Simkiss’sesess’ ‘athletic career’ has been called into doubt following another low mileage week and extended periods of grumpiness, excessive eating, lack of desire and endless moaning. “It’s like McCarthy never left…” said MCKEP counsellor, after multiple sessions with the former number 1 McCarkiss athlete.
Despite attempts to stay true to the McCarkiss motto of “Run hard and don’t be shit”, it turns out that running hard has subsequently resulted in him being a bit shit. Following several weeks break after the disappointment that was Berlin, Simkiss just hasn’t properly got going again… that is despite a period of focused dieting (weight now regained), occasional impressive performances in track sessions (met with an equal number of abandoned poor standard runs) and even a surprisingly reasonable showing at the Cheshire 10k (followed by a surprisingly disappointing run at last weekends Tempo Winter Series 10k).
It’s two weeks on since the second race of the Tempo Events Winter Series Race 2… this time round the runners went t’other way round the course from race 1. What this meant in reality, is that whilst having identical amounts of climbing and descending, race tactics are somewhat different. The big climb doesn’t really begin until 4km into the race, though you’re actually climbing from before 3km, all the way to 7km with only a moments rest on the flat whilst approaching 4km. The most aggressive part of the climb is over by 5km, though runners continue to climb continuously until 7km, the ascenders nightmare only to segue into a steeper quad bashing descent until 9km. This clockwise running of the course is almost certainly more punishing than the anti-clockwise alternative – the climbs whilst not as steep, don’t feel any easier and they last a lot longer – conversely the descents are steeper and truly destroy what’s left of the legs in the latter stages of the race as runners do their best to put the brakes on and avoid going arse-over-tit at high speed.
Actually, ignore the above, here’s an elevation profile that’s describes it much more succinctly:
Simkiss submitted the following report:
It didn’t go quite to plan to be honest! After a late arrival and minimal warmup, still nursing broken calves and a wounded ego having dropped out of a track session earlier in the week, I perhaps wasn’t as well prepared as I could’ve been. Rich Shephard donned his club vest this week, signifying his intentions to race hard. Damn.
The starting pace was easy – or rather the numbers on the watch suggested it was easy, but it certainly didn’t feel as easy as it should’ve been… anyhow, I wasn’t going to run any quicker than I had to, and fortunately neither was Rich S (not me, the other Rich S), which meant a nice cluster of about 5 of us formed and ran together over the early km’s.
A few increases in pace came from Ian Mansell and the young Sam Weaving of Stratford AC, but the group still, erm, regrouped… I wasn’t going all out, but the gentle gradients were showing me that I just wasn’t moving as well as I was in race 1. Which was fine, so long as the group stayed together.
In the space of 50m the group went from being together, to single file, to gapping & separated as the big climb started around 4km. ‘Shep’ took off at the front, and I followed, knowing I’d lose some ground on the climb owing to the 2 stone+ weight delta between us, but hopeful I could close the gap as we reached the summit.
Or rather the summit never came – I’d never realised that despite the climb easing off a bit, it kept climbing, and climbing and climbing… and the gap gradually grew further. By 7k I’d thrown in the towel mentally and resigned myself to 2nd place, which I regret immensely, and opted for a damage limitation approach to the final kms. There’s not much you can do on a descent that steep though; aside from walking, going slowly is just as painful as going quickly. Shep’ opened his lead further as I squeeled while putting the brakes on the whole way down Larkstoke… by the bottom I could hear the slapping footstrikes of 3rd place.
A comfortable but grumpy final km consolidated 2nd… sincere kudos to Mr Shephard on a convincing victory, and it was Mr Mansell completing the podium in 3rd.
Simkiss has assured us that he’s ‘back on it’ now, having invested in some fancy WiFi bathroom scales, his weight loss is virtually guaranteed, and having watched the docufilm “I am Bolt”, his motivation to train and compete has returned.
The road to London begins…