Path/Terrain12:05  2.39 km (5:03 / km) +5m4:59 / km shoes: Salomon Sense Pro 2 (2018)
Trying to keep things slow. Legs all good, no knots.
Path/Terrain race 2:23:30 27.13 km (5:17 / km) +1823m3:58 / km shoes: VJ Bold (2018)
A very strange one, as I wasn't expecting to improve on last year, nor did I think I was going to until about 80% of the way round.
Plan was to start much easier than before but this was almost never going to happen with a big pack going hard right from the go. Managed to force myself to let them go but once they were about a minute ahead the string became taught and I began pushing harder. Coming down Castlelaw I was sure I had overcooked and with a bit of sick in my mouth, I thought it was going to be a grim time. Stopped for a drink at Flotterstone and notice the pack of EUOC boys just behind. Half way up Turnhouse I took my bag off to have another drink and decided it was a good time to chill out a bit and let the boys catch me. Turns out this waiting about was a good way to kick off a second wind so after briefly chatting to them my legs felt reborn. Pushed up the second half of Turnhouse and back into 5th ahead of Waldie.
Sat there going approximately the same pace as the leading pack, knowing full well I could catch at least one of them, who would surely die before the finish. i.e. there was no chance they were all comfortable running there. Soon Scott let go of the group and I stuck about a minute behind him for a lot of the second half. Carnethy felt grim but then after my first gel I began to feel better and the rest of the ridge was good. Saw Scott walk up east kip, obviously looking more tired than I was so this was a nice boost.
Drove road was absolute hell - I don't understand why they allow this sort of crap to happen for the sake of felling a few trees and yet the neighbouring landowner doesn't let a few runners to go the most direct way over Hare Hill. At least the second section was clean so a bit of recovery could take place before descending off hare about 100m to the right of a perfectly normal walkers path(!) I had a good feeling about Black and broke the long climb up by having my second gel. Pushed up well and noticed Scott was getting closer. Descended off it well trying to not overstride and give myself a stitch as I did two years ago, and then knew what was coming next. Didn't have a great line into Bell's but was read to power walk as soon as I hit the wall of the climb. This felt fine, walking reserves were still high, and so I was up behind Scott at the top. Overtook on Harbour and totally unlike last year, I managed to run the whole hill. At this point I knew I could perhaps chop my PB.
Onto Capelaw and I let myself walk the first steep slope that is often forgotten about. Had my final gel to get myself to the finish and this had a really good effect. Felt I could really push along the top and into the final big climb. Knew most of it would be walking so did so and again managed to push over the top. Had a bad feeling of bonking before the top of Caerketton or not having the legs to descend but it wasn't too bad and I managed to push right to the line at a good pace.
Very pleased with the time and all the energy I had towards the end of the race. My pacing wasn't perfect especially around the start and Turnhouse, but it was much better than previous years. Not sure whether this waiting had a good or bad effect on my overall time but was a bit risky nonetheless. Also want to personally apologise as it must have been pretty annoying for the lads who saw me slowing up for them only to sprint away again, and can only hope I didn't have a negative effect on their races. Ideally I should have started with them and then began the push on Turnhouse, likely would have made for a better time. Either that or starting with the leaders and seeing how long I could hang on, although past experience would suggest I do better when I'm on my own. All things to think about I guess...
Conditions were a bit wet but wind was almost 0. Drove road definitely took something out the legs though and a big training week can't have helped either. Tempted to think what time I could push out if I nail the pacing/eating with good conditions in the next few years, although we're surely overdue for a stormy skyline after the last few years of near perfection!
Gels - 50mins, 95mins, 120mins. SIS/High5/Manuka worked really well, but maybe should have taken them all 5mins earlier (- partially to do with position of climbs though). Big porridge breakfast and coffee over two hours before with nothing else (quite important to have a sound stomach on Skyline....)
Path/Terrain15:03  3.23 km (4:40 / km) +5m4:38 / km shoes: Salomon Sense Pro 2 - 2018 Red
Drove home post race and had a wee jog before surprising the mum with my unexpected presence.
Path/Terrain2:13:46 21.02 km (6:22 / km) +1000m5:08 / km shoes: Inov-8 X-Talon 230 - 2018
Nice one with Andy in outstanding weather, bare minimum wind and hot sun, 20c. Tops off the whole way round. Nice to recce the crucial bits before the weekend but bonking a bit on the last few climbs so pushed them a bit harder.
Path/Terrain31:18  6.0 km (5:13 / km) +37m5:04 / km shoes: Salomon Sense Pro 2 (2018)
Easy meadows with Tim. Indeed I hurt tomorrow. Photo finish getting to the toilet at the end too.
Path/Terrain1:40:08  18.61 km (5:23 / km) +454m4:48 / km shoes: Inov-8 X-Talon 230 - 2018
With Alex and then Tom after doing the WU of the intervals. Feeling a lot better and good fun climbing Tom Ryan's in the dark. Joined in for last km of the last rep. Easy with the interval lot at the end.