Friday, 24 June 2011

Its been 6 weeks now....

...of injury free running.

During that time I have raced in 3 fell races and supported 3 BGR attempts, but its what I have been doing in between them that im going to blab, bore you about.

Last year was a super year for me, as well has it being my BG year it was also a very satisfying time for me in the autumn where I got some new PBs on the roads, my sub 1 hour ten mile meant as much to me as my bob graham round. So its with this frame of mind that for the last few weeks I have been doing speed reps (on grass) with the local tri club and adding at least 2 road runs to my weekly training, one at 6 mile and another at 12.5 mile, both run hard and always against the clock.
The other 2 runs I do to complete my 5 day training plan are done on the fells, and again I run these hard..... most of the time I have to to keep up with either of the 2 Steve's or Sam.
My climbing on the fells over the last 6 weeks is averaging just over 7000ft and my weekly mileage is between 40 - 50 miles.

I don't follow any training plans, I don't think I would understand them, I just run... a bit forest like maybe but I don't know owt else.
I get little tips now and then of Steve Angus, but sometimes I think he enjoys taking the mick.
I also find my speed really improves over the winter months when I return to the club for some tough sessions, mostly hill reps

The one problem I do have is that the local tri club do their sessions on a Monday evening, which means im usually knackered after the weekend, Tuesday would be better for me James/Alan...

So, I guess what im blabbing on about is that my training is focusing on the Autumn for some road races, but also trying to keep my eye in on the fells, which I do enjoy much, much, more. (im also hoping the speed work will benefit me on the Snowdon fell race race next month)

Had a very good, enjoyable morning on the fells today, covering 21.5 miles and climbing over 7000ft .
After parking at Seathwaite farm, we ran over to Wasdale via Styhead tarn and then ran along the road the full length of the lake and climbed up Seatallen , Scoat fell, Pillar and Gt Gable before dropping back down to the tarn and farm. The more aware will notice its half of the Wasdale fell race route, which Sam is running and im thinking about.  We had a special guest joining us today in Keswick AC runner Craig Smith (he knew the route up and off Seatallen).
Still smiling after 17miles.
One final note of mention is that Stevie B is helping on a BGR attempt tonight.
Maybe , just maybe he is beginning to think about doing it himself ..... nothing would give me greater pleasure then seeing my good friend succeed..... and seeing his gurning face from Wasdale onwards!!!!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Tebay Fell Race

8 mile/3000ft

Only a short trip down the M6 for this tough, challenging fell race. The last time I did this was in 2008 when I suffered stomach/cramp pains for 24 hours after it, which I put down to the effort I put in and not quite being fit enough.

Four of us made our way down with Steve Angus following us for his second fell race of the year, after I cheekily told him it was a good all runnable course (well the last 2 mile is).

Stevie B, who is in resurging form, which can only be put down to his wife's  Jackie's "special flapjack", was full of the usual "im only out for a jog", but im used to his mind games  now, and knew he be keen to put me to the sword.... again.

A quality field of 101 started and I soon found myself running behind Ian Davis of Keswick, who was also making a rare appearance on the fells after injury had kept him out for 6 months.
Steve Angus was always just ahead and I was trying hard to keep him in my sight, it was feeling like hard work though.

On the first climb it started..... yakerty yak. I had forgotten how much Steve likes to talk and it soon was feeling more like a mad house rather then a fell race, im sure he had Stevie B singing at one point! 

Only made one bad route choice where it maybe cost me a minute, but it was enough to get Steve Bennett and Paul Nield make some ground up on us.
Me, Stevie A,StevieB and John Nichol

The pace picked up and we were soon on the horrible climb of Blease fell where along with the 2 Steves we made good progress and could see Sam about a minute ahead. The top reached and its all down hill to the finish back in Tebay. I ran most of this fairly hard and worked well with Steve A ,picking off a couple of runners.
Blease Fell Summit with the M6 below

Onto the finish field and Steve Angus beats me by 3 seconds, and by doing so securing 20th positon, but with no complaints from me, he was in front of me most of the way and deserved it.
Steve Bennett followed us in  maybe a few seconds behind. Sam finished less then a minute ahead of us and Eden runner to be Olly Bloomfield finishing just behind us. A very enjoyable race.

Oh, did I say I beat Steve Bennett......

results here

Monday, 13 June 2011

Nick's BGR

On Friday evening I had the pleasure of supporting Nick Ray, a Ellenboro runner, on his Bob Graham Round.

On a glorious evening we left the moot hall at 7pm and I have got to say it was one of the easiest rounds that I have ever assisted on.

Nick's a great mountain man and he knows the route inside out and as a result the supporters had very little to do, apart from give him food and drink and enjoy the banter.

It felt so easy that I could take a different line of Calva and meet up with him again on Mungrisedale Common.

Nick Completed leg 1 in what felt like a very easy 3hrs 15 mins. I think the reason it felt so easy was because he was/ is so laid back and relaxed. Nick opted for the Halls Fell descent, which he did comfortably in 20 minutes. Why are people so obsessed about the parachute drop when you can get down Halls Fell or Doddick in 20 minutes.... and not trash your legs in doing so??

Nick completed the round in 21hrs and 38 mins and looked really fresh in the Dog and Gun afterwards.
Well done Nick.
checking the watch
nick powers up Skiddaw
no clag or wind, just great views
calva or bust

Ronald McDonald in the middle

Scamp wants to carry on

as with all BGRs, you cant do it alone

More photos here

ans some proper good one here by Steve Angus

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Blencathra Fell Race

8 mile  /  2700ft

Should I, shouldn't I.

That's what was going through my mind all day on Wednesday. Legs were still feeling battered from the Helvellyn fell race on Sunday, 5x 800m reps on Monday and a steady 6 mile road run on Tuesday, but this was no ordinary fell race, this was Blencathra fell race, organised by my club, and all for a quid..... in the end it was a no brainer.

Picked Steve Bennett up at 5.30 and headed out to Mungrisdale village, where fellrunners were already parking up. We made our way to the start area to register and passed over my pound coin,  no going back now.

Noticed some fast runners knocking about and as always felt intimidated and very unfit, maybe I could ask for  my pound back!

I had a small warm up with Sam Ware, who has got himself really fit again and is now well out of my reach, but maybe with him racing Ennerdale at the weekend he will take it easy, fingers crossed. We had a quick chat with Phil Davies and asked  him which way up he was going, his reply "straight up". None of this fannying about for Phil.

We jogged back to the start and along with 110 others we were off.

Straight away, not even 5 yards had gone and theres a route choice to make, follow Carl Bell, who had kept to the path, or follow Steve Birkinshaw, who had made a more direct  line through the bog, I chose the bog.... first mistake.

The start. click on image to enlarge.

Eventually we all meet up again and make the climb up towards Bowscale, where again I was caught in 2 minds. Follow Phil Davies up the more Direct route or choose the more traditional route, which Phil Winskill had made. I chose Phil Davies way.... second mistake.

The direct line is maybe shorter, but its a lot, lot steeper and by the time we had met the other group (who were jogging along)my legs were shot and it took some time to get them moving again.

Before the final climb of Bowscale there's another route choice to make, either run to the top or skirt around it. Steve Bennett, who was just behind me always insists on going up high where as I stopped slightly lower (cheers dave o) and has easier running to get back on the main path.

Now its all good running to Blencathra and Im soon joined by Steve Bennett, where we make good time and route to Blencathra. On the climb the cloud is low and Steve, who is a stronger climber, takes 20-30 yards out of me to the summit.

The run to Souther Fell felt easy (I maybe took it too easy) and when I came out of the cloud I could see Steve again, who had stretched ahead of me further, maybe about 200 yards, and in front of him was a NFR runner. I felt strong on the run up Souther Fell and thought I would catch Steve up, but he too upped his pace and had got in front of the NFR fella . I managed to over haul NFR man on the last descent (ok, he tripped) but Steve was too far ahead and was casually chatting to Sam when I crossed the line in 14th place.

The ground was wet under foot and breezy on top.

As with every fell race I do, there's always a part of the race that I wonder "why", usually at the first steep climb, but there is also a section that makes me think " there is nothing I would rather be doing". Fantastic.

Sam obviously has one eye on this weekends racing and finished 6 minutes ahead of me!

Phil Davies was first man and Sarah Ridgeway first women.

It a shame that this fell race will never make a championship venue. There was talk last year of it, but parking is a problem. It would also have to move to weekend, which would take some of its charm away.