt a lot more this year than I remember...perhaps because i ran it almost a minute quicker, or perhaps because I was dressed up as a cow, complete with socks and mask! Either way, I was glad to have reached the top, and enjoyed cheering on the remaining CAACers up the hill!
Race 4: Chariots of Fire Beach Race, St Andrews
Another regular of the Tour, this race starts on West Sands in St Andrews. You run out along the beach for around 2 miles plus, then turn round and come back. Depending on the tides, depends on how hard / soft / slippy the sand is. Fortunately the sand stayed hard for quite some time, although as we neared the turning point it started to become quite deep and then very slippy! For an added twist this year, the race organisers decided to put a post in the sea which we had to run round. For short people like me, this went up to about my knees, but for everyone, it ensured your trainers were wet through and heavy for the remainder of the race. Despite feeling quite tired in the build up to the race, I felt strong during it, and felt good coming back towards St Andrews, and managed to pick off a couple of people at the end. Unfortunately, some of the girls I needed to beat were ahead of me though. Really enjoyed the run though, and the thought of camping and a BBQ later that evening...
Race 5: The Chicken Run, Strathmiglo
The final race of the Tour. This one started in a field in Strathmiglo and was an out and back, which featured, yet again, another hill. Though of course, you are rewarded with a downhill on the return. I again really enjoyed this course and I tried my best to keep as close to the other girls around me as possible. 5 days of racing and camping were starting to take its toll, but I felt I finished strongly. I really enjoyed the Tour - it's a unique event!
Overall position: 52nd
Female position: 7th
Overall time: 2hr31:50
(Photos courtesty of roadrunpics)