Thursday, May 30, 2013
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
I’ve forgotten the reasons behind deciding to apply for the Edinburgh marathon last year, I recall yet another of my injuries keeping me from doing it at the time (along with the deferred entry to Manchester) but all other elements surrounding it have since passed from my mind. I know that purely based on the fact I didn’t do it the year before, I thought I’d actually go this time.
I went up on the Friday to visit an office in Bathgate, this was really just thinly disguised way doing most of the travel before the bank holiday began and also getting one of my nights in a hotel paid for, although I did do some work while there.
On the way up I also found that one of my well know route choice problems had occurred and rather than going straight to Bathgate, I found myself not only in Kendal, but out of the car and in Pete Bland’s, which was handy as I had an order to pick up which I also added a new pair of Mudclaws to while I was there.
The Saturday was probably where I started to go a little wrong, the bright sunny day and new shoes enticing me out in to the Pentlands to go and Scald Law along with West and East Kip. Last time I was there the visibility was so bad I got lost and ended up on Black Hall to the north of the peaks I was after.
Not long after starting the run I caught up with a runner from Carnethy HRC called Maggie who was heading along the same route for a decent day out, she had intended to be at the Jura race but ended up unable to make it. A club mate of Angela Mudge, talk turned to the races and training to be found in the Pentlands and the suggestion that it would be worth heading up that way to do some of the races. I can’t argue, I quite like that range of hills, looked glorious in the sunshine. I decided not to overdo it and turned back at West Kip for 6.5 miles and 1300 ft, leaving Maggie to carry on along the trail. After that it was over the next hotel by Arthur’s Seat and a walk up to look at the marathon start area and visit Royal Mile Whiskies for some supplies.
The day of the marathon was far, far hotter than Paris or Manchester had been, clear skies and a starting temp around 14 C. My plan was to use the slight drop in the first 10K to assist my plan of 7.37 min/miles (or even lower it) as I’d hit that pace on Manchester and then faded around the 20 mile mark.
I started off well enough but about four miles in the ITB problem that had started with the fade on Manchester (and I had aggravated again the day before) started to play it’s part and I slowed. A couple mins down at the 10K marker, I decieded it wasn’t too big a deal and just to keep a pace that managed the pain and to see how I went, a 3:20 could still be on. Within nine miles that idea was out the window and the notion of matching Manchester and then Paris became the new plan. The heat really didn’t help and with head, face and shoulders that could match the red of my Horwich vest I was feeling it quite distinctly.
By the half marathon point I was quite ready to jack it in but then thought of not only the shame of doing so, but the distance I’d travelled to do this and I had the encouraging logic of Tim Roe (does he have a name on here?) going round in my head, in summary that’s; “You’ve passed the point where it takes longer to go back to the start than to carry on to the end” and “If you quit one, you could quit any, so never quit.” So my plan became push on, finish it, run at a pace that the pain is bearable and hopefully get inside 3:45 which was the point I’d said I’d be happy with if I hadn’t hit 3:30 on Paris. I also had it in the back of my mind that after this, no more roads, no more marathons (for the foreseeable anyway). After this it would be just hills, the fun stuff.
With all that in mind I carried on and feeling a little more settled, found some sort of rhythm again around mile 19 and decided to push for the end at just under 8min/m. I maintained that, used a few people as pacers and felt quite good that a number of people who had passed me earlier while I was hobbling, were now dropping back and in relative terms, I was actually being fairly consistent in my pace.
The end was still a welcome sight though and did just about make it in within the 3:45 limit I’d set myself, 3:42:13 by both my Garmin and the chip time. I see it as while I’m not happy at having lost 22 mins on my plan, at least I got round, got the medal and shirt and now it’s done with.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Monday, May 27, 2013
Saturday was a complete contrast, with wall to wall blue sky and no wind. A select group of KLM, YJ, JtE, EtU and my good self set off to do the climbs, starting with Two Lads and then working our way round clockwise. KLM bailed out after the Pike as he was running at Hutton Roof later that afternoon, but not before he had pointed the way for the rest of us.
Whilst the rest of us just posed!
Noon Hill and Winter Hill were duly climbed and on the summit we met up with EYJ who led us along the wall to where the Winter Hill race route crosses over en route to Belmont. EtU then led us unerringly to Steve Barlow's memorial stone, where I paused to remember a good friend.
The summit with lots of Johns (+Ed)
From there it was down to the track and then back up to Winter Hill mast. YJ left us to return via the road, leaving the three of us to run over (the not too boggy) route to the Pike. At the stile JtE and I decided to head straight down whilst macho EtU went over the Pike. An easy run down and a glorious morning out ended with just under 11 miles under our belts - or should that be feet?
Oh and next day I did the Manchester 10k
Sunday, May 26, 2013
The race was won by Chris Farrell of Horwich in 31:37, Mark Sammon ran 49:14, KLM did 49:41 and I trailed in, in 61:35 (winner plus 94.8%).
Friday, May 24, 2013
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Recognising KLM's disappointment at finding no-one suitable to replace that injury prone YC to partner him in the OCT, I suggested a CD outing (12 tops instead of just 3). This seemed to suit him, and all was subsequently arranged in a brief exchange of emails.
The agreed time, 8:00 a.m on Saturday morning saw YJ, JR and yours truly duly assembled at the Top Barn, raring to go; but no KLM! Only a few minutes late, the main man appeared, muttering about some trauma or other (we didn't ask, we were there as support runners, not agony aunts) and we were soon away.
Noon hill was successfully found in about 21 minutes but not so the Pike. The wise YJ used the trusted route, dropping back down to George's and thence up the steps to the Pike. KLM had recently told how good the direct high level route was, as the ground cover had not yet sprung into life. However, this would greatly depend on moving in the right direction. A bearing of about 210o would seem to have been about right, but with neither map nor compass, we set off into the clag as best we saw fit. After a waterlogged tour of Douglas Springs (various routes) we trickled up to the Pike (can you trickle uphill?), KLM and JR first, then finally me, to find YJ wondering whether to carry on, come looking for us or call out the mountain rescue.
Undaunted (but slightly embarrassed) we continued on to Two Lads where JtE was waiting, having got there early in case we made good time!
On the way to Whimberry Hill we met EYJ who stayed with us until the res, before turning for home. At that point KLM started to pull away leaving four of us to form a slow group. Then it was Whimberry, Egg Hillock and Counting Hill. As we hit the mast road, YJ decided it was time for home. Very soon after JtE got a call saying he was needed at home and he too went on his way - I checked with him later and he assured me that it had not been a life threatening situation and all was now well.
That just left JR and me to visit the trig point then trundle down to Hordern Stoops, where a small figure was waiting, with camera in hand. But - to return to the headline - more significantly, with coffee and cakes in the boot! NLN you are a darling! And yes, given the choice of a pint of Tim Taylor's best, or that cup of coffee, I would still have gone for the coffee.
NLN joined us as we continued on to Spitlers, where I failed dismally to locate Old Adam's Hill. Then back to Spitlers with no attempt to find the single rock which masquerades as a cairn, and on to Great Hill, where NLN's and my own provisions were generously supplemented by JR (he can come again). We pretended not to remember that we should visit Round Loaf and it was next stop White Coppice. It was obvious there that fell runners are made of sterner stuff than cricketers, as they sheltered in the pavilion, waiting for the rain to stop before they came out to play. NLN then turned to back up to Spitlers for her car whilst JR and I took in Healey Nab and thence returned to the Barn.
Total time was about 6:18. On my car was a note from KLM to the effect that he had visited all 12 tops and returned to base in 5:34 - well done that man!
To NLN - was expecting your photo of us arriving at Hordern Stoops to be captioned:- 'Fellas in the Mist' - thanks again for the coffee.
To JR - we often get lost, but not usually twice in one morning, see you soon?
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Quite unpleasant conditions this morning on our hills – hats off to those completing most of the route. Having seen the forecast I decided to do a bit of impromptu road support at Horderns. I was happy with ten miles from Horderns over Great Hill to White Coppice with EtU and JR, having seen KLM through some time ahead. A couple more pics here.
Conditions at Horderns
Here comes Kev
Followed by EtU and JR some while later
We never did find Old Adam, or indeed the summit
Friday, May 17, 2013
Then Two Lads and Winter Hill Trig, both in brilliant evening sunshine. On the high route to Noon HIll we were caught up by Mick Murphy (JR = Julie's Recruit?).
Black clouds loomed as Mick set off from George's Lane for another ascent of the Pike, then the downpour hit us, and the lightening just missed us as we sprinted for home.
A good evening out.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Monday, May 13, 2013
Apologies (I always start with aplogies) to TYC for stealing his plunder, but he pointed this out to me and I thought it worth sharing:-
Worth a trip out?
Sunday, May 12, 2013
I left the Lower Barn at 8.30am prompt with a view to trying to intercept either KLM or EtU on their Coope’s Dozen rounds. I made straight for Two Lads keeping my eye on The Pike, George’s Lane and Two Lads where possible, and from Two Lads I looked at the moorland route from The Pike and ahead to the route that would lead me to the shooting hut. Nobody to be seen. I then went ahead to the shooting hut and on joining the main path leading from Winter Hill I was aware of two runners approaching from that direction. It turned out to be TIM and his colleague, Dave. Then it was to Smithills Reservoir where I left the Coope’s Dozen route to proceed along “the wall” in the hope of a meeting around Counting Hill where I would rejoin the route. Reaching there I couldn’t stop because, by then, it was raining hard and cold. I carried on over Winter Hill and there, in lousy weather conditions, I left the Coope’s Dozen route and got of the hill via the wooden bridge, Sheep’s Back and back to the Lower Barn. I saw EtU’s car at the top of the avenue leading to the Top Barn. By this time the clag was down into the bungalow grounds.
I stopped on Georges Lane to stretch but no sign of the catching hound, onward up to Noon Hill, still no sign. A pleasant jog across the moors to the Pike (much better when the undergrowth is low) and on reaching the tower I turned to see him running along the lower muddy route. OK thinks I, he is at least underway. Getting cold waiting at the tower I set off for 2 Lads expecting him to be on my shoulder at any time....nothing. Running back to look along the path I could see he was making progress. Getting cold waiting on 2 Lads I set off for the reservoir slowly.
By the time I reached the ridge before the reservoir I was getting concerned that he hadn't caught up with me. Some abortive mobile calls between us made me turn back to see what the problem was. TYC had picked up a calf strain going up Noon Hill and aggravated it further trying to catch me. The injury was clearly too bad to continue, so getting him to hobble back to Wilderswood car park along the mast road I ran back for my car to pick him up. By the time I collected him he could feel that there was a fair bit of damage and between us agreed that it would be unlikely to clear up before next Saturday.
So sorry to EyU for not catching you up. After dropping Andy back at his car, the weather had turned for the worse and feeling deflated about TYC's injury I turned for home.
So now, another day and I am looking for a new partner.
Anybody fancy a slow trod ( because I am not fast) around the Old County Tops next Saturday: 36 miles and 10,000ft of climb taking in Helvellyn, Scafell Pike and Coniston Old Man? If so drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring me on 07806 746947. It is an early 08:00 start and I am happy to provide the transport.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
But prior to that, as a slow morning starter, I had set my alarm for 5:00 a.m, but, horrors! A power cut meant no hot water to make wake-up drinks. Obviously, folk like TF (more of her later) would be equipped with a camping stove, but not so Grimeford Grange, so 5:20 saw me driving to MacDonald's for hot drinks.
The next hour and a bit went OK and I met YJ at the Top Barn just before 7:00. We left at 7:07 and covered all the southerly seven, arriving at Hordern Stoops at 9:51 after 2 hours and 44 minutes 'running'. Co-incidentally this was exactly how long it took the slow group in July 2011 (I don't have split times for July 2012).
YJ was running out of steam at that point and decided to head back to base.
By then, the fine rain we had experienced for the last hour had increased to an unpleasant downpour, and my plan to take in Old Adam/Arthur/Albert/Aloysious (or whatever) was abandonned so that I could keep moving and, hopefully, keep warm, and I headed direct for Great Hill, visiting Spitlers on the way. A brief stop to take in fluid and a banana on Great Hill meant that I started to get really cold.
Half way down to White Coppice a runner coming up declared 'I know that face!' so I had to stop to find out on which wanted poster he had seen me. It turned out he was one Mick Murphy, an ex-rugby player that TF plans to recruit. Apparently, he is a blog follower, and is training to get fit enough to turn out with us. I assured him that no training was necessary, we're not all as fit as TF, and we'd expect to see him very soon.
That brief stop chilled me further and it took some time to feel I had regained control over my legs. Then White Coppice and straight back to base, dallying only to talk to some rather pleasant young ladies on the way. Top Barn exactly at noon, just 4 hours 53 minutes after leaving.
Drove home wet and cold looking forward to a hot shower, confident that the power would be back on. Half an hour later, after a quick rub down with a cold wet rag, the OSH and I were settled into the Rivington, absorbing some of their warmth, and soon after, a not half-bad rib-eye steak.
As I said, I've had better days.
If it's not obvious from the above, I did 9 of the 12 tops, missing Old Thingy, Round Loaf and Healey Nab, probably did the best part of 16 miles.
The power came back on at about 4:00 p.m.
Any news from the fast group?
I can think back to a time nearly 20 years ago when preparing to sit some Post Graduate exams and knowing full well I hadn't done enough work. The pass rate was approximately 30% of entrants (it was after all a money- generating scheme for the Royal Colleges) so the lesser of two evils was to take the exam and fail, rather than admit to my Consultants I was underprepared and back out.
My 'Consultants' this time round were the numerous runners who had failed to secure an entry. Though up until we set off I still thought I'd at least match last years time.
The start was delayed 30mins due to parking field issues (some had to leave their cars in Ambleside) which gave me a good chance to have a natter with a few v70 contenders (EYJ and Paul M) Once finally off the first 500m found me sadly lacking. Can't say I've done many fell races where by the time I got to the fell gate I've had thoughts of turning back. I was still seriously thinking about up until the Fairfield Summit, probably the easier route back to Rydal Hall.
But stuck with it, finally passing a few on the way down the other side. Finish time was over 2hr:30, by how much I not sure, may be as much as 5 mins.
I'll need to have a look at my race schedules and recovery times. I think two weekends of long distance events back-to-back has certainly had a part to play in today's poor showing, that and the lack of running during the week thinking I'd feel the benefit today(!)
Despite my poor efforts, little Evie was in her element on the parking field. I might be one of the slowest on the Hill, but I'm now one of the quickest out of the parking. Left just as reinforcements, in the guise of a tractor with big fork thing attached to the front, arrived. I'm guessing the ones well and truly stuck were going to get a 'lift' out of the mud rather than a tow.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Thursday, May 09, 2013
Will anyone be at the UTUP in case we have any casuals turning up?
Planning to UTUP tonight - for those that don't know, which presumably is everyone, as no-one ever turns up, Thursday UTUP is the Horwich stocks at 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Cake Race, 10 miles, 1700ft ascent - May 4th
As The Cake Race was listed in the club's fell championship this year I decided to give it a go. I've not run it before and it is many years since I last entered a race in that neck of the woods, on the moors above Saddleworth. Many years ago we used to enter a few teams in the Cross Keys Relay. One year I think I actually doubled up and ran both the first and last legs, one fell and one road. However, that was probably 20 years ago.
It was very easy to persuade EYJ to also have a run out even though he'd done 10 on Friday. With a couple of route checks on the way we managed to get there in decent time and found a spot in the car park. The normal entry fee is reasonable at £4 but even better if you use your culinary skills and provide a cake. I'd made some chocolate muffins, nothing that would win a prize, but I knew they would be safely edible. EYJ decided he didn't want to poison anyone. I did notice the odd shop-bought cake in the room amongst some magnificent cakes.
I think the change from Arctic weather to near summer temperatures brought a few extra runners out as entries were double that of the previous year, causing the start to be delayed by 15 minutes. Had it started on time, we would have set off in a chilly shower but this had nicely cleared. A long drag uphill on bridleways before a stretch of the Pennine Way to Wessenden Reservoir, crossing at the head, then down the Kirklees Way, and some fast running along the side of Butterley Reservoir. EYJ had set off well in front of me. By the 7 mile point I had almost caught him up, just before the second climb started. This used to be where I would pull people back but that is no longer case, so I went from there being nobody between John and me to finish two minutes and 14 places adrift. I lost places both on the climb and the descent to the finish. It's hard to call it a proper fell race : it's a hard 10 mile trail race and with the late morning start and relatively fast speed, I suffered energy loss in the last couple of miles. I was certainly glad to finish with the prospect of carbo recovery on a glorious scale. It goes without saying that I ate a opious amount of cake, but none of my muffins - all six had been scoffed. I was quite happy with 1hr 45 mins for 10 miles with 1700ft of climb : I don't think I'd get 10 miles at 5.7mph on a normal Saturday UTUP, just needed to recover for Monday. I managed 166th out of 213 finishers. EYJ took his customer V70 prize and was 152nd overall. Below is the race route from my GPS.
Wray Caton Fell Race, 6.7 miles, 1300ft ascent - May 6th
Not sure how many times I've done this race but it must be well into double figures. No result for last year so I must have missed it then. In 2011 and 2010 I was much lighter and fitter and completing in around 60 minutes. Like the Cake Race, the organisers had difficulty coping with an increased entry, resulting in a 15 minute delay. Eventually we were off and the early fields were rock hard yet the further up the fells it was quite wet underfoot - presumably different type of rock for drainage. We had to contend with cows wanting to cross through the runners and a flock of sheep which found themselves in the midst of us. I reached the turnaround point in just under 40 minutes and amazingly had a net gain of 5 places on the descent, maybe this is because I no longer climb as well as I used to. 68:40 for 164th out of 213 finishers - almost identical to the Cake Race position although when I compare times against Doug Fleming, Gary Chadderton and Pete Ramsdale, all of whom also ran the Cake Race, I seemed to be between 2% and 4% quicker.
This Saturday it is Belmont Winter Hill so no UTUP for me. This is a race where I always lose numerous places on the descent. Maybe I should stay at the back! I expect to see most of you there.
Both of us were seriously disappointed with our recce performance on the front end of the OCT last Sunday. The weather did not help but it should not have made us that slow!! So slow that we did not make the Angle Tarn recommended cut-off time. The top of Helvellyn was particularly unpleasant in the manky weather and it was such a joy to drop out of the cloud heading for Thrilmere and warmer temperatures.
So here's hoping for kinder weather on the day, we're due one soon!
The logic is that as it's the longest duration in time (and distance), any %age improvement would give the biggest absolute improvement and may mean that the legs aren't as wrecked for the run - but as we all know - the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft awry (or something like that).
Thought you may be interested to hear that TV, Albs and Mark S were on George's lane, on my run out, jeering as usual. They'd got down to Chorley Old on my return and even offered some slight encouragement, but that changed as soon as they noticed Marie from Chorley TRI just behind me (she had started in a later wave) and they immediately encouraged her to pass and beat me - rotten lot!
Monday, May 06, 2013
B course CP's
Day 1 Dowthwaite Farm - Birkhouse Moor - Helvellyn - Grisdale Hause - Mill House (A591) - Helm Crag - Seathwaite Campsite
Day 2 Seathwaite campsite - Green Gable - Robinson's Cairn - High Crag - Red Pike - Addacombe Beck (path junction 370m) - Brandlehome Woods ( near Withesike bay) - Finish on bank of Watendlath Beck just south of Moss Mire woods
Day 3 Watendlath Beck - Harrop Tarn - Hevellyn Lower Man - Dowthwaite Moss (track junction) - Dowthwaite Farm
Times Day 1 7:34, Day 2 9:39 Day 3 4:36. 6th overall on 'B'
Provisional results are on the GL3day website, see previous post.
I appear in the overall results for the 'B' course as I stuck with that course for the whole weekend. Others did a bit of 'mix and match' with the 3 courses on offer or a version of their own by missing out a few cp's. For me, a steady first day, day 2 grim - had to stop for a coffee in Buttermere to warm up, much better 3rd day.
With a lot of late finishers on day 2, it was decided that all competitors would use the 'bad weather' courses for day 3. Weather was not nearly as grim as day 2 but clag down to 300m all the same. My course would have had to go to Great Dodd after Lower Man, instead we got to contour off at Sticks Pass.
Hat's off to those on the Elite and 'A', and good effort to the one's that gave them a go. I'll leave the map in my car so if anyone fancies a go next year (although it is very pricey) you can have a look to see where the other courses went!
Saturday, May 04, 2013
We've all done races with nil zilch none facilities other than a gate into a field and some slight shelter under a tree; we've all had that sinking feeling as we've looked across at the line of plastic Portaloos knowing that the expectation is that you'll have use them rather than the adjacent wall. In contrast the HBT is a race with facilities, a race with a John Lewis!!
Get your parking right and you have the walk to the start 5 minutes in one direction and the city centre 10 minutes the other way. The choice of after race eats or rehydration, well!
The race itself? Good. What I'd call a training race with a slightly contrived figure-of-8 course with the main climb and long swoop down to the finish done twice. But terrific underfoot, a proper grassy craggy run with only a short section of scrotty broken tarmac; proper hands on knees climbs and views to live for whenever you lifted your head up.
(Colin, sorry for late posting of this, I've been away and my portable technology hasn't heard of email; great to hear you're back racing, Ed.)
Friday, May 03, 2013
Thursday, May 02, 2013
Course Stats would suggest 'B' course for me!!!
(The approximate course distances and height gains are shown in the table below. These are based on the planners optimum route (i.e. not a straight line between the checkpoints)).
B Course Day 1 (optimal)32.59km/1,961m
Day 2 (optimal)33.76km/ 2,526m
Day 3 (optimal)24.44km/ 1,596m
A Course 41.52km/ 2,481m
E Course 48.43km/ 2,968m
One of the latest emails I've had is a request for the 'Solo' entrant to add their club/team name to the details. As I'm not looking at this as a race as such, more a cracking 3 days out on the hill with someone else doing the transport logistics. I was thinking rather than put 'Salford Harriers' I'd have a team name that would reflect my slightly more relaxed attitude. Well relaxed as I can be about the prospect of 50+ miles in 3 days.
Other than the obvious 'toothfairy' and bearing in mind it is a navigating + camping event so far I've come up with
'Where am I?'
'Which way's North?'
'How many more lines to that triangle thingy?'
'Mine's the green tent'
'One gel short of a picnic'
any other suggestions?