Monday, March 26, 2018

An excellent walk in the Yorkshire Dales with a nice brew to finish with

I thought for a change I would partake in one of  East Lancs LDWA group walks so, with an hour's less sleep due to the clock springing forward into Summer, I headed over to meet up with the rest of the group (15 of us in all) at the car park near TLOB's abode. The weather at last was good, plenty of sunshine and dry all day, albeit somewhat frosty at the start. The pace was good : over 18 miles including an ascent of Fountains Fell to give around 2600ft of climb in total, completed in under 7 hours including lunch stops etc. Alas, the brew failed to materialise as on returning to Settle and phoning him, the Lord of Brentford had failed to remember that he and his ladyship had a function to attend in Preston. I did managed to get a quick chat and photo as they set off in the finery to see their subjects. But no sign of their butler? Photo at the end.

A glorious lunchtime view of Pen-y-ghent 
Still plenty of now around - there was particularly tricky bit descending from Fountains Fell

Stainforth Scar
Clouds look ominous yet no drop of rain all day and plenty of sunshine
The Lord and Lady of Brentford looking resplendent on their way to mixing with the elite.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

A couple of long'uns on next to nowt training

Probably like many others, the first quarter of this year has been somewhat of a dead loss. A combination of various ailments (flu bugs, viruses, throat infections, whatever you like to call them) and inhospitable weather has led a distinct lack of regular running.
I managed to complete the Anglezarke Amble, mostly in the company of YJ. I must have been already carrying one of the viruses that have been going the rounds as within a few hours, I was suffering which put paid to the next two weeks.

In my relative youth when I first completed the Haworth Hobble, my daughter, Diane, said she would like to run with me at some time in the future - when she was old enough as she was only 13 or 14 at the time.
At the time she ran cross-country races, but not the age group races with a limit of 2.5km to 3km but she ran with the seniors in the Today's Runner League, 5 or 6 miles and loved it. It has taken awhile for her to finally run the Hobble with me, but this year, she said she wanted to do it. She is now a FV40! It would be the longest run she had completed, if not the longest event, having a UK Ironman finisher's medal from 2011 to show. However, now the proud mum of a five year-old, she has less time for training.
We managed to meet up for a 17 mile training run covering most of the start and finish miles at the end of January and planned for another run a couple of weeks before the event, only for that to be the victim of the snow (more to do with getting there than the actual running) and I managed a 14 miler along the Calderdale Way and Hebden Bridge sections three days before the event.
On the day, I let Diane manage the pace : this after all was for her to complete her first ultra, and neither of us had been able to input the training mileage we had expected. Over the first ten miles we took it easy although there were a few behind us. By the time we reached Long Causeway car park (14 miles) we realised the sweeper was approaching the CP as we left. However, we were still on target for 9 hours and Diane's target was to finish within the 11 hour time limit. We caught and passed a group as we went through Mankinholes and stayed ahead through Stoodley and kept pushing onwards through to Heptonstall and Hardcastle Crags. I was hoping the steady pacing might allow us to move a bit quicker after that, especially as we had previously run the section from Heptonstall but now into ultra-marathon territory, it was a totally new experience for Diane.
The section over Stairs Lane was quite sapping as the snow had remained quite thick and we lost about ten places from there to the finish but we finished before darkness in 9:56 with four behind us. The winner took 4:33, indicating how difficult the terrain was this year, probably the wettest I have ever known it, and more than 20 minutes slower than his 2017 time. On a positive note, it was reasonably mild so I was able to run in shorts and we even saw a glimpse of the sun trying to break through the clouds for about 5 minutes. If you want an even longer report, Diane has published one on her fitbee website  - but totally ignore the last bit.
taken by Eileen Woodhead - I then stopped for a chat with her

View from the Pennine Way en route from Stoodley Pike to Hebden Bridge

With only a week's recovery it was the Two Crosses Circuit. I had been suffering from a cold all week and ran a whole two miles on the Tuesday. As you may recollect, last weekend was the Beast From The East Mark 2, and it was debatable that event would go ahead. I also help with the car parking prior to the event. I had decided that I would walk not run and was geared up for the "feels like -13°" predicted. After checking with event co-ordinator at 6am, I drove off from Horwich. The last part of the journey to Tottington was a bit scary on untreated roads. The decision was made at 7.45 that the event would go ahead but only using the short course of 17 miles. Nobody of the 91 starters complained (there were over 180 pre-entries and 18 entered on the day, at least one who was due to run the cancelled Wigan Half Marathon). Seventeen miles was challenging. There were many familiar faces: Kev, Albert, Jimmy Leyland, Mark Sammon, Josie. I walked most of the way with TM until she slipped off at speed at one checkpoint whilst I was getting my poles out and having a pit stop. We had built up a bit of a group due to those in front of us being unsure of the way and then encountering a wall of snow which we had to clamber through.
Link to Dave McDonald's video of us negotiating the drift which blocked the route
I had to work hard to get back to this group as there was no way I wished to be isolated going over Wet Moss. I caught them up but TM had gone and by the time we reached The Naughty Corner checkpoint was some six minutes ahead. The next section was also hard work with the biting easterly 50mph wind ripping to your face as you headed for Pilgrim's Cross and Peel Tower. After that, it felt tropical and I took a leisurely place, although I managed to slip going down int Reddisher Woods, causing a calf muscle pull which was agony and for a few seconds I thought my Two Crosses was over and the best I would be able to do would be hobbling to the next checkpoint a couple of miles away. I had a lovely chat with Nicole who was manning the next checkpoint and then pushed on with the occasional jog for the finish. For footwear I had made a last minute decision to wear my which had only had two previous outings, each of about three miles. For the most part they were the perfect choice for gripping the ice and snow with the exception of the muddy descent in Reddisher Woods. It was a hard day but well worth it. Hopefully next year, the weather will be kinder.
Selfie of TM and T'Y and Batridge Car Park Checkpoint (taken by TM)

Pike Race next Saturday where Diane will have the opportunity to beat me with her descending skills.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Saturday UTUPs

I will be at the Lower Barn at 8:30 this coming Saturday, 17th March, but will not be there on the 24th, when I'll be roaming round the Lleyn Peninsula, or on the 31st when I'll taking it easy before the afternoon Pike Race. So far as I'm aware, just YJ and I have declared our intent to contend, but I am hopeful, whilst not necessarily expectant, that there will be others from our little group.

Friday 6th April is looking suitable for our next quarterly gathering. Any thoughts from anyone else?

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Saturday 10th March

I will be UTUPing this Saturday.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Saturday 3rd March

I will be UTUPing (Bottom Barn 8:30) this Saturday morning.

Apparently, today is the meteorologists' first day of spring; why do they need their own? What's wrong with the one the rest of us use? Perhaps, by the 21st, the weather will be more spring-like.