Sunday, 25 April 2010

Never Again (until next year!)

Set off to do the Three Peaks Fell Race on Saturday morning with the intention of running it at a easier pace then last year, wanting to feel much stronger at the end and not feeling as battered.
The race started and I set off along with Nick Ray in a very relaxed manner, which is unlike me, but the heat was going to play a part today so no need for any heroics in the first few miles.
The climb up Pen-y-ghent felt ok and the summit was reached in 35.15 and in 70th position. I noticed Ricky Lightfoot wasn't amongst the leaders as they streamed past us and figured that he had pulled out. A brief chat with him before the race he had hinted as much due to a knee problem, a real shame too, what with Rob Jebb not running it was a good chance for him to win it this year.
I had a good comfortable run to ribblehead that felt easy, picking off a few runners on the way and eventually ran along with a Pudsey runner up to the viaduct. He pulled away from me on the lower slopes off Whernside whilst I tackled an Eccles cake, which just about took me the whole of the climb to eat!
Running along the top I felt my calf's tighten up a bit so took it easy for a while till they got used to running again.
Got to Hill Inn feeling a lot better then last year and pushed on up to Ingleborough  Where the climb seemed to pass in no time at all. it wasn't till I turned around after the checkpoint that both my calf's got cramp, I had no choice but to stop and stretch them both whilst I lost a couple of places. I managed to get going again and had a good descent catching another 5 runners on the run in to the show field.
Crossed the finish line in 3.39.and in 35th position, but more importantly feeling a lot stronger then I did last year.
Climbing Pen-y-ghent

After a quick soak in the river and change I sat down on the warm grass looking up at Pen-y-ghent eating a sarnie, and then a burger and then a bit of cake and then a cup of tea followed by some cola.

Probably do no more racing now until after my Bob Graham Attempt at the end of May, instead do some slow hill miles and recce leg 3 a couple of times to get used to Broad stand, if I do decide to go that way.

Last week
Mon    rest
Tues    9 mile fell run
Weds  10 mile fell run
Thurs   rest
Fri       rest
Sat      23.5 fell race
Sun     6 mile fell run

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Sci fi and Swimming!

Been struggling with a bad cough , sore throat and generally feeling crap for a good few days now, so not much done compared to recent weeks.

Finally registered my attempt for the Bob Graham Round for the 29th May, so spending a bit of time trying to work out my schedule and get pacers ect ect.

Im doing the 3 peaks on Saturday, but not really bothered about my time, but hoping to feel a bit stronger then last year where I really did fall apart the last few miles.

Last Weeks Efforts

Mon    Rest
Tues    6 mile fell run
Wed    5 mile fell run
Thurs   Rest
Fri       Rest
Sat      8,5 mile fell run
Sun     11 mile fell run

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Legs 4 and 5 recce

With the alarm going off at 5 in the morning after a week off covering shifts, I was asking myself if this was a good idea.
One hour and twenty minutes later 4 of us are running out of Seathwaite to the start of leg 4 at Wasdale , passing lots of wild campers at Styhead tarn on the way.
The four of us were Gary, fellow bg contender and his 2 pacers for leg 4 of his attempt, Kim Colinson and Clare Mckeown.
Gary, Kim me and Clare on Gable

Looking back to Steeple

As we climbed Yewbarrow it was obvious to us all that this was going to be the warmest day of the year so far and we were going to be in for some cracking views, which makes recceing so much easier when you can spot the next top and the best line. Kim was absolutely brilliant  at showing us both the best route choices(but that's what you expect of someone who has done the round in a little over 19 hours!!!)
Im not sure of any of the split times, but we were in Honister in 4 hours and that was with stopping on each top, taking random photos and talking to the odd walker.
It was interesting going up Joss rake??? on Kirkfell where we had to use our hands a bit, on which Gary commented that it made a nice change rather then using your legs, you can always do the round walking on your hands then Gary!!!
Gary and Clare climbing Kirkfell

On reaching Honister Clare dropped out but Gary had arranged another pacer to take her place with Anja and her dog, sky joining. 
After about 15 mins we were climbing Dalehead which did seem a longer pull then I can remember doing on the Borrowdale fell race, but we were still moving quickly. 
The view from Dalehead

On climbing Robinson we again stopped for a brief chat with some other runners who were recceing the teenager with altitude race route. The descent of Robinson went well, but I will have to be careful on the rocky scramble bit when my legs will be long gone.
Gary seems to have everything in place for his attempt, all his pacers seem strong with navigation, encouragement, and organisation, which was really apparent when we got to the road section and they all produced road shoes out of there packs, Anja even running ahead and getting Gary's ready, and Kim even producing some racing flats!!!
Whilst the shoe change was going on I shuffled about, feeling a little stupid for not bringing mine, but we soon off again. 
The roadies in there cushioned shoes!!

I have raced along these roads in various road races before so I felt very comfortable and strong running back to Keswick via the bridge which is now open again at Portinscale. 
We got to Greggs, beside the moothall 2 hours and 18 minutes after leaving Honister.
Far to fast but still a good run out and the most pleasing thing for me was even running at that pace I felt like I could of carried on to do leg 1, at a much slower pace though!!!!!
Food intake was 3 Eccles cakes, 4 Gels,  multigrain bar and 1 ltr nuun and1/2 ltr diluted vimto
Gary pounding it out

Thanks to Gary for asking me along and it has made me realise that I need to get myself more organised in terms of getting my support up to date and even registering my attempt.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Up And Down

The day after my Ullswater Round was Askham fell race, an 8.5 cross country type race with one big steep climb thrown in. It was my intention to run this but appeals by the race organiser for a marshal on Arthurs Pike summit convinced me to miss it this year, but I would still get 8 miles in by running to the checkpoint and back, at a considerably slower pace though.
What a good decision it turned out to be, watching the front runners fly by, to the to the back markers, who were putting in as much effort, if not more.
Morgan Donnelly won  it in record breaking time and as he passed us, he looked relaxed and as if he was having a stroll out. I wish the same could be said for my mate Steve Bennett, who crawled past  us, as if he had been shot!! Brilliant. Worth missing the race for that sight alone.

On Monday evening I had a run up Blencathra in what was very windy conditions, almost blowing me of my feet at times. a very hard 37 mins up and a easier 17mins back, Never seen another soul.

Wednesday, along with Steve and Sam we made our way over to Ambleside for the Loughrigg fell race, an evening 4 mile race with 1000ft of climb.
Good weather helped make a bigger then usual turnout. The race sets of at breakneck speed for you to try and get to the bridge to avoid any hold up. I was not quick enough and had to wait my turn to cross and then its another mad dash up a steep road which leads out onto the fell. By the time I had reached the fell I was done in, far to fast for me, I have got used to running up hills at a more sedate pace, with a Eccles cake in my hand!
I pushed on though because I knew Steve and Sam wouldn't be very far behind, but in all honesty I felt crap.
The summit takes an age to reach and as I turned around I notice Sam is not far behind.
A fall on the way down, but im soon back up (I blame the speedcross) and I manage to catch and overtake 2 other runners crossing the line in 32.27. There was less then a minute covering me Steve and Sam but, more importantly is its the 1st time in a year that I have beat Steve, he must of stopped for a crack with the summit marshal!!
At the end of the race I was disappointed with how I felt on the climb, thighs were in agony, never known that before. Im hoping its because I have spent all winter moving slower over the fells for longer periods.
Still, I was surprised to have done it 25 seconds quicker then last year so not all bad, but the climb definitely felt easier last year!. A good turn out of Eden Runners too.

The following day, along with workmates I had a run up to Arthurs pike. This was very reassuring for me because I ran it all very comfortably at a steady easy pace.. It was good to run too and not feel like I was having to push myself. A very enjoyable run where David Harrison is once again living up to his billing of being  hot favourite for this year Dumfries half again.

This week I have been covering night shift at work and my diet is all over the place, as well as my sleep. The job I do (printing) can get very boring and I end up eating loads of sweets ,crisps and drinking coke so I will be glad to get back on my normal hours next week.

Tomorrow, I have been invited along to recce legs 4 and 5 with Gary Johnstone and his pacers, who is also doing the bg the same night as me, which is rather worryingly only 7wks away now.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Ullswater Round

This route has always jumped out at me when I look at my map, setting off from Pooley bridge you follow the high ground around Ullswater, finishing back at Pooley Bridge.
Leaving my car at Pooley Bridge at 7.30am I set off up roe head to make my way along to Thornthwaite Beacon, going over tops such as Loadpot, Wether Hill, High Raise ,Rampsgill and High Street.
The going was quite tough in the snow and the visibility was about 50m .
Thornthwaite Beacon (again)

On reaching Thornthwaite I had a decision to make, carry on or turn back. I wasn't sure on the route from here on in, well not until I got to Dove Crag anyway. Mind made up I decided to carry on. Going down Threshwaite Cove was dodgy in places with the snow and ice  and when I reached the cove the visibility improved, I almost wished it hadn't when I seen the climb ahead of me, all snow and ice too . Carefully I made my way up following a wall which I carried on following for a while. On the top of Stoney Cove Pike I followed the wall again but failed to see the T junction in it and carried on foe about 5 mins until I realised my mistake. Navigation error no 1.

Finding the proper wall again I was soon heading down towards Kirkstone Inn and Red Screes. The cloud had lifted now and you could see the top of Red Screes, this gave me confidence to carry on.
A quick rest at the car park and a pork pie whilst looking at my map, trying to locate the path up. I could see it on the map but not in front of me, all I could see was a wall of snow and then I noticed a party heading  out of the car park ,well at least I now knew my way out of the car park! I soon catch them up and asked them if they had climbed it before, no was answer i did not want to hear so with head down I pushed on up. I noticed  some footprints in the snow and followed them, but I think they were as clueless as me so I carried on up in a straight line. This paid off for me because  somehow I came across a little wooden sign about a foot high with a yellow arrow on it, brilliant!

The summit reached I headed for Sandale pass and then up on to Bakestones and then on to Dove crag, where I began to see lots of walkers doing the Fairfield Horseshoe.

At Grisedale Tarn I filled up my water bottle and carried on up the dreaded zigzags. Once on the top I could see a change in the weather and about 5 mins later I was again in thick cloud which caused my navigation error no 2. On leaving Helvellyn summit I missed lower man and started descending towards Browncove Crags and it wasn't until I was out of the clouds that I realised what I had done , so with a heavy heart I made my way back.

Someone's happy

Look closely for the helicopter

The going was horrible now with winds picking up the snow and driving it in my face but thankfully no more mishaps.......well not until I was heading for Hartside and went onto Greenside first and with being in the cloud again I found myself in  a cove starring up at..........Sheffield Pike, gutted was not the word, so with map out again I decided to Traverse round Glencoyne until I hit the wall which would take me Brown Hills and Common Fell and down to Dockray.

Dockray reached it was now up Gowbarrow and then Gt Meldrum and countless fields until I reached the road to Pooley Bridge for the last mile.
On reaching Pooley, I went to the Post Office and cadged a cup of coffee of Charlie and Mandy, the best cup of coffee I have tasted. (Charlie also said the same applies to anyone else who does the round, day or night !!!! )
Im not sure on the distance but I would guess about 37 miles. I know Iain Kelly (42 tops) (Who also writes a much better account) did it 2 years ago in completely different conditions and he thought it was 40 miles and over 10000 feet, so that's good enough for me (tho he did include Hartside!!!).
I  did it in 9 and a half hours and had little food, 3 Eccles cake, 1 small pork pie, 3 gels, 1 packet hula hoops and a small packet of dolly mixtures.
An  experience that I hope will stand me in good stead  for my BG attempt in May.

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