Sunday, 23 January 2011

More blah blah blah

Another week of no racing but all four training sessions have felt like races.
From Blencathra

Monday I went along to the speed sessions with the tri club where we ran 5 x 1000m loops on the local industrial estate. What pleased me most about this session was that all four reps were in 5 seconds of each other, slowest was 3.07 and the fastest 3.02 (the last one), so at least im holding my pace better. I'm enjoying these sessions a lot, but I do find them very hard, especially with them being so soon after the weekend, where I have usually done some long runs.

At the club on Wednesday night we did mile reps which I know benefit me but still hate doing them.

On Thursday I ran 6.5 mile on the roads as fast as I could. This is something new for me as I normally just go out and run this distance, but on this occasion I ran hard right from the start. This im told helps you a lot.
I am also sure that all these speed sessions will cease when the light nights return and I can resume to plodding on the fells again, although plodding was the last thing on Carl Bells mind when along with Steve Bennett we did leg 1 of the Bob Graham on Saturday morning....

After parking the cars in Threlkeld, all 3 of us ran into Keswick along the railway path to Spoony Lane. On the climb of Skiddaw we soon caught a group of fellas recceing the leg. They were from Ripon (I think) and after a brief chat with them we were off again. Carl ran on ahead and was half way up Little man until me and Steve caught him up.
Future Bob Grahams in training
What a view
Carl and Steve showing his best side

On the climb to Gt Calva, Carl ran it all whilst me and Steve marched up. Surely the long slog up the back of Blencathra will slow him down.
Nope. Instead he ran away from us zigzagging it. Too much energy he has!
I had a Eccles cake!
The top was soon reached where we had a quick drink and took some photos before we descended via Doddick. Again I maintain this is the best way of Blencathra (for me anyway) and we all reached the cricket club car park in less the 23 minutes (road in 19). The going was icy in places  too.
We did the leg in 2.52 and I have no doubt at all that Carl could of done it at least 20 minutes quicker.

Nothing done today due to having a night out last night where the coca cola king (Steve B) must of spiked my drink........ Feeling very tender today!!!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

1559 (answers on a postcard)

A good week running, but no races to report on.

Last year was all about one thing for me, getting around the Bob Graham Round, and as a result, every time I stepped out onto the fell the only thing on my mind was the BGR.
Looking back, the reccying and long days out were brilliant. One of my favourite long days out was the Ullswater round, which I did in some awful conditions, but it was so good to run into Pooley Bridge feeling very strong, after some 9 hours after I had left. My account for the day can be read here.

At the moment I am down to help out on 4 BGs this year, maybe 5. Looking forward to them all.

Also has a result of all my prep for the BGR  I missed a few fell races, I think I did 4 before it, one of them was the 3 peaks in Yorkshire. I have entered again to see if I can beat my time from last year, which was 3.39. To get near 3.30 would be fantastic, but I wont be too hard on myself if I don't. I very much doubt that we will get conditions as good as last year.
The last 3 years has all been about fell running for me, I cant think of anything better - I love it - even being on my own and running onto new tops, getting home and retracing my steps on a map. Brilliant. ( I need to get to the pub more, I think)

I have got a new route (for me) planned to run on the Ullswater Fells that I have been wanting to do for a while now. I thought I would maybe do it this weekend but the weather was too crap for a long day out on the hills so instead I parked my car In Pooley Bridge and ran up to Loadpot. The wind and rain was in my face all the way up and it took me 57 mins , about 10 minutes longer then normal, but as soon as I turned at the cairn ,I flew back down in 32 minutes.

Yesterday I met up with Steve Angus at Talkin tarn near Brampton for a very wet, very windy  very hilly 15 mile road run. The plan was to run the 15 miles at a steady pace , but with about 3 miles to go I realised Steve had dropped back a few meters, so wanting my revenge on him by beating me last week at the XC, I upped my pace slightly. He didn't react to my invitation to race and I got back to the cars some 3-4 minutes before him. Steve is a proper road runner who trains proper, eats proper and is too long in the tooth to react to my foolishness, unlike Stevie B, who takes no encouragement at all.

A fine example of this was on Wednesday night where, along with Sam, we opted out of the 400m reps and instead ran all the steep hills in Penrith. We all agreed at the start that we would take it easy, we all lied and some 8o mins later we were on our knees back the club house, even running on the flats we were trying to keep up with each other, good fun nonetheless though.

On Monday I again went to the local tri club, where we did some, yep, you guessed it, hill reps!

So not a bad week, admittedly there is more road miles then fell miles at the moment, but with the weather and dark nights I am trying to push on them as hard as I can. A bit of speed wont do anybody any harm.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Keswick XC

The 4th race in a series of 5 for the Cumbria cross country league was held in Keswick on Saturday. The course was the same as the one used for the county championships in December last year, so it would be a good test to see if any improvement had been made.

A much bigger and stronger field lined up at the start, which was again in handicap formation.
James Douglas won again beating some top fell runners (Steele, Winskill, Heppelthwaite and  Abdelnoor).

I found it a lot tougher then the county championship race and was pleased to record a time some 35 seconds faster and taking 10th place.
My faster time might be down to Steve Angus who was  racing. I was ahead of him until the 3rd lap where he eased passed me. I tried to keep the gap respectable and he beat me  by 15 seconds.
No shame there as he is beginning to recapture his form from last year and I don't think I can realisticly expect to stay on level terms with him any more, making the nine standards fell race even more memorable for me.

Its a shame that the final race is on the same day as the Buttermere Round 22 mile road race, as I think I will be entering that again, Its good training for the Yorkshire 3 Peaks.
The "faster" group get ready.

Over the festive season I have eaten far to much rubbish, especially toffees (which I still have a mountain left to eat ) so I am now on my second day of eating healthier again, ( all tho I have just been to the pub and had 2 pints, but alcohol doesn't count).
Even with just 2 days of better living im feeling a bit more energetic.
I plan to get some longer fells run in this month and up my mileage slowly.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Nine Standards Fell Race

When will I learn?
I should off known accepting a lift off Phil Winskill to Nine Standards fell race on New Years day would have its price to pay.
Normally before a race, my pre race warm up consists of keeping my jacket on  just before the off.
Not so with Phil though, who after registering insisted we have a look at the start of the race. Some miles later and im doubting we will get back in time for the start !

The route goes on road for about 2 miles and then continues on the fell for another 2 miles before turning at the cairn and running back the same way, all runnable and this year free off snow, which last year was over a foot deep.

Back at the start line and there's another good turnout from eden runners, who last year won the team prize.
Also wandering about is Steve A, who is running competitively for the first time since August after a stress fracture forced him out for 8 weeks. His account of his race can be read here.

The race sets off and after the initial mad rush I settle into about 8/9th place and try to concentrate on keeping my pace even.
Once on the fell the field is really stretched out and I notice a club mate 200 yards ahead off me, I try to keep him in sight.

A couple of runners go past me with still about half a mile to the top still to climb and I start to think that maybe im struggling and then to make matters worse there's a horrible noise in my left ear. I try to ignore it but it gets louder and louder, it has a horrible Scottish twang mixed with a bit of Geordie in it, the next insult confirms my worst fears....
..its Steve A having a storming run and wanting a bit of crack on the toughest part of the course, I tell him to f**k off but he just laughs and carries on yapping. He yapping away whilst I can hardly breath and eventually we reach the summit where Steve turns in 11th and me 12th.

In a bid to get give my ears a rest I throw myself down the fell and slowly Steve voice trails away.
I have a good descent passing 5 on the fell section alone.

Once on the road though I knew Steve would be gaining on me again so I put my head down and pretended I was doing a 10 mile road race where I had to push to get under the hour!
This seemed to work because I slowly began to catch my club mate . On arrival back to the village/town I was right behind him and settled in to finish in that position...... and then I got a rush of blood with about 300yards to go and sped up to get past him, to my amazement he didn't react and I crossed the line 60 minutes after the start and in 6th place out of 95 runners.

Phil Winskill won convincingly in 56 minutes and I deliberately hid away from him in case he wanted a "run down"!! (not making that mistake again)

I was delighted when Steve A crossed the line only 20 odd seconds behind me, the only thing missing was the absence of Steve b (whom I'm lead to believe is in training for something quite a bit longer).

As always the "meet up" in the club afterwards was as good as ever meeting new folk and catching up on others. Fell running is quite unique at this, I think.

Eden runners got the team prize and Eden's Julia King got fv50.