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.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

The week that broke me

The Sunday after Wasdale and there was no way I was going out for a run..... I couldn't walk.

If I thought my legs were bad on Sunday, On Monday I thought I needed a wheelchair.

By Wednesday my thigh muscles were still in shock but were ready for a slow recovery run. 
A few texts later and im joining fellow Eden lads, Kim, Sam and Stevie B for what I hoped would be a jog and a walk up Scafell Pike from Seathwaite farm.

We set off at a far old pace though, which seemed easy enough along the valley floor until we started the climb up Ruddy Gill on the way to Esk Hause. For some reason Sam decided to race Kim which left me and Stevie B racing to keep up.
No bother, I thought, they will run out of steam soon......Wrong.
By Esk Hause im now at the back trying to persuade the racing group ahead, which now included Steve B, to slow down and enjoy the views, Its not very often we up here in such good clear conditions. My plea fell on deaf ears.
Two weeks earlier it took us (without daft Sam and Kim) 80 mins to get to the pike. On Wednesday it took us 62. The photo below shows what Steve thought of it.
Kim, Steve and Sam
The idea of this run was to recce the scree run and corridor route for the upcoming Borrowdale fell race and before long we running down the scree run which included very little scree.
Quick way off Scafell Pike
By the time we got to Styhead tarn I made the mistake of jokingly suggesting we should go up gable too...

Scafells from Great Gable
Sam and Kim admire the view. Steve looks to sit down. 
We eventually get back to the car and waiting tins of coke. 10.5 mile and 4400 ft. Im also thinking of picking my running mates differently for recovery runs.

Thursday and Friday I spend recovering...... well not quite true, I couldn't be arsed.

On Saturday  I did the Coledale Horseshoe race route with Steve Angus in the rain.
Very enjoyable apart from the fact that Steve started complaining on the final hill of Barrow that he thought he was doing Grasmoor and Hopegill head too (the walkers horseshoe).... funny tho he didn't mention this on the rain lashed top of Grisedale.

On Sunday I was all set to to do a 13 mile road run, which I have neglected for 3 weeks now, when Stevie A texted me to see if I fancied doing the Blencathra Race route. Its pouring down but sounds better then the lone road run.

Steve is entered into the Lakeland 50 this year and has really put some hard fell miles in lately and like yesterday, he really put me to the sword on the climbs. I think and hope if he keeps his head and not start chatting his way around, he could do really well , fingers crossed for him.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Wasdale Fell Race

21 mile/9000ft

Well it doesn't get any tougher then that.
21 miles, 5 summits and 9000ft of climbing over some of Lakelands roughest/highest ground.

Did I under estimate it.... yes.
Did I think I was fit enough to do it .....yes.
Did I set off too fast, after been told by much better runners then me, to take the first 2 hours easy.....yes.
Am I a numpty.... you bet!!!

I lined up on the start line with club mate Sam Ware, my plan was to run with him for as much as I could.
We set off with about 266 other runners and the climb up Whin Rigg was a lot longer then I thought it would be.... bloody map deceives me again.

Once up on top tho and its good running and I follow Sam, who is following a Dark Peak fella.
Clag caused us all to stop when DP guy stops and says we missed first checkpoint.A quick discussion and 5 other runner streaming past and we off again. Maybe a minute lost but no need to panic, still 19 miles to go.

The run down to the valley floor and the heat its you again.

Running easy and chatting effortlessly to Sam and I'm enjoying it. The run to Greendale is soon done and we are met by Joss, who is handing out water, Sam thinks about a autograph but I remind him that we in a fell race.
The Screes

We climb Seatallan together and Sam says is legs are dead (he did a 9hr fell run on Wednesday). Secretly im pleased, it means I can keep up with him. I tell him to get some food and drink down on the climb and he be fine when we reach the top. We are chatting away, with DP runner just behind, when out of the blue Sam decides to start running again. I know its too early for me but foolishly I set off with him.

We soon catch Paul Nield up of Bowland and we reach the second checkpoint. Sam is first to dib and by the time we have registered our dibs Sam has done a full circle of the summit, unsure of the way off. This amuses me greatly.

The run over to Pilar is a long slog and im in a group of four who seem to be running easily, this is where I should of backed off and took it easy but foolishly I kid myself I can keep it up.

On the climb to Pilar and Sam has got a good minute ahead, Paul and DP not far behind me.
The top in clag and Paul has gone a different way, DP looks a bit unsure and I show him the grassy line off but within 5 minutes we out of the cloud and he whizzes past me.

I stumble down to Black Sail Pass and get a bottle of Peter, who had carried bottles up for Ellenboro lads.
While im getting my bottle Paul runs past along with 2 other runners, I set of again but soon realise im knackered, thirsty and hungry. I walk when I should be running. I fill my bottle up at the stream crossing, I walk a bit more and drink. I have a gel and a jelly bean, but I only have a stinger bar which tastes disgusting, why did I not stick with the triad and tested Eccles Cake that works so well for me..... oh yeah thats right, the day before the stingers were half price....idiot!!

I somehow find myself climbing Gable. Half way up I stop. I look around and see a fast approaching group coming towards me. I don't care. I stand there admiring the view, savouring the last drops from my bottle.

Somehow I reach the top and I think back to 2 weeks earlier, when me and Sam raced each other to the summit. No chance today, I'm thinking of jacking in.
Nick Ray overtakes me on the descent and gives me some encouraging words and persuades  me to keep going, that I have gone too far and its only a short ridge run back.
I know he's lying but its enough to keep me going.

I carry on getting passed and at Esk Hause I suffer cramp in both quads, agony.....I'm f**king hating this now.
The cramp goes and I try a light jog, I hit a stone and stumble, cramp again. Walkers looking at me must be thinking "what a loser" and im thinking the same. Antoher runner goes past.

Scafell Pike reached and its all downhill, first third on rock and boulders, a nice 300-400 yards on grass and the remaining down Lingmell Nose, which if your fit and well is a delight. When your legs have gone, its agony. I lookup and the view of Wastwater is fantastic, but looks a along way away. A quick glance at my watch and if I hurry up I can get back under 5 hours.

I do, with 20 seconds to spare and in 38th posistion. I vow never again.

other eden runners were

Kim Colinsin an amazing 5th in 4.16
Sam did superb 4.38.
Olly 5.22 (well not quite eden yet)
Jon Toombs was lucky and got timed out.

Rhys Findlay- Robinson and Joss Naylor

Tea and cake and more cake and all of a sudden its been a good race and next year maybe, just maybe I will remember my Eccles Cakes.

Ben Abdlelnoor was first man and Hazel Robinson first lady.

 Ian Charters was running and as well as taking some stunning photos, also got in on the prizes.
spotlight on IWC

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Wasdale Fell Race

21 mile/900ft

ROCK HARD.... Hardest thing I have ever done  (even harder then Tomb Raider 1 without cheats)

Full report to follow, after much needed alcohol.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Lazy Bones

Had a very lazy week- no where near my 40-50 miles or 7-10000 ft.

Just been one of them weeks where I have either been tired or not had time to fit a run in, mainly though I have been feeling washed out so made the most of it and drank and ate well !!!

Monday I made the pilgrimage to the speed sessions where we ran 8 x 200m flat out.... rock hard!!! went home a broken man.

Tuesday I did nowt knowing that I was running with the 2 Steve's the next night.

2 Steve's running along the corridor route

Wednesday we all met up at Seathwaite Farm and ran up to Styhead Tarn, Esk Hause and up to Scafell Pike. The top was in cloud and made our way back down the corridor Route, but not before missing the turn off point by a good 500m, and having to climb back up again. We should off followed Scamp (Stveie As dog) as he was on the right path till I shouted him back!! Luckily for me the 2 Steve's weren't up for fast running this week.
Scamp sniffs his way out of Piers Gil

Thursday, Friday, Saturday......... Nowt.

Today, Sunday I left the with intentions of running up Blencathra, but on the way out I noticed Great Mell Fell looking lonely, so  I parked up and ran up it. Once on top I noticed Little Mell and made my way to it.
They might be small fells but they provided me with a good hard run...... and a change is as good as a rest.
Ullswater from Little Mell
Seldom seen Golden Eagle.... on Gt Mell of all places

Last week I entered Wasdale, but after having a quick look at the entry list my names not on and my cheques not been cashed yet...... fingers crossed......that im not !!!!