Friday, December 31, 2010

Today and Tomorrow

All very daring TF, but who/what were you meant to be?

Hoping to UTUP tomorrow, and to be out a bit longer than yesterday.
Auld Lang Syne 31st Dec 2010

Well I braved the elements in my fancy dress 'costume' - here I am

Didn't manage to break 70 mins (which I'd hoped for) but I had to take it gently to prevent any 'wardrobe' malfunctions. There is a fairly indecent shot of me taken near the trig point (turning back point) which I'm not providing a link for, should have remembered it's windy near the top. If you want to see it, I'm sure the resourceful among you will be able to seek it out (not for those of a sensitive nature). Most photographers advertize their wares via the fellrunner forum, I unfortunately have appreared to do the same!!


More of the same...

I shall be UTUPing tomorrow (Saturday) hoping for a bit further than the 8 miles we did yesterday. While I think we were all a bit short of energy for one reason or another it was a bonus day on the fells at this time of the year and the good company made up for the lack of distance.

EtU and TF made it as far as the Pike, for different reasons, and the rest carried on via Two Lads, the Quarries where we had to brave a herd of cattle grazing on and around the path and then, the route to the RoW stone being deemed too icy, we shortcutted to the trig point, down the diagonal and the Sheep's Back to the Lower barn in a time of 2 hrs 16 mins.

A happy New Year to all who don't turn out tomorrow - and good running to those who do.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Peak 'O' Trial, Tues 28th Dec

Always prepared for a bit of an adventure at one of Des's races, I turned up thinking I'd get away with the short 4m (as advertised) option. It was first day out in the car for 11 days and I needed to get to the shops before I missed out on all the bargains.

Des had other ideas. It's hour and a half course he says, I've not planned a short one, you can always miss a couple out. He waved the map briefly in front of me just so I had a general idea of distance involved. Miss a couple out, that was like a 'red rag to a bull', no never!

Well after an hour and a half had elapsed I'd got to the point of 'where there's no sense, there's no feeling' or in my case no feeling, no sense. How numb can your feet get? Very, if you tramp around the Peak District looking for little orange and white flags while there's snow on the ground. Should have called it quits, but soldiered on and was back at the pub in 3hrs17. Even Des's 'an hour and a half' was a bit optimistic, winner (Julien Minshull, local runner) managed 1hr:47 I believe, and he knows the area as well as Des. Not sure if I was the slowest, but at least I was back in less than 2x winner's time.

I'll be out for a brief run tomorrow, so will see a few of you at 8.30am

Thursday 30th Dec

I plan to be at the Lower Barn at the usual time tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Thursday 30th Dec

There is some interest in a run over Winter Hill on Thursday. Start at 8:30 a.m at the Bottom Barn.

Be good to have a substantial turn-out.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Clitheroe 10K

SN has just alerted me to the fact that it's CANCELLED!

Must have heard that their star athlete was laid up with man flu. Although I do think organizing (from his sick bed) for a Milk Lorry to get stuck on the route was a deliberate attempt to slow everyone up! All entries valid for a new date (TBC), Fellrunner forum is suggesting sometime in March for a re-staging, so hoping it's not the 27th as that clashes with Edale. Mindful of any other delaying tactics that EtU might have in mind!!

I'd looked at the possibility of doing Trafford 10k on the 13th, so I don't think the organizers will go for that date due to the elite wanting to be at both.

Anyway that's enough talk of road running. Hoping to get out to the Peak District tomorrow to do a bit of navigating. Three days stuck inside with a paintbrush and a roller is enough for anyone to take to the hills. 4 rooms done, 1 to go.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ribble Valley 10k

A full week of flu (man/lady/swine?) has left me feeling a bit grim, and even now it's on the wane, it's left me with debilitating cough, that means I'm having to give tomorrow's race a miss.

Hope anyone that does toe the line has a good run, possible with two under the 50 minutes?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Have a great time whatever you're up to.  Be careful, it's slippy.....


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Southern Section

Seasons greetings to you all in the frozen North. Its not that warm down here come to that but we haven't had much snow since the weekend. Sadly my running has had another setback with firstly a recurrence of my back trouble followed by a bad cold so I haven't been out since October. But never mind, I am used to it by now so a new start will be made in the new year. Keep up the great posts as it is well interesting to read and the photos are especially welcome as there are no hills round here.

See you in 2011


Hospital Run Postponed

For anyone thinking of doing the Harriers' annual pre-Christmas "Hospital Run" (tonight), it has been postponed on safety grounds due to the weather.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Only a short run - the start of a wonderful day

I couldn't be with you on Saturday, even if plan A or plan B had come to fruition (see YJ post). I did however manage to achieve a short run on the fells. After breakfast I escaped from the Devonshire Fell hotel in Burnsall, clod in yaktrax, ran up the road a bit before turning off into Harden Woods with a demanding little climb up through the virgin snow before carefully making my way back down. I was only allowed 20 minutes or so, as I was required to greet guests from about 11.30 a.m. who would be turning up for my daughter's wedding.
All apart from four made it - they gave up trying to get out of Horwich after 90 minutes on Saturday morning. We even managed to persuade everyone to leave the confines of the hotel for a few outside photographs.
There's a small collage of photographs on the photographer's blog for those who would like to see what Diane and Neal got up to on their only rest weekend in their Ironman training schedule.

Not Quite So Young EYJ

Not just sure of the exact date, but I think that EYJ has just turned 70, it might have been 17th Dec.

So, sorry, John for missing this landmark birthday. Hope the day went well (if it has already went), and here's to the next decade.

We now boast four septuagenarians; good grief, there's more of them than there is of us!

Who's next? Could it be me?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's no joke

"It never snows in Longton" is a phrase I often trot out when surrounding areas are being blizzard swept. This smug attitude came home to roost with a vengeance on Friday night when an eight-hour snowfall started as I finished my second run of the day.

A couple of hours later it was deep enough to warrant a call to EtU to formulate plan B if conditions worsened further overnight. And worsen they did. Plan B involved a check with EtU just after 6 30 and the word was that the Grimeford area was nearly as bad as Longton and a decision was taken that to travel would be foolhardy.

That was where Plan C came in which involved setting off for a run from home and soon, when running in the virgin snow was impossible (the depth was eight to nine inches with some even deeper patches) .Plan D took me home to an early breakfast.

Since then conditions have not improved much, restricting this morning's run to an energy sapping four miles in a time which being kept a closely guarded secret.

Apologies.. anyone who managed the UTUP this morning. Due to the snow I managed the UP, but significantly later than even my tardy UT.

Running from home, I found that studs gave good grip on compacted snow, and decided that progress was good enough to make the trig point an appropriate target. But it was not to be. Having passed through the UP, (no cars at all) I passed the Top Barn, found myself on virgin snow, vergin' (ow!) on a foot deep, and progress was reduced to a slow walk. Change of plan; the absence of footprints indicated that I could be the first up the Pike, something I'd never achieved before (racing or training), so that would be my notable achievement for the day.

But that was also not to be. Coming in from the right, part way through the gardens was a set of footprints, which I followed to the top of the Pike, although at times they were obliterated by the blown snow (spindrift seemed a suitable word for this, but my dictionary only relates it to blown sea spray).

On top, conditions were quite horrid, and taking off my gloves for a brief photographic break left my hands painfully cold.

You can just see the Pigeon Tower, slightly left of centre, near the top.

You can also see how strong the wind was, I thought I was standing upright!

My return route was virtually the same as my outgoing, except for a detour over Anderton footbridge (GR 614 135) where I took this, looking northwards up the M61.

As you can see, two and a bit northbound lanes clear, nearly two southbound.

Pb for this run 1:11, par 1:20, previous PW 1:40, this morning 2:40, oh well.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ribble Valley 10k

After initially baulking at the £12 entry fee, I grasped both the nettle and my credit card and entered this race, which is run on Monday 27th Dec, not far from last Sunday's 7.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Saturday 18th Dec

I Shall be UTUPing on Saturday 18th Dec.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Do squirrels hibernate?

At the first sign of ice my feet refused to leave the comfort of my slippers and I've been in hibernation ever since!
Need to make an effort soon as I signed up for the Clitheroe 10k in a moment of madness.
Sorry to miss everyone last Saturday night, we were at a wedding in Nottingham. Unfortunately in another moment of madness I decided to walk the 2 miles between venues in high heels and now have several large blisters. Still it gives me another reason to stay in hibernation.

Saturday Night, Sunday Morning

Whilst we were enjoying the festive fayre at the Cherry Tree FSS was up in the Lakes to help Mark Smith on his Winter BG attempt.  Mark has done a regular round and last year completed a Winter Round albeit in 24hrs and 20 minutes.   This was his final attempt to get round in a sub 24 hour time before life changes forever on the arrival of his first child.   You can read FSS's account and Mark's write up respectively.  EtU asked what constitutes a winter round and apparently it is 14 days either side of the shortest day of the year.

Having been up most of the night FSS was still keen to accompany me on the South Lancs Christmas event, which he did.  Mark Sammon also had a run round having been orienteering the day before.  A great route from Wigan amateur rugby union club, along the canal to Arley Golf Club.  From there a good route crossing the river Douglas and around Worthington Lakes before heading across the fields to Blackrod.  Footpaths eventually lead back to Haigh Hall and back to the rugby club.  All the better for the semi-frozen conditions underfoot.  Total miles 12.05 with 1275ft climbed in 2hrs 11mins.

Hoping to do the Fairfield Horseshoe Saturday, provided roads clear enough to get to Ambleside.


3 brothers swift and a tooth fairy

ps my thurs utup could be very brief depending on when we get the snow

This Week

Thursday 16th ~ UTUP
Saturday 18th ~ UTUP

Monday, December 13, 2010

The squad run

Saturday's outing was a great contrast to the previous week, all but traces of the thick snow blanket having gone to leave a few treacherous patches of ice which on at least one occasion had the Tooth Fairy dancing more like the Sugar Plum Fairy.

The squad of TF, NLN, T'Y, EtU, and myself followed much the same course out as last week, up through the Chinese Garden, Two Lads, Quarries, Right of Way Stone, all reached appreciably faster than last week, and on the way we met EYJ by prior arrangement. Coal Pit Lane took us up to the Mast and then down the diagonal to Georges Lane.

By this time T'Y had left us to return to the Lower Barn and EYJ had turned for home. From Georges Lane EtU and TF followed the Winter Hill route to Ammunition Corner while NLN and I took the easier, if slower, route down the Sheep's Back. From there we cut across to Lead Mine Valley with NLN and EtU opting to cross the fields while once again I took the easier track with TF who left at the bridge to return solo to the Lower Barn.

Minutes later NLN and EtU arrived and we all agreed that time was running out and followed TF back to the cars.

With the second detour NLN clocked 12.5 miles compared to 12.11 on my Garmin which recorded a total time of 2hrs 51mins 51secs at 14mins 12secs per mile with a total climb of 2146ft.

All this was a good prelude to the Longridge Christmas pudding race where TF gave me a much harder race than I had wanted. Our exploits are well chronicled elsewhere, suffice to say that in order to catch TF (who had pulled well away from me on the earlier slippery ascent) I had to complete the sixth mile in 6mins 54secs with seventh in 7mins 1 sec to lead by a very narrow margin. It can only be a matter of time before she show us all the way home on the roads.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Longridge Seven

The day was fine and bright, but the early morning frost meant that the organisers found it necessary to delay the start until the sun and additional gritting made the course safer. Initially announced as 30 minutes, the delay was subsequently reduced to just 15 minutes.

Despite these measures, the first half of this seven mile road race sported many icy patches, such that in places runners resorted to using the rough grass verges, rather than the tarmac.

TF had placed herself further forward at the start than the three Swift brothers, setting herself up as both a target and a pacemaker for the rest of us. YJ passed me early on in determined pursuit, but I soon realised that the gap between me and the lady in red was not going to reduce, and I saw it (not too) gradually extend until she was lost to view. Jan Atkins also passed me, and she too opened a significant gap.

The course undulates for the first three miles, but a significant amount of net height is gained. The fourth mile includes a fairly stiff climb, with the highest point reached a little way into the fifth mile. Thereafter, the course is predominantly downhill, giving runners the chance to improve their overall average pace.

At the finish I was met by YJ and TF, both clutching their Christmas puddings, having finished in that order, YJ having finally caught the lady at about the six mile mark, managing to open a gap of only 8 seconds before the finish.

The race was won by Alasdair Russell of Kendal in 38:37, Lucie Custance of Clapham Chasers was first lady in 45:17. YJ, 137th in 58:26 had to make do with 2nd V70 out of 9. TF was 141st in 58:34, 5th LV40 out of 11. I clocked 65:35, 9th V60 out of 11 and BLB (Big Little Brother) Bob recorded 68:27,  215th out of 245 finishers.

TF's pace was 8:22 per mile; not quite the sub 8 she was looking for, but taking account of the hills, the ice and the longer distance than the 10k she is targetting, I'm sure it will convert to a sub 50 minute 10k sometime soon. 

And if you're interested, no, it wasn't a good idea to make a large hole in a litre bottle of Johnnie Walker Red Label, in the wee small hours of race day, in the company of a guy whose early athletic achievements include an outright win in the Horwich Beer Race.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Hoping for UTUP tomorrow

It will be my first run for nearly three weeks but as no Calderdale and no XC, will try to get up and go. Can't make solstice due to prior engagement (parteeeeeeee!)

I shall be UTUPing tomorrow and will be at the Cherry Tree tomorrow night.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Livin’ up to it’s Name

Sitting in my car on Saturday morning, the Usual Time came and went and I considered returning home for a run through the woods and over the golf course to Haigh Hall.  The rain was persistent and the prospect of a solo run in thick clag over a very white Winter Hill didn’t seem that inviting.  However just as I was about to leave two cars arrived simultaneously which were recognisable as YJ’s and EYJ’s,  and from another car which I hadn’t recognised TA appeared.  A few minutes later and EtU joined us.  The roads were more treacherous  than the hills and some of our gang had considerable difficulty in reaching the start.

Route choices considered, we set off for……  the Trespass stone and here it is in all its glory

snowy WH (2 of 5)

With not much height gained the rain turned to snow giving spectacular winter views from the Trespass Stone above, with a little embelishment by EYJ!

snowy WH (5 of 5)

From the Stone looking over the valley with an hint of an inversion, across to Burnt Edge

snowy WH (1 of 5)Gilligant’s Farm

snowy WH (3 of 5)

and above and below couple of snaps from the stone

snowy WH (4 of 5)

It wasn’t a day for hanging about and so no further piccies taken.  Our route took us from the Lower Barn, through the gardens and along our usual diagonal route to Two Lads, above the quarry to Burnt Edge and out to the Trespass Stone.  We were following a lone set of fellshoes which I suspected were those of FSS (which was correct).  From TS up past the shooting hut to WH trigpoint and then down to cross the track down to Lower Houses and back to LB.  FSS caught us as we ran down from the trigpoint and you can see more piccies here of places you’ll recognise.  Great morning out.

All in all we covered 9 miles, but fairly hard and slow going in the conditions with height gained just over 1500ft.  Looking forward to more this Sat UTUP, followed by evening at the Cherry Tree.  Thanks to EtU for arrangements.


Winter Solstice Do

Just a reminder that the Cherry Tree at Blackrod is expecting us on the evening of Saturday 11th December.

This Week

Thursday ~ UTUP
Saturday a.m ~ UTUP
Saturday p.m ~ Cherry Tree at Blackrod
Sunday ~ Longridge Christmas Pudding 7

Friday, December 03, 2010

Last Night

Only Botters and me braved the heights of Winter Hill. You know how cold it was at street level; it was bitter on top.

I was planning a brief appearance on Saturday, but as I need to be at Boggart Hole Clough on cross country duties later on and I'm planning on using Public Transport to get there, I'll not manage this week. Should hopefully be ok for next Saturday morning all being well.

Speaking of public transport, so far this week I've been charged varying amounts on the bus home from Bolton. I have 2 options, either bus down Deane Rd (540, quarter past/ quarter to hour) or St Helens Rd (582, on the hour/half past hour), both similar distances and same bus company. Tues it was £1.80, Weds £2.60, Thurs £2.10. I await with interest what tonights charge will be. I should point out that I'm giving the name of bus stop, road junction and a good discription of where the stop is in relation to shops/garages etc!!


Thursday, December 02, 2010

This Week

Planning to UTUP today, Thursday 2nd.  In view of the snow, the mast road to the trig point in studs could be fun.

UTUPing Saturday.

No plan to do the Calderdale Way, t'Y, and thanks, but no thanks for the LDWA do invite on Friday, but I need to keep hungry and thirsty for our works (should that have an apostrophe?) do at the barn on Saturday.

Christmas Do's

Sorry that I've not seen anyone recently, or even posted. Came down with a cold over a week ago and just about clearing up now so I've not run since Monday of last week.
If anyone fancies going to the LDWA Christmas Do tomorrow night, phone or txt me on 07787 948671 as I have a couple of spare tickets. It's the East Lancs do but I'm sure they'll let West Lancs people in!
Is anyone down for a leg of the Calderdale Way Relay (provided the snow clears sufficiently by 12th)? I've offered my services should the vets team become sufficiently depleted to get down to my level.