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.

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.