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, June 30, 2012

Final time I bore you with Karrimor Marathon stuff


So how come I couldn't complete London Marathon in April but then managed to not only finish, but win a marathon in June?

Well for starters I didn't have any time goals for the Keswick event, which meant I could start off at a very easy pace then pick things up if required. Despite the first couple of miles being more or less flat, I'd guess I was running no faster than 7 pace along the old railway line to Threlkeld. After that it got much more hilly, so difficult to judge pace. But the effort didn't really increase. Nor did I increase the effort once I had the lead. I did press on reasonably hard from 15 miles, but I suppose it was more of a cruising effort rather than flat out to get every last second of time.

I didn't train specifically for this marathon - just did my usual summer training in the week and also got up into some decent 2 - 4 hr fellruns on the weekends. I know I am really fit at the moment, and I suppose that fitness is where the ability to run every hill came from.

As Langdale 2007,  I think I just hit a lucky day when none of the "proper good lads" fancied running a marathon so I took the win.  The whole thing if I'm honest was like a long hilly training run. Except with a finishing tape/gantry/interview.

Having said all that, the entry was open to everyone else in the world and I was the fastest person there on the day. So, soft win or not I'm claiming it. 

At Langdale marathon, I won -  I got into my van to get dry and changed -  I hung about until the prizes then I drove home. The best thing about this second win was that there were people there who knew me, who cheered me around each lap and who were there with me at the end. Thankyou.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Schuey on the podium!! get in!!

After the Marathon I had a day off from training. Next day I got in touch with Plucky to see if he was doing the easy 10k run as in previous weeks. When he said he was thinking of moving it up to 8 mile I almost said 'i'll not bother then', but that would have robbed me of the chance to relate to Plucky my  "marathon winning story". So I went along with him
Darren came too so we got an average speed readout from his Garmin.
6:30 per mile!!
No wonder my legs felt a bit tired by mile 5!

Next day was Torch day. Yes the Olympic Flame was coming to Carlisle. If ever there was a good time to take up smoking then this day would surely be it as the need to also buy matches or a lighter would be negated.

Prior to watching the torch I had a wee blast of reps. 2x1 mile and 2x800metres. Pretty nippy times were recorded too - I was well pleased.

Check out the redhead (LHS) eyeballing me. A Met' trained killer no doubt, poised to disable me in a millisecond had my camera  been something more sinister (like a Nikon)
Thursday was a day off work (and training) to watch the torch again, in Keswick this time, my pal Appleby Stu was carrying it to the edge of Keswick for them while they fixed the bus. Luckily the bus was fettled up just in time and took the flame from Stu to drive it to Ambleside (where I hear it broke down again but luckily there were people standing by to carry it further.)

Too tired to run another step, Stu limbered up ready to launch the Olympic flame down to Thirlmere. Luckily, the Met's finest officers were in attendance to prevent such a faux pas
Farmer Palmer closes the gate to keep the water from going further
Friday afternoon I jogged around the river circuit in glorious warm rain.

Friday night was stormy. The county flooded overnight and Saturday saw the river Eden enter Rickerby Park in several additional places to normal, necessitating a change of plan from my Crosby  10 loop with 5 mile time trial effort within. I probably did about 10 miles, but with just a 4 mile time trial effort within it. Horrendous wind made pacing this quite tricky, with 30 seconds difference between my fastest and slowest recorded miles. 6:08 average (for the 4 not the whole 10)

Fellrunning was planned for Sunday. The poor weather forecast was irrelevant to me as I knew we weren't going too high and would be putting in a decent level of effort throughout so would generate our own heat. Although we did encounter plenty of rain it wasn't bad at all and there were plenty of clear spells too. Clear enough in fact that Penrith Stu expertly guided us (me, Wes, Scamp and Stu) around a quite superb route from Mardale head which included Wether Hill, High Raise, Kidsty Pike, High st, Thornthwaite Beacon, Mardale Ill Bell and Harter Fell. (yes Stu I had to look at the big map to see where we had been). In the end then it was quite high. Pretty far (as opposed to pretty AND far) too at 16 miles (according to Wes' Garmin). In keeping with my new regime of running up fells until it really is too steep and beyond my ability, I never walked on any of the climbs during this run.  All excellent training indeed for the Lakeland 50, now less than 5 weeks away.

Having given up on running with the Monday night boys (they either go early, or not at all, or are late at work) I again jogged the river loop with Scamp. I felt very tired during this and spent two x10 minutes walking  - still covered the 7 miles of course, but took me ages.

Darren came with me tonight for another reps session. Same session as last Wednesday but with an extra mile of 800s.

1 mile - 5:42 (5 secs faster than last week)
1 mile - 5:27 (1 sec faster than last week but only a  cruising effort  - 85%)
800m - 2:40
800m - 2:35
800m - 2:39
800m - 2:35 (all faster than last week)

REALLY PLEASED to be running 5:15 avg pace for 800m reps. That lull I was encountering a few weeks ago has certainly passed and I seem to have emerged from it faster than ever. well perhaps not faster than ever, but you know what I mean.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Karrimor Trail Marathon Part 1. from London to Keswick

I deliberately kept my plans (to run this marathon) quiet. I wanted everything about it to be as far removed from the London Marathon  as possible. London was planned out for months in advance, training was completed often to within 5 seconds per mile. Money was spent on hotels and travel. Weather was constantly checked and worried about. Pre race day was spent concerned over fuelling and resting whilst still trying to make it an enjoyable tourist trip for the rest of my travelling companions. Expectations were set, (realistically I still believe), and when it all came tumbling down I had the (still-unexplained) thought process to go through to assess what caused the problem.

So once home, and after proving I was as fit as I have been for ages (with a half marathon 4yr pb in the hilly Keswick race) I looked online to see what was available. Being less than an hour from home the Karrimor Marathon perfectly suited my desire to be able to spend the pre-race day at home and also sleep in my own bed and do the normal routine for Sunday morning of early breakfast then walking Scamp before driving out to the race.

Being a trail race also suited my plan as I knew there was no possibility of a 'fast' time so it would just be a case of trying to remain strong through the second half and finish as far up the field as possible. Since London I hadn't ran more than 10 miles on road (apart from the Keswick race). I didnt really want to resume long road runs so soon as I will have to do so by July if I enter an Autumn marathon. So I got myself up into the fells most weekends. In fellrunning, the inevitable walking sections when its too steep to run, and the 'easy' sections when you have long downhills mean that I find a 3 hour steady fellrun is nowhere near as demanding on the body as say a 90 minute road run. Huge bonus to training over fells is that you get used to running up steep hills, so in the race itself the climb from Lonscale farm onto the Cumbria Way a third of the way up Lonscale fell, whilst being very steep (and judging by comments from many other participants, the steepest hill they have ever scaled), was not the most difficult climb I have ran up, and certainly nowhere near the longest.

As the race day drew nearer I made no concessions to a taper, even racing the 85 minute Tebay fellrace on the Wednesday prior where I beat Robb Jebb(s Mrs). I did ensure I ate plenty of carbs in the week prior to the marathon, culminating in a massive feast from the local Chinese takeaway on the Saturday night where I ate so much I felt ill and actually worried I had eaten something bad and would be up all night - just gluttony though - I was hungry again by 7am.

On race day I didnt even set an alarm. I awoke 45 mins later than planned which meant my breakfast was only 3hrs prior to racing. I prefer at least 4. I was a bit rushed travelling through to Keswick and was stilll pinning my number on my vest as I lined up. None of that bothered me in the slightest as I had not put any pressure on myself for the race and intended above all else to enjoy the day, which I certainly did!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Karrimor Trail Marathon Part 2. Steve wins the race

Experience of 15 previous marathons told me to set off very steady, especially with such steep and  climbs to be tackled in the first half of the race. Even so I found I was in first place as we left the event headquarters field. I was soon joined by one then another runner as we made our way along the old railway route toward Threlkeld.

I deliberately allowed the two to ease ahead of me, but never get out of sight. As we tackled the first minor climb of the day I noted one runner ahead was already walking. Obviously this was to save his energy for the later stages rather than for tiredness, but for me it was a clear indication I would catch and beat him.

I caught him on the first major climb, up onto the Cumbrian Way from Lonscale farm. At this stage the race leader was a minute or so in front of me as I caught glimpses of him as we contoured Lonscale fell to the Gale rd carpark behind Latrigg.

Descending Latrigg for the first of four times I took it very easy as the gradient is such that feet can be shredded in no time. A time check at the finish said I was 45 seconds behind. Lap two, and again it was on the severe climb of Lonscale fell where I caught the leader who was walking. Though I was not moving fast I was running not walking.

To my mind, walking is admitting the route is tougher than me. 
It is a tough route, no doubt, but it's not as tough as Steve Angus

Entering the HQ for the second time I had covered about 14 or 15 miles. This is a key stage in any marathon, it's where a trained athlete should be able to lift the effort to take him to 20 miles still on target and at a decent pace. So I tried to blitz this third lap, especially as it was a mile shorter, and with Latrigg instead of Lonscale to tackle, much less climbing than the previous  laps had been.

Being in the lead meant I now knew nothing of any other competitors. I imagined somebody might be bearing down on me at an alarming rate. I pushed on into the final lap. As I coasted along the flat section to Threlkeld I could tell I was tiring, but I also knew I was still moving very well. The final time over Latriggs shoulder featured some tiny cramps beginning, but stretching out once onto the downhill all was forgotten in that respect.

The last couple of miles down the already familiar Latrigg walkers path to Spooneygreen Lane were savoured. As I turned left onto Brundholme Road I suddenly realised that in a few short  minutes I was going to win the race. I'd realised a few miles earlier that I was probably going to win it, then, a little later, almost certainly going to win it. But now, now I was on the very verge of finishing, of actually winning, of crossing the line and breaking the tape, of setting the course record..... And I got a bit choked up if I'm honest. A lump formed in my throat and a tear filled my eye, I was going to win a marathon. Again.

Don't forget to smile steve

The final few metres I recomposed myself and acted up a bit for the (somewhat sparse) crowd. I did the aeroplane coming into land thing (arms outstretched to side waist bent alternatively left then right), I did the one finger in the air (indicating numero uno - not screw you) and punched the air one handed as I broke the tape. Yeah, I know that was all a bit  OTT but gimme a break - at 43 how many more marathons am I likely to win?

Stay tuned for Part Three "so how come you won a marathon Steve when you couldn't get beyond 10 miles in London?"

And also Part One " I didn't even realise you were doing a summer marathon"

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Back on top

following a wee trot round the fells and tracks in the Keswick area today, Steve Angus is now a


Almost 5 years since I won Langdale, I'm over the bloody moon.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Fair do's Ian - I couldn't run 70mins for Blencathra race

Saturday came around again and I had another bash at a speedy reps session. I deliberately waited a few hours between getting up out of bed and embarking on my training, and I certainly felt better for it. I completed my old favourite session of 11-minutes-hard-4-minutes-easy (times 4) around my 10 mile loop.  I was mistaken about the wind and the sub 62 minute result I thought I was heading for at halfway turned into 63.28 by the time I had battled against a decent headwind for my third and fourth reps. That's not a terrible time to be honest - I think I can remember running it a minute or so quicker last year.

Coledale Horseshoe from halfway up/down Latrigg.  A forested Swinside LHS.
I would usually then have done a long fellrun on the Sunday but opted instead to run up Skiddaw with Penrith Stu who can't run at all due to injury??!!??!! Stu is clearly keeping himself fit via his beloved new hobby of cycling, as he ran a lot of the ascent and even when reduced to walking, still made the summit some 15 mins ahead of Bob Graham Round 24 hr pace. We came back via Skiddaw Little Man and both took photos thereon and then some more halfway down Latrigg.

Various ironwork is to be found on Little Man. Also seen to left of Scamp is the ridgewalk from Bassenthwaite Village and on the RHS of frame  the bulk of Skiddaws Western flank rising up from Carlside. 

As I am planning to do another 8 mile fellrace this coming Wednesday therefore need to take things easyish on Tuesday so today ran a half decent distance (10 miles) though at a pedestrian pace of 6:50. I need to leave myself an easy second half of the week (reason will become obvious).

Prior to Sundays run up Skiddaw I drove down to the  Clappersgate area near Ambleside to continue my quest to find the best place to photograph the Fairfield Horseshoe from. Whilst the light wasnt at it's best, I am quite pleased with this aspect....

If only the water been millpond calm and the sky less cloudy........
Apart from Loughrigg (LHS) obscuring the view of NabScar somewhat, this is a pretty good place to shoot from. Unfortunately it is within a camping site so not really the kind of place I can turn up at 4am with tripods and armfuls of camera gear. Maybe wait until winter when the site is closed (and when sunrise is at a more sociable hour)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

You wouldn't give a burglar the keys to your home.....

......but if you leave a window open when you go out, you might as well do.

That was a government public information advert aired on TV some years ago.

You wouldn't run a half marathon one night after work.......

......but if you enter Blencathra fellrace you might as well do.

Well perhaps not quite as it is 5 miles shorter, but, being so damn hilly it is a very slow 8 miles. I took about 75 mins to complete it last night. I reckon a half marathon on a good flat tarmac course would take me just a minute or so longer. 

As I write this I haven't seen the official result but by my own watch I think I beat my 2007 and 2009 times of 1:16:24. Considering that in june 2007 I had already ran 2:58 in the hilly Windermere marathon, and later that year I ran my second best marathon (2:43) in Dublin, I think this latest result shows I am in great shape as 43 yr old compared to when I was 38.

The race itself was truly awful and wonderfully enjoyable. 

Awful because (like most of the field) I was reduced to a walk within 90 seconds of the gun, so steep is the first climb up onto Bowscale, and because I struggled so badly to lose height off the final climb down the ridiculously steep valley side and consequently lost at least one place in the process.

  • Enjoyable because I did occasionally glance across to the South to see the glorious Lake District stretch out in the grandest possible way on this fine summers evening. 
  • Enjoyable because of the magnificence of Blencathra herself, unseen until Bowscale was despatched then suddenly rearing up into view like a dragons back in a so so familiar scene. 
  • Enjoyable for then simply being on the climb itself, up to the summit. Again, so familiar to me. I 'm walking because it's so steep but I have ran it all in the past, so I break into a run again and again
  • Enjoyable then for the descent off, over Scales fell. I know when to stay on the path and when to cross the rough uncharted fellside, and so my arrival at the foot of the final pull up to Souther fell is perfect.
  • Enjoyable for that final minute of the race as I negotiate the bog ridden approach to the river crossing, keeping well away from the fence line and avoid going in knee deep whilst others are drawn toward the fence like magnets and falter as they get sucked into those invisible peaty depths

The lad seen here in the background beat me but luckily the lass didn't

The biggest trouble with any fellrace, for me at least, is the constantly changing speed as dictated by the terrain. If it were on road I would settle into a good solid effort and churn out mile after mile at very close to my ultimate ability. On the fell though, pace changes so often and so enormously that I think I fail to fully capitalise on my fitness/potential and sometimes run (walk) slower than I should be - especially if I am walking up a steep climb literally in the footsteps of the person ahead of me - it can be quite tricky to pass someone on singletrack through bracken but I need to ensure in future I do get past and make my own pace.

The same time as I was running up fells, nearly 200 roadrunners were completing and competing in the 10k at Carlisle. Following my defeat by young Davver at the Round the Houses in April I reckon he would have also beaten me at Moorclose 10k in May. But I would have rallied on home soil and came home 2 seconds ahead of him last night, thus giving me a time of 34:50. Hooray.

Cheers to the Penrith Cowboy for photo

Late news - Local Triathlete/coach/Olympic torchbearer/pal of mine Stu Robinson has organised THIS for any budding Traithletes to have a look at

Friday, June 1, 2012

It rained!!

Still trying to figure out why I can't run as fast as I think I should be running.

  • Am I aiming too high? Don't think so - I have ran plenty of miles inside 5:30 already this year but haven't beat 5:45 for what seems like weeks now.
  • Am I overtrained? Don't think so, I am still running 6 days per week as I have most of the year but way way less mileage than I was Jan-April
  • Am I ill? I was slightly poorly for a couple of weeks, but it was only a lingering cold and annoying cough - hardly a cause for hospitalisation.
As further demonstration of how I am currently behind the pace I was managing earlier in the year...

A few weeks ago I ran 800 metres on the track (as part of a longer session) in 2mins 30 secs. Tonight I ran four, 800metre reps at just 5:25 pace. Mile reps should be coming in at just inside 5:30 so I'm scarcely managing the pace for half a mile that I should do a mile in.

Also tonight I ran 4 by 400metres. The four added together took me exactly 5 minutes. I was heading for a much quicker average pace than that for these reps but was only taking 30 seconds recovery which consequently made me REALLY slow for the last couple as the lactic coursed through my system.

My reasoning behind taking such short recovery between tonight's reps was really just to try something different from the more usual 90 seconds or more between efforts. I also ran a one mile rep tonight (scarcely inside 6 mins but it was the uphill direction). The way I worked it was to take a minimum of 5 minutes walking rest between each 'mile of effort'. So it was like 4 miles of reps broken up into shorter efforts.

With a bit of luck I will gradually speed up again over the next few weeks. As long as I continue training hard I should be maintaining fitness even if the lack of pace indicates otherwise.

No need to run up Foule Crag in the race

To avoid the inevitable disappointment of not running a 34 min 10k at next weeks evening race (possibly not even a 35 the way things have been recently), I will run in the Blencathra fellrace instead. I last ran it in 2009 so it will be interesting to see how I do after the three year gap (with probably 30 or more training ascents of the mighty Blen' in that time)