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
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!
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.