Thursday, June 26, 2008

Dentists Make Me Nervous...

...especially female ones, four feet twelve tall, one place behind me in a fell race. And so it was at Aggie's Staircase tonight at Darwen. OK, I've had to get used to T'Yorkshireman beating me in fell races; but TF had always been a reasonable distance behind, not a worry, just our protege, bobbing along and no imminent threat.

Tonight was different, she had me worried. I felt like Butch and Sundance when they were on the run to Bolivia; every time they thought they were clear, they'd stop and listen, and the Pinkerton Agents were still behind them, and every time, a little closer. So it was with the little figure in the blue cag. TF didn't beat me, but it was a close call.

But mustn't get downhearted, or neurotic; it's no good having a protege if you get upset when they are ready to beat you. But it was worse than that, I broke the golden rule of fell running: don't race the guy behind, race the guy in front. Tonight I was racing the guy(!) behind.

More generally, the night was even wetter than last year's race, with so much water that it was more like gill scrambling than fell running. There was a good Horwich turnout, with Dennis Mason first home for Horwich in what we think was eighth place. Suzanne, third lady overall and first o45. No prize for her at first, but a bit of barracking from the wfdbwgua squad, when the second open lady (fourth lady overall) was awarded a prize, secured her a bottle of wine.

Colin Waterworth, having cycled to the race from Bury, beat Richard Longlands and all our little squad, and T'Yorkshireman beat me by about a minute and a half. Several other Horwich runners beat Colin but I'm afraid I didn't know any of them. (No results at time of posting).

Marks out of ten for this race? Six I think, not enough open running and twice past the Tower stop it ever being a classic.

What No Cake!

I also had wondered about Eddie's Revenge (something about the name I guess) but what with a dearth of home make cakes and the need to cut the lawns before heading north on Saturday, I decided on a short road run from home instead and will do Aggie's tonight now the grass has been seen to.

Think we should start scoring races out of ten. So to aid next year's planning, what would TF rate E's R?

Fair exchange, no robbery

This week's a reduced mileage week, so a good opportunity to do a few short races. The FRA calendar had a good selection of races for last night. But the one that caught my eye was advertising free entry if you provided a homemade cake for the raffle. It also had the benefit of being the closest to get to from work. So 'Eddies Revenge' it was, a 3.8m blast round Crompton Moor, Shaw nr Oldham.

Here's a map of the route. Can any of you work out which way it went?

Thankfully there were plenty of flags and Middleton Harriers and the local Scout Group out marshalling, so no one got lost. And some chap called Eddie definitely had his revenge 'cos when checking my watch at the highest point, 20mins had elapsed. So the return was bound to be less. How wrong can you be! A hefty 41:55mins on crossing the finish line.

Having dropped off a Victoria Sponge & Sticky Toffee Pudding to claim my free entry, I came away with a can of Carlsberg and a box of chocolates (spot prize).


I'm afraid I wont be able to make Saturday this week, but will out for a trot round next Thurs and Sat.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008



See you at 8.30 LB


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Saturday 28th June '08

I shall be running from the Lower Barn at about 7 a.m. on Saturday. Most of the regulars are otherwise engaged (holidays) but if anyone else indicates (via blog or e-mail) that they will be turning out I will happily return to the Lower Barn for 8.30, otherwise I will just keep running off into the distance!

Thursday 26th June

I'm doing Aggie's Staircase (as I think is TF) and JtE is in Scotland.

Will anyone be in the usual place at the usual time and how about 3rd July when I'm in the Lakes?


Saturday 12th July ~ Wasdale

This is my Big One this year, although I'm not running anywhere near how I should be, with the extra miles I've put in; perhaps it will be all right on the night, as it were.

Anyway, as it stands, I'm travelling up on the day, on my own, and would be happy to give a lift to anyone either doing the race or just fancying a wander round the Wasdale fells. Leaving at about 7:30, hoping to be back 8 ish.


Thought I’d just share this one with you.

Yesterday a parent came in to make an appointment for his 6 year daughter who had toothache. The family is Chinese, and the parent didn’t speak very good English, so he was asked to bring someone with him who does speak English in order to help translate.

Anyway Dad and daughter arrive for the appointment today whilst I’m seeing to another patient. Our receptionist informs me that dad has come with another adult, so I ask her to get them to complete a medical form whilst they are waiting.

On returning to reception I see Dad sat talking to another man in the waiting room. This bloke is of Afro-Caribbean origin and I’m therefore suitably impressed that he’d be able to speak Mandarin.

They are all ushered into the surgery and the little girl sits on the dental chair and lets me have a look at her teeth. It’s fairly obvious what’s causing the problem – loads of grotty teeth, but I need to ask a few questions to decide whether anti-biotics are required. At this point I look at the adult who’s come with Dad and say ‘can you ask her Dad how long she’s had the toothache and whether it’s been keeping her awake at night’

He then turns to Dad and in English repeats what I’ve just said, verbatim. I’m gobsmacked. Immediately realising that this bloke is going to be no use whatsoever, I then repeat the question addressing it to Dad this time, speaking slower and in somewhat stilted English. Our would-be ‘translator’ then repeats everything I’ve said in exactly the same manner. At this point my nurse leaves the room, unable to control her laughter for any longer. Being the true professional that I am, I manage to see it through to the end, just. Dad finally understood that his daughter needed a prescription and a referral for extractions under general anaesthetic, I think.

Reservoir Bogs 7m/1100ft

A bit of background info. It’s the 2nd race of part of a 3 day race series organised by Calder Valley Fell Runners. The route changes every year, maps with check-points are handed out with your number at registration. Last year I started, but wasn’t allowed to finish as I didn’t make the cut-off time.

Although desperately upset by this (it was my first ‘dnf’) I wasn’t the only one this affected. The rest of my associate retirees were from two clubs from Leicester and Essex who come ‘up north’ for a weekend of traipsing the Pennine Moors, while being refreshed by the local ales. Being dnf’d in the middle race would affect their standing in the whole series. In retrospect, instead of leaving in a huff, I should have stayed last year to add my two-penny-worth to the post-race discussion. Just as well I didn’t, as we got a generous 45 min early start option for this years’ race; I’d have argued for 30 mins.

So this is how 9 of us came to stand ready for the off at 10:45am on a drizzly Saturday morning, complete with our very own sweeper-marshall just to make sure we didn’t stray too far off course.

It was all a bit ‘Fred Karnos’ in the first 10 mins though. First, one runner started to spill his stash of mini mars bars, so we got slowed up whilst he scooped them up. Then the faster runner at the front turned to follow the flags marked out for the return route, no one shouted him back as it was obvious he shouldn’t have been with us anyway. And then when we reached the start of the moor and the first check-point, we’d got there before its marshall. Bet Thirza, our sweeper for the day, wondered what she’d let herself in for!

Thankfully for me the rest of the race passed uneventful. I was 2nd slow one, first lady and 9th back overall. Definitely very weird, and not wishing to be confused as a good runner, had to point out that I’d had an early start as I crossed the finish line. As if they didn’t know!


Monday, June 23, 2008

World Silver Medallists

There were four teams toed the line in Lee Lane Horwich at about 5:00 pm on Sunday 22nd June for this, the inaugural World Railway Sleeper Carrying Relay Championship. Each member of the team had to carry the sleeper along the 50 metre course and put it down on the "bale station" to be picked up by the next runner who then ran back up the course with it for the third runner to take it back again before the last man ran the final 50 to the finish. Two teams ran against each other with the winner decided on the overall fastest time. First two teams to go were Dragonfly Landscape Gardeners and Sue's Hayesmen.

The Gardeners were all sturdy lads and must have been sprinters in their day, because as soon as the hooter sounded the "off" it was clear all the rest of us were running for second place. Geoff Holloway went first for Sue's team, and classy runner that he is, he was significantly hampered by the sleeper. The gardener must have taken 15 metres out of him in the 50 metre course. Second to go for Sue was Sue herself, who adopted the slightly strange technique of cradling the sleeper like a baby. Sue handed over to Tony Varley, who tore a calf muscle on his second stride and stopped dead. Then, as if from nowhere, Kev Gaskell leaped the barrier, picked up the sleeper and finished his leg for him. Unfortunately by the time Kev had handed over to Doug (Mr Sue) the fourth gardener was crossing the finishing line.

Next it was the Lostock Losers versus the Anne Fan Club (that's us). Alan (that's him on the left in the dark top) went off first for us against Lostock's John Smith who unfortunately managed to fall over (been having lessons from YJ?). However Alan's run wasn't without problems, in that when he picked the sleeper up, he managed to slide his hand under the baling twine and nearly took off with the bale as well. Alan handed a good lead over to me (white top, silly grin), but I fumbled the pickup slightly and was nearly caught by a muscular youth running Lostock's second leg. I handed over to Dean (Lonsdale top), who was both fast and technically near perfect. Dean ran against Alan Jones, who's even older than me, so it was no contest, and he opened up a good lead. Dean handed over to Robin (big lad on the right) who stormed home, but unfortunately, having played a bit of league, didn't know how to stop. He over-ran the bale station at the finish and had to come back and place the sleeper before he was timed in. Albert trailed in some time after for Lostock.

The results: Sue's Hayesmen were disqualified for using an unregistered runner (Kev). The Lostock Losers lost ~ well they would, wouldn't they? And we placed second, just two seconds behind the Gardeners. Now, if Alan hadn't lost a second getting caught up in the baling twine, and if I hadn't lost a second with the fumble and if Robin hadn't lost a second over-running...

The prediction for next year is that there will be lots more teams and folk will be doing some serious training.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Message 1 from Nicole

Been to Canada and survived trip. Didn't see much of Canada as it was a full time job looking after my mum, but she enjoyed it very much and has come back much more alert. I doubt she will go again and I am certain I will never do it again.

The foxgloves look good, thanks for pic. (Nicole had given me some foxglove seedlings and they are now flowering, so I had emailed a piccy. Ed) Not seen any white ones here yet, actually very few flowers have come up so I must have done a good job digging them out last year. I'll keep looking though.

Seeing a specialist on Thursday so can let you know how it goes if I find out anything. Really miss you all. Congrats to John on his Josh N and good luck to Ian on his 55 next week. Been a bit too jealous to read the blog lately but will get back to keeping up with the Whiners.

Message 2 ~ Went to see specialist on Thursday. In ages. Anyway the advice was to run through the pain but they are sending me to biometrics for gait analysis to support me. Quite encouraging really although ran round the 2 mile moors run at night and it hurt all the time. Still no pain no gain.

Seems like I could have done the marathon after all. Felt like I was running with lead weights on legs, have lost so much fitness. Might take me a few weeks to build up to Saturday mornings but am looking forward to seeing you all.

We might all come to track soon. See you soon.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Two Lads ~ Thursday 19th June

A fine evening, following just enough rain to soften the ground without making it significantly slippery.

Another night for Horwich success, with the club taking first overall, courtesy of Darren Kay in 31:43, just one second in front of Danny Hope, brother of the course record holder Rob. Horwich also took the open and vets' men's team prizes. But only two Horwich ladies?

Salford men took 5th open team and 4th vets', but as with Horwich, seem to have been let down by their ladies.

It was interesting to see the Galloping Major run so close by his brother Mike, both clocking 45:02 ~ I trust it was a close race and they didn't just jog round holding hands (whatever happened to sibling rivalry?).

Further down the field (much further) T'Yorkshireman clocked 51:19 and I managed 52:24, closing last night's gap somewhat on this, my preferred terrain.

Back in the Bridge the bad news was that they now only sell one cask ale, and it's Holt's; the good news being that it's only £1.80 a pint. I bought two pints, one for me and one for my friend. The bad news was that I didn't have a friend (ahhhhh) the good news was that I got to drink his beer.

Just for the record, the course did go straight on at the waterworks and then turned right down the road for about 75 yards.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Jubilee ~ 18th June '08

The wet weather failed to daunt prospective entrants, and 173 runners completed the course in what was both the second Jubilee of the year and the second race in the 2008 "Tour".

Tour participants were identifiable by wearing their tour number on their back, so if you could see such a number you were behind a runner who had raced the day before!

Horwich had a virtual whitewash with 1st and second men overall (Gareth Booth and James Kevan) first O50 (Paul Muller) and 1st team, courtesy of these three plus Steve Nolan. We also took the men's vets' (discuss placing of apostrophes) award and a scattering of individual vets' awards. Horwich ladies took both the open and the vets' team awards.

Further down the field T'Yorkshireman clocked 37:17, YJ exactly one minute behind in 38:17, followed by Chrissie (the Whippet) Sweatman (1st F50) in 40:36 with, as has become the norm, Yours Truly trailing in in 42:08 (Things Can Only Get Better).


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

TF's Marathon Training (2)

Thanks for your response TF. I didn't build up to 11 laps on the basis of one additional lap at a time. I think that would have caused too much boredom, particularly as I did my training on my own. I, perhaps, started by doing about 5 laps, then 7, 9 and 11, but I was doing other training as well. As you know, mental attitude comes more easily with company. I wouldn't have been able to run a marathon distance on a "self sufficient" basis. I have found, over the years, that provided that there is a basic fitness, the human body behaves rather like a car. You put fuel in and it goes!

Why not try an initial 5 laps with some company and see how you feel.
JtE, I’m in awe, 11 times along Plodder Lane and Salford Road, I’m still struggling running them once! Did you build up to the full 11 laps, say by adding a lap each week? I only ask, as I’m just trying to decide on the required mental attitude to approach the task. I’ll admit that I’ve been trying to sort out routes which make my laps large enough so that I only have to run round them once. I take the point about refreshments, and although I've been assured that there are numerous water stations at Snowdonia, I have decided to train to be 'self-sufficient' just in case.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Who Ever Heard of Such a Thing?

With reference to JtE's previous post, I am a 61 year old property owning accountant, possessing neither a gun, a hooded sweatshirt (see below) nor a criminal record. As, such I would not wish to be descibed as a "gang member".

Would this preclude me from assisting TF if she were adopt the proposed training route? What do other members of our co-operaive think?


PS Although I belive that my elder brother does possess such a garment.

Monday, June 16, 2008

TF's Marathon Training

In response to EtU's request for additional suggestions in his posting of 03 June, how about this:

Locally to TF is a circuit from Four Lane Ends on the A6, via Plodder Lane, Watergate Lane, and Salford Road (A6) back to Four Lane Ends. The distance is 2.4 miles. 11 laps are, therefore, a marathon, more or less. Parking a car anywhere on the circuit marks a starting point and, of course, provides a drink and food station at 2.4 mile intervals. It also provides a point where the number of laps completed can be recorded. This can be very useful as tiredness creeps in. I did as I have described when training for The London and found it to be a very good system. If Julie were to try it, gang members could work out a rota system to accompany her.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Kinder Trog 16m/3490ft

The balls of my feet* had a cracking race this year. Shame I can’t say the same for the rest of the body attached to them. I finished (well that’s a plus I suppose at the moment), but a good 15mins down on last year. I can’t blame the conditions for this one, as you couldn’t wish for better; not too hot, a bit of breeze and dry underfoot. I could blame Andy Howie (Race Organiser), as one of his parting comments on setting us off were ‘should have some fast times today’. But that would be unkind, especially as he’d laid on a well organised race and a delicious array of jam butties at the end.

At the end of the day this one was down to me. Starting back on structured training this week has left me more ‘wiped’ out than I realised. So I guess I‘m right in opting for the early start option for Reservoir Bogs next week. Could be a while before I get to report a gud’un!


*Last summer I suffered a lot with excruciating foot pain when running on hard surfaces after changing to new, albeit same model, of fell shoes. Kinder Trog stood out in this respect as there’s a long stretch of stone slabs early on in the route. Finally I managed to solve the problem by switching model of shoe and paying more attention to ‘careful’ foot preparation. Note ‘careful’, as this involves a scalpel and something akin to ‘wet&dry’ sandpaper. Having watched the Chiropodist a few times, I realised I had the wherewithal to save myself a few quid. Usual disclaimers about ‘don’t try this at home’ apply as it’s not for those of a nervous/squeamish disposition and requires a steady hand, particularly when wielding something sharp and pointy and usually involved in blood-letting.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tebay 11th June

A short (! Ed) report on my excursion to the Northern Howgills.

Decided I'd have a go at an A medium for a midweek evening race and this fitted the bill. I was a bit concerned that I wouldn't finish before dark but decided that the terrain looked to my liking so gave it a go. 94 starters and a fairly swift gently uphill start. I wanted to keep at the back but also needed to take account of my poor descending so settled into a rhythm with maybe a dozen or so trailing as we headed to the first checkpoint at two and half miles in about 31 minutes before the first sharp descent into Uldale where of course I was overhauled by the majority.

Up the other side where I could work a bit on the climb before hitting a a level path which followed the contour. Alas I found it difficult to run because of the narrowness of the path. Eventually a drop back down to the stream followed by a climb to Uldale Head (checkpoint 2) where I could see myself pulling back toward the runner in front of me. On the relatively gentle descent from Uldale Head, I caught up the runner and checked that he was okay to which he responded in the affirmative, although a bit knackered. We ran together trying to find the best line towards Wessell Gill and were caught by a group of three who all went away on the final steep descent into the gill.

Then a nice hill, 1,000 foot of climb in three quarters of mile to the top of Blease Fell where I pulled two of them back but the other two had held their lead and went away from the top. All down hill for the final 2 and a half miles from the last checkpoint but not steep so I was pulling back on the two ahead who'd caught up with another runner whilst keeping ahead of those I'd passed. Would have got them except for taking a wrong line at one point which probably only lost me a minute, two at most. In the end I was happy with a finishing time of 2:09:39 in 91st place. I'd climbed well, I was moving with decent speed over the last couple of miles and my knees hadn't broken down ~ and I wasn't last!

Pie & Peas and a Pint at the Tebay Club afterwards made for a good, if late, night, with a 70 minute drive home afterwards. Next year I believe the race will be on a Saturday and be an AM counter in the FRA Champs. Well recommended.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Borrowdale Finishing Position

In response to TF's enquiry, if I get round Wasdale I'll expect to be in the top 90% at Borrowdale. If I'm timed out at Wasdale, I'll downgrade that to the top 95%.

Aim for the stars, and expect to fdbgua.


PS Must remind YJ not to take our motto too literally.

We did hear you! Entry list here Borrowdale Entries (for those that didn't believe him, no John though?). So how many do you reckon you'll beat then, not including the dns's & dnf's?


Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Sobering Thought (I've just got back from the Thatch)

The run we did tonight, that seemed to be a good distance, has been done by Rob Hope (that was his father who came past on the bike just before we set off) in 30 minutes and a few seconds.

For those that weren't listening (probably all of you) I've been accepted for Borrowdale ~ you don't have to go many years back and they were thanking you for entering.

Our Knight in (Not Quite Shining) Armour

I'll be running from the Lower Barn as usual on Saturday, starting at my usual time (7.00 am) (!Ed). I decided against the Kinder Trog on the grounds of lack of fitness and the need to regain confidence to stay upright.

The blood has now dried but some of the wounds still need covering. In the meantime I have been fitted with mountain biker's armour, crash hat, police stab vest and side and front airbags!


I hear that JtE has added a drip and sutures to his first aid kit ~ Ed
Two Towers, Holcombe Brook, Weds 11th May

Just four Harriers made the short journey to the Hare & Hounds to tackle this "new tougher" course, as the fell calendar described it. Indeed the course was tough, albeit slightly contrived with much doubling back and the ascent to the Jubilee Tower to be climbed twice. However it was very well marked and marshalled which meant that there was no problem with route finding.

The race was won by Sean Bolland of Bowland in 31:46 and, unusually, the first vet, Alan Life of CLeM was back in 8th place. First lady was Heather Corbishley of Rossendale, in 42:45 closely followed by our own Suzanne Budgett, 2nd lady and 1st F45 in 43:27, beating the seasoned Claire Kenny of Calder Valley into 2nd F45. Just over a minute behind Suzanne was Colin Waterworth, 4th M50 in 44:34. Maintaining the one Harrier per minute gap was Rachel Metcalfe, 2nd Senior Lady in 45:26.

Finally it was Yours Truly, not quite last man home, but very definitely failing on the "one Harrier" every minute front, clocking 53:37, and just managing to avoid being last M60.

Verdict ~ a well organised, very busy course, which must be very close to 5 miles. Was the beer good at the Hare and Hounds? Don’t know, didn’t stop to try it; how’s that for willpower?


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Thursday the 12th and Saturday the 14th

I'll be there. UTUP


Booze ~ To Summarise

It would seem that alcohol in itself is fattening, but only 90% as much as its total calorie content suggests, because 10% (ish) passes straight through the body.

I'm surprised that this %age remains constant, you'd think that once you became awash with the stuff, your system would get rid of it without feeling that it had to make any use of it, but if that's a fact, who am I to argue?

Apparently there are things called congeners that are more harmful than the alcohol itself and it's these that make you feel ill, rather than just dehydrated. They tend to be associated with dark colours, hence the generally accepted advice to stay on colourless drinks, but I'm not sure that a cocktail of vodka, gin and white rum would be more beneficial than, say, half a gallon of Moorhouse's Pride of Pendle, or Black Sheep or Bank Top Flat Cap (I could go on and on and on..).

Finally, anyone who is sober enough to drink large amounts of water before they go to bed, should go back to the pub until they're not.


PS ~ glad to see that JtE has got his font sizes fettled.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tired Legs and a Cropper

Saturday last saw the two Swifts and me take the well trodden route over Spitlers', Great Hill, White Coppice via the Brinscall deviation, and back via the reservoirs. for once I had the better of both of them as their intensive schedules, of recent times, had left them fairly devoid of leg strength.

At White Coppice an ascent of Healey Nab was bravely suggested. However, having climbed out of White Coppice via the tarmacadam road the idea of taking in Healy Nab became less attractive.It seemed that the direct route to Waterman's Cottage was a far more sensible proposition and this route was taken.

When the steep path to the side of the cascade,that exits the Yarrow reservoir, was reached, EtU was daft enough to make a race of it. YJ was not interested.

As we left the Yarrow behind, but were still on the stoney path, YJ fell heavily. This is what prompted EtU's comment towards the end of his posting "Yerbut...". The result was pretty horrendous, with him skinning both knees, his left shoulder (where there had been a scab from a previous fall!), and piercing his left temple to the extent that there was blood in his eye, down his face and neck and, somehow, on the back of his head. EtU and I patched him up and insisted on walking him back to his car. He wanted to run!

I am sure that everyone hopes that the fall doesn't stop you, John. Somehow, I don't think it will.


Monday, June 09, 2008

Races and Thursdays and Saturdays ~ EtU's June Schedule

Weds 11th ~ Holcombe Two Towers ~ in the calender

Thursday 12th ~ usual time, usual place (UTUP)

Saturday 14th ~ UTUP

Weds 18th ~ Jubilee (where's the start?)

Thursday 19 ~ Two Lads Race ~ in the calender

Saturday 21st ~ FSS's 55 ~ probably joining up at Wasdale

Thursday 26th ~ Aggies Staircase ~ in the calender

Saturday 28th ~ up to Santon Bridge for 8 nights.

Alcohol continued

Sorry to disappoint but the body absorbs approximately 90% of all the ingested alcohol regardless of how slowly or quickly it’s drunk. However on average, depending on gender, weight, genetics we can only metabolise approximately 8g/hour ie 1unit/hour, nothing to be done to speed this up except be a chronic alcoholic! The other 10% is excreted unaltered (got rid of) via the skin, lungs, saliva, sweat, urine. So if you decide to down 6 pints (2 units/pint) in an evening, this would take12hrs to clear, and the reason why quite a few fail the morning-after breath test. The road-side breath analyser is not sufficiently accurate on it’s own to determine absolute alcohol levels, hence the reason for a trip to the ‘cop-shop’ for a blood test to determine accurate blood alcohol concentration.

Going back even further to my undergraduate days, one of the only Physiology Seminars that we all remained attentive in, imparted the following useful advice.

1) Drink purer alcohol eg gin, vodka, white rum to reduce the hangovers

2) Drink loads of water before going to bed.

I think this website will answer most of your other questions
hangovers, the q&a's
Solstice Do on 11th July

Now booked. 15 places at the Thatch. Not sure why 15, it just sounded about right.

John, do you want to invite Rachel?


Sunday, June 08, 2008


...thank you, TF, for this info, it's good to see a bit of science and to be able to apply some figures, but the main confusion in the maths around the "alcohol makes you fatter" theme is the suggestion that all the alcohol is metabolised. The breathaliser legislation is be based on there being alcohol on a person's breath and in their urine; alcohol that cannot have been metabolised. So if it's being excreted as alcohol, it can't have been broken down, it's emerging with all its calories (or should we say Kalories?) intact.

So in order to know just how fattening it is, we need to know how much of it's being digested (less letters that "metabolised"). It would seem (no scientific datum to hand) that the more there is in a person's body, the more that just passes through and the less that is digested. So the more you drink, and the faster you drink it, the less fattening it is (proportionally of course). If you drink twice as much, it's more fattening than half as much, but not twice as much, if you get my drift.

Happy with one of the by-products being water, C2H5OH + 3O2 = 2CO2 + 3H2O, but then why is a drinker so thirsty the morning after? Again, it must be because much of the alcohol is not digested and the kidneys need additional water to flush it through.

So, alcohol is potentially fattening, but much of it just flows through the body, leaving in its wake a feeling of well being and possibly, on occasion, a feeling of slight frailty (or in extremis, a wish to die, or at least, a promise to join the Methodists).

Also, it's much more healthy than mega-miles; at least it doesn't make me fall over as much as my neo-teetotal elder brother.

I rest my cashe (hic!).


Friday, June 06, 2008

Alcohol makes you run better?

Mainly in an attempt to do something more useful in my resting phase than providing iffy race-route info (oops!), I decided to ponder EtU reliance on alcoholic beverages as a training aid and his question of ‘where do the calories come from?’ 10+ years ago, having spent a good deal of time studying Physiology and Biochemistry (among other subjects) to Post-Graduate level the answer would have been instantaneous. The ravages of time have meant recall is slower, to the point of not remembering. So I dusted off a few text-books, put them back on the shelf and tried the internet instead.

Memory refreshed; this is it in a nutshell. Alcohol is absorbed mainly from the stomach, where it travels to the liver via the blood stream to be metabolised (broken down). It’s this metabolisation process that produces the energy or ‘calories’. 1g of alcohol produces 7kcal. Relating this to other sources of energy 1g of fat produces 9kcal, 1g of protein or carbohydrate produces 4kcal. In practical terms 1 unit of alcohol is considered to have about 8g of alcohol. Half a pint of beer/larger/cider (1 unit) can vary from 85 to 205 kcal depending on the % of alcohol present.

Not to be outdone, I decided to give the books another try and managed to unearth this gem of information which may mean he’s on to something!

‘ … The metabolism of fat produces more water than either protein or carbohydrate

1g fat = 1.07g water
1g starch = 0.55g water
1g protein = 0.41g water
(1g alcohol = 1.17g water)

Although under normal circumstances this may not be an important consideration, when water supplies are restricted it is clearly advantageous that a large proportion of the energy requirement should be derived from fat or better still alcohol! On the other hand protein consumption should be kept low since urea produced from its metabolism requires water for its elimination via the kidneys.’ Biochemistry and Oral Biology, A S Cole and J E Eastoe 1983 p197
Bum Steer from TF for Henderson's End

Not one of my better outings, and JtE and the Man With No Pseudonym were wise to avoid it.

I ran from home as a warm up and to try to flush some of the residual Duddon lactic from my legs, but succeeded in doing neither. The map of the course was a little unclear, so I assured everyone that we didn't have to go to the top of the Pike, just follow the spiral path round to the right.

The midges were fairly wicked (in the traditional sense, not as in "Wicked, man" (do they still say "man"?)), so it was a relief to hear the gun/klaxon/shout of "Go!" (can't remember which), but this soon turned to despair when the likes of t'Yorkshireman and others quickly pulled away, leaving me trailing behind with just a few other would-be runners.

The gaps gradually widened and I was reduced to toing and froing with a slightly chubby young lady from Rossendale whom I passed on all the climbs, but was in turn passed by on all the descents.

As it turned out, we did have to go round the Pike tower, there was even a marshall on top with a big cardboard arrow pointing the way. Anyway, by the time I finished all the folk I had mis-advised had long gone, even t'Yorkshireman was on his third beaker of orange.

But look on the bright side; when I finally do have a good run, won't it be great.


Thursday, June 05, 2008

A Different Saturday

As most people were doing The Duddon Fell Race last Saturday I decided to turn up at the Lower Barn at the usual time, to run solo. However, within seconds of my arrival Icelandic Kev turned up and a few minutes later t'Yorkshireman. We set off to White Coppice via the lakes, then Great Hill, Spittlers, Hordern Stoops, Winter Hill via the flats (not much slutch for Ed. had he been there), then the Pike directly and back via the gardens. A good hard run in excellent weather.

I will be at the Lower Barn this coming Saturday.

Thursday 5th

See earlier post now confirming that there is a 6:45 run from the usual venue.


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Thursday/Saturday 5th & 7th

I'm doing Henderson's End from top barn at 7:30 on Thursday, see FRA calender, and TF's earlier post.

A 6:45 meet at the usual place for anyone not feeling competitive has now been confirmed.

Anyone feeling very competitive could meet at the usual place and then gallop over to the barn for the race.

Saturday ~ 8:30 bottom barn (fell), no idea about mileage requirements, might YJ be looking for a short one, might pigs fly?

Summer Solstice 'Do'

I'm ok for the 11th.

Saturday Runs

A lovely idea, but no rush for everyone else to decide if it's ok as I can only make Sat 28th this month (hairdressers 15th, racing 21st). If the general consensus is to go with it, then there'll be some other Saturdays I won't be able to make, so I'll check my training/racing planner. Yes, it's very anoraky & already awry due to the 'little virus' and only 3 days in, but no point planning a bit of road stuff if I'm not going to be there.

Whilst on the topic, entries for Snowdonia Marathon have now passed 1000, so anyone wishing to enter and see me cross the finish line will need to get their skates on. The website mentions an entry limit but doesn't specify what it is. On line entries here Snowdonia Marathon online entry and a postal entry form here Snowdonia Marathon postal entry

BTW I found this route description on the fra forum for tomorrows Hendersons End race, no excuses for getting lost and note you don't have to climb to the top of the Pike, good luck to all running!

"You follow the same start as winter hill fell race, but when you get to the pigeon tower you turn left, follow this along (to where you drop down from the trig point on winter hill) straight up the steep hill to the trig point, then on to the mast (this part depends if we are allowed to run past the mast, if not then just follow the short diversion) then it's on to two lads, last year we went along the road, this time we will follow the wall down on the right hand side to two lads, from two lads down to the sports man cottage (same route as 2 lads fell race), from here we turn right and onto the pike, you mustn't go straight over the pike, but go back along the path that winds round the pike, onto the pigeon tower and then straight back to the top barn."

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Marathon Training

In our continuing efforts to support TF's racing agenda, it is suggested that the Saturday morning sessions start to incorporate the odd (say once a month at first) road based run.

Suggestions (not to include "let's stay on the fells") are invited. My own proposals are that on a couple of occasions we meet in Chipping. For one outing we would visit the trig points on Fairsnape (Paddy's Pole), Beacon Fell and Longridge Fell, before returning to Chipping, the run being about 50/50 road and fell.

If folk like the area we could then arrange to go for the second option, which is much more extreme, and would involve running round the Trough of Bowland, a distance of about 28 road miles with loadsa climbing. NLN and FSS will be able to vouch for the hillyness (?) of even the lower stretches of this route around Oakenclough.

As I say, additional suggestions are invited.

Summer Solstice 'Do'

It's looking like 11th July (even though it's the night before Wasdale), but please let me know if that's not possible and you really want to come.

Duddon Valley

Well done to EtU and FSS and to YJ and Ray for their valiant attempts. Thank you everyone for all your support and encouragement during the lead up to this race. Hard though it was to call it quits at the top of Little Stand (or Little Sit Down as it'll be known to me) I had to remember the reasons for taking part, (a) to enjoy and (b) keep healthy, neither of which would have been the case if I'd have carried on.

I set this race as one of my challenges for the year. However disappointed I was to not succeed, I have to realize that something can only truly be a challenge if there is a risk of failure, and so it was to be. Having been inspired by all your achievements, I hope that eventually I'll be able to follow suit.

The little virus that decided to stick around for the tour of the Duddon Valley is still stubbornly hanging on. I have therefore decided to have a complete weeks rest before beginning training for the Marathon, so will be out again next week.


Monday, June 02, 2008

Corfu ~ Just Like Home

The view of the lower slopes of Pantokrator from the garden when we arrived.

Pantokrator from about 1,000 ft on a better day. The masts to the right indicate the summit with its monastery and taverna.

A lady we met in a local bar, who claimed she was a British international heptathlete; anyone recognise her?


Sunday, June 01, 2008

Did Anyone Have a Good'un at Duddon?

It was a beautiful day, albeit possibly a bit too warm, but with excellent visibility and good conditions underfoot, but it didn't seem to help our little band of runners.

Understandably, YJ still had last weekend in his legs, and despite a strong climb up Little Stand, decided to call it a day at the Three Shires Stone. Staffers, bravely turning out despite sad family news also caught the bus at this point. It was particularly disappointing to see TF, after all the work she'd put in, having to call it a day at the same point, having suffered from a cold during the week.

Yours truly, having been advised that maybe no booze is bad news, reverted to his usual mode of preparation only to fade badly after the rest of the gang got on the bus, finishing the best part of half an hour slower than last year. Award for best run of the day must go to FSS, who only lost 27 secs on last year, finishing in a fine 4:03.

Other Horwich entrants faired no better, with Albert clocking up another DNF (got to White Pike, but couldn't face Caw) with Tony V, seen at one point flat on his back near the top of Wetside Edge, saying "it's not much further, is it?", finally staggering in just seconds over 6 hours, posting what may be a PW for the whole of the club.

Good to see Mandy Goth of Tod, back in fine form after serious health problems, and offering Borrowdale entry forms to those who hadn't got up early enough to print their own off.

All in all, not the best of days from a results viewpoint, but a good Lakeland day out nevertheless.

Finally, TF, did you summon up the strength to knock the tent pegs in, and how did the marking go NLN?

Thursday 5th June

I'll be doing the Lostock fell race from the Top Barn at 7:30, will anyone be doing the regular thing?

Summer Solstice Do

Friday 27th June or 11th July? ~ See later post ~ it's looking like 11th July.