Monday, 30 May 2011

Helvellyn And The Dodds Fell Race

15 mile 4388 ft

A new race route replacing the old route that used to start and finish at Bram Crag farm, a good 4 miles longer too.

Just over a hundred runners lined up at the start at Threlkeld cricket club, which included 2 club mates Kim Colinson and Andy Tompson.
The route I was very familiar with,  it being the start of the second leg of the Bob Graham round as far has Helvellyn, but missing out Watsons Dodd.
I set off cautiously along the road and wasn't surprised to see Andy Tompson ahead of me  (I think he is determined to beat me soon ) but by the fell gate I had got in front of him and had decided to keep tabs on Chris Upson for as long as I could rather then worry about what was happening behind me.
The climb of Clough Head is never easy at BG pace and at race pace it felt double hard. I had a brief chat with Ben Abdlenoor on the climb but told him I was too out of breath to talk, whilst he seemed to be taking it easy, jogging along.
photo "borrowed" from NFR excellent website.

The top was reached with me just behind Chris Upson. I was determined not to push hard and just relax and apart from some of the wind, where you had to work hard I stuck to some nice relaxed running.
By the climb of Lower man, the front runners were coming back and I was delighted to see Kim in about 4th place, looking really strong.

Helvellyn Trigg reached and I was still just behind Chris, who was perhaps feeling the effect of the previous days race by now, so I put a little surge on to get past him and then concentrated on relaxing again. Andy Tompson was about a minute behind me at the turn, which didn't really surprise me.

I now concentrated on the 2 runners about 100 yards ahead of me and it took up to the return climb of Gt Dodd before I managed to get in front of one of them, where he had slowed down to walk, I still felt ok to run. Got past another 2 runners before Clough Head and then got another 2 on the lower fields to the run in.
Finished 15th, but more important for me, a good solid run rather then a eyeballs out full on race. It was pleasing for me to finish strong.

Kim hung on to finish a fantastic 4th whilst Andy T faded in the second half (but he did do the BGR a week ago)

Mark Palmer was first man and Cath Evens first lady.

Well done to Keswick AC for organising yet another top notch running event.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

BGR Season

For 2 weeks after the 3 peaks I never ran at all.

The first time I did was on Clive King's Bob Graham attempt.
Along with Steve Bennett we paced Clive on leg 1
Clive and Steve on the climb of Skiddaw

A very enjoyable 3 hours up to Blencathra until Clive dropped us both on the descent and we had to pick our way down a very unfamiliar route, where I thought I had found him again only to realise it was a pacer from another attempt, much to Steve's enjoyment.

Bad luck Clive and hopefully 3rd time lucky for you mate.

Fast forward 1 week and it was the turn of Gavin Pattinson, whom I helped navigate for on leg 2.
A early morning start got us up Clough Head in early light. On approaching Watson Dodd the clag came down heavily and stayed with us for the most of the leg, the one time it did clear was shortly after Raise, where the view of Ullswater was fantastic. A hard wind blew us up Fairfield and we reached Dunmail some 3 hrs 50 mins after setting off from Threlkeld.
Gav arrives at Dunmail

Gav gets a break in the clouds
Gav completed the round in a fantastic 21hr 40 mins. The last 6-7 hours were in horrible conditions.
Cheer up Gav
Gav and his pacers sets off up Steel Fell

The same night/day saw club mate Andy Thompson successfully complete the round in an equally impressive time of 21.25. aginn the last few hours in horrible conditions.
Andy T looking strong
A well earned rest for Andy.
It was good to meet Bob Wightman at Threlkeld whilst I was waiting for Gav to come in from leg one. His website helped me a geat deal leading up to my own attempt.

Looking forward to helping Nick Ray next in 2 weeks time.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

A road race, a fell race and a bike challenge.....

..... is what I've watched in the last 7 days.

The ankle is still too sore to even attempt to run at the moment, so sore that I was thinking of going to the doctors last Friday, but it is improving each day now. The swelling and bruising has gone but what felt like a tear at the back is still very tender. Hoping it be ok by Friday evening as im helping on a BG attempt , but to be on the safe side, Steve B has stepped in to assist too.He knows leg one has well as anyone now.

As much as I enjoy taking part in races, I also enjoy going to spectate  and on Sunday we (Sue came along too, shops) drove through to Keswick to watch the half marathon where a number of folk I know were running.
They have changed the course since I last run it 2 years ago and the start is now in Portinscale, which meant a 2 mile hobble for me.
Start of the race

Steve Littler won easy in 1hr 13min.

New club mate Jonny French came 3rd and Phil Winskill and Howard Seal finished comfortably in the top ten.

Steve Angus finished 10th and I think if I had been running I would of got 9th (eagerly awaits some witty remark from my Scottish friend.....)

Wednesday evening I cycled out to Dockray to watch the start of the Dockray-Hartside fell race.
There was some confusion if this race was on or not. In the end it was ran, but with no entry fee, numbers or marshals.
42 runners ran and at least half were from Keswick ac,  it was their club champ race.
This was my first ever fell race that I competed in and it be a shame if bureaucracy stopped it in the future.
Phils 3rd race in 5 days
Results on Keswick ac blog
My photos and some more here

This morning I got up early to cycle up to Kirkstone pass to watch the Fred Whitton challenge.
This was the first time I have attempted to bike up this pass and to be honest I found it rock hard. Determined to bike it all though I stopped with about 30 yards to the top, im so disappointed in myself now, but at the time it was too much for me.( my shame, with the hundreds of cyclists storming down, and me stood at the side of the road, pretending to watch, where in truth, I was knackered and getting my breath back!!)
Took some photos on the the top and had a gel.
If I thought the ride up was eventful, the ride down the pass was something else.
For me, Im flying, if I go any faster I would take off.... Wrong!!!
In truth, im getting passed by cyclists who must be bloody mental. I was bricking it, and with good reason too.
Half way down a spectator is stood in the road, arms above his head, indicating for us to slow down (well them, not me), a cyclist has come off and he is sprawled at the side of the road and his bike is in the middle of it. We get pass and then it mad again.

At the bottom of the pass I manage to pass a cyclist ( he was having toilet break ) and once on the flat Im holding my own, just. (yes I know, they still have 90 odd miles to go and 4 more passes, at least).

My heart went out to a fella who had passed me earlier but was now on the side of the road, with a puncture ( I actually heard the bang) and as I passed him, his face said it all. He probably had trained all year for this and in a second, all hopes of a good race time gone. 

My plan was to stay on the lakeside road and go home, but im enjoying this now and decide to add a few more miles on and carry on up to Dockray and onto the A66.
On the long gradual climb upto to Dockray, I get passed lots, but also I pass a few too.
At the top I stop and talk to Steve Angus for a while who is taking photos, again.. I also stopped to talk to Haz for a short while on the lakeside road, who was also taking snaps.(his be better then Steve's, probably.(just in case he didn't bite first time) 

Biking home through Greystoke and I start thinking about giving it a go one year, but I would have to start biking a lot more and also learn to ride without stabilizers.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Three Peaks Fell Race

23.3 mile 5280ft

This was my 5th race in 18 days, my way of getting fit again after being unable to run for 6 wks- race to get fit works for me and I was feeling quite optimistic about equalling my time of last year or get close to it at least.

Along with club mate Sam Ware we set off from Penrith early to make sure we got there in good time, giving us plenty of time to register and give our drinks to some top water mules who were going out on course to support Ricky Lightfoot, but also offered to take ours, thanks again Nick and Jackie.

Sam is in some good form at the moment and there's not much chance of me beating him this season, but with Sam not doing this race before I was hoping I could give him a little race at least, the long running section would suit me more then Sam, I hoped.

The day a little hot but very windy we both lined up on the start line and before long we on the climb of Pen-y-ghent with another 766 runners.
Sam was on my shoulder for a while but eventually got bored of me and pulled away, reaching the summit 25 seconds ahead.
The next section of the race I always enjoy, as its all good running to Ribblehead and I was passing runners easily and had caught Sam up and had even sneaked ahead of him again.
I was feeling fairly good and even thinking about running the Keswick half the next day. I caught another runner up and instead of going on the outside of him, I tried to steal a yard by cutting a tight corner...

.. race pretty much over.... Stupid F****R!!

I've rolled my ankle, the same one as last week, it wasnt even on the path, my own stupid fault, for the sake of a yard and a place.I hadn't even taped it it up, how Frigging stupid.

When it happened I felt everything drain away from me and I felt weak. I have rolled my ankle about 4 times in the last 5 years but this was pain like I have never known, it stopped me in my tracks, but I knew I had to keep running or I would never get going again.

A couple runners came past while I was trying to run it off and then Sam pulled up and slow down to my pace to check on me,  I told him to carry on and keep going and I would see how it felt when I got on the road which was about 1/4 of a mile away.

Once on the road it was still unbelievably sore but I was running again and I was soon back with Sam, though I think Sam he had slowed down a tad. We even passed some of the runners who had passed us earlier.

Running to Ribblehead and I'm thinking about dropping out, but im too proud and stubborn. We meet Nick and Jackie for the drinks and then set about the climb of Whernside.
I can normally  run a bit of this climb and eat something, but today I'm finding it hard and I get behind a runner who is walking fairly slow and I tuck in behind him, I know my race is finished, I just got to get the end.

After a couple of mins behind this fella I realise its too slow, even for me, and pass him. I look up and Sams not that far away, so I dig in again, kidding myself.
Eventually the top is reached  (always sooner than I'm expecting) and the wind is so strong that I can hardly stand let alone run, but I try and soon realise its impossible, every foot fall is sore and again I'm soon getting passed again. Eventually I get down to the farm tracks and from now on its slow jogging, thru Hill Inn, words of encouragement again of Nick, slow jog and walk up Ingelborough, past Jackie and more words of encouragement.
Cramp as always on top and then the long jog back to Horton. Runners were passing me in small groups and you could see they were racing each other and enjoying it.
Meanwhile old sorry arse was stood having a beaker of water and a chat with a marshall, who showed me a good line of grass to follow.. every cloud...
I eventually finish and Sam is on hand to pass me a beaker of water. I fall down on the grass, exhausted, stating never again.

Sam had a great run and I dont think I could of beat him, but I might of ran him close.

A burger and a drink later and we pulling out of the carpark. I know too that I will be back next year, I cant leave this great race a beaten man.

Thomas Owens won in 2.53
Anna Frost was first lady 3.30

Sam  3.37
Me   3.50