Thursday, 28 April 2011

Lords Seat Fell Race

 5 mile 1400ft

Done nowt since Saturday so decided that this 5 mile race would do me good, a speed session if nothing else.

118 runners set off from Whinlatter visitors centre and the first couple of miles is all uphill on good forest tracks which makes it feel hard and fast (note I said feel).

As always I give it my all but it's not enough to stop club mate Sam Ware pull away and shortly after 159 year old Jackie Winn  strolls by too ( im hoping to beat him when he's 200 though).
As we leave the forest track and set foot on the fell, Howard Seal too decides he has had enough of my company and scarpers off, leaving me to struggle on alone up to the first check point, Barf.

In between Barf and Lords Seat a Pennine runner gets past me ( he beat me easily 2 weeks ago at Loughrigg) and I try hard to keep  pace with him.

I notice Steve Bennett and Nick Ray are close behind me and as im climbing Lords Seat Nick gives me a shout to take a slightly different path to the summit, its no good though im knackered and Pennine runner gets to the summit a good bit before us.

To be honest, getting to the summit the same time as Nick and Steve was my worst nightmare as we are all pretty much evenly matched, we also all try to beat each other in races, so the chance of a fast gentle run in were gone.
From the summit its all good running on forest tracks to the finish with only a sty to negotiate. Whilst me and Steve fannied about trying to get over it, the "flying" nick took us both by surprise and hurdled it and in doing so passed us both in and  mid air..... it really could of ended in tears...I was having trouble lifting my legs let alone jumping fences!

With Nick ahead we battled to catch him up. Eventually I  squeeze in front again and then  concentrate on running hard, all the time though I could hear footsteps close behind.

I was glad to see the finish line, finishing 18th and and only a few seconds in front of Steve and Nick, next year  I'm going to recce it and try hurdling the fence too.

A good race route, and one that I have done 3 times now, but it is more like a trail then a fell race.

I feel as good as I was before I got my stress fracture now and I don't think I have the ability to get any faster, but I will keep trying, after all Jackie Winn  is 116 years older then me!

Chris Steel  (Borrowdale) and Emma Clayton (Bingley)both set new records  ( I think).

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Teenager With Altitude

15.4 mile 7600ft

Only entered this a week ago and thought it would help build up my fitness, later realising you had to be fit to do it, found it very tough at times.

The race sets off from stair and the first checkpoint is Causey Pike.
I felt quite comfortable at the start and the first climb went well. Once on the the top its fast running down to Outerside and  for the second checkpoint. I was in a group of a 4 at this point and with the cloud covering the tops navigating was going to be testing.
The run from Outerside to Coledale Hause I wasn't entirely sure on so I tucked  in behind Daniel Barton of Keswick ac and contoured some ground where I rolled my ankle but managed to run it off. The visibility was bad on Grasmoor and we were soon joined by Howard Seal and another runner and between us we all managed to find the checkpoint.

Checkpoint found and it was every man for himself again and it was good running down towards Whiteless Pike, where we were passing runners who were still looking for the Cairn on Grasmoor.

The descent down to Newlands Hause hurt me quite a lot but I managed to keep tabs on a few runners ahead.
Once at the Hause I had my first drink and then set of to climb up High Snokrigg with Howard, who its got to be said, was still very strong and said once he was  on the top he was going to start racing, I never seen Howard again, instead I tackled a much needed Eccles Cake.

Once on High Snokrigg it was good running again until the ascent of Robinson, which was very much in cloud.

I was caught up by a Dark Peak runner and soon found ourselves on the top where we only found the cairn when we heard shouting, at the time we were running away from it, so a stroke of luck there.

Not wanting to risk any nav errors we made our way to the fence and followed it until  we dropped out the cloud and could see Hindscarth and the Waltz runners. From now on route finding was easy and I started picking off lots of Anniversery Waltz runners. I made a slight error on Dale Head and found myself in some rocks but apart from that it went well til Catbells when I began to struggle but managed to hobble in to the finish in 3hr 30min and 21st position.
Bumped into Daniel Barton at the village hall where he told me he ended up in Grange from Robinson and had to hitch a lift back, a real shame too, has he was running strong.
Never seen Howard at the finish and can only presume he had a storming second half of the race.

Only one other Eden Runner in the race, Andy Thompson, who is flying at the moment with all his BG training paying off.

I could maybe do it faster next year if I recced but also realise I could do it a lot slower depending on conditions so overall very happy with my time.

Ankle swollen up today and the bruising is coming out but hoping its not too serious, I will take it easy this week as I have an entry for the Yorkshire three peaks fell race on Saturday, not 100% sure if I am running it yet though.
Not sure on winners, will update when results are through.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Coledale Horseshoe

9 mile 3000ft

I hoped a few weeks ago that I would be fit for this race and for the last few weeks I have enjoyed running on these fells in a bid to try and build my fitness back up, during which I had picked  a couple of racing lines out,  which I totally ignored come race day and both cost me places. Why is it even if you know the people your following are going the wrong way, you feel its your duty to follow them.

The race this year set off from Braithwaite Lodge farm and after a short uphill run from the field to the road we soon found ourselves on the long, long climb of Grisedale Pike. I never lost too many places on the climb, and was in good company with Jackie Winn and John Beetham.
We all topped out together and then it was a fast run to Eel Crag, which involved a scramble. I lost sight of Jackie at this point.

Eel Grag summit reached and I followed some runners over some rough ground, even so I know its was faster on the right hand side, lost another 2 places.

I found myself back with John Beetham on the contour round Sail, where I managed to sneak past him and made a small gap on the run to Barrow, where I decided to go on the higher path and John stayed low.

John made the better decision and got to the small climb of Barrow 50 yards ahead of me, at which point I was beginning to struggle but dug in to try and keep John in my sights.

Once on the last checkpoint John decided to stay on the ridge and I came off and made a bee line through the bracken for  the farm gate. We both hit the gate at the same time and for the second time in 4 days it was sprint to the finish line, where I just held on.

The great thing about racing is it does not matter if your top runner, mid packer or a plodder, we all have our own races and people we try to beat.

A good turn out and a good quality field.

Ian Holmes won. Not sure on first lady.

Some photos on my flickr

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Loughrigg Fell Race

4 mile / 1000ft

First race since the Pennine Relays in January.

I found it tougher then the previous 2 years especially the climb. Deliberately started slower then I normally would, in the hope that I would remain stronger, failed miserably.

After the steep road section I got myself in a good group of 4 or 5 other runners, but as soon as we got on the fell proper they all dropped me and I found myself running alone, but was aware of a group not too far behind me, who would of got a good view of me going head first into a bog!

Finally got to the summit and within 10 seconds club mate Steve Bennett came flying past me. This proved to be a blessing for me because  we often train together and if any motivation was needed for a good second half, this was it. 
Managed to keep him in sight until the lower fell section and then nipped ahead, both of us gaining places on the descent. Once back in the park Steve threw a sprint at me, but I just managed to hold on crossing the line 1 second ahead of him, oh I forgot to mention he rolled his ankle too, but hey ho!

Tough race as always. Delicious flapjack .Need to try and build my speed up.

A reet good night running again.

Stuart Bond of dark peak won and I think Lizzie Adams for the ladies.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Looking up

Three reasons why its been a good week;

1, Leg has not bothered me as much this week
2, Ran over 50 miles
3, put in over 15,000ft of ascent (most of it ran)

But, (there's always a but) the speed is going to take some finding.

My longest run was 22 miles, 4200ft, a run I did a good few times last year and which I could do comfortably. Not so this week, the last 4 miles I was really struggling, but I wanted to see how far away I am from attempting the 3 peaks fell race. I will run it again next Sunday and decide then if I can blag it round.

My shortest runs were running up Blencathra 5mile 2200ft from Scales, which I did on 2 occasions.

I also ran the Coledale Horseshoe 9 mile 300ft twice, once with Carl Bell who after we finished it he went on to run in the Grisedale Grind fell race and finished a very creditable 8th. I thought better of it and decided to take photos instead.

Race winner Martin Barron-Mikkelson
Carl Bell ( I was sat laughing at this point)
Runner up Phil Winskill

Club mate Robin G
So fingers crossed for another pain free week. This week I will take it easier till the weekend.

Good luck to all who are running the London Marathon next weekend.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Big Bad Stu......

Don't know what to do for the best. Leg still not right, but im still running (quite hard too).

Good Stu on my right shoulder is telling me to stop and get an x ray at least.

Bad Stu on my left shoulder is telling me to carry on, I've lost enough time already and you need to get some big miles in for the 3 peaks in less then 4 weeks time.

I'm listening to bad Stu at the moment because he sounds like he knows what he's talking about.

So on bad Stu's advice I returned to doing speed sessions on Monday night, ran up Blencathra twice on Wednesday night, ran 16 mile on the fells on Saturday and today did the Coledale Horseshoe again, oh and bad Stu said do 30 minutes hard on the turbo trainer on Tuesday and Thursday night too.

One thing that he is insistent on is NO ROADS.

Deep down I know it will end in tears but im having fun again.......just!