Sunday, 26 December 2010

Boxing Day Slog

Making the most of the holiday period with some good fell runs already in the bag..... and more to come, I hope.

Monday I went along to the local tri club and did some speed work and then had a steady run run around town afterwards.

Tuesday and Wednesday I had a did a few easy miles around town.

Thursday I ran up to Arthur's Pike, a run I had neglected for a while.
A gate.

Are my legs getting longer?
A misty Arthur s Pike.

Friday I parked at Threlkeld and ran along the railway line to Keswick, up the side of Latrigg and then followed the Cumbrian Way footpath for a bit till I cut of it to go directly up Lonscale Pike, a top that I have wanted to go up for a while now. I followed the fence line straight up and then after visiting the two cairns, ran along to the main Skiddaw path, where I then ran up to Skiddaw little man. Great views were had.
I returned to Threlkeld by running down to Latrigg and then back along the railway line.

View from Little Man

View from Lonscales.

Today, Sunday I again parked at Threlkeld but this time ran/slogged up Clough Head. Always a good work out!
Clough Head summit with Blencathra behind.
Needs no introducing....
Looking towards Keswick
On the descent I put on my Kahtoolas, something I purchased last winter, which made my descending easy, even running fast over sheets of ice!!

Nearly at the end of the year and nearly 2000 miles ran.....
A successful BGR.... a half decent time in the 3 peaks and Borrowdale...... a few top 10s in fell races..... some PBs in road running this autumn and most of all....... lots of fun!!!!!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Ten Days

Only 10 days since my last post, but a lot as happened in that time - A county championship XC race, some speed reps with a tri club, a 4 mile road race and pacing leg2 of a BG mid winter attempt.....oh and a couple of heavy nights out!!!
The XC was held at Keswick and I wasn't going to run this but with the langdale 10k cancelled due to the snow, I thought "what the heck".
A lot stronger field then the usual Cumbria xc league with it being the county championships, most notably  a strong contingent from Border Harriers.
It was 4 laps of a fairly fast course and I soon found myself in a race with Graham Millican of Border, and as the norm, he proved too strong for me and beat me by 19 seconds.
I was quite pleased though with my effort and I feel that the speed work I have put in over winter is starting to pay off.
James Douglas won it finishing ahead of Ricky Lightfoot, who after the race said that he was thinking of having a go at the winter Bob Graham record the following weekend.

The same night was the first heavy night out which resulted in having a very lazy Sunday.

On a Monday I normally run a few miles around town, but this week I took myself along to Aragons Tri club who hold weekly speed sessions. Really enjoyed these, even if was questioning my sanity after each one.
I will try and do more of these.

Tuesday morning resulted in my legs feeling a bit stiff so I ran a few miles around town delivering Christmas cards for Susan!!!

Wednesday was club night and the dreaded New Streets Race.  A tough 4 mile race taking 4 of the steepest hills Penrith has to offer.
Last year I set off too quick and paid for it later on where I really struggled up the last two hills.
About 30 of us set off, and again I set off too quick (I will never learn) and I soon found myself out in front, but this time I felt a lot more relaxed and held on to  finish first, mainly due to the fast lads not turning up and Steve b still feeling the effects of falling of his bike the day before!

On Thursday I had a call from Nick Ray who was organising Rickys BG. He thought it wasn't going to go ahead. I must admit of feeing slightly relieved as I hadn't done leg 2 in dark.

The feeling of relief didn't last long though because on Friday I got another call saying it was back on and if I could do leg 2. He Had Steve Birkinshaw for leg 1, setting off at 1 am.
As Well as I know leg 2, I didn't want the responsibility of taking Ricky alone so I phone some good fell running mates, Craig Smith and Sam Ware. Their were well up for it and as it turned out it was one the smartest things I have ever done.

4 o clock Saturday morning, me Craig and Sam are sat in my car at Threlkeld cricket club. Not a star to be seen, no sign of the moon, freezing cold and wanting to get going to get warmed up.
Eventually we see 2 sets of head torched coming of Doddick.
After a few falls on ice on Skiddaw, Ricky and Steve arrive in 3 hrs 28 mins. No road support for Ricky, Steve was going to run back to Keswick for his car, so I gave him my car to take to Keswick.
It was good to get running and Clough Head was reached in 45 minutes.
Gt Dodd was found and Sam took a bearing for us to Watson Dodd. The path to it could just be visible but we had to spread out to find the cairn. It was the same on Stybarrow where we wondered about for a few minutes looking for the top, once found Sam took a bearing to get us back on the path to Raise. It was snowing Heavy now and the wind made it even colder. The freshly laid snow was hiding ice and great care had to be taken.
Raise was found and I thought that the nav would be straight forward now but we got totally disorientated and the map and compass had to come out again. for 3 or 4 minutes we were lost, but Craig took a bearing which didn't seem right, but we trusted the compass and eventually we came to the path which had a few footprints in ( there were 3 other teams who had set off 4 hrs ahead of Ricky).
Going up Whiteside was tough with the wind and the snow getting blown in our faces and when we stopped to record the time at the summit noticed we all had icicles hanging from our faces! Our drinks had turned to slush puppies.
It wasn't till we were coming down from Dollywagon to the tarn that the dark started lifting, what a relief. Even so I slipped and slid about 30 yards on my back, trying to dig my heels in to stop.
Craig and Sam stayed at the col whilst I took Ricky up to Fairfield. With light coming through now, this big BG climb felt easy after the night we had been put through.
Once on top I took my spikes and gave them to Ricky so he could descend with confidence and reach Craig and Sam to go up Seat Sandal.
We all reached Dunmail  4hrs 10mins after we had set off. Ricky was still well under 21 hr schedule and myself Craig and Sam were relieved to of got him there in that time in some horrid conditions.
Climbing Gt Dodd
Ricky coming off Fairfield

Dunmail and support cars

Ricky pondering his next move.

It was decided at Dunmail that it wasn't safe to carry on, all the roads were blocked to Wasdale and Honister and Ricky probably made the right decision, with the only other team that had carried on after Dunmail retiring after finding Bowfell too Icy.
A top effort though.

As for me, the night made me realise no matter how well you think you know the fells, dark and extreme weather can make it a totally different monster. So much so that I today purchased a cheap GPS to throw in the packpack............ Just in case!

Later on that night I indulged in my 2nd heavy night!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Club Night Beacon Run

Club night at Eden runners thrown into chaos with the weather, but no such let off's as club coach Alan Marshall arranged a run up to Beacon Pike, followed by some road miles and then another short off road section thrown in.
First wave up.

Second wave appearing

Whats the joke? oh its Steve b!
Mark Nik coming down.
Getting ready to go off road again
Into the unknown
They were never seen again.

Beats the mile reps though !!!!

Monday, 6 December 2010

3 Races In A Week - All Cancelled

On this blog this time last year I wrote  - 3 Races In A Week - in which I did the Cumbria XC , New Streets road race and the Hexham Hobble. I was hoping to write the same title again this year, but the snow and frost caused all 3 to be cancelled.

Still managed to get some good miles in though which included 3 town runs during the week,and one really enjoyable fell run of 17 miles on Sunday.

The first town run was about 7 miles in the snow, which made me a good moving target for some kids (2 near misses and 1 direct hit) throwing snowballs. It felt like running on the fells to be honest with the snow making the pavements all bumpy and uneven.

The 2nd town run involved about 5 of us who turned at the club but didn't fancy the speed reps that Alan had planned, so we had a run around town which included a run up to the BEACON.
Quite magical in the dark with the snow on the ground giving us enough light to find our way without torches. The sky was full of stars and Steve B tried his best to show us all his knowledge of the galaxy, which amounted to " I think that's the plough"!

The following night I again ran up to the beacon but added a couple of extra road miles in too making it 9 miles at a good steady pace.

Saturday I spent the afternoon fighting my way around Carlisle Xmas shopping, with the deal being I was free to go for a run on Sunday.

Parked my car at Pooley and ran up to Roehead and continued on the path that runs slightly above Ullswater to Howtown.
I continued up to the church and made my way along to Boardale Hause which was still all runnable until the last 5 minutes where the snow was too deep. I have never had reason to run up here before, always preferring the Hight Street range or the BG route, but this was about to get quite breath taking with clear blue sky's and snow clad hills.
Once on Boardale Hause my plan was to retrace my steps put with being well up on time and the views too good I carried on to Place Fell, a top that I have never visited.
2 walkers making their way up Place Fell

Looking towards Helvellyn and Fairfield

Brothers Water and Red Screes
The summit with fantastic views

Looking back to Penrith under the fog.

On my down I disturbed a herd of Deer where at first I thought there was about 10, but it turned out there was over 20.
Click on image to make bigger.
I got back to my car in 3 and a half hours, not bad going with the snow and views that I took in, but today my "bg groin" has flared up again. Hope a couple of days rest will ease it.
More photos can be found on MY FLICKR

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Woodys Round Up

Possibly my favourite photo of the year

The day after Brampton - Carlisle 10 mile road race I met up with Scamp to run leg 1 of the Bob Graham Round, unfortunately he brought Steve A along too so it was a case of me and Scamps having a good run out and Steve A yapping all the way round. We missed the climb of Blencathra though and opted to run along to Skiddaw House and then back to Threlkeld. A good  3hrs out and it was good to catch up with Scamps!
Good to have Steve A back running too. 

Monday night I did nowt and on Tuesday I set of to do a good 8 miles but cut it short to about 4. I was starving and felt horrible.

Working late on Wednesday and parents evening on Thursday but managed a good 8 mile run after it.

Friday is traditionally shopping night in the stoddys household so not much chance of fitting a run in, fish and chips the more likely option.

Saturday I had 3 choices. Kirkbymoor fell race, Ravonstonedale 10k or Cumbria cross country at Maryport.
The big dumping of snow made my choice for me though, with kirkbymoor to far on the back roads and Ravonstonedale cancelled it was the shortest and most boring option, the cross country at Maryport. After having the drive from hell to get there (window washers frozen up) I got there to be told some knob had put a stonking big poster of me up in the register area........Steve f*****g  Angus advertising his race photos!

As for the race, well I never know how to run a race under half marathon distance - go off quick and hang on or set off steady and try and make places up - I decided to set of quick, so quick that I was still with eventual race winner Steve Hepplethwaite of Keswick AC after 1 lap. Needless to say that I crashed and burned and finished 4th out of the fast group, but for 3/4 of a lap I like to think I had Steve  h case I had a heart attack!!!!
He said to me at the end that he looked over his shoulder and thought ...
"bloody hell, its Stu?"
Good fun and 4 other Eden runners made the long trip too.
Me chasing Steve H down!!!!
Thanks to athlets in action photos for above image

Today, Sunday I was going to park at Askham and then run to Boredale Hause  and back, a good 4 hours I was hoping for, but again there was another fresh dumping of snow and after getting the Sunday papers in the car, decided that it was too risky to drive out of town. This is when I came up with my brilliant idea. Bike out, do the run , bike back.
I got a mile and after nearly coming off for the 3rd time and unable to feel my fingers gave up on this hair brain plan and returned home, again nearly falling off.
After defrosting my fingers I gave up on fell run plan and opted to run out of town and through Lowther Park to Askham and back, about 10 miles.
With the snow it really was a picturesque run.

Some photos below and more at  my Flickr

Sorry for all the photos today, but it really was a great run/photo day.
No sign of Steve B this week but reports have reached me that he is having an assault on the new streets race on Wednesday night. Report to follow.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

59.46........And Relax.

Over the last few months, I have used this blog to poke fun at some good running pals, notably Steve Bennett and Steve Angus, both have been, and still are (well maybe not Stevie B any more )  very, very good road runners.
Both of them have, countless times ran well under the hour for ten miles and well under three hours for the marathon, both of them I have uppermost respect for ( well maybe not Stevie A), and have recorded times that I will never get close to, but neither of them have done the Bob Graham Round in 21 hours.
In fact they haven't even attempted the BGR.......yet.
So for that reason alone they will carry on been the blunt of my crap jokes. Losers.

My point is for the last 2-3 months I have been road running, a lot, mainly to try and get under the hour for ten miles which I consider the Holy Grail for me!

After some decent half marathon times I thought I would push myself a little bit harder and try for it at Brampton - Carlisle, today.

The race sets of from Brampton, after getting a bus from Carlisle and you run back, the course is historically quick mainly because the changing rooms/showers are small at the sands centre. First back, first changed!
Walking nervously to the start

I set off with the plan of keeping up someone one who I thought I could keep up with. I couldn't.

After the first mile I glanced down at my watch only to realise that I had not set it off. I pushed the start button again and decided I would keep check on my time from now.
I tried to keep with this guy. He ran it in 56 mins

At mile two the fella I was trying hard to keep up with was obviously too quick for me and I let him go. I glanced down at my watch to see what time I had ran the second mile in.It was blank, I had failed to press the button correctly. I gave up on the stop watch idea and reverted back to GMT.

At five miles I was really struggling with the pace and felt rubbish. I calculated that if the race had set off on time I had ran the 1st 5 miles in 29 minutes. This spurned me on, but more importantly I stopped trying to race people around me and started to relax more. My running improved and it felt easier. 6,7 and 8 miles felt much better. I have ran this race a few times before and never have liked mile 8 to 9 but I pushed on and even caught another runner up. The last mile was a case of just hanging on but I felt like I was catching people up.
Club mate Alan M storming around

I crossed the finish line and asked the guy who was right behind me what his time was, he said "59.48". But I still couldn't be sure if I had managed it.

After collecting my bag from the holding room and had a quick shower (they are actually quite big) and then went outside to wait anxiously for the results to come through.

Again a good turn out from Eden Runners, who this week have fielded three teams for the Pennine relays in January. For a smallish club, quite a achievement.

Bumped into Steve Angus, who had also ran the race. He has only started running  2 weeks ago after a stress fracture had stopped him running for 10 weeks.
He was 11 minutes behind his PB for this course.
He still managed 64 minutes tho!!
Steve Angus. Gobbing off no doubt.

Finally the results came out and my time was 59.46

Wonder when the two Stevens are going to step up to the Bob Graham Round?

Big thanks to Micheal Pluckrose for the photos. ( with the use of Stevie A's camera)

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Dunnerdale Fell Race

A few weeks ago, Craig Smith of Keswick AC described to me Dunnerdale  as a smaller version of the Langdale Horseshoe, and a fell race that I would enjoy...........well I beg to dither, I would describe it as Four little Ben Nevis's!!

As soon as my feet left the road and onto the fell I was in trouble, maybe I had set off too quick, but what ever it was I knew for the next 50 minutes it was going to be a struggle. I was relieved to reach the first checkpoint thinking that most of the climbing was done. No such luck. It was only the first of four little steep climbs.
I was feeling absolutely done in, and other runners were streaming passed me all the time. This continued till the last half mile where a bit of power retuned to my legs and lungs and I managed to over take 3 of them before the finish.Never have been so glad to see the finish line, you would think that I had ran a marathon, not 5 mile and 1800ft of climb.
I finished in 41st position in a time of 49.05.
Four other Eden runners had made the trip into Lancashire (only joking ) for the race, one of them been Sam Ware, who sometimes runs with me and Steve Bennett on a Wednesday night. After telling Steve of Sam's good run, it was agreed that we need to find someone slower to run with now!

I always find these short races hard and even so I found this one tough, it was a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Great pie at the end is enough for me to give it another go next year.

Verdict. More fell miles and hills needed.

I'm not sure if Craig Smith reads this blog, but if he does, you should do the Great Lakes Run, its a bit like Latrigg!!

The photos below were taken by Luke Appleyard. Thanks.
Kim Colinson
Sam Ware
Still cursing Craig Smith
Gary Johnson
Andy Ramsay