As a youngster, I would get home from School, get changed and go out to play with my pals.
Now I'm older, I get home from work, get changed and go out to play with my pals, but now I call it training.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last post

Nearly done for 2011 then.
A good year it has to be said. Some good races, enjoyable runs, and my fastest times in many a year.

January - Just getting back into things following the few weeks layoff in Autumn '10, I had a decent enough race on the 1st at Nine Standards and then a few weeks later ran the Four Villages half marathon in exactly my anticipated time of 1hr 20min.

February was all about marathon training and the hilly 21 mile race over the lakeland passes. For something like a fourth year in a row I ran faster than the year before - good signs.

March was my holiday to the sun of Lanzarote and a lot of good training despite the horrendous wind most days.

April was the London Marathon - the climax of the previous 4 months training. It didn't go well at all. In the end I jogged home just inside the cutoff for automatic qualification for the 2012 race.

Keen top prove I was fighting fit and that the London result was NOT indicative of my true ability I entered the Keswick Half on 1st May. I got 1hr 22min and 10th place on this very hilly course and felt vindicated.

I spent the next few weeks training long in the hills for the Lakes 50 at the end of July. Again though I had a poor performance. A navigational error in the first quarter of the route and trouble eating led to my head going. I kind of gave up  on the race and  I ran the last 25 miles in good company so at least it was enjoyable if not the speed/time I had hoped for.

I minor setback in August meant missing the Dumfries 10k for a second successive year. I had planned to take a rest in September and stuck to my plan.

By October I was keen to train hard again and began a series of racing that almost proved too much.
Cross Country, a midweek half marathon, more XC, track sessions, rock hard 10 mile training runs.

On the first weekend of November I ran the Derwentwater 10 mile event. I knew I could beat the hour but then just prior to the start I said I admitted I was actually looking to run a 58. Despite having the heaviest legs ever I ran a mid 58 and was delighted.  Two weeks later and a little more tapered I ran a long 56 at the Brampton 10 miler. Not delighted (I thought I could do a 55) but pleased with my fastest time for 6 years.

I then continued racing, 10k, XC etc, most weekends through until nearly Christmas. Crucially though, I didn't train at all in between the weekends racing, so I felt relatively fresh and able to race hard. The break from formal training did me good and I have enjoyed getting out in the daylight since finishing work for Christmas and have ran most days in the last week and a half.

2012 starts as 2011 did - the Nine standards fell race - tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Alive and kicking

After the Brampton 10 I deliberately took my foot off the pedal. I did zero training mon- fri for four weeks. I did run a couple of nights, but very slowly, just a jog with scamp or an easy 5 or 7 miler.

Each weekend though I did a race on the Saturday and a long run of either 13 miles or 2 hours in the fells.
I was unconcerned about fitness ebbing away as I felt I needed the mental break to be ready to begin my next campaign.

This culminated in the Langdale Xmas pudding 10k which I ran in 35:30. Following that run I now feel assured that I can run a 34 minute 10k again.

Just as I was ready to begin regular nightly running again (if not quite structured training quite yet) I came down with a mild dose of winter bug. After a couple of days in front of the fire and some early nights I tried a tentative return to my 10 mile loop. Ouch! I had to turn for home after 3 miles and felt awful, but the next was much better again and managed 13 at 7 pace without issue.

I've been out the last two nights  - just the 5 mile loop for now but I plan to increase the pace each day.

My biggest dilemma currently is when to start my training program for London Marathon. Its exactly 16 weeks from New Years Day to the the race. In the past I have stuck to a 16 week schedule and found myself ready to race by about week 13. Thing is if I train unspecifically for January it might be a bit tough to then up the mileage/pace for a 12 week program.


I also discovered today that Berlin Marathon 2012 (September) is full!!! If I want to continue my mini ambition to run all 5 World Marathon Majors I will need to go to Chicago - but conversely that race hasn't even opened yet!


Not much else happening - Snow came to Lakeland, Penrith Stu still ugly, people still buying race photos, Scamp still cute as a pup.
Oh yes - sorry Pauline, I didn't do the Tour de Helvellyn. It was always a bit unlikely to be honest and coincided with the day I couldn't run 10 miles, so just as well I think.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

56:52

Just a quick report on yesterdays final (for me) big race of 2011. The Brampton to Carlisle 10 miler.

I ensured I was up early and finished eating with 4 hours to the gun = no trouble from a stitch

I had took it very easy all week with 2x 1mile at 90% midweek and just a 4m jog every night with Scamp, so my legs were not tired or lacking in 'race ping' as they had been at Derwentwater 10.

Me. Plucky behind (obviously)
and my Keswick teamate Josh
We set off down the hill in Brampton and I found myself running near Milly, Jason and Chris. Plucky had made a slightly better start and was running alongside George and Harry (who had both beaten us by a good margin at Derwent). I knew I needed to be running with the likes of George if I was to have a strong day so I eased myself up into thier group which also contained Steve Hebblewthwaite and Josh from Keswick - two more lads who always beat me.

It seemed a bit fast but I was managing OK and by three miles we had only been running for 16 minutes!
At three miles there is a reasonable little climb which saw George and Harry ease away a few metres ahead, and Plucky lose a similar distance behind. Very soon after, Steve Hebb also eased away leaving just me and Josh running together.

I tried so very very hard from about 3.5 to 5 miles to try and regain contact with my three erstwhile companions. I almost made it too, but with still 15 metres to gain I began falling back and resigned myself. The effort had been enough to get rid of Josh though so I was now completely on my own. And very knackered.

At 6 miles my time was 33:12 (5:32 pace) but I really struggled from thereon in. I only just beat 24 minutes for those last 4 miles, such was the drop off in my pace. I was only passed by a couple of lads though. Unfortunately one of them was Jason who took the V40 1st place (didnt even realise I had been in 1st place). Immediately upon crossing the line I was off to take photos of those who finished after I did so didnt get to the presentation but it turns out we won the veterans team prize and I got 2nd V40.

I frontran from 3miles and it was 9.5miles when I was caught by another runner. If only I had been able to run in that wee group with George, Harry and Steve Hebb' I reckon I would have been carried along to at least a minute faster compared to doing those 6 miles on my own. Still, its my fastest time for 6 years and I know I can go a bit faster still - theres plenty of life in this old dog yet.

Time for a lovely rest now.

Apart from next Saturdays XC meeting in Carlisle ( could win the series vets championship if all goes well)

And the Cumbria XC champs the week after

Oh and maybe the 37 mile ultra Tour de Helvellyn the week before xmas

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Not raining

My plan to train like a demon to get into some kind of form for the Brampton to Carlisle 10 has been thwarted somewhat by being so bloody knackered from racing that I have still been training much less than usual.

The run with Plucky has to be through the town now its dark by 5pm and consequently we have to take a little extra care at junctions, with pedestrians and at road crossings etc. Doesn't matter though - the effort is still the same ( brisk to hard) and we have no measured route or way of knowing our pace anyway so its all about the effort for the given time. I cant remember if I ran the next day but if I did it would just have been a slow jog.

No such trouble remembering what happened last Thursday. I went down to the track to train with the Harriers who were doing 800metre reps. Now 800s are OK for me. Its the shortest distance I would usually run (apart from an occasional 400 as part of a pyramid session), but I would usually do 6 of them - the session set by the club coach was for 8!!

As we began I found myself leading the second group (first group is ridiculously fast even for the first half a lap to ever consider running with). I knew there was no way I was a fast enough runner to be leading some of those lads and sure enough at the bell, when the coach called out 74 seconds, they are buzzed past me and I trailed in at 2:31. The recovery seemed ludicrously long at 800m jogging, but I saw little point in doing my 'own thing' and stuck with the program. AS i settled into the session I was knocking out 2:29s consistently and even managed a 2:25 for my sixth. I paid for that one though as my seventh and final efforts were both just inside 2:40. Still,  6 by 800 metres at inside 5 minute miling average pace is my best for perhaps 5 years. Later that evening I felt the most tired I have felt since marathon training earlier this year - a good kind of tired.

Friday I saw little point in running and instead I walked Scamp for extra time. Saturday, the day prior to a race I popped down to Glenridding and enjoyed a fellwalk (with a little jogging included) with Scamp, and my camera taking some shots of runners in a big trailrunning event being held in the valleys.

Sunday morning saw the city shrouded in a heavy mist but as I drove South I left the mist behind and witnessed the most magnificent views I've seen in a good long while (this would be an ideal opportunity to include a couple of photos had I stopped to take any). By the time I got to Keswick I was feeling on top of the world and looking forward to running in the spectacular surroundings. Having walked Scamp or 60 minutes earlier, I then took him for another short walk in Keswick before he had to sit in the van for a couple of hours while I raced. I think now that this was possibly just a tad too much time on my feet to then race well, but no matter, this was only to be the precursor race to Brampton, two weeks later.

The gun sounded and we were off. A big contingent from Border Harriers were present. Way ahead was James Douglas (winner in 2010 and eventual 3rd 2011) and just a head was George Thompson (vet 55 from January). Then I was in a group containing Harry Earl, Chris Neil, Jason Holmes and Plucky (plucky NOT in Border any more - hey maybe he wants to join Eden Runners?). At three miles we were on exactly 17 minutes, at four we had gained another 15 seconds over "evens" and I figured this would give a sub hour result as long as everything held together on the much hillier second half. At about 5 miles myself and Harry had caught George and left Chris, Jason  and Plucky behind.  George rallied though and took Harry with him. I was isolated and by six miles Jason caught and passed me. At 8 miles Chris also caught me but at 9 there was only 20 metres between the three of us. I had 6 minutes 15 seconds available to run 58:59 and saw little point in going flat out to beat the other two lads. So they both beat me, which is a bit galling, but my time of 58:30 means I ran a 5:45 final mile and importantly DIDN'T crucify myself to be, say 18th instead of 21st.

I had said for ages that I wanted to run sub 60 for the race but I knew I had a 58 in me and with the conditions near perfect I am really very pleased with my performance.  At no point in the race did I feel like I was actually racing though - In a good racing race I will be pushing myself rock hard and enjoying it and knowing I am running well and forcing the pace and getting absolutely everything available from my body out via my heart and lungs, through my legs and onto the tarmac. Here it was more a case of running hard but not flat out - heart and lungs working hard but unable to push to the maximum due to leg muscles being so tired and unresponsive and brain frightened of something going wrong and having to drastically slow down. At Brampton I will go to pains to ensure my legs are in good shape. I will NOT be going on a long walk prior and I will be be adopting a do or die attitude. If Jason and Chris want to take me on they need to be prepared for a MUCH harder time than last Sunday. I may overdo it and crawl home from 7 miles but if I get it right I will run sub 56 minutes.

Bring it on - I cant bloody wait.

The day after the Derwent race I met up with Milly and Gareth and enjoyed a very easy 50 minute jog with loads of craic about the race and catching up in general. Poor Gareth has been out injured for weeks  and wasnt as involved with the craic and more involved in trying to keep up with us.

Tonight I joined Plucky again for the 50 minute pacey run. After a two mile jog to meet up approx halfway between our homes we launch into a brisk tempo. Darren was also present. Strange lad Darren in that he could keep up with me and Plucky tonight (even though at one point Plucky was dropped by a few metres) yet in races he is always well behind us (61 mins at Derwent 10). As we neared the point when we part company I suggested it would be funny if we both then slowed down as the pressure to keep up the high pace was gone once we were alone. Plucky said he WOULD be slowing down - in other words he was finding it too hard to continue. I saw this as an opportunity to gain over him by ensuring I ran as hard as I could all the way home. So I did. Darren has a Garmin and it showed 6:12 pace when we went our separate ways - thats not bad considering its through town and the varoius obstructions to free running as I described earlier.

Track again coming up Thursday - dont know what Ill do tomorrow.

Monday, October 31, 2011

No training

First there was a Cross Country meet at Penrith, then 4 days later an offroad, hilly, half marathon then 3 days after that another cross country, this time at Burnley. Inbetween that I haven't trained - didn't seem to be any need to.

The first XC was for the veteran Championship of Cumbria. I didn't win! The following day I enjoyed an outing in the valley behind Skiddaw, running about 15 miles or so in real gloomy conditions. Very easy pace though and little climbing.

Then Monday I met up with Milly who was doing some fartlek training. Id done a handful of miles easy and basically was going home but I joined in a five minute effort with him, then a two before jogging the short distance home while he got on with the rest of his session.

Whilst I never intended the midweek race to curtail my normal training I figured that to run 10m brisk with Plucky just 17 hours prior would be likely to get me injured so I rested up on Tuesday.

The half marathon was on forest tracks in an RAF base about 20 miles from Carlisle. Only about 120 entered it and most of them were RAF personnel. I knew the winning time in previous years was more than 1hr 20 and reckoned I would be able to run somewhere in that time region myself. It wasn't to be though as a young gun recorded 1:18 to my 1:21 (for third place).  I was quite strong for most of the run. I almost caught the second placed lad with about 3m to go but then I faded in the final 1.5m and he pulled away again. Some lads were talking afterwards about how they both ran approx 2 mins slower at this event than the Cumbrian run just a few weeks earlier. So that would have given me a 1:19 or so if I had followed suit. 1:19 is not quite where I want to be though. I reckon I should be able to run sub 6min miling for all distances up to and including the half. However, I think the time to run a good half is when the marathon miles are in your system, perhaps early march.

The two days following the Half I did bugger all really, just a four mile jog one afternoon.

Then suddenly it was Saturday and the Burnley Cross Country was upon me. I know I shouldn't have ran it really, or certainly not at full effort, but I'd said weeks ago I would have a go at the Mid Lancs League meetings and I didn't want to back out.

Conditions were blustery but dry. Very muddy in places, but avoidable for the most part. There was even a section of about 200m of tarmac path which was Ideal for me as I was one of the few not using spikes so I could blast past folk taking care to keep to the grassy edges. With 350 runners I was always in company, and notably with fellow Border Harriers Jason Holmes and Chris Neil close by. I managed to drop them both after a lap or so but then about half a mile before the end of the race my half marathon came back to haunt me as my legs turned to mush. I was overtaken left and right and only the fast approaching finish line saved me from losing a lot more places.

Bearing in mind that I always said one race per week was too much for me, to run 3 within 8 days was a bit daft. Better than going training though. Next weekend is yet another race - the Derwentwater 10. At least there are 8 days between it and the XC so I should be OK. Theres also the Brampton to Carlisle 10 two weeks after the Derwent 10. I will be tapering a little for the B to C and therefore NOT racing the XC the weekend before it.

Yesterday (Sunday) I had a walk up a local fell - not far or steep. Today I jogged out for about 4 miles with Scamp. Hopefully tomorrow I will feel able to push on a bit with Plucky but I certainly couldn't  have done anything tough today - legs are not trashed and sore just aching from deep within!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Title shmitle

In a nod to Rick I'm not running anywhere today (Friday)

Mind you I have trained  a bit hard since last weekend and with a race tomorrow I thought it would be daft to do 'owt more than a jog with Scamp. We walked home through town and the park though, so no jog even.

On sunday I was full of good intentions to run for an hour in the low fells near Cockermouth immediately prior to photographing the English Schools Fell Championship for which I had been commissioned. Various things taking my time and attention meant this was more like a 10 minute run up a hill followed by a 4 minute run back down it for fear of being late for the races. Not to worry though - I had ran the day before and even after I finished this short one I was then back on the fell with my heavy bag and covered at least 2 more miles albeit walking.

Weather wise Monday was poor. Plenty of showers and damn cold too. It seemed to have improved when I left he house with Scamp for a jog in the evening. I planned a route to see us out for at least an hour. But after 40 minutes the rain came back - with a vengeance! My choice of clothing offered little protection and I was soaked through within seconds. I considered sheltering somewhere but then decided picking up the pace and getting home ASAP was the best option. So only about 50 minutes mostly easy.
Scamp

Plucky said he was up for a bit of a bash on Tuesdays for a few weeks to come so I went to his house after work and we ran a hilly 9.3 miles. Not having seen him for several weeks we had a good craic as we toured the countryside. This was unusual as Plucky usually says little when trying hard. I wasn't trying very hard either but we did seem to be flying along rather well.  The calculator afterwards said 6:15 pace which was simply remarkeable as it had never felt anything more than a brisk jog.

I think we must have been well rested for Tuesdays run because the next day I felt like the 6:08 pace I managed  for my "flat" 5 mile circuit was about as fast as I was comfortable with!

(Dont read the next sentence Rick) Next day I went to the track and completed 4 by 1600metres with the club.I hadnt done 'mile reps' for a few weeks but figured I should be able to run 5:30 pace so planned on 82 seconds per lap. Lap one was 78 seconds - and that wasn't by keeping up with any of the lads who I knew better than to try to - just  a bit of an enthusiastic start by me. Not surprisingly I slowed from that pace and recorded 5:26. For the next rep I stated I would be running 80secs/lap and I stuck to that exactly until 800m when I thereafter ran 81 and 82 to give me a 5:23 mile. For my third I lapped at 79s then struggled at the bell but still recorded my best for the night (and year) of 5:19. The final rep I wanted to run in 5:30 and ran very even laps to record 5:29. An excellent session, far and away my fastest average pace for several years. If I can repeat this over 5x 1 mile then the theory says I should be able to run 34 minute 10ks.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

One week older - lots faster

I admit to being a little disappointed at taking nearly 69 minutes for the ten mile run last Sunday. Despite not trying very hard I hoped to still run inside 68 if I'm honest. The next day I had an easy hours jogging around the park and golf course with Scamp.

Having recently joined Keswick AC as a second claim member it was rather apt that I should end up training with some Keswick members on Tuesday. Not on the fell though. Bizarrely it was on the Sheepmount track where I trained with Russell and Pippa Madams. My first track session in months was a real shock to the system. I only did about 4500metres consisting of mainly 800 and 1200 efforts which I ran at about 5:30 pace. Running there and back as well as a one mile warmup was a decent mileage for the day though.

Next day I was back to some recovery jogging on the grass with Scamp, then Thursday and Friday were the same run both evenings -  5 mile Houghton loop. 30:46 and 30:51 were decent enough times although I would prefer to be knocking out these inside 30:30.

Undecided what to do today (Saturday) I hung about the house all morning and watched the GP qualifying. After walking off my breakfast with Scamp I finally got up the motivation to go for a run. It was a lovely sunny day with temps in the teens centigrade. Vest weather.

I started my watch at the 13 mile route start point and decided if I felt rubbish to cut it short at the 10 turn.
I didn't put much effort into the early miles and expected to be running at about 6:45-6:55 pace. I only have vague checkpoints on this route but was pretty sure I was running much faster than anticipated. The second half was headwind today and also features the main hills, such as they are. I finished with 1:25:30 which is about 6:35 pace. Excellent result for a very routine run. Only the last three miles could be described as 'hard running' and if I was to do some marathon pace efforts on this route then I would be confident of my ability to run 15-20secs/mile faster than today.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

4weaksoff

After that annoying glitch in my late summer plan I resumed training with two good fellruns with Penrith Stu for company. The first was over Clough Head and the Dodds in'c a brief stop at Calfhow Pike where, remarkably Stu had never been. It rained for 120 minutes of the two hours we ran but was nevertheless very enjoyable. Next day was drier and we had another 90 minutes of decent training in the fells E of  Kirkstone pass where Stu was due to run a relay event the following week.

Next day I opted to jog with Scamp in the park after work. It was only  four mile loop on grass and I was taking it pretty easy but strangely my knee started to hurt. I stopped and poked and rubbed it a bit then carried on but within 100metres it was hurting again, too much to carry on running. Worried, I didnt run on the Tuesday and on the Wednesday I took a walk up the fells to assess how it was faring. It seemed not too bad so  when Stu, Sam, Steve B and Carl turned up at 6 oclock I joined them for the remaining few miles of their run. Error! Error! Error!

It hurt a LOT on the Thursday so I took myself of to see Chris the physio. He assured me it was nothing to worry about and would soon be better - he even said I could probably run the Langdale half marathon two days later! Apparently it was a bit of inflammation behind my knee, probably caused when I slipped on the wet grass during one of those two weekend fellruns.

I didnt do the Half Marathon - it still felt a bit too sore at that point. But I did resume jogging gently a couple of days later and this gave no additional trouble, in fact, I could tell that every day it was getting better and better.

Saturday the 1st of October was the date for  a cross country relay event at Sheffield which I had said I would run as part of a Border Harriers veteran team. I wasnt concerned about my knee hurting, but racing  two miles is not exactly my distance, and after so long out of proper training I figured I would struggle.

As the 'baton' was handed to me we were sitting in 2nd place of the veteran teams with the lead team about 50 metres ahead of me. I gave everything to try to catch him up but it was to no avail. When I figured I might be halfway through the course and looked at my watch to see just 4:45 had passed since I started. I was in serious trouble and my legs gave out on me as I tackled the remaining course - two or three lads passed me but luckily they were seniors not vets so once I knew I was within sight of the finish I pushed hard again to ensure we didnt lose the second place.

Waiting at the presentation for our medals we were gutted to discover that only Yorkshire veteran teams  were eligible to win anything. The seniors, juniors and ladies races were all open to all of North England but not the vets. What a stitch up! I expect our £12 will be refunded with interest and full letter of apology any day now.

Unsure if the XC course was really 2 miles or maybe a bit more it wasnt a great time I ran. 12:06. Possibly not even six minute miling! A few days later I ran my 5 mile loop in 30:50 so at least I knew I was still reasonably fit and the race was merely a glitch.

Wednesday evening I was up Blencathra a couple of times - leaning sideways to run at 1mph uphill in 40mph wind - great training - loved it.

Thursday evening was VERY cold and VERY windy and I went home and lit the fire for the first time since summer began.

Friday evening I like to take off from running but keen to get back into a routine of training I ran the 5 miler again. Despite a decent wind blowing I ran it in 30:31 - not bad going at all.

Yesterday was the first proper Cross Country race of the season at Cockermouth. The going was wet and soft and my legs were sapped of strength within two of the four lap race. The field was rather short of many of the talented lads who often turn out for these events and I think I was lucky to get 4th place and first vet40.

Today I ran my 10 mile loop steady - very windy again but really warm - too warm for the  long sleeved top I'd opted to wear. Almost 69 minutes after starting I finished in a lather of sweat.

So there we have my round up of the last month or so - very annoying to have a two week glitch immediately after taking two weeks rest but all is not lost - I seem to have held onto some decent speed and fitness. With well over a month to go until my next target race, the Brampton To Carlisle 10 miler, I should be back where I was by then if not quite in time for the Derwentwater 10 two weeks prior.

Friday, September 16, 2011

FFS!

Being off the blog scene for a while means desperate calls, texts and emails from around the globe (though mainly Carlisle) have been received asking 'whits garn on'?

The Sunday prior to the 10k event I awoke with a slightly scratchy throat which I ignored and enjoyed a fantastic day on Helvellyn, taking in the views, photographing tourists and triathletes and having a wee moment at the far end of Striding Edge with me half way down the 'big drop', heavy backpack scraping the  rock behind me, Two grand camera dangling from my neck in front of me,  and suddenly a frightened Scamp appears way above my head trying to get down to me. I try to send him away but he edges ever nearer. He slips and scares himself so bad he somehow scrambles back up. Cue Steve, balanced on small footholds in rock,  removing backpack from back to stash camera away. Back on with backpack and wonder how I might best deal with Scamp now I have two free hands. Scamp then appears 10 feet below me and waits patiently like nearly falling to his death is a normal occurence. He was exactly the same the day he became caught in a strong current in the river and to stop him (pointlessly) trying to swim toward me, I had to run half a mile around via a bridge to then shout for him to come to the opposite side where I was now stood - a three second swim WITH the current.

Next day I had a slightly swollen throat and a runny nose. I was concerned about the race but hopeful plenty of sleep, OJ and fresh air would quash the 'illness' before it took a hold of me.

Unfortunately things only deteriorated and by race day I also had sore ears and could hardly swallow as my throat was so swollen. Didn't even feel up to going through to photograph the event. Of course, Thursday I felt about 75pc better than Wednesday and I continued to improve each day thereafter.

I'm now left with an annoying cough but feel absolutely fine in myself. I haven't ran for 14 days but fully intend to do so tomorrow. I didn't take 14 off because I felt poorly but because it was always my intention to have a two week break from training after the 10k anyway.

Shame I missed the chance to run a good 10k time - bigger shame, I'd only entered about 2 days beforehand - £14 I could have better spent on beer and cig's

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Such fun

The usual Monday run with Milly and his track cronies has now ceased. They get to have September off from training, so I was on my own. I opted to run my ten mile circuit doing four, eleven minute efforts with four minute jogging recoveries. It was difficult at first to capitalise on the mild tailwind  that took me out to to the turn, and then the mild headwind home hindered my return a little and of course by the last effort I was tiring too. However, 62:58 isn't bad going.

After that tough Monday run I didnt do anything at all on Tuesday - I had to go back to work later in the evening  and decided that a long walk with Scamp in the late afternoon would benefit me as much as a short, slow jog.

Back into the tough stuff on Wednesday with a four mile time trial. I did this over the same ground as I do the mile reps so not surprisingly the splits went a similar way with roughly 5:53 pace for the first 3 miles coming down to a final average of 5:49 by the time I had ran the slightly more downhill final mile. Although this was tough, I was only really hurting in that last mile and afterwards I wished I had ran my five mile loop instead. Still, as long as I can run 12 seconds per mile faster (=5:37) and for 55% longer (=6.2miles) at next weeks 10K I will be delighted.

Plucky reported his intention to do an hour at a decent clip on Thursday and I suspect it would have wise to let him get on with that and do my own easy run elsewhere. But not having ran with him for a month or more I joined him anyway and simply let him dictate the pace. It was a funny run, certainly not hard enough to call it a proper hard run, but certainly it was a decent effort - maybe just a tad below the effort of a tempo run. Plucky was full of craic all the way round the 9 mile route which is another sign we werent running as fast as normal as on those occasions he scarcely (is able to) speaks. Average pace was  6:21 per mile for 9.3 hilly miles.

Blencathra  (crapper fells in distance)
I needed little persuasion to take a trip up Blencathra on Friday evening. I was already concerned that doing some 800m reps might be too much to end a reasonably tough week and a Blencathra ascent is not exaclty a walk in the park from any point, but then of course it was just Penrith Stu I was going up with, so even if he was trying hard it wouldnt be much of an effort for my good self. Indeed it turned out a most pleasurable evening - nice'n warm on the climb and then not too cold on the summit as we took some photos, despite only having the flimsiest of T shirts on.

Long run today (Saturday). I didnt want to do anything too arduous so decided to run with Scamp at first then on the road. We did 50 minutes of slow jogging around the park and golf course - possibly only about 8 pace. The  I took Scamp home and ran the Crosby 10 in 73 minutes.


Thats it now for training for a while. Going up Helvellyn tomorrow to watch the Triathlon then one easy jog on Tuesday before the 10k on Wednesday. I'm feeling OK but looking forward to a wee break from the non stop cycle of training. Then I should be ready for another mini season of the November races.
Steve Angus -Tired and looking forward to a wee rest



Friday, August 26, 2011

Another week another race

Mile reps on Monday. The first one, in 5:45, included the most uphill, though not exactly steep or long.Then 5:39 to the far point of the course then a 5:38 coming back. The final one was obviously therefore the most downhill and 5:28 didn't feel ridiculously hard to achieve. A good session. and 5.37.5 would almost give me that elusive 34min 10k if I could sustain the pace over the distance.

Went for a jog with a dog on Tuesday - easy 4

Wednesday I was racing again. Keswick again. 5.5 miles this time but the first mile and a bit is up a steep hill offroad. Officially this is a fellrace, but there is no kit requirement, there are no summits visited, and even on this damp day I had no problem using road shoes.

I didn't want to get into oxygen debt before we even began the climb proper so settled into about 12th place as we crossed the bridge over the A66 to begin climbing up the side of Lattrigg fell. At the first sign of a relaxing of the gradient several lads around me seemed to need the breather but not having been trying terribly hard up until then I pushed on and opened my stride as a very brief downhill was enjoyed. This was enough to get me clear of the pack. On the climb proper I was in the top 10 and running with Sam Ware or Eden Runners. We exchanged a brief word or two as we climbed and after 11 minutes of the start were still within shouting distance of the eventual winner Carl Bell, maybe 15 or 20 seconds at most ahead of us at that stage.

As we reached the Gale Rd carpark where a small crowd was gathered to watch, I was about 5 metres behind Sam. We had dropped a companion from Keswick AC and were running in 7th and 8th position. I easily caught Sam over the flattish part, then was aware I was pulling away from him as we descended through the fields.

So 7th place was mine and ahead was John French of Eden, someone who I regarded as much faster runner than me (though not historically) since he beat me by nearly 4 minutes at the Keswick half earlier this year. As we finished running downhill and began the 2.5 mile section of flat track to Keswick along the route of the old railway line I was approx 70 metres behind John. I was trying very hard indeed all the way to the finish and was catching John - but only by the smallest of margins.  I saw him catch and pass two runners but try as I might I couldnt go fast enough to pass any of them myself. As we rounded the Leisure Centre I was right on the heels of 6th place but thought better of initiating a sprint to try to gain one place.

The results show me in 7th place but crucially, only 24 seconds behind 4th place John, who I suspect edged away from me again in that last couple of minutes racing as he must have battled for position with Paul Wathan who was 1 second behind him on the line. More remarkably I was just 41 seconds behind Steve Birkinshaw, who I don't know but certainly know of, and whom I regard as a 'proper fast' fella.

Walked in the fells with Scamp before the race - this was my view (but in colour)



Within a minute of finishing I saw the first lady, Emma Clayton of Bingley Harriers cross the line! Maybe just as well it wasnt a mile longer or I might have been caught by her. The average pace per mile had a massive hole knocked into it with the big uphill section but as far as racing was concerned I was very happy with this performance. I think the Ultra 50 is out of my legs now and after another week of fast training I should be as ready as I ever could be for the Dumfries 10k. I am a bit concerned about how much I have built up to it. Mentally I mean. Two years ago I was bitterly disappointed with my run at Dumfries after expecting much. One thing I am definitely going to do after Dumfries is have a rest from hard training after work. For two weeks I will only train at the weekend. Of a night I may go up the fells with Scamp and a camera whilst the daylight remains sufficiently long enough into the evening to do so without needing headtorch.

Grisedale Pike and Hopegillhead - Another view from our walk
Tonight is Friday and in keeping with my pattern of Mon Wed Fri 'tough' running I did 8x800 again. This time I went to the track and trained with Darren. Missing the one mile jog from home to the usual location I said I was going to do numbers 1 and 8 'easy' as a sort of additional warm up/down. so,
2:49 for the 'easy' one, then
2:38 then
2:37, I then asked Daz if he wanted to lead the fourth.
He did so and absolutely caned it around the half mile to record 2:29, I was about 3 metres behind him but still crossed the line before the watched clicked over to 2:30. Sub 5 minute miling! Get in!
Daz was too knackered to lead again and I tried my hardest to emulate his performance but could only manage 2:33, (though I did run a faster 2nd lap)
Daz again and ran 2:29 again but I was dropped 150m out and scored a 2:34
Both now pretty wasted we ran 2:37 for the 7th. At the bell on this one I honestly felt like quitting for the night - my legs were completely shot at.
Somehow we managed the 8th warmdown rep and 2:44 was inside what we had allowed ourselves to slow up by.



Friday, August 19, 2011

A race report - how novel!

The race in question was the Newlands Valley Round promoted by Keswick AC. From Keswick it goes over the bridge to Portinscale, up the hills to the Swinside Inn, down to Stair, up t'other side of Stair to the Newlands Pass road where turn right to come back almost to Braithwaite but then head right again to follow back to Portinscale and Keswick - 6.8 miles.

Last Monday I was alone for the 8.75 miler and instead of running steady away, I tried as hard as usual and recorded 6:18 pace. Slowest for some time, but alone, without the youngsters to try to stay ahead of, that is good enough. Tuesday I felt very lethargic and cut short the intended 7+ jog-with-dog to just 4 miles.

So to tonight. I didnt feel much like racing as I had a rather tiring day at work. One site all day long is actually much harder work than my usual day of driving between 4 or more sites and then  sitting in office doing paperwork/plans/emails/ quotes etc.

After walking Scamp for a while by the river below the old rail line near Threlkeld I felt a bit more energetic again and drove the couple of miles to Keswick to get signed on. I dont really have a proper warm up routine - I ran up the hill to the school twice, hard, and then did some stretches and two little sprints on the flat road by the finish.


The gun went and four lads immediately formed a lead group. James Douglas (Border), John Mason (Border) Steve Littler (Wesham) and another very young lad, unknown to me. I was in fifth and made no attempt to go with them. By the bridge into Portinscale I had been joined by 3 others so it was two groups of 4 heading the race.

I am sure I didnt set off too fast but within another half mile I was dropped by my group so was now alone in 8th on the road. Another half mile after that, approaching stair, I had caught back to one of my former group and I think I dropped him climbing out of Stair. The really young lad from group one also came back to me here so I was in 6th now. Trouble was Michael Cunningham (Borrowdale) had caught me very slowly and we two then raced all the way to the end vying for 6th and 7th. We exchanged a brief word or two at one stage and I suggested if we kept the pressure on we might get the lad in fifth who was not pulling away and was looking behind him a lot.  Michael is a lad I have recognised from racing against for 10 years  or more but I have never really had much of a craic with him.

On the slight downhill in Portinscale to the suspension bridge I took a 30 second breather then pushed hard again to maintain a gap which had opened up between us.  I felt it was possibly 10 or 20 metres at that stage. My plan must  have worked I think, as the gap at the finish line was more like 30 or 40 metres.

Stats then. I was 6th from just less than 100 finishers. 1st Vet 40. 3rd counter in winning team.
I was pleased to have been able to race hard for nearly 7 miles and not tie up or struggle at the end.
My time of 40.11 is 5:55 per mile which for approx 11k on a fairly lumpy course is OKish but nothing startling. Back in the day (sorry Stu) I would have looked to be just inside 5:40 pace over a hilly course like this, so 15 seconds/mile slower is quite significant. A 10 seconds/mile loss in the intervening years would be easier to accept.

Next week there is another race (Round Latrigg) and the week after that the Dumfries 10k. Only the Dumfries event will see me curtail my tough training regime beforehand so hopefully another week of speedwork, racing and tempo runs will see me perform well there.




Extra Extra. Friday night, I've just done a session of 800metres intervals. Every intention of doing 8 of them but I feared that after 6 I might be struggling and need to quit. Little wind meant only the slight elevation difference would make one direction faster than the other.

Set off a bit harder than usual for no1 (after last weeks poor 2:56) and got 2:45. Good
no2 (mild downhill) gave a 2:39
no3 exactly as no1 with 2:45
then a one second bettering downhill to record 2:38.

Halfway through the session now, and I reckoned I would soon begin to suffer in a big way or my legs would give up the ghost. As I got into the thick of the third uphill (5th effort) I promised myself that if I failed to do another 2:45 I would quit at 6 as it would be a sure sign of lethargy, and cutting short would be sensible.
I was astonished then to record 2:43!!
The next one (downhill) was the toughest of the night, by 300 metres into it my CV system felt like it was working on override. I thought this was because I was so completely knackered but my watch revealed it was because I was running so damn fast. It showed 2:34 as I finished
The final two reps were a bit more sedentary and matched my earlier efforts of 2:43 (up) and 2:39 (down)

What a session. a mile longer than I expected to manage and much much faster than last week (although to be fair last week was the first time doing this short distance in several months).
About 5:22 average pace.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Stats

Sat/sun no run (photography) - actually got paid to take photos (as opposed to taking them and hoping to sell some)

Mon 9 miles 6:12 pace

Tues only had 30 mins to run so did a 30 min run with Scamp

Wed - 800metre reps x6. Avg 5:30 pace

Thurs - bout 6 miles in the pissing rain and glorious mud near the new bypass - first time crossing the new bridge

Friday - ran up to top of Blinky from Scales. Then down to Tarn. Then to top again via Foule Crag then all way back down. Mostly easy apart from the last part of the second ascent when I imagined how far behind Stu and Stevie B would have been (very)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Going backwards

Do I mean I have been practising running backwards like that bloke Roy Castle could hardly keep up with in the opening titles to Record Breakers in the 70s?
No
Do I mean my fitness and times have slipped, despite all the tough training I have been doing?
No
Have I had a chance meeting with Dr Who and travelled in time?
No
Henry the mild mannered janitor?
Could be....
All it  is I'm going to blog about today, Friday,  then the day before and so on until I get back to last Saturday.

When I got back from my 10 miler this evening the clock said 68mins 44 secs. Nothing startling. This did also include the time spent running from home to the start of the 10 mile loop and back again afterwards. I estimate 3 minutes at most so my 10 mile run was probably 65 or 66 minutes. My watch broke last week hence my timing this run on my phone which I left by the back door.

Mile reps were Thursdays training. Again, no watch meant I simply ran hard for a mile then rested up until I felt ready to go again. I did four of these. Next time will be five. Little point in guessing what my pace was for these. Probably had my speed blunted by the 50 miler though.

First run since the 50 was on Wednesday when I jogged a while with Scamp. I felt absolutely great, with a spring in my step like never before. I reckon  I could have raced the 10k being held that night in West Cumbria but it was too late to go through by the time I decided I was up for it.

Tuesday, Monday and Sunday I was enjoying a wee holiday in Cheshire. I didnt run at all during those three days.

Which brings us to Saturday and the UTLD 50. Even at the back of 8 oclock in Coniston it was red hot. Not ideal for an endurance event beginning at midday! The bus that took us to the start near Penrith was delayed when the bus ahead had a minor scrape with a car as we passed through the narrow lanes between Coniston and Ambleside. This, and the slow progress past the resulting tailback meant we only got to the start at about 12.15. The start hand't happened and then was then delayed a little longer to give a chance for last minute toilet visits etc and we finally got started at 12.25. This was not a huge issue but I knew there would be little chance of finishing in the light of day as my 10 hour schedule was the best I could possibly imagine doing the distance in and would only just have seen me finish before dark given a noon start.

The first four miles were a circuit through fields and farms - a bit crappy really with lots of styles, gates and long grass to negotiate. Soon enough though we were onto the proper route and running along the pleasant path parallel to the outflow from Ullswater. In Pooley Bridge we had encouraging shouts from locals and holidaymakers and were soon ascending the tarmac road to Roehead  and then the track up toward High Street. This was the same section as I had blasted up as hard as I could in the DITL Triathlon so it was very pleasant indeed to run up just about as slow as I could on this occasion. Many people (and not just 100 mile participants) were already reduced to walking here though, and I passed several.  The route doesnt get to the High St path, it veers right to skirt the top of the fields and campsites and is overall downhill to Howtown where the first checkpoint (cp)was located, 11.2 miles from the start.

Filling my bumbag with bananas and cake and my bottles with juice I wasn't stationary very long at all and was soon jogging out of the tiny hamlet onto the open fell of Fusedale. More people passed as I climbed to the high point of the whole route, High Kop 670m above sea level. I can safely say I was inside the top 20 at this point, maybe even top 15. Unfortunately things went awry a little somewhere between High Kop, Low Kop and the path we eventually got to that runs alongside Haweswater reservoir. I missed the proper path (though it is described as 'faint' in the manual) and probably added 5 or 6 minutes to our day. Certainly, as I passed the point where I should have descended and joined the path I noted someone who I knew was about to join the path from the proper (shorter ) route. I'd been comfortably ahead of this fella at Howtown and had almost certainly continued to pull away from him over the Fusedale climb. I was really downbeat about this error. This was a section I had intended checking out prior to the event but didnt get round to doing so!!!!!

Some Fifteen minutes after regaining the proper route I passed Steve "Wes" Weston. A mile later I was in the Mardale Head cp (20 miles from start). As I left the cp Wes came into it. Although I later discovered he was having a low, I was obviously still going reasonably well at this stage if a little pissed off with myself. Penrith Stu was at cp2. He was anxious I should get going ASAP. He said Id gone from top 15 to only about 50th and lost quarter of an hour. The result show I was in 39th place at this stage - so not a bad guess by Stu.

The climb out from Mardale over Gatesgarth Pass is steep and long. Even once over the top it it tough going underfoot and at times I wasnt going much faster downhill than I had been up. As I caught a couple of 100 milers I slowed a wee bit to chat to them. Soon after I was caught by a group of 3 lads in the 50 and we stayed together until we reached the Kentmere cp3 (27 miles from the start) - over half way.

Top scran was enjoyed in Kentmere. They even had fancy jugs on the tables that were continually replenished with cold fresh water. I had a fruit smoothie, some pasta and tea and biscuits which I took with me as I left. Wes had came into Kentmere after me but had a very brief stop and we left together, along with an Ian. The route is immediately uphill and we all walked at first to work off the food just devoured. There were occasional  opportunities to run and I was dropped by the lads as I continued to walk and try to drink my tea. On the climb proper of Garburn Pass I noted they were not very far ahead at all and not pulling away so I ditched the remnants of my tea and easily caught up. We jogged, and walked when steep, together to Ambleside cp4 (34.3 miles from start)

The reception from the crowds  in Ambleside was thoroughly uplifting. This is what it must have been like for those intrepid early voyagers who returned home to a heroes welcome after taming stormy seas to discover new lands and bring back wealth and prosperity to a rising nation. Sort of.

Leaving Amblside I felt good. I knew the route to the end in my head and wouldnt need a map or go wrong anywhere. I walked through the town drinking my tea. In the park I was caught by Wes and Ian and ditched the tea so I could jog and stay with them. Although we walked out over the initial climb that skirts below Loughrigg, it's not very long and we then ran all the way to Elterwater. A very brief walk again from the river Brathay up to the mine then running again all the way to cp 5 at Chapel Stile (39.4 miles from the start)

My stops were becoming briefer as the day progressed and at Chapel Stile I probably only had 2 minutes at most. Just enough time to swallow some soup and a slice of bread and have my bottles refilled. The going from Chapel Stile is good a first and we were running until we reached some stony paths in the upper Langdale valley. As the path crosses various fields, stream and walls I was forging ahead. Wes and Ian were becoming isolated from me but I didnt feel I needed to wait as there was still an hour or two to go and I could make time up if I pressed on. However, the climb up to the top of Side Pike Pass saw me really struggle and by the top the other two were so close again that I lingered a little to allow us to all cross the road together and begin the section round the back of Blea Tarn.

Darkness fell briefly as we passed through the wood behind Blea Tarn. Not so long after that we reached the short section of tarmac  that is the Wrynose Pass road. Torches were looked out of our bags and we continued toward Tilberthwaite cp6 (46.5 miles from the start). The marshals at Tilberthwaite were exceptionally cheery and had plenty of food laid on. I had a mouthtful of malt loaf but to be honest I knew we would only take an hour or so to complete this final 3 and a bit miles and was keen to move on.

Climbing the final section fell this year felt much more pleasant than in 2009 when I hadn't a clue where I was and it was spitting with rain. Now, even in the dark there were no issues with the route and we were soon dropping down into Coniston. As we neared the village, Wes and Ian raced ahead of me to finish about 90 seconds up. We were 27th 28th and 29th from nearly 500 starters.

Theres more to the story of the Lakes 50 than that but I will type it another time.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Yes it was of course "Werewolf in London" by Warren Zevron

Moving on, a good start to the week has been enjoyed by all.
Rydal Round runners - Ambleside and Windermere behind

After an easy 15 miler with Darren on Sunday morning, on Monday I turned up at the Sands centre for the now customary 9 mile pacey run with Milly and his track cronies. Thinking I should possibly not run as hard as I usually do I opted to simply run behind Milly all night whatever the pace. It felt damn hard early on and I wasnt surprised to hear Milly reporting sub 6 pace was showing on his Garmin. Headwind second half and we were now over 6 pace to give an overall average of about 6:06.

Track cycling at the sports
Thinking that I was racing on Wednesday I didn't do anything on Tuesday. I later discovered that the race has been moved to mid August. Annoying, but perhaps best NOT to be racing 6 miles flat out within a few days of the Lakes 50 looking ahead. Instead I had a walk up to Esk Pike with Scamp. Funny the things that go through your mind when a "big" race is coming up, - I usually drink from high streams and springs without a second thought, but on this walk I opted not to run the risk of getting bad guts. Remembering to take a drink from home would have prevented this of course  I AM VERY DISORGANISED.



Sportsfield from Nab Scar
Thursday was a day off work for Ambleside Sports. What a great day out this is. If you are competing, spectating, or a mixture of both. Or even if you just fancy a chill out day soaking up the atmosphere of what is a century of tradition epitomised in an afternoon. It rained of course but that just makes it even more traditional. I was attending for leisure purposes and took a few photos of the day including the Rydal Round fellrace from about halfway up Nab Scar, the first climb.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Huh, I'd like to meet his tailor

With such a great run under my belt for Monday I was keen to try again to run 10 miles fast. Poor weather saw me cry off the fellrun on Wednesday, instead joining Plucky for 10 hilly miles. We battled each other for 9 miles of the 10. A really hard but enjoyable run. (I imagine I enjoyed it mainly because I was never struggling and Plucky was never ahead forcing me to run a smidge harder than I would have liked - which is exactly what was happening to him all night. His marks for enjoyment I suspect will be a percentile or two less than my own). When I though we had just a couple of minutes still to run to complete the circuit I glanced to see 58:30 on the watch. Indeed it did take almost two more minutes but 1hr and 25 seconds is a good time for 10 hilly miles and worth sub 60 on a flatter course.


Next day, for the first time in about a month I ran reps of 5 by 3 minutes around the 3 mile loop. I took 90 seconds recovery between efforts (was previously taking 60 seconds) and was therefore a little disappointed NOT to beat 16 minutes (5:20 pace). But 16:04 is not too shabby and this time will surely reduce if I repeat the session throughout August (as is my plan)


Friday was the day Howard Seal ran the Hadrians Wall path. Something I had given a little thought to completing myself at one point. I met Howard just outside Carlisle and ran about 20 miles or so to the end point at Bowness on Solway. As we neared Carlisle we were actually running along my one mile measured section. Here's Howard in the middle of the slowest ever recorded completion of this flat mile.

In the final 10 miles or so Howard was really hurting with cramp and sickness but he remained in good spirits nevertheless. The final mile saw him pick up the pace, and his spirits to a new level as several extra family/friends joined in the finale. Afterwards he had a lie down and a pint.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Getting older, feeling younger

Nowt on Friday. That was on purpose, as, for the first time in a few weeks I had ran for the first four days of the week.

Saturday I was keen to get up into the fells again and Penrith Stu joined me for the Coledale Horseshoe. Stu took us round the race route, which misses many of the tops I would visit when doing this Horseshoe. Nevertheless it was a decent enough run with plenty of steep ascent and also some pleasant slopes to stride out along.

Not wet enough from my Saturday run I ditched my plan of 10 road miles and took a trip up Blencathra on Sunday. Stu turned out again and we enjoyed  a lap of the race route in 1hr 28 mins in the filthiest wind and rain imaginable - warm though (as long as you kept running hard) FANTASTIC! One of the most enjoyable runs of the year.



One of my reasons for missing the road run on Sunday was because I figured we would most likely be doing exactly the same route on Monday. And so it turned out. Aware that Milly etc do their track session on Tuesday and therefore do not want their Monday run to be flat out, I held back just a little until approx 5 miles then really pressed  hard for home - end result was 6:07 per mile average pace for 9 miles with a 5:52mile thrown in at mile 7.

I dont bother to record my mileage (apart from what I write here), but last week I totted up that I had ran sixty miles in six runs over seven days, and three of those six runs were on the fell.

Feeling MUCH MUCH better this last week or so. Now I'm  feeling tired after training and sleeping well for it. Previously I was  feeling drained/lethargic all the time, even before training, sometimes missing training because of that and sleeping fitfully.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Altogether better

After being so tired and jaded of late, this week I have felt reet grand.

On Saturday I ran at teatime so as to replicate my usual training time. This did't prove to be a good idea as I was quite tired by then and struggled so badly in attempting my 4/11 session that I quit it and just jogged around the 10 mile circuit in 65 mins instead. Next day I never planned to run as I was bust photographing two sporting events in the day.

Monday was hot again but not as high up the thermometer as the previous week when I ran the curtailed session with Milly and Kev.  Milly said it was to be 10 miles at 6:10 pace. We set off jogging from the sands Centre and kicked into it after about 5 minutes. I was really enjoying this run. Trying hard but achieving a  good speed and knowing I had more in the tank. We ran sub 6 pace on the return to Carlisle for an average of 6:10 for 9 miles - perfect.

Next day I jogged for 90 minutes with Scamp. We covered the 7 mile circuit but also stopped to chat for a lengthy couple of spells with people we I knew.

Midweek I was up the fells for the fourth Wednesday in a row. Cracking weather, cracking views.
I parked at Stair and ran (ok I mostly walked fast) up Causey Pike. Along the Scar Crags ridge to Sail Pass then down left into the valley and up the opposite side to reach Ard Craggs. From there I continued to Knott Rigg from where I dropped off to the carparking area atop Newlands Hause.

I was unsure then whether to go up Robinson or find a valley route back to Stair.

As it was still warm and sunny and I had plenty of energy and time I tackled No 42. I didnt see any point in going to Hindscarth so bagged Dalehead then dropped down to the small tarn for a welcome drink in the pub that has no seats and only sells beckwater.

Up high Spy and onto  Maiden Moor, descending which I felt tired for the first time. No matter - I had never intended to go up Catbells anyway so it was a now the simple matter of dropping from the hause toward Littletown then picking up the AW track back to Stair. I'd spent about 15 mins on Causey taking photos and another 10 minutes on Robinson chatting to a lad from CFR. Add on some water in water out stops and it was probably 3 hours running or walking forcefully. Got to be good training for a schoolnight!

Next day I felt OK but was concerned about my run with Plucky. He'd said 10 or 12 miles and I knew that meant 12. The first half hour was good and we were up by 30 seconds on the previous week. I was keen to avoid getting into a testosterone fuelled finale though, and opted to cut off at 8 miles to finish the 10 mile circuit alone while he ran the last 4 miles of the 12 circuit. My time was 63 minutes exactly. 15 seconds slower than last week but crucially without any big effort or silly racing involved.

What a great week of training. I really enjoyed it all.

Last bit of Causey Pike


Handy path up to Sail - or blot on landscape? You decide


I'm no seamstress
Stitch these yourself

Dunno - can't remember - probably Butternmere or Crummock 




Scamps waits on Robinsons flank

Causey 3.5 hours later

Friday, July 8, 2011

15 seconds? I could run 15 minutes faster!

Monday was damn hot.
Cooling water in Glenridding Beck

I texted Milly and Gareth to see if they were jogging at six oclock. Milly said he was possibly going to do track reps but would need to check his schedule when he got home. I decided track reps would be fine as I would be able to get a drink of water and wet my head between the efforts. Later in the afternoon Milly said he was due to do 60 mins at 6:15 pace! Not as inviting!!
We met at six and knocked out the first 3 miles with a bit of chat (Gareth at work, Kev Bell also present). By 4 miles, my mouth was dry and I was sweating profusely but running well. At 5 I enquired as to our pace and was pleased to hear 6:17 in reply as we had 2 miles gently downhill to come. Almost back at the leisure Centre, we quit at about 8 miles with a 6:15 average. I would have ran the full hour but the two youngsters were happy enough to cut short in such testing conditions.

Glenridding and Ullswater. Cloud but no rain
The hot weather broke on Tuesday but it was still quite nice. I thought I should really go up in the fells while it was decent weather as the forecast for the next day was terrible. Indeed it was terrible  weather on Wednesday, with monstrous showers in Carlisle beyond dinnertime. 

A dog almost obscures the view of Grisedale Hause
As I drove South after work there was much brightness, little darkness and the roads were dry.
We managed an excellent fellrun without even getting wet feet.

The 'we' was myself, Penrith Stu and Penrith Steve B,  now a usual Wednesday evening fellrunning get together. Helvellyn was my choice of destination, via Lantys Tarn from Glenridding and up the Grisedale valley to Grisedale Tarn, then Dollywagon, Hely and return via Lower Man and Whiteside then the zigzags toward the disused mines at the start/finish of Sticks Pass. Stu said it was 12 miles- it took about 2 hours but I only tried hard on the uphill bits.




No need to carry  drinks on this 2hr run
Next day was Thursday - it nearly always is. Run with Plucky.  He had said it would be either 10 or 12 miles. I was pleased when he decided on 10! We chatted effortlessly as we ran. Except for a fairly big hill in the aptly named Cotehill when Plucky prematurely ended his recounting of a race report with 'finish at the top'. I was puzzled for a while then realised he meant he would cease talking while we climbed uphill. Usually at this point I would either continue to chat but avoid inviting response, or, run a bit harder to force a gap. I did neither though as I knew my body was tired and that this run might turn and bite me at any stage. Only the final mile was tough, and the final uphill, one minute from the finish was as hard as any race finale, with my legs full of acid and my mind willing the end to come.

Next day Plucky texted me to say we had done too much chatting and at 62:45 had took 15 seconds longer for the route than on the previous occasion when we ran it with Darren. I hadn't realise we were supposed to be aiming to beat any particular time - I think next time I might target this run with him as a key session for the week and (without telling Plucky) run it at an ever increasing effort level. Only trouble is - Plucky is a VERY GOOD athlete and will not give in without a fight so it could be carnage.



More photos from the run up Helvellyn.

View back toward Patterdale from Ruthwaite lodge


St Sunday Crag from Ruthwaite Lodge




Grisedale Tarn, Grisedale Hause, Seat Sandal and a pair of Peerith wide boys



The Corridor route - my favourite





Monday, July 4, 2011

25 miles and 8000ft

Plan A was to run the Patterdale Parish Boundary event, a 30 mile route covering some high peaks including Helvellyn. It was for teams of three and I only had three if I counted Scamp so I had to break open the envelope that contained plan B. 

Kayaks on Derwentwater. Blencathra, Clough Head and Gt Dodd on the Skyline

The Derwentwater watershed is a route I had ran round once before with Iain Kelly. On that day it was my longest ever run (timewise). This time it was to be my longest since the 2009 Lakeland 50. 
Looking back to Keswick and Skiddaw from the ascent up to Dalehead
We parked under the nose of Catbells which meant some fierce climbing from the outset. We simply followed the 'tourist path' South over Maiden Moor and High Spy to then drop down to Dalehead tarn for a refreshing drink of Cumbrian fellwater, followed by the stiff climb up to Dalehead.

Taken from  between Green Gable and Great Gable. Buttermere valley overlooked by Grassmoor (but dont ask me to name any others in shot)
The miles ticked by, the summits ticked off. Scamp bagged some new ones with Green and Great Gable.

IWC taking better photos than SPA

My companion this day was Ian charters. I don't know what the W stands for. He never said. Perhaps he was being enigmatic? Also, I didn't ask him!

Styhead Tarn. Blencathra far far off in the North
We ran on. Past Styhead Tarn and Sprinkling Tarn where numerous children were sat, resting with huge packs, no doubt on a school trip. Up towards Esk Hause, familiar to me from just days earlier, though much warmer and sunnier this visit.
IWC. Great Gable behind.
At Angle Tarn we began to meet a lot of pairs competing in the Saunders event. I know little of this but I gathered it to be orienteering on a huge scale with overnight camping thrown in. IWC knew many of these Saundersers and learned that Nicky Spinks, who was on a 24hr womens record peaks attempt, was due in the area imminently. So we whizzed up the short climb to Rossett Pike to await her arrival. More can be read of this on IWC's blog. From Rossett Pike we dropped a little height to reach Stake Pass. From there we contoured below High Raise to reach Greenup Edge which we then followed more or less North  over Ullscarf, past Blea Tarn to High Tove.
From somewhere along Greenup Edge we see Skiddaw, Blencathra, Clough Head and Gt Dodd (just)
At High Tove we had a board meeting. Scamp was supposed to be taking the minutes but has since mislaid them. Nonetheless, the outcome of that meeting was a decision to leave the mountains behind us and descend to Watendlath. I think this route choice added a mile or so to our day, but it also afforded us a refill of fresh water which was most welcome as we both had all but ran out. From Watendlath we used the riverside path which is very stony and rough in places. Perhaps the road which ran parallel to our choice would have been a better option but it seemed a shame to end such a great day in the fells with several miles of tarmac.

At Surprise View I noted an elderly couple sitting in foldup chairs. In my mind I formulated an hilarious sketch whereby they kept nodding off in the sun only to be surprised at what they saw before them each time they woke (Yeah, I've already go me coat)

Reaching the main road South to Borrowdale (or North to Keswick depending on where you live and whether you are going out for the day or going home from a day out), we plodded along the narrow path praying for Keswick to come soon. We were both quite tired by this time, but I was pleased to be able (and wanting) to jog rather than walk.  We reached my van eight and a half hours after starting out. All that remained now was to drive back to Catbells where IWC's car was parked, so we could begin lap 2. Because the chip shops would all be closed by the time we completed the second lap we decided to go home instead.