Race report: Dechmont Law 10k

Dechmont Law 10k trail race - 7th June 2015

Last Sunday I headed along to Livingston for the Dechmont Law race. 

The course is based on the cross country course that I've ran a number of times in the past. I knew of some of the hilly sections and the forest sections but apart from that, this would be the first time I had ran this specific course and race. 

My aims for the race were to finish in the top 10 and to finish sub 40 minutes. 

I'd looked at Strava for some hints on the profile of the course and had spotted a climb roughly half way in to the race so I kept this in mind. 

I headed to Livingston with Mandy and picked up my race number and chip. This was the first time I have been given a chip that you wear on your wrist like a watch but it seemed to work. 

With about 30 minutes to go I headed out for a warm up. The course was made up of a 2 mile loop and a 4 mile loop, so I used the 2 mile option as a recce of the course. 

I was wearing my Inov8 Talon 190s which seemed to be the perfect option, grip when I needed it but still light enough to feel like I was wearing my racing shoes. 

I got my position on the start line, just behind the first row, which was probably only wide enough for 5 or 6 people anyway and then we were off. 

It was an uphill grassy start, breathing was heavy almost straight away, but I knew there was a long down hill section after this, thanks to the warm up lap, so I gave it a good hard effort to the top of the hill. The first 3 runners were well ahead already and there was little chance of catching them. I settled in to a comfortably hard pace in a group and this would be my racing group for the remainder of the race. 

Racing in a group

Just after the second mile, at the end of the first loop, it was a long half mile climb back into the forest and I eased off a bit, just to make sure I didn't get a stitch but I still kept the group within touching distance.

uphill section of the race

Once back in to the forest I picked up the pace again and joined the group once more.  

About 2.5 miles in, it was time for the long decent to the lowest point of the course. I was now back in the group and we were nipping through the forest pretty well. I had a smile on my face, racing through the forest, hoping my reactions were fast enough to prevent any twisted ankles. Although we were going at a good pace I felt we could be going faster.

It was narrow paths at this point and overtaking opportunities were slim but I saw a gap, put the foot down and got in to the lead of the group, the group of 5 was now 2 people less as the pace increased. 

I knew there was still the climb back to the top of the course but I felt if I could put enough of a gap between the others then I could maybe afford to ease up a bit on the climb to prevent any stitch and then push hard for the final downhill finish. 

We got to the bottom of the hill and as we started the climb I was still leading the group. I could hear others behind me though so there wasn't any option to ease up, it was keep on pushing or be passed. 

Miles 5 and 6 were long and it felt like the hill was never ending. I was passed by one of the others (158)  and I tried to hold on to him but an unexpected steep climb over the M8 motorway caught me by surprise and he got a lead which I couldn't pull back. Another runner then passed me with about half a mile to go and I had nothing to give, I couldn't catch him no matter how much I chased. 

Final straight, downhill section

I finished in 6th place in 38:47 so both targets were achieved. 

The course was brilliant fun, twisting through forests, having to look out for tree roots and obstacles, I really enjoyed it. If there were more trails races around I could see myself racing them move often! 

The terrain really works the legs though, you're always twisting and turning and getting a really good work out. Maybe that's why my legs feel so dead this week! 

I will be back for this race next year and maybe even put it down as a target race to specifically train for. 

Owain Williams

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