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.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Scamps a good boy now

This afternoon the weather was so good I thought a trip up them there fells was in order. Not surprisingly if you know me, Blencathra was the mountain of choice. I opted to run up Doddick Fell instead of the usual Halls Fell route as I had never been on that ridge before.

This is by far the best way up this hill if all you want to do is reach the top quickly. I got up in 58 minutes (from the south side of theA66) and this included going a bit wrong through the lower fields and also stopping for a couple of photos enroute.

Best news of the day was that my dog Scamp ran 95% of the time off the lead and didn't chase any sheep.
What an absolute joy to have your dog follow closely behind as  you run through such magnificent scenery. Often he would go across to the edge of the ridge and look into the distance toward the Eden Valley - I wondered if he was equally in awe of the view as I was myself? (probably just checking out the sheep in case I took my eye off him)

Once at the top I chatted at length to a bloke who was interested in photography, running and sheepdogs. He and his mate were enjoying a beer as they admired the 360 degree view. I  pointed out my white van in the carpark nearly 3000ft below and mentioned I would be back at it within 30 minutes once I set off down - I'm not sure they believed me but I made it in 31 including taking more photos and having a wash in the Ghyll at the bottom of the ridge.

An OS trig point marks Blencathras summit

Prior to setting off down I popped along to the top of Sharp Edge in the hope of getting a photo of someone struggling up this famous ridge. there was just one man going down though, and he was way in the distance. On such a peaceful, calm evening as tonight with 50 mile visibility it is quite remarkable to think there have been so many lives claimed on this single route alone. I didn't go down this way 'cos it would have took too long and going down such terrain is mostly annoying to me - going up it is tremendous fun as it is challenging as well as a good all round workout.
Lone adventurer safely making his way down Sharp edge

Anyway, to get to the point of the whole blog entry - my dodgy leg feels better today than at any time in the last month. This is despite running 10 miles on tarmac yesterday and thousands of feet of descent, hopping down off rocks etc today.

There's nowt there's nowt to blog about

International followers should know that 'nowt' means 'nothing'

I don't know how long I've spent running on grass. A couple of weeks I think. The 'thing' in my leg is no better or worse. It doesn't hurt to run on it, but its still there and as long as its there I'm concerned it may become much worse.  Not training properly is driving me up the wall though! I SHOULD be getting out on my bike, especially as the weather has been half decent, but I just can't be bothered most days. I've only been on two rides - not even 100 miles in total.

I have been up the fells a lot more than usual in an attempt to simulate the heartrate of a run whilst walking up the steep bits. But I also take my camera gear in a backpack to increase the effort required - this then results in me spending so long on the first summit experimenting taking pics that I run short of time and have to just go back down again and home rather than bag a few more summits for the day.

Time I  might have spent training or writing my blog about training has been spent poring over Ebay in the hope of snapping up a bargain lens or equipment. (Me and a thousand others).

On Bank Holiday Monday I decided to begin a test week. I ran 10 miles on the road. A decent effort was put in and although my lack of miles began to tell near the end I was pleased to go sub 66mins.I thought I would be so unfit that a 70 minute result would be tough to achieve. I plan to run very easy offroad  tonight (Tue), then effort again on Wednesday  for 8 miles. All being well I will then do a short session on the track Thursday. If all of this causes no exacerbation of the problem I will consider reintroducing a longer run at the weekend. If, on the other hand this causes the problem to flare up then I will go back to the physio and take the whole of September and October off from running. Two months off will be enough for a stress fracture (if that's what it is) to heal. It would then give me two months to slowly get back to 5 days a week so that on 1st January I could begin a structured schedule for London Marathon. I would also be able to run (probably very slowly) the Brampton to Carlisle 10miler in November, a race I have not missed since I first ran it in about 1998.

Watch this space

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tentative Steps

I hadn't ran at all for 12 days, and hadnt 'trained' properly for over three weeks. At first my layoff was due to being on honeymoon, but the couple of short runs I did whilst away were worrying, as my leg hurt quite a bit.

Back home I convinced myself it was another stress fracture (as it was in exactly the same place as 5 years ago but on the other leg). The big difference this time was that I was aware of what might potentially be wrong and so sought advice at an early stage (in 2005 I ran in increasing pain on the fracturefrom february until mid May, even doing a 74minute half before finally getting diagnosed and told to stop running for 7 weeks).

My physio said he thought it was my bone that was hurting, not soft tissue, so most likely it was a stress fracture as I suspected. However....

There is a chance that I caught it in the very early stages, possibly as the bone was grumbling away to itself prior to actually having the fracture fully develop. The advice was to quit running for two weeks then resume gradually on soft ground. So tonight I took my pick from overflowing drawers full of clean kit and ran about a mile and a half on the grass. There is certainly something going on still in my left leg that isnt in my right. But it doesn't hurt more after running on it so I'm hopeful I can get away WITHOUT the 7 week layoff this time.

I have already decided to bin off the Loch Ness Marathon, its only 5 weeks away and I have missed 3 full weeks of my 12 week schedule with more 'easy' weeks to come as I nurse myself back into things. This does at least allow me to save a few pennies in what has been a big year for outgoings. Unfortunately though it also means I will not be on the championship start at next years London Marathon as I was relying on running the qualifying time (sub 2:45) at Loch Ness. As a back up plan I have entered the Good For Age but only posted it yesterday and it has to arrive in London by 21st - fingers crossed they get it in time otherwise it could be Brighton Marathon for me next spring.

Brighton beach looking toward the East Pier

Friday, August 13, 2010


This is nowt to do with running (which I can't do at present by the way) but I am hearing the news about people being stuck abroad when the travel company fails again today and really can't understand why this is  the case.

Here's my thinking,

We all know from experience that before you get your tickets or set off on holiday you have to pay the full balance of your trip to the holiday company.

So the holiday company have the money in cleared funds in their account which they (presumably) then pay out from to the resort hotel, transfer bus company, airline etc.

So if the airline has been paid for the return flights why do they not fly the people home as booked and paid for?

If the holiday company HASN'T paid the airline (ie the holiday company pay the airline in arrears) then surely the airline is duty bound to fly the people home and pursue the directors of the holiday company in the usual manner for the money owed.

As the planes are flying back to the UK anyway with all the other passengers from other holiday companies, and it would seem highly unlikely that the airlines would somehow find different people wanting to fly to the UK from these resorts who hadn't already arranged their flights home, the plane seats will surely mostly remain empty? So what would the airline lose by flying them back? they might even make some cash selling duty free/gifts/perfume etc.

Perhaps I am missing out on something obvious here. Perhaps I am over simplifying the situation. I'm not a doctor but it seems perfectly simple to me that if the holiday company used the money they received from the holiday makers to pay the airlines for both flights prior to the holidaymakers leaving the UK then nobody should ever get stuck abroad.

Rant over

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Home again home again yippety yip


What a week and a half I have had since my previous post. I dont know where to begin. Theres probably too much for one post so here's a list of recent goings on

Thursday  - Rydal Round Fell race (part of Ambleside Sports) - Finished 15th in the biggest field the race has known - 5 mins or more inside my course PB. I think they only let me lead 'cos I knew the way from the field through Rydal Hall to the fell. Penrith Stu also racing in this one. He finished nearer to me after 90 minutes of racing than he did after 36 the other week on roads. Born to race the fells that lad was.

Friday - Offroad run in the rain with my pal Gary who was up from Yorkshire. Somehow we managed to get lost only one mile from the city - by the time we retraced through mud and shoulder high weeds we were soaked through and cut to ribbons from the brambles. Great Fun

Saturday  - Married the love of my life, Janet. Fantastic day with so many friends

The view of reception was stunning
Sunday - still feeling like I was in a bubble - drove to Cardiff for the first leg of our honeymoon.
The hotel was out of this world - seriously. Look at the view from our private balcony

Monday - Went on a shopping spending spree then to theatre in Cardiff Bay

Tuesday - Decent one hour run then drove to Brighton

Wednesday -  Staying in The Grand where we paid £25 per night. TO PARK  THE CAR!!!!!
Spent perhaps the best hours of the holiday loading tuppences into slot machines in the arcade on the East Pier. Cheap honest fun that took us back to childhood.

Thursday - Ocean front run then drove up to Derbyshire

Friday - With little to do we watched daytime TV until one in the afternoon then sauntered round Derby before going to one of those Japanese restaurants where they entertain you by cooking (and juggling) your food right in front of you

Saturday - (Today) Back home - Steady 7 mile run over familiar ground to test my dodgy leg (more on dodgy leg later)