Monday, 28 December 2009

Blencathra Snow Run

Managed to sneak out of the house this afternoon for a quick run up Blencathra. Parked the car in the lay by before the White Horse and made my ascent up Mousthwaite Comb and Scales Fell. Most people were making there way down, some on skis, whilst I made heavy work of the snow. I was determined to run it all, but again  I was forced to walk maybe 30 yards where the last zigzags are meant to be, they was a snow path straight up instead of the zigzags. The view on top was fantastic with the sun beginning to set. I got back to my car in a little over an hour, so a good workout.
What is pleasing me is that I am beginning to run more climbs now. On Wednesday im hoping to do leg 2, and on Friday its the Nine Standards Fell Race, but first I have a bedroom to paint!

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Snow Fun

Since my last post I have managed to get a few runs in, one of them been leg 1 on the weekend when Mark Smith was doing his fantastic Bob Graham Winter Round.
I followed Marks footsteps in the snow from Skiddaw onwards(I was up there at 8am tho) up to Gt Calva, where I noticed he had made his descent through the heather, so I followed(I usually go by the fence line). I have been this way once before but I think I will stick to the fence for my attempt, the heather been too high and hidden holes had me on my backside more then once. I picked up his footprints again climbing up Mungrisdale Common but lost them before Blencathra where after looking at Halls Fell I decided Doddick was the safer option which I descended in 28 mins. Total leg time was 3hr 12mins.
The day after I ran up to Atrhurs pike from Pooley Bridge post office.
Hill reps have been done too with Eden Runners(agony).
Xmas eve I got up early and ran to Askham(in the dark) and up on to Haughscar Fell where the snow was quite deep in places. It had been my intention to carry on to Atrhurs Pike but the visibility on the top was very poor, so I turned back. Running back I bumped into Gary Johnstone who is also planning his BG on the same day as me, I have also had a email of Seb Planz who has decided on the same night, so it looks like they will be plenty of company on the day of the round.

Yesterday (Boxing day) along with Steve Bennett we ran up to Skiddaw , parking at Threlkeld. The lower slopes of Latrigg were very icy, but once on to the slopes of Skiddaw it was snow all the way . We managed to run it all, up to the last gate before the summit, where the snow was so deep you could step over it! From the gate to the summit we couldn't tell the sky from the ground, but as so often happens after reaching the summit everything clears and seems calm again, all tho this didn't stop Steve falling and taking a proper face full of snow, much to my delight!
The run back along the railway line felt tough, but a very enjoyable 2 and half hours.
Still over a week before I return to work so hoping to get a couple more runs in, but first Sue wants to go shopping to Carlisle!(again).

Monday, 14 December 2009

Plodding On

Not a big mileage week but still managed 1 long fell run and some mile reps with Eden Runners.
I had Sunday morning free to fit a run in so I  decided to run to Thornthwaite Beacon and back, about 20 miles, only stopping to take the odd photo.

This has got to be one of my favourite runs I do, with fantastic views on a clear day and all runnable.
It also made a change to have dry feet for once with the ground been frozen  solid for most of the route. I had to up my pace on the way back as I was due in at work at 12pm,  so managed to run it in 3.10, but my legs were feeling it on the way back.
Hoping to get another long run in this weekend but all depends on work and family commitments.

More good news for my Bob Graham attempt in May with my road support sorted. Well done Dik, ( I don't, like my tea too hot tho), I couldn't of hoped for anyone more reliable.
Was at the physio tonight where acupuncture was tried on my knee. I feel with the work that Anna is doing on  my knee, I am starting to feel an improvement but still cant fully squat down on it yet. It also turns out that her partner has successfully completed the BG.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Three Races In Five Days

Its been over 2 weeks since my last post and things have been going okish.
A few hilly road runs during the week and a 13.5 fell run at the weekend.
I am wanting to get up on to the fells at night time but all this wet weather is putting me off at the moment, the road miles are helping me get me some speed back, which I  maybe lost this year, so the road miles are ok at the moment. With the Christmas holidays coming up soon, hopefully I will get some long fell runs in then. Cant wait!
I am still seeing  the physio and with all the stretching and strengthening I am doing my knee seems to be improving, but I still cant fully squat down on it yet.
Last Wednesday night was the New Streets Challenge, a race around the steep hills of Penrith put on by Eden Runners. At only 4 miles long its hard /fast running all the way (apart from the 3 steep climbs).
It defiantly felt a lot harder then last year, but last year I had done a lot more short races including the cross country series. It felt even tougher when Steve Bennett jogged by me quite easily on one of the hills, leaving me panting and gasping behind. Nothing new there then!
On Saturday I went to Keswick to run in the cross country.
four laps of fitz park with a little hilly section on each lap. Really enjoyed this and wished I hadn't missed the first few now, defiantly good speed training, good fun too....
On Sunday I travelled over to Allendale for the Hexhamshire Hobble fell Race, a 10.5 mile route of road and fell.After a steep road climb you found yourself on the moor which was all fast running. I got involved in a race with Keith Murray of Tieviotdale, a fell runner whom I first met this year at Askham Fell Race and met again over the course of the season, at different fell races. We swapped places 5 times, each time I over took him on a road section, which was lucky for me because the last mile was all on road where I managed to stretch a few seconds out between us.
Not really a fell race, more like a trail race, no steep ascents and the two descents are both on road, but a good race all the same.
So not a bad couple of weeks, it felt good to be involved in some races again but I realise I have to start upping my miles for the Bob Graham in May, which I plan to start at Christmas.
My support for the BG is starting to come together after roping in Derek Hurton in on Saturday (my real reason for doing the cross country). At the moment I have good solid support for the first three legs, 5 out of the 6 having completed bg's of their own.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Getting Back To It

After 3 weeks of no running and my knee getting stiffer I asked the physio if I could start running again. She agreed to it at the moment but stated once she understood the problem more she might have to stop me again. It seems she is not sure what the problem is, but has since ruled out tendernits and gone back to it being a Bakers Cyst ( which would explain my knee getting stiff and unable to squat ) and also a very stiff back ( which would explain the pains I get in the hamstring ). 
Two hours after getting the go ahead to run again I found myself at  roehead  for a short run up to Arthur's Pike (5 miles). It was lashing down with rain but I didn't care, it was good to be back running again, or so I thought till I started the climb from the beck, my legs were struggling and the wind was blowing me back down. This was hard work, Christ it was only 3 weeks not 3 months! Its not even that steep, just a long pull up. I finally reach the cairn and turn around to run back when the clouds cleared and the wind dropped for a few minutes , it felt like it was taking the mick out of me!
Got back to the car exhausted but very very happy.
That was Monday and on Wednesday I ran past Arthur's pike to load pot Hill  (8 miles)which  I found equally challenging but just as rewarding .
Thursday and Friday I rested ( well it was wet) and on Saturday morning, because of local  floods I was forced to park my car at Askham instead . My run took me over  Haughscar Hill , past Arthur's Pike, over Loadpot Hill and  Wether Hill. At the wall I turned right and headed down to Fusedale before I climbed up onto Steel Knots and then followed the path back to Haughscar Hill and back to my car. 15 miles and  I was knackered but chuffed to bits.

Looking down to Ullswater from Steel Knotts

Whilst I was running I kept thinking about the Brampton Carlisle road race which was taking place at the same time, a race I would of liked to of done if I was fitter but I doubt I would of got as much enjoyment out of it as I did today.

On Sunday I again parked my car at Askham to have a steady run up to Arthur's Pike but the weather finally beat me just past Haughscar Hill and I retreated back to my car and home for bacon sandwiches! (3miles). I am back to the physio s tomorrow . Hope she doesn't change her mind.

A small landslide below Loadpot


Sunday, 8 November 2009

My Left Leg

Derwentwater missed through illness. Gutted to miss it, as it a race I have done a few times now, and always a good measure to see if I have made any improvements.
Since March I have been bothered by a slight knee injury and after the Two Riggs fell Race in May my left knee wouldn't bend at all the next morning . After a trip to the doctors it was thought it might be a Bakers Cyst. So after a few days rest I did Blencathra Fell Race and it felt no no worse or no better so I have carried on through the season running with it, sometimes running made it less sore.
This week I finally got to see an nhs physio who says it is definitely not a Bakers Cyst but more likely to Hamstring Tendenitis . They recommend that I take things easy for a few weeks to give it a chance to recover and also do some stretching . I have to go back next week but before I do I will visit Ray Pescod.(local physio) and see what he thinks.
What makes this decision even harder for me is that I feel  like I can go out and do a 30 mile fell run now, no bother, but I have got to look at the bigger picture and that for me is having a go at the Bob Graham Round next year and to do that I want to feel and be as fit as posible to give myself a chance.
I hope to start running again by December and I have got some long runs planned already, my head is full of them at the moment but I will keep them quite for now in case I set myself up for a fall.
To be fair tho fell running this year has taken up a lot of time and over the months Susan has been making a list of jobs for me to do around the house , so I will clear these , and hopefully after a month of me, she will be pushing me out of the door again!
Yesterday was a hard day as we went to Ambleside and I couldn't help but look up towards the fells and wishing I was up there running. All wasn't wasted tho, Susan got me a a pair of 330s (belated birthday gift) and in return I took her to asda today!!!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

A Good Shake!

I don't know what got into me with the last recce of leg 1, but I have given myself a good shake and I am more determined  than ever to have a good go at the Bob Graham Round.
I think one of my problems is that it is going to be six months till I attempt it, and the thought of doing nothing else but recces,  wore me down a bit. Also at the moment I feel as fit as I have ever been and the thought of losing the little bit of speed I have worked hard to get  frightened me a bit.
The following night I did my usual hilly 10 mile road run in a hard 69 Mins .
On  Wednesday night at the club I once again chickened out off  the mile reps ,opting to do a 7 mile run instead.
By Sunday I was chomping at the bit to get back on the fells and had planned a good run up to Thornthwaite Beacon from roe head but I only got as far as Loadpot due to bad weather, but what really made my mind up was the lace snapping on my speed cross  trainers ( the ones you pull tight), so it was an awkward run back to the car.
On Monday just gone I managed to get the 10 mile down to 68 Mins and on Wednesday we did the club Rocket Run, a 3 mile handicapped race, wished I had done more speed reps!
On Sunday I plan to do Derwentwater 10 road race at Keswick, last year I did it in 64 Mins.
I am also toying with the idea of getting the head torch out for Friday night for a run up Arthur's pike, but I'll wait and see what the weathers like first.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Leg 1 (again)

Wasn't quite with it today. This was the first time in months that I didn't enjoy running.
I set of from Spoony Lane at 8 o clock this morning, ran all the way up the side of Latrigg , only to realise I had left my water back  in the car (thought my pack was light), so after running back down , started again, nothing like a blast up Latrigg to warm you up tho!
Trudged up Skiddaw in 66 Min's and when I got to the fence took  a  Bearing for any future recces I might do  in the dark. Reached Calva in 39 Min's and then followed the fence all the way down. When I got to the Caldew I took another Bearing and crossed it. The slogg up to Blencathra summit which was reached in 60 Min's. Came down Halls Fell in 29 Min's but the conditions were horrible and then ran the 4 miles along the railway track back to Keswick. 3 Hours 14 Min's for the leg.
Noticed that most of the fence posts have been moved at the start of the climb of Gt Calva. The only 3 left  are on the straight path up when your out of the heather, and they had the reflector tape taken off them.
This was my first run since Wednesday and it felt awful, almost like a chore. Its still 6 months till I attempt the Bob Graham and  innitially I was going to knock all other racing on the head, in order to train up for this, but after today I think I will still do the odd race, just to break it up a bit.
Perhaps today was just one of them days where you ask yourself if its worth it.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

More Of This Needed

On Saturday morning I parked up at Dunmail Summit to recce the 1st section of leg 3 of the Bob Graham Round. This part of the round I have very little knowledge off ,so it was always going to be a challenge on the navigation front.
My plan was to get as far as Rossett pike and than return to Thunacar Knot and watch the leaders of the Langdale Horseshoe come through the 1st checkpoint.
The climb up Steel Fell wasn't as bad as I had imagined it to be and the summit was reached easily. To help me get round this part of the course I had printed out some route notes off the bob wightman site. An excellent idea, even better if I had remembered my map to go with it! How bloody stupid of me, but  the notes had some bearings on, so I carried on map less.
I was soon on Calf Crag and with clear skies enjoying myself, not a soul to be seen anywhere.
For the next summit I am not sure which is the best route. The route I went was Sergeant Man and then High Raise, but I found the ground a little difficult. I wonder if its better to go up to High Raise first and then drop down to Sergeant Man? Plenty of time to recce this leg again and seek advice too.
From High Raise its easy running to Thunacar Knot (I am familiar with this part of the course from the Langdale Horseshoe last year) and then on to Harrison Stickle and Pike o'stickle. This was the first time I had been on these pikes and again I need to recce them for the fastest way off them.
I had 45 Min's left before the front runners would be coming so instead of carrying on to Rossett Pike I Explored round Pavey Ark for a bit and then ran back to Thunacar, where a crowd was now gathering.

It was fantastic to see how effortless the leaders seem to run, the first 5 or so had a big lead already. I waited for a club mate to come by, gave him a gel and then decided to get back to the car. I ran all the way back the same way I came, feeling a bit better about this leg. After 2 years of looking at it on a map it certainly is alot different to how I imagined it to be.

On Sunday I was going to have an easy day but on Saturday evening I got an email of Steve Angus(aka best athlete and author of ' adventures of a cumbrian ruuner') to go for a tough fast fell run.
On Sunday morning I found myself legging it over leg 2 of the bg on a 15 hour schedule! Not the best way to prepare for an attempt, but good fun and again really enjoyed the crack with Steve.  Anybody who wants to get faster I suggest you read some of his training days on cumbrian runner. Was very pleased with the descent of Seat Sandall, taking it easy in 14 Min's.

On Monday night I did my 10 mile road circuit in 74 Min's, 4 Min's slower then I wanted but wasn't to bothered about it after all the fell miles I had covered over the weekend.
Tonight (Wednesday) it was club night and speed reps, but chickened out of them and did a steady 7 miles around town instead.
This weekend I hope to do Leg 1 again.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Wednesday Club Night

Well I couldn't put it off any longer, with the dark nights closing in it was time to return to the club. In Spring some of the fell runners stop going to club sessions, instead preferring to run on the fells, which I have done since April.
A quick look on the club website revealed it was time trial night, a lung busting 1,75 mile road run where you set off  in twos and threes at 30 second intervals, a real shock to the system after plodding along all summer.
I was surprised at how many new members had joined since I was last there, what can only be good news for the club. It was also good to catch up too with people I hadn't seen in a while.
I was in the first group with Alex and Alan who had recently just ran the GNR in 1.19.and 1.25 respectively.
Before long we were off with Alex taking an early lead followed by me and Alan. Alex not sure on the course went on the road for a bit , whilst me and Alan sneaked up on the path for the first corner. After about 400 meters I was in the lead when Alex came by (at first I thought he was on a bike he was going that fast) and just carried on pulling away. About half way round there is a downhill section where I thought I would be able to recover a bit ready for the last up hill section to the finish, no such luck, all I could hear was Alan's foot steps getting closer to me so I had to keep pushing on.
I kept wanting to look behind me to see how close he was , but thought this might have given him a sign as just how knackered I was, but I suspect he knew how tired I was by the grunting noises I was making! I managed to cross the line 6 seconds before Alan and 21 seconds behind Alex.
Winter training back with a bang! oh and if Alan had been bothered to take his jacket off he probably would off beaten me by at least 6 seconds.
Roll on Spring!
On Monday night I intended to run a steady 10 mile on the road but felt rubbish and cut it short to 6.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Ian Hodgson Relay

Well I'm glad that's over with!
On Tuesday I recced leg 4 again, to try and find a better line coming off Hart Crag. This time parking my car at Brotherswater to get the 3 mile road run out of the way with. All was fine till I came of the road and onto the fell, my ankle was in pain. I carried on when really I should of walked back to my car, but foolishly carried on at a very slow pace.
Once on St Sunday I was in the cloud and mist and really wasn't enjoying myself at all.I finally got to Hart Crag and took a line down onto Hartsop Above How dropping down to the main footpath after Black Crag. This steep descent was going to be way me and Steve would run on race day. The path back to Brothers water was torture on my ankle. At this point I didn't think I would make it on Sunday.
After a session with Ray Pescod(stretched ligaments)on Thursday and no running at all , my ankle begins to feel a bit better.
I also gave up my entry for the Langdale Horseshoe next week. I feel like I have had enough of racing at the moment and want get some long slow miles in instead, the focus being on the Bob Graham for next May.

Fast forward Sunday and I'm stood in Patterdale sports field(ankle well taped up) talking to some other Eden Runners, waiting for Anth and Derek to come in from leg 3, in about 10 Min's time , when all of a sudden they appeared, so with a mad dash to the pass over point to exchange dibbers  we were off, still tying our bumbags on.

Derek and Anth

The initial climb was tough but we both worked hard with me tailing Steve all the way. Ankle was feeling fine and we managed to catch and over take 3 more teams before reaching St Sunday. The descent off St Sunday would be a real test for my ankle but it held up well and to be fair it never held me back at all. We caught another 2 teams up before Hart Crag. The descent of Hart Crag was OK and we were soon running along the ridge. After Black Crag we took the steep descent (half of it on my backside, which was faster then my running speed) to the path for the run to the finish.
 All the way we ran together or with Steve slightly ahead and it worked well, the only time I really got ahead was the last 20 yards to the finish line, taking the glory!

Keep up Steve!

Our time was 1.26 and our goal was to be under 1.30. Looking back we could see where we might of made some time up, but overall happy enough with that. Another good day out on  the hills.

Well almost a good day, me and Steve had to run another 3 miles on the road back to the car at Patterdale!

Christine and Penny (mixed team)

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Dumfries Half Marathon

Mark, Haz, Me and Rod before the race.

With my ankle taped up, we made the short trip up to Dumfries for the "Reeds Runners" debut.
I had not been able to run since Dale Head a week ago and was in two minds whether to run it, not wanting to make a slight injury turn into a 6 wk lay off, but to be fair we all had problems leading up to it, Rod's knackered knee, Mark's Groin and Heel (no training in the last 3 wks) and Haz's 25 fags a day!
Haz also had the added pressure of been tipped by the local newspaper as the one to watch. Dumfries Standard

Triumphant Haz
The race itself from my point of view was very tough, not hilly, but very long in parts. I found the 1st few miles quite hard, not getting into my relaxed stride up until about mile 5, where it seemed everyone who passed me, flew past me, making it very hard for me to get on to someones shoulder. I spent a lot of the race running by myself.
 At about mile 9 or 10 the first lady caught me up, and it wasn't til this point that I had someone to run with at a pace that felt comfortable  (to be honest I was surprised she never flew past me too), so for the last few miles we managed to catch and over take another 3 runners who were a bit ahead of us before we started running together. At the end she came up to me to thank me, but really it should of been me thanking her.

Rod Strolling In.
I do prefer fell racing to road racing for the simple reason , you get to catch your breath in fell running where as in road running, its flat out, all the way to the finish line, but that's just my opinion.

Back to Reeds Runners and it was a very creditable performance with Rod doing a fantastic 1.32, Mark doing 1.57(remarkable considering his 3 wk taper) and local favourite Haz doing 2.05 knocking 5 Min's of his Pb, under 2 hours easily next time!

Mark Finishing.

Next year entrants discussing tactics.

Good to see some familiar faces with 3 other Eden runners turning up too. My time was 1. 24 so happy enough with that.

On Saturday I spent a very enjoyable 2 hours at the Theatre By The Lake, Keswick, listening to Fell Running Legend Joss Naylor who was giving a talk on his life. A truly remarkable man.
More Dumfries Photos

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Dale Head fell Race

I first did this fell race last year, my 1st year of fell running in which I did 32 races, 17 fell, 4 cross country, and 11 road and trail. This was my 26th fell race this year. so a good chance to see what, if any improvements I have made.
The race is part of the Borrowdale show, and is a great day out, especially when the sun shines like it did today.

The race itself leaves the showground and heads up a track where you cross a river and start a gruelling climb that seems to go on forever which takes you through an old quarry. You think your nearly at the top, but then you realize your not even half way up. At this point I was quite pleased with my effort keeping ahead of some runners who normally beat me to the summit.

At last the summit arrives and its time to make your choice for the descent. Last year I ran straight down to the tarn hobbling over some rocks on the way, but this year I decided to keep right where it is more run able,
I lost 3 places here, but that was more due to my poor descending skills and when we got to the tarn I was back with them and feeling quite strong.

Just before the quarry's I lifted my head up to have a quick look for best line down when I rolled my right ankle over, this has happened a few times before and normally after a few seconds of pain, I'm able to run again, but this time I just couldn't get going again, not even on the fast grassy descent where I lost another 2 places. Hacked off, I carried on trying my best to run on it, eventually finishing back in the show field.

Once back, with the disappointment  over, catching up with friends old and new, I realize just how much i am enjoying this sport, even if I am limping about with a big fat ankle.
Was very pleased when I seen the results, my time over 3 Min's quicker then last year!

Anth Labrum finishing strong.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Mixing Road And Fell

Managed to stick to my plan and did some road miles on Tuesday. I ran the same 10 mile circuit that I've been doing the last few weeks, but this time it felt like I was really having to push myself (I'm sure it wasn't this tough last year) and managed to get back home in just under 70 Min's. I will find out next weekend if I have got slower or quicker on the road as I'm running in the Dumfries half marathon. In May, on the back of a solid winters training, I ran the Keswick half in 1.23, but I think a more realistic time for this is maybe 1.30.

On Wednesday night me and Steve recced  (in a fashion)  leg 4 of the Ian Hodgson relay, as we have been paired together. The route goes from Patterdale and climbs up to St Sunday Crag and then over (or around?) Cofa Pike, onto Fairfield and then onto Hart Crag, Up to this point was not too bad but we made a right mess coming of Hart Crag dropping down too far right and having a slow horrible descent down to Brotherswater. We then had a 3 mile road run (in the dark) back to Patterdale. Legs were feeling it today but hopefully worth it.

Had some good news regarding my Bob Graham attempt next May, with Iain Kelly agreeing to show me leg 3 over winter and helping me out on the day of the round, he has also offered rope support on Broadstand, a real bonus and a huge weight lifted of my mind. Another bonus for me is Dave Owens helping out on leg 2.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

High Raise And Back

With good weather again it was too good of a day to waste, so this morning  I ran from Roe Head, over Loadpot, Wether Hill and up onto High Raise.
As I don't have any GPS gizmo's, I map my runs on Memory Map to get a rough idea of the distance I have ran. This run is roughly 14 miles (felt more like 30 today).
I don't have a Heart Rate Monitor neither preferring to run on feel. I also used to wear a watch on race day too, but thought it put too much pressure on me, so now only wear a watch on long runs over 2 hrs.
I am going to do some road miles on Tuesday night and then recce Leg 4 of the Ian Hodgson Relay on Wednesday, which is only 3 weeks away now.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Bob Graham Recce Leg 1

I am already very familliar with legs 1 and 2 of the Bob Graham  and really should be recceing more of legs 3 and 4, but partly because of this blog and partly because I love doing the first 2 legs, I thought I would start a fresh.
Leg 1 starts at the Moot Hall in Keswick visiting the summits of Skiddaw, Gt Calva and Blencathra and finnishes in Threlkeld.
The route up to Skiddaw is pretty much straight forward, going up Spoony Lane, round the side of Latrigg and then the big obvious path up to the summit.
I reached the top of Skiddaw in about 63 mins.
The next peak is Gt Calva and to reach it I continued past the trig point and down the path until it flattens out a bit and then turned right towards the fence.In the fence there are 4 posts together. In mist it is vital to find these posts, as I have crossed the fence too far right and too far left and wasted a good bit of time. Once over the fence it is straight down where eventually I pick up a faint trod that either takes you over Hares Crag or around it, I always choose to go over it. I cross the Cumbrian Way footpath and then follow the stream up towards Gt Calva. There are posts with reflective tape on  (good for night) at the start, but I cannot remember seeing them today, I hope no one has removed them  (another excuse to recce this leg now). At this point I noticed another runner up ahead, turning for the summit.
Once at the summit I turn back on myself and head back to the lower cairn where I crossed the fence and follow the well worn muddy path down to the bottom. Following the stream to the sheepfold I met the other runner who I had earlier seen going up Gt Calva. He too was recceing leg 1 and was'nt sure where to cross the river at, so for the rest of the leg we run together. We crossed the Caldew and then made the long slog up to Mungrisdale Common.
Once on the Common we joined the path which takes you to Blue Screes and then cut across it to contour around to the summit.
The past 2 times I have come down Halls Fell I have made a good line down the grass to the right of it and then rejoined it at the nick, where it is more run able ,but this time I went too far right and lost a bit of time coming back again, I think the secret (for me anyway) is always keep the line of the ridge in sight.
At Threlkeld Seb was met by his wife and I ran back along the railway line to Keswick. Seb, who is from Dumfries suggested the next time he was down that we could do some recceing  together, which would be useful for having a car either end of a leg.
My time for this leg was 3.13 which is a not too bad , considering I would like to do it in 3.30 on the day of my round. I plan to leave Keswick about 1.30 am so i'm coming down Halls Fells in daylight.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Blencathra Fell Run

Last night I had a slow wet miserable run up to Arthur's Pike, my first run since Ben Nevis. Tonight, however was the complete opposite, clear blue sky and good running.

Decided earlier on with Steve that we would run up Blencthra, parking at Scales and descend via Halls Fell (part of the bg route).

We were met at the car park unexpectedly by Shaun (another Eden runner) so all 3 of us set off . As with most runs the chit chat is always good but it soon falls off when the climbing starts and i was soon struggling. The last time I ran this route I had to walk with hands on knees from the zig zags (3/4 of the way up), whilst Steve ran it all, beating me by a minute. Tonight was to be the same but this time narrowing the gap to 30 seconds. Why does it always feel like a race?

On the summit and the views were fantastic from all sides. On training runs like these you really do take time to appreciate the views .

When on top, we thought it would make a change to run towards bannerdale and and then drop down to Scales Tarn and follow the path back to Scales Fell and back to the cars. We soon were racing down blue screes, me keen to show off my new descending skills picked up from Ben Nevis, which took me by surprise as well as Steve and Shaun, it must of been a fluke!

Good crack on the way down listening to Steve and Shaun's tales of the Grisedale Horseshoe that they had ran in the previous weekend, by all accounts the weather had been worse than that at Fort William.
5.5 miles

Monday, 7 September 2009

Ben Nevis Race Sept 5th

Entered this back in January when I was in pre entry mode. The idea was we would turn it into a family weekend away, but Max and Hannah had better offers than watching their dad fall down a mountain side and opted to stay at home instead. Yippee!

So me and Sue (loyal, or was it the shops?) travelled up on Friday morning passing some stunning scenery on the way, Glen Coe Pass blew us both away and Loch Awe was just that.

Once in Fort William the cloud was down to about 600ft so not much chance of seeing the summit of Ben Nevis, maybe tomorrow on race day it would be clear.

Saturday morning , lashing it down with rain. After breakfast Sue went to the shops whilst I went to Claggan Park to Register for the race in 3hrs time. It was at this point that the nerves started, seeing the rescue helicopter didn't help.

600 had entered and 475 turned up to run it. Amongst them was John Dryden of Settle, who had done this race before and it was my plan to try and follow John up to the Summit (he knew the route) and then get down the best way I could. After some encouraging words off John we were soon led around the field by a Piper. I bumped into Nick Ray at this point and he assured me that I would be back next year, I was not so sure. Before I knew it we were off and my plan was up in smoke already, I've lost John!

The first mile is along a tarmac road and I run along it cautiously(maybe to cautiously). We then go through a gate and start the climb, a good path and then some steps that go on and on. Through another gate . All of a sudden some runners in front of me dart left up this mud bank while some others keep on the path, I decide to go left too and I am soon pulling myself up through Bracken trying to keep up with the other runners. We rejoin the path well in front of the others and my mind is now made up, try and follow this bunch.

It goes on like this for a while, darting off the path, up mud banks and then back on the path until we reach the Burn, a stream crossing, and then up, up and up. Your soon on rocks and scree which moves below your feet making it harder to get up. I take a gel now hoping it is going to be enough to get me back. The front runners are now flying past and we eventually reach the summit,I hand my tag in and start the descent. I am about 2 Min's into my descent when Nick comes flying past me . I somehow stumble down falling on my backside at the Burn. After the Burn its a lot more run able and I start to make a bit of progress overtaking 6 or 7 other runners.

Back on the road i feel strong and catch and overtake another 3 runners crossing the line 2hrs and 4Min's after I started. A little disappointed that I never got under the magical 2hrs but there always next year.
10 miles

A wet looking Sue!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

A Nice Slow Easy Fell Run. Not.

Well that was meant to be the plan as me and Steve headed out to Askham Fell tonight, but it soon turned into a nasty hard fast fell run, with a sprint finish.

Always good fun running with Steve. At the start of the year we were evenly matched, with me nicking the 1st 3 races but since June he has just got stronger and stronger and hammered me into the ground over the last few months. Two weeks ago Steve came and recced leg 2 of the bg with me on the understanding we would go at 24hr pace, things got silly and we ended up racing it in 3.16( so not the ideal person to recce with).

I thought though tonight we would take it easier, what with Steve doing the Grisedale Horseshoe and me doing Ben Nevis this weekend. Maybe it felt harder then normal with the wet ground and the head wind.

The route we ran was from Roe Head car park up to Arthurs Pike and then up to Loadpot, a run that I do more than any other . These Fells are great for training on, the route choices are endless, and the views are fantastic.
80mins 8miles

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Back On The Road

Decided to do a 10 mile road run tonight which included the 4 mile New Streets race route, a very hilly race held in November, for Eden Runners.

Last winter I ran this route at least once a week but tonight I found it tough going, maybe I have done too many fell miles lately, but i will persevere with it in a bid to try and improve my speed.

A really fast runner once told me that they never bothered with speed sessions, instead doing lots of hill work(up as well as down). I once dabbled in Eden Runners speed sessions but maybe because i was new to it, I ended up getting shin splints (i don't think running on the pavements helped).

I am going to cut down on road races this winter, instead I will concentrate on recceing the bg and getting familiar with legs 3 and 4, however the ones i want to do are;

Dumfries 1/2 (mates from work are doing this)
Derwentwater 10
Ravonstonedale 10k
and maybe the Cumbrian Run.

I quite fancy doing the Buttermere Round too, but maybe knock that back a year.

70 mins. 10 miles.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Dufton fell race August 29th

A small turn out this year (over 250 last year) for a quick blast up Dufton pike. The race sets off from Dufton show field, through some fields and around the back of the the pike before a steep climb up the side and then fast running all the way back to the show field. Was pleased with my effort, finishing in 4th place and 3 mins quicker then last year! A good turn out too from eden runners for which it was the last of their fell champs.
36.15. 5 miles /1500ft