Sunday, 18 December 2011

Stopping and Listening what I am doing at the moment.

For the past 18 months I have had  trouble with my left leg. At times it has stopped me running for a week or two but mostly I have been able to manage it and run through it, but 4 weeks ago after a hilly 15 mile fell run I was was hobbling back to the car and decided enough is enough.

I love running, especially on the fells this time of year, but if I listen to folk who know how to fix me then hopefully I be back sooner rather than later, though at the moment  it seem it will be yonks  before im running pain free again.

To try and keep my base fitness I have been doing a few bike miles, which even in the summer I find hard enough, so its double hard in this weather.

Im still enjoying reading other folks blogs, even if it is making me reet jealous!!
Sorry for the short post but without running I have not got nowt much to say, but hopefully in the new year....

Some photos I have taken in the last few weeks below.
some coos

coming down gatescarth pass
lone mountain biker


some trees

swindale - Shap

mr ugly


honister pass
gt mell fell

honister crag

Monday, 7 November 2011

Aches and Pains

A quick update

The week after the FRA relays I did no running at all, serious flu. (Susan  says it was a minor cold at worst.)

I am not one of them fellrunners who refuse to run/race on the roads, quite the opposite really - so it was my intention to up my road mileage for the up coming  Brampton-Carlisle 10 mile road race.

2 weeks ago I left the house and ran a hard very hilly 9 mile circuit, and was pleased to see my time was 59 minutes. Not bad, I thought, for starters.
The next night I planned to do the same route, but as a slow recovery run..... I got carried away and did the same time as the night before.
The following night was club night and with my run up to the club, back from the club and the clubs "rocket run" my mileage totalled 8 miles.
3 days in and 27 miles covered, all good sessions.

This is why I'm useless ont roads.....
The next day my left calf is seized up and I could hardly walk let alone run.
2 days rest and I set off to do a 12 miler and I cut it short to 6. Calf gets worse the further on I run.
The next day I take desperate measures......the road bike comes out and I do 45 miles that include kirkstone pass.
Another 2 days pass before I try and run again and this time its hill reps at the club.
I feel fine for the first 7 but begin to feel the calf tighten again on the second 7. I jog home knowing im an idiot.

On Saturday  the bike comes out again and I do a 56 mile circuit that include kiirkstone again, but this time I carried on down to Ambleside and back along Thirlmere. Really enjoyed this apart from the frost bite on my fingers!!
Yesterday I parked at Seathwaite farm and jogged/walked up to Scafell Pike via the corridor route. I then made my way to Sca Fell via Fox's Tarn and returned to the Pike again before I made my way back to the car, again via the corridor route. Glorious blue sky's and never seen a soul til my descent.
Today my hips are aching.....I'm such a wuss!!!

I wont try and run again till Wednesday night now.
Some photos below from the last 2 weeks.
footbridge on the way to Styhead
Borrowdale in fog
On Scafell Pike
Not today
Wastwater from Sca Fell
....and finally

this fella broke Kenny Stuarts Derwentwater 10 mile record on Sunday!!!!!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

FRA Relays Kettlewell

First time ever for our club (Eden Runners) in these relays.
Six of us was picked by Andy Tompson and in two cars we made the trip to Kettlewell on a glorious morning, which would make the running even better.

On leg 1 we had Jonny French who who ran fast and handed over to me and Steve Bennett in 30th position.
flying scotsman jonny
So it was on leg 2 where myself and Steve had the task of trying to keep the team from falling too far back.
We ran hard, but on the descent into the village (2 mile in, 7 to go) Steve rolled his ankle, I was behind him and seen it buckle, so it was a fantastic effort for Steve to finish at all. Im sure this knocked the stuffing out him because he really struggled after it, even on the climbs where he is so much stronger then me normally.
We got passed a few times and were disappointed to finish our leg in 1.25 and 42nd for our 9 mile leg.
me and Stevie B finishing our leg
We passed over to Kim Colinson and Sam Ware. These fellas were our Nav men and what I can gather from Sam, Kim was unstoppable. Sam had all his work cut out just to keep up with kim,, let alone to get his map out. They both ran incredibly well and finished 13th fastest on there leg and really got the team back up.
Sam and Kim setting off (doesn't look that fast Sam)
Who would want to be anchor man. Step forward Andy Tompson.
Andy had his work cut on the final leg, where a lot of teams kept their fast men. We had hoped Jonny would do this leg for us but it was decided on the morning (quite rightly too) that Andy wouldn't get lost and and Jonny most definitely would of, good call Kim. Still, Andy well a fantastic leg running 49th fastest and ensuring the team came in 27th over all.
Andy brings the team home
We would of taken that at the start of the day so happy enough. We are only a small club but the fell side is getting stronger and and stronger and with a couple more additions (preferably under 30), the club could start and push on more on the fells.

12th at the Pennine relays
15th at the Ian Hodgson relays
and 27th here is not a bad year for us.
Team Eden

Next year we are hoping to field a V40 team at these events........phew.

Not done a jot since last Saturday.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Short Sharp Shocks

Cockermouth XC

Saturday saw the first fixture of the Cumbria Cross Country league and what a shock to the system !
Approx 8000m or 4 laps of a hilly muddy field  - I thought it was only 3 and really struggled to come to terms with the devastating news when I was told by Ian Davis on the second lap!!

Its run in a handicap system with the fastest group setting of  6 minutes after the so called "slowest" and 3 minutes after the "fair to middllng" group.

Standing on the start line with the faster group witch included a slight uphill start I felt perhaps I would of been better off parking at Dunmail and running over to Thunacar Knot to watch the Langdale Horseshoe fell race.

The faster lads ran off into the distance and I settled on trying to keep my pace even, which I did for the first 2 laps until I ran out of power and ended up having to work really hard to keep my position.
Think I maybe finished 6th of 7th. I will do the whole series over the winter as everyone keeps telling me its good training and to be honest, I really do enjoy them..... once I'm back home !!

getting ready to attack the orange Keswickian

Penrith 10K Trail Race

The following day I was going to do 12 mile on the roads easy, but after looking at Eden's website I was reminded there was a 10k trail race 5 mile up the road, so I hopped on my bike and had a blast round it.

Very wet and muddy under foot which sapped your legs and after about 2 mile I found myself in a clear 4th with 3rd about 50-70 yards ahead. At the 4 mile mark I was aware of some one on my shoulder but I never had anything left to fight him off and I gave up my V40 yellow jersy position easy.

In the last mile I had a good battle for 5th with Steve Murdoch, swapping places a couple of times, but he proved to strong for me and I settled for 6th and 2nd V40.

A great hilly course and I really enjoyed it. A strong turn out from Eden Runners and it was good to catch up with a few who I aint seen since last winter/spring training but will soon be forced back to Wednesday night training next week with the nights getting too dark to mess about on the fells.

Eden's Jonny French won. Not sure on first lady. About 200 ran.

In between the two events I attended Shap Wells Hotel on Saturday evening where I was presented with my Bob Graham Certificate.
with fellow Eden runners

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Ian Hodgson Mountain Relay

Last year Eden Runners secured their highest ever finish in this event and this year the team were all keen to try and improve again.
With the team picked two months before, we all had time to recce the course, but none of us were expecting the organisers to reverse the route two weeks prior , cue some last minute recceing.

Another problem we had was that we had no one to drive us in between checkpoints. Somehow the day before we mastered a rough plan that would involve my car and Alex's. All sorted.

The weather leading up to it was warm and clear  but typically on the day it was wet and claggy on the tops- perfect for all the local clubs.

I met Alex at the start line half an hour before the race with the news his car was stuck half way up Kirkstone Pass with a flat tyre...... Panic stations.
A new plan was made that involved a lot of rushing about at checkpoints but by the time leg 3 was under way we had managed to get Alex's tyre changed and we were back on track.... phew. 

Our team consisted of six V40s and two senior men.Not the strongest team Eden could of put out but a strong one nevertheless.

On leg 1 we had a veteran of many a relay, Anth Labram, and Alex Davies, running his first but hopefully not his last fell relay.They got us the good solid start we wanted coming into the changeover in 19th position after running a fast leg.

Leg 2 was my leg along with Steve Bennett. The climb up to high street went on and on and we got passed a couple of times despite us running hard. Once up on the tops the wind was in our faces and the visibility was poor. A decision was made to go straight up to the Beacon rather then contour around it. On the path descending into Threshthwaite Cove we were joined by a few other teams who appeared and then disappeared again.
We climbed well and got to the tarn bang on a previously recced line. A lot of teams had lost a lot of time looking for the tarn and then checkpoint. It was all down hill now and apart from me leading Steve over a wall and then back over we descended well. I had to try really hard to keep up with Steve and at times I was hanging on!!!

Amazingly we handed over to Sam Ware and Andy Thompson ( the young 'uns)  having gained a place!!

These two fella's had an absolute storming run. It might be only 4.5 mile but route choice and nav are critical for a fast time. There never put a foot wrong and by the time they passed over to Derek Hurton and Dave Sargent we were in 11th position. Sam and Andy were 10th fastest on their leg. Brilliant.

Dave and Derek were the perfect 2 to bring the team home. Both fast and very experienced. Conditions had not improved on the tops and apart from a slight wander on Fairfield, all was going well......
... until Derek's sole came off his shoe!!!!
Dave described it best  " It sounded like someone was clapping me all the way down St Sundays, such as the noise it made". ha ha ha.
They came into the finish in a magnificent 15th position and apart from been annoyed for a minute or two, they were full of smiles and laughter again. A fantastic effort by all (especially Derek and his flip flops) 

A great day and great result for our small club . Roll on next year.

Borrowdale won.......again!

Anth and Alex
other teams were trying to intimidate  us

Derek with flip flop in hand. Enjoyment on their faces echoed all around.

 Sam Ware let slip bout this on curry night after the relays

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Orton Autumn Fair Fell Race

6 MILE/845 FT

Its been 9 weeks since I last raced and feeling upbeat with how my left leg has been improving these last 2 weeks, thought this 6 mile race would be ideal to give it a proper test
With only 845ft of climbing it felt more like a cross country race and with all the rain we have had recently it was ankle deep in soft mud for parts of the course- just like cross country.

A small field of 63 stood on the start line and a good turn out from Helm Hill was present. I positioned myself in about 3 rows from the front and as we set of up the road for the first 500 yards I fund myself jostled into about 20th position, so as soon it was possible I started moving up on the inside and by the time we had set foot on the fell I had got into 5th place and was on my own, with 4th place about 20 yds ahead and group of 4 about 20 yds behind.

The hill was all runnable but eventually the group of 4 caught and passed me as if I was stood still and I struggled for a couple of minutes whilst they got ahead of me.
Once on the top I managed to open my legs out on the descent and caught one of the 4 who had past me and was beginning to catch up on another  runner.
Managed to catch another runner on the run in and ended up in 7th place and 2nd v40, 15 seconds behind David White of Helm Hill, who I have never beaten since he turned v40.

So, happy with run and got some great tips/stretches of Dave Stones and Gavin Thomas regarding my problems with my left leg. All in all a good day.

Tom Addison was first male and Melanie Hyder first lady. A double for Helm Hill.

Helm Hill team bath

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Why is it....

....that you only stretch when your injured ?

For the last couple of weeks I have been stretching a lot more, and touch wood, things seem to be improving.
I hardly ever stretch unless I see someone else doing it and I copy them so it looks like I know what I'm doing!

I have managed 4 good fell runs in the last 7 days and even so I can still feel a bit of tightness all down my left leg, I feel im picking up a bit more speed.

It was a big test last night when I joined up with mates Stevie B , Sam Ware ,Carl Bell and roadie Steve Angus (who are all much faster runners then me) and apart from the climbing I just about managed to hold some pace going on the tops without feeling too much ill-effect this morning.
Stretching is the key for me and hopefully I be be back blogging soon about races instead of self pity.

All smiles after a good run out

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Still complaining

Not raced since Snowdon - injury is stopping me from stretching out, more about that later.

It has been a piss poor year for me on the racing front, I normally get about 30-35 races in a year- this year I have done 13. Its is the racing that I enjoy most, meeting up with friends that you only see at race meets and that special moment  you always get in a race when your half way up/down a fell side and you look up to see the amazing view and the feeling of great well-being.

I had an entry for Ben Nevis but it was too much of a risk in case I made the injury worse. I was gutted not to go and to be honest I have not read any other blogs if it had the words "Ben Nevis" in the title, pathetic I know, but it is so painful when you have badly wanted to do a race and not been able because of injury.

The year started and I had high hopes of improving my times, concentrating more on speed rather then endurance. I felt like I had a good winters training leading up to February and at the Pennine Relays I don't think I had ever felt so fit.
Since February though I seemed to have been through a rotation of injured -getting fit -injured again.
When I was free from injury I was really enjoying going to the local tri clubs speed sessions and I felt I was improving and beginning to look forward to the Autumn road racing season, but I have not been able to attend them for about 6 weeks now. If I do any road racing at all this year it will to try and build up my speed for next year.

So the injury or should I say injuries. Two. First one was like a torn stomach muscle that really hurt if I did anything that involved me tightening my stomach muscles. Still sore but 80% better.

The second one is a bit more complicated for me to explain. I'm fine if I jog slowly and take very small steps but as soon as I try and stretch out my legs to pick up a bit of speed my left calf, hamstring, groin and buttock goes really tight and sore. The good thing is that its not stopping me from running up hills, very slowly, so slow that some of my fell running mates would question if it is running at all. Even roadie Stevie A , who I ran up Blencathra with last week last week thought it was ridiculously easy.

So not all bad I know at least I can still plod away, but after 6 weeks I would of hoped it would be better by now.
One thing I have been doing is instead of running up a fell side as fast as possible and then running back down again, I have taken a bit more time on the tops enjoying the views..... which aint a bad thing.

Some photos below from the last 6 weeks plods.
I enjoyed watching the Lakeland 50/100 mile race
My kids took great delight in beating me up Blencathra
Haweswater with Kidsty Pike
Hope it was on a training exercise
Climbing Great Mell Fell
Sun going down on Blencathra
Survey Post

From Catstycam
High Pike
Blencathra Ridges

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Clives BGR

I first met Clive via this blog in 2009, when he got in touch with me wanting to recce leg 1 and 2.
We both had plans to attempt the BGR, but Clive had the slight disadvantage of living on Mars (Wales).

After Clive had purchased some kindaloos from George Fishers we were off up Skiddaw, sometimes wading through a foot of snow. Banter was easy and by the time we had reached Threlkeld Clive was still very much determined to do leg 2 (a determination that was needed 2 years later).
Clive wont mind me saying, but he found leg 2 very tough and was on his arse by the time we reached Dunmail.

We kept in touch via email and text, but the next time I saw him was this year on his second attempt, where due to some dodgy stomach problems, bailed out on leg 4.

On his third attempt he decided he wanted to do it more low key and instead of having 2 or 3 folk on each leg, just 1 or 2.
Its not for me to report on his round so all I will say is WELL DONE TAFFY and never again will you convince me to come down the Parachute again!!!!

Clives Blog is here.

As for my running.......its not.

Ben Nevis in 2weeks too!!!!!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Snowdon Fell Race 2011

10 mile/3065 feet

Wanted - One longish pair of climbing legs- last seen May 2010.

This is one race that I will definitely return too. Loved it.
A car full of Stoddys left Penrith early on Saturday morning for our first sortie into Wales. Jane (our sat nav) opted to take us along some stunning roads once we got into Wales.  We were still on dual carriageway,but it really didn't feel like it as we passed steeples, castles and roaming dragons.
Very impressed by the coastal road and Colwyn Bay. I particularly enjoyed going through the 3 tunnels where I pretended I was in the Monaco Grand Prix!!
We stopped for a full English at a aptly named cafe caledl "the dragons nest". In hindsight this was a mistake.

We arrived about midday and I made my way to the registration area, where I was pleased to see  familiar faces of Steve Hepplethwaite and David Burton. David had ran this race a few times, so he was quickly interrogated and a quick discussion on the the choice of footwear followed. I opted for an old battered pair of 330s.

A quick change in the car park and I went to the race start area. With still an hour to go I opted to lie down on the grass, whilst the Stoddys went for a wander.

After nearly dozing off I thought I best go for a warm up. I had only ran once since Monday....the day I did 200m reps...the day I felt my groin tighten. By the next day my hamstring had tightened too along with pain in my lower stomach, it hurt to get in and out of bed. On Wednesday I went for a short fell run with Steve B and felt awful, more so on the descent.

So the warm up was a big test for me. I gingerly jogged slowly in a nearby field and if I didn't push hard felt OKish. It was like a who's who of fell runners warming up, so I spent more time retying my shoe laces than running.
Met Sue and the kids again and told her not to worry if I was a long time, I might have to do a fair bit of walking if things were hurting.

Positioned myself in the middle of the pack for the start and before long we were off.
A slower then normal start for me and once on the road I speed up a bit, but still feeling relaxed I started passing a  few runners. The road steepens sharply before you get onto the fell and I was feeling some mild discomfort but nothing I couldn't put up with.

On the climb I tried to get into a good rhythm but was finding my legs were not so keen. I don't know what's happened to my climbing legs of late, but Im struggling a lot at the moment.
I tell myself not to race and to relax. I started getting passed but I wasn't too bothered. The full English seemed a bad idea at this point too.

Eventually I noticed I was catching people back up and passing them too. I didn't seem to be working too hard and it felt comfortable. The views were stunning too when I did look up.
I was aware of my groin/stomach pain but not enough for it to hamper me. I started really enjoying it.
Three quarters of the way up and it steepens again. I bend down and start marching. Im not marching hard enough as a couple of runners get pass me. I dig in again.

The leaders start coming out of the mist now. I notice Steve Hebb is in about 7th and I give him a shout.
The top is nearly reached and I see Pippa running down the railway track on my right, I give her a shout of encouragement too and think to myself that the track looks  nicer running then the rough ground im on at the moment. Within seconds other runners are tearing down the rough path that im on. I can only think that there is a time limit of running down the track before the train comes. It serves me right for been to slow on the climb.

The summit reached at last, in 57 minutes and 93rd. Its all down hill now but not before I have some tricky steps to negotiate just off the summit. I start thinking a hand rail would be useful.

Legs soon realise there going downhill and soon im passing other runners making their way up.
I make one bad decision on the whole descent and it cost me 4 places but apart from that I really enjoyed the run off the mountain. Never really flat out as I didn't want to run out of gas before the finish.

The support was fantastic on the hill but nothing had prepared for what the last half mile would be like in the village. The noise and atmosphere was brilliant and I now understand what a lot of road runners get from the big city marathons.

I cross the line in 1.25 and 81st position.

Buckets of cold water are supplied for hot feet and everyone's got a smile on their face.

Andi Jones first man and Pippa Maddams first women - A double for England.

On the descent

The finish, 20 minutes behind the winner below.

Race winner andi jones
Pippa and Steve H (with his white shirt on too)

The next morning I set off to run 7 mile on the road as a recovery.... I get 2 in but make my way back home very slowly. Bloody groin.