Thursday, January 31, 2008

Saturday 2nd February 2008

Black Dog Belmont 8.30 a.m. for a final assault on Darwen Tower.


Monday, January 28, 2008

That's Lyth report

Perfect weather and underfoot conditions made for an excellent outing. Not having taken part in the event for the past five years, I calculated a conservative target of my slowest previous time plus an extra minute per mile. FSS and NLN were welcome familiar faces at registration.

By the time I reached the first control manned by FSS my target was obviously within grasp and as the miles went by the going, in spite of all the hills, got easier. By checkpoint 3 where NLN was dispensing drinks and biscuits with great charm there was still no sign of fatigue, and from there it was a steady plod over Scout Scar to the finish in Kendal, 37 minutes ahead of my target.

Time for 23.59 miles was 4hr 28 mins 49 secs ~ an average over hill and dale of 11 mins 21 secs per mile. It was not my fastest ever time but it was 12 minutes in front of the slowest which was recorded in 1999. This is an excellent, if testing, event and is thoroughly recommended.


Who is "no"? ~ see comment.

Not Another 49er!

Yes, Chernobyl 10k 27th Jan ~ 49.14 ~ same as Waddington.

Must try even harder.


Friday, January 25, 2008

Ferreting About on Winter Hill

For a bit of a change (Thurs 24/01/08) we ran (!) up Foxholes, along Georges Lane and then off-road along Burnt Edge to the mast road, where we bumped into Norman's group. Norman eventually appeared and surprisingly asked if we wanted a ferret, because he had one in his boot (strange, most folk keep them in their trousers). Apparently he had found it wandering along the road at about 1,300 ft. No-one took him up on his offer (not much room in a pair of lycra strides).

We carried on to the end of the tarmac past the masts, then turned to come home and on the way down found another ferret! No-one seemed to want to adopt it so we reluctantly left it to its fate.

We all agreed that it's bad enough to dump unwanted pets, when it wouldn't take too much effort to find them a home, but it's particularly callous to dump the beasts up on Winter Hill on a very poor night, when they're almost bound to suffer a lingering death from exposure. (Even worse to die alone, Norman having abducted its mate.)

Read a horror story a while ago about a bloke who threw his daughter's teddy bear out of the car window in a fit of peak. A few weeks later his wife found him in the bedroom with his throat torn out and the teddy bear tucked up with the daughter. The little girl was pleased to have her bear back but was puzzled by the way the bottoms of its legs were all worn away ~ as if it had walked a long distance.

Perhaps a similar fate will meet the ferret dumper.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Saturday 26th Jan 2008 ~ If You Think You're Hard Enough

Recent Saturdays have gone for distance rather than effort, so my suggestion for this week is to do a bit more of a workout.

We take the diagonal route through the gardens to the corner of Wilderswood. We then start our stopwatches and do the climbs (Two Lads, Pike, Noon Hill & Winter Hill) stopping our watches as we hit the tarmac, all to be done as a group, except perhaps for the final climb. Target time 50 minutes, but don't break down in tears unless we go over the hour.

Then it's down and up the ramp as a pursuit (staggered start and almost definitely an even more staggered finish) followed by a gentle cruise past Two Lads and back via Baskerville Barracks, through the gardens to the cars.

Should all be do-able inside three hours ~ or we could just mooch round in the mud.

8.30 from the bottom barn


Monday, January 21, 2008

Chernobyl 10k ~ Sunday 27th Jan

I used to say that I didn't like 10k's, as they are too fast and furious and you don't get time to admire the view. However I try and do two or three each year, partly to develop a bit of pace and also as a fairly absolute assessment of my level of fitness. On the fells you can always blame the conditions if you have a bad one, whilst with a 10k, although the courses do vary a bit, what goes up must come down, so even hilly courses aren't much slower than ostensibly "faster" ones.

My last four 10k's have all had very similar outcomes:

Dec '06 Ribble Valley ~ 49.51 (PW)

Apr '07 Burnley ~ 49.24

Oct '07 Waddington ~ 49.14

Jan '08 Garstang ~ 49.35

This Sunday it's the Chernobyl 10k at Lostock Hall, Preston. What will be the outcome? Will I get back to a sub 49? I like to think so. Or will it be another boring old 49 something, or (horrors) will I finally go over the 50 minute mark?

Watch this space, and don't push me into anything too energetic on Saturday.

Saturday 26th January - Great Winter Hill Race

As there has been no response to my suggestion of doing this route next Saturday, I'll put it on the back burner. Perhaps one for a warm Summer's midweek evening?

I'll be a the bottom barn 8.30 as per usual.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Edale Skyline

Just in case anyone is interested, the 21 mile 4,500 ft Edale Skyline is on Sunday 30th March.

Saturday 19th January 2008

Forecast is "light rain", but that's probably at sea level.

JtE has made arrangements for us to use the car park at the Black Dog (something about the amount of money he's put over the bar should've made him a shareholder) but there are special conditions, so expect to see him in his hi-viz directing the traffic.

Usual kick-off time of 8.30 for a magical mystery tour of the far flung reaches of the Amble. Anything from 16 to 18 miles depending on route from Slipper Lowe back to Belmont.

With regard to NLN's suggestion of a pre-meet at the barn to share driving (see comments), I'll call in at 8.10, planning to leave at 8.15, but as I don't know how long my pass is for, I may need to cut the run a bit short so any pasenger/s may need to change horses in mid stream (as it were) but I'm sure there'll be alternative lifts available.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Young John Not Hindered By Tired Old Legs

Despite currently averaging 60 miles a week, and despite his seven year age handicap, Young John still took the best part of three minutes out of me in clocking 46:52 at yesterday's Garstang 10k, and picking up the 1st over 65 prize.

In my defence:

1. John hadn't done the round trip to Darwen Tower the day before (but he had raced a cross country on Saturday and done an eight mile training run on the morning of the race!).

2. John's time had deteriorated by a couple of minutes since we last met at Garstang, but mine was virtually the same.

4. I missed the start (again) (but only by a few seconds).

3. He always beats me on 10k's.

Despite this sound but routine thrashing, I was not too unhappy with my time of 49:35. I'm at my heaviest ever and thought that this was likely to the time I finally went over 50 minutes, but delayed that ignominy for another day..

For the record, the race was won by Ewen Malloch of Woodford Green in 32:04, Russell Maddams of Horwich was fifth in 33:45, 50 year old Paul Muller was seventh and beat all the other vets in 34:15 and Mark Lysycia (V45) was 92nd in 42:31. First lady was Maria Lowe of Salford in 16th place overall in a time of 36:11.

On the weight front, I am not being helped by people. Only last Thursday, Louise, our neighbour brought round two pounds of biscuits by way of an apology for her shed roof having blown into our garden and broken a few plant pots, and on the same evening the Galloping Major handed over six pint bottles of premium beer as thanks or me having run my eye over some accounts for him. Woe is me (all of me).

EtU (In a couple of months time you'll be asking if the "U" stands for "undernourished")

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Which Way Is Darwen Tower?

It's now some time since FSS, Mat and I got lost on the way back from Darwen Tower, so I suppose it was about time something similar went wrong again.

Only this time it was on the way there. I was demonstrating my knowledge (!) of a slight variation on our standard approach where we go off road to the right for a short while on a loop south eastish (I only ever do 'ish') of Hollinshead Hall. The variation was not to return to the road but to keep parallel to it and then hit the track which takes you up on to the main ridge (Catherine's Edge, or a continuation of it?).

Unfortunately we went a bit high to avoid a couple of gullies and ended up having to cross a couple of barbed wire fences and approached the gate at the top sort of sideways. JtE wasn't impressed! Serves me right for showing off.

Obviously the lesson to be learned is that when we're without our cleverer companions we should stick to routes we know really well; perhaps we should just stay on the road.

The Birthday Bash (Winter Hill Recce)...

...proved to be a most worthwhile midweek outing. TF doesn't really need to recce anything around Winter Hill but regular training on the course should ensure accurate navigation in even the thickest clag. (Why does my spellchecker not recognise the word clag? {EtU says "add it to your dictionary}) We concentrated on the first and last bits, foregoing the boggy delights of the two sections nearest the Horden Stoops road, clocking up 10.78 miles in 2hr 53min (16.05 mins per mile).

Having in the past tried different routes from the checkpoint at the junction of the two streams (second time round) it was interesting to see TF's straight line to the plantation on the knoll using a stile and a gate to emerge on Georges Lane spot on for the descent to the school. I'm still unclear about the last bit through the gardens but if I get that far there's bound to be someone to follow.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

She's Sporty, She's Forty and She's Taking This One Very Seriously

TF's being doing some research and passes this on:

Hi Tony,

Could you help me out by confirming what the route for this year's race will be from checkpoint 9? I've been told two versions, and reccied both with the Swift Brothers et al. Are we running up the track and through the gardens or are we doubling back at the gate to the gardens to rejoin Georges Lane? Preferably I like to use a bit of 'local knowledge' and find a flatter route back, but guess that's not allowed!

Kind Regards

Hi Julie,

I have been told by United Utilities that we can use the original route through the Terraced Gardens this year.From CP9 you must keep to the agreed route you are not allowed to deviate.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Easter Pikes?

FSS (NLN's other half) asks if the Easter Pikes outing is on. I was wondering when to introduce this, and the answer is definitely "yes".

YJ and I conceived this in 1996 when we were training for his BG. He had decided that the Pike Race alone wouldn't provide enough miles (miles is everything in John's book), so on the morning of the Pike race we bobbed up to the Old Dungeon Ghyll and bagged Scafell Pike, then drove back to do our local race. We've done it every year since except for the 2001 F&M. YJ and I have been the core team and every other year or so we have some company for the Lakeland end, but I think Ian is the only one to have done Scafell Pike with us and followed up with the race.

The upside is that it's a great way to spend Easter Saturday, and you get a real buzz out of beating anyone in the race (yes, anyone), in the knowledge that you've done a longer warm up than is really wise. The downside is that you don't tend to beat very many. In fact last year, having made inadequate allowance for our downhill spiral, we hadn't allowed enough time for the northern part of the exercise and missed the start of the race. I managed to catch two three of the tail enders, but YJ didn't catch anybody and was last.

So it's game on for 2008; the more the merrier.


Great Winter Hill Race

Is there any interest in the re-enactment of this race? I had suggested Saturday 26th Jan ~ see earlier post on 2nd December .

Are They Back Yet?

It's now 13.34 hours on Tuesday 8th January, and our intrepid pair (combined ages 108!) should be back from Winter Hill. How'd it go?

Life Begins!

I'm sure I speak for the whole gang when I wish TF a very happy birthday. It's a big one, but as it's deemed impolite to mention a lady's age, (surely that can't include fell runners) we'll not say exactly which one (but it rhymes with sporty).

Hope your legs come clean after your morning celebration.

Many happy returns.


Monday, January 07, 2008

Saturday 12th Jan

JtE has suggested that we head for Darwen Tower; usual start time of 8.30 from the Bottom Barn.


Friday, January 04, 2008

JtE's 2007 and Other Stuff

I am ashamed to admit that my mileage for 2007 is a meagre 877 (17/wk) . No wonder I always run at the back. Running at the back however has one compensation and that is that I don't have to wait for anyone else thus making compliance with EtU's rules for allowable mileage simpler.

Happy New Year to all gang members and thanks for the various greetings placed on the blog.

How Do You Explain...

This is a competition. How do you explain to an 11 year old why it's colder on top of a mountain than it is at sea level, despite being nearer the sun? Submissions will be judged on lucidity and brevity (rules out Mat then).

Competition closes 31st January 2008. Emailing your answer to me, rather than posting it as a comment will preserve the tension and stop folk plagiarising and subsequently improving on your submission. Only one entry will be judged for each contestant, but you may ask for an earlier submission to be replaced by a later one.

A prize (which will be contained in a bottle ~ but it won't be a ship or a message) will only be awarded if there are entries from more than one person. EtU's decision is final.

Answers which start off "Stands to reason dunnit..." will probably not succeed on the grounds of (inter alia) lack of brevity, as they will have wasted four words already.


With regard to Ian's explanations (see comments) I'm not entirely convinced by either, particularly the (er) scientific one. I have no problem with compressing a gas (or a liquid for that matter) generating heat, and vice versa for releasing pressure, but this is not a lasting effect. Once compressed or released the heat (or lack of it) dissipates and the gas assumes the temperature of its surroundings. If Ian's explanation held good, pressurised containers would remain permanently hot. Also, as gasses and liquids tend to behave similarly, wouldn't it be permanently warm at the bottom of the ocean (or the bottom of a mine) where there's lots of pressure?

Going back to his first explanation, I don't see why rarified should necessarily mean colder. A bottle of hydrogen at normal atmospheric pressure would be much rarer and would hold less heat than a bottle of nitrogen, but would be at the same temperature and not therefore feel any colder.

But this is helping; a germ of understanding is growing and I am now much nearer understanding and being able to articulate the reason why it's colder up there. Thank you.

The competition remains open.


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Nic O's 2007 and Other Stuff

Well there I was pretty confident that my total was in the multi thousands but it's 1,358 (26/week) and I haven't counted walks although like NLN it's hard not to count serious hill walks and long bike rides.

Went for a New Years Day run with TF and spent over 3 hours reccying Winter Hill race and still only covered 9 miles!!! Definately not a girly race.

See you all Saturday and Happy New Year to you all. Might have our youngest recruit with me if his owner gets up in time to drop him off.

Nick O
NLN's 2007 (or part of it) and Other Stuff

Having only become a 'runner' on 29th September 2007, mileage records are something I have never considered. However, it seems that this is now something I need to do. Fortunately, the polar software that I have been using for some considerable time, as a means of general interest in recording HR for fitness and calories burned for the range of activities that I engage in, also has the ability to record miles. Having backtracked and entered this data from joining the Saturday Gang (end Sept) and using Ian's methodical and extensive records for our Sunday outings, it would seem that I have accumulated as near as can be estimated 327 miles, giving an average of 25 mpw. I never thought I would end up recording and publishing this kind of detail but it appears that this is what runners need to do! So I'd better get on with it and make a point of recording miles for this year.

Perhaps my more experienced comrades can answer two questions for me. Is it just miles run, or does one include walking miles? I have left out the 50 or so miles covered in Mallorca in a week's walking in October.

When does a walk become a run? I walk/jog once a week with a friend at her pace, which is slowly improving. Should these 4.5 miles be counted in my log?

I'm feeling slightly detached from you all at the moment but wish everybody a happy new year. Having braved the poor weather in the North Lakes between Christmas and New Year, allowing for only one full day out, this Saturday sees our first outing with the Rucksack Club on their Marsden to Edale jaunt, so not around again (do I count these miles?). Following Saturday, engagements in Glasgow mitigate attendance but looking forward to seeing you all on 19th Jan and from hearing from you on my queries.

Confused of Aspull (NLN)

Ed replies ~ My rule has always been not to include walks, because I would have to include shopping and you would then see how I spend Saturday afternoons. The exception to this is that miles walked when you set off to run but walk because you are exhausted are counted (logic difficult to explain, but if you didn't, you'd have to exclude all the steep uphill bits plus about half of a BG) ~ s'pose you include walking if you would run if you could. Slow running with a less fit companion must count, otherwise only one of us would be able to count Saturday mornings, but not sure what you should do about the bits you walk because your companion is tired. Perhaps you should keep running ahead and then wait for her to catch up; not very friendly, but at least you could count all the miles. You'll have to explain why you're doing this, otherwise she'll just think you're showing off.

For 2008 I am considering ignoring miles and working solely on calories burned. This would involve recording total calorific value value of food and drink consumed, with an adjustment for any weight gain or loss. Are there any obvious flaws in this?

By the way, men don't shop, they go out to buy things only when their old favourite thing has been thrown out by somebody who says it's not fit to be seen in (ask about the tramp my daughter saw).


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

YJ's 2007 and What Can a Garmin Do?

1. My mileage total for 2007 was 2265. (Just over 43 a week ~ pipped at the post by TF ~ but do you count halves? EtU)

2. The Garmin did not give a figure for ascent last Saturday as requested by TF but there is a way of customising the display to show 'elevation.' I shall experiment to see if this means ascent and if so what other info I may have to sacrifice.

What Am I to Do... lunchtimes now I can't find

Anyone know what's happened to it?


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2007 Mileage

I ran 1610 miles, equating fairly closely to 31 a week. Anyone else want to offer theirs?

Responses such as "Don't know", "Don't care" or "Don't know and don't care" are equally acceptable and may possibly be even more enlightening.

Persons who became runners during the year may wish to declare the date at which they achieved the transformation (elevation?) and their mileage from that point.

Hope all our readers have a healthy, happy and, if it matters, a prosperous 2008.