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.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The other side of summer.

Didn't realise I had left it over a week since my previous post, and now I can't remember exactly what I've been up to since then.

I know last Saturday was 14miles  in 1hr 33min 50sec - an easy effort but one which nevertheless left a small legacy in my legs, which hadn't ran that far on tarmac for nearly 3 months.

Ah yes, now I remember why Sunday slipped from memory - I joined Plucky and Sparky in Gelt for about 8 miles easy. I'd hoped they were up for a making a race of it but I ended up feeling I'd wasted a good training opportunity and almost went running again that night (but in the end just did a long dogwalk)

Nowt Monday then Moffat 15k road race on Tuesday. I haven't forgotten what happened there - unfortunately!

The course is basically 3 miles undulating road > 1 mile offroad very steep > 5 miles gradual downhill road.

I had planned to take it steady until the climb then power away from whoever I was running with and continue forging on all the way down the hill to the end.

The reality was somewhat different....

3 lads went away from the start. Fair enough - they were all much younger and faster than me. The pace of my group felt fine - easy even, at times. And as Plucky, Sparky and A GIRL were still present I felt sure I would soon be running away from them all to take 4th spot.

Then the hill arrived. Two lads I hadn't even taken any notice of immediately went ahead of me. I didn't respond and before I knew it they had 10 metres. I didn't panic, reckoning that I would catch them up once we were running downhill.

Sparky came past me. I still didn't panic reckoning I would begin to feel great any second now and reel him back in.

Girl ran past me. I admit I panicked at this point.

Once upon a time, the only females to beat me on road were international female athletes, and I wasn't quite ready to relinquish my status in a sleepy Borders town on a rainy Tuesday in July. Thing was, I couldn't do much about it and the gap grew.

Girl and Sparky had 50 metres on me when we topped out from the climb. Even having such a terrible race I knew they would not stay ahead with 5 miles downhill to run and I let myself slowly cruise toward catching them back up. Plucky caught me just before we all reformed our wee group and I enquired whether he would be continuing to run hard in an attempt to catch more runners, or would be content to run in with Sparky and girl.

I knew Pluckys answer before I asked Steves question. My head had gone as far as racing was concerned and I was just holding out in hope he might be happy to reign in the effort.

So after a brief discussion about taking turns to set the pace we promptly dropped Sparky and girl and set off downhill at 5:00 pace.

My turn on the front seemed to last about 4 miles!!!

Once I realised I had the edge on my old pal I eased up a tad so I could easily chat away which I knew would annoy him greatly. With under a mile to go I mentioned we might be racing for first Vet 40 prize. Plucky said he wasn't interested in sprinting. I said I wasn't interested in sprinting either but did also make it clear I would be finishing ahead of him. To ensure I wasn't left looking silly I put in a 3 minute effort to finish and beat him by 20 odd seconds.

One of those two lads I hadn't paid attention to was a vet 40 so I won nowt. Sparky got chicked and we all got soaked.
Scottish tea - we also got Mars bar in goody bag and a voucher to have it battered at chipshop

Wednesday jog with dog

Thursday will never be forgotten. Thursday was as good as it gets.

On Thursday I went to Glenridding and ran up Helvellyn. Sparky and Popsy came with me (actually they were always planning on  going so it was more a case of me going with them but it's my van so I choose the order for reporting purposes.

With old man Popsy taking rearguard position from the outset and with there being no particular reason for me to stick to the Triathlon route (the reason for my companions visit) I figured I may as well go along Striding Edge. Although quite a bit longer, necessarily slower, and with a little more ascent due to occasional drops, I reckoned I would easily catch up to Popsy again, if not also Sparky.

Indeed that's how it went, and even stopping to take photos and then again at the 'pop out' from Swirral Edge to see if Popsy was still climbing up, I was only about 5 mins behind once finally back at the van.

I wish I had the wordskills to more eloquently describe how awesome it felt to be on Striding Edge in those conditions, but to truly evoke the sense of excitement, danger, peace, wonder and calm, is  more than I am capable of.....

Running/scrambling/leaping along Striding Edges absolute pinnacle points is simply the best little bit of the Lake District I know. There were a couple of other people making their way along the lower safety paths, but they were soon behind me and out of site so I had the ridge to myself really. The view is good, if not quite matching that West from the summit plateau, but its the feeling you get from just being there alone on such a calm day as this was. It's pure magic. If I'd had time enough to spare to sit down I may never again have got back up.

Scamp stayed close to me and picked his way across the jagged rocks in fine style - at the big drop near the end he was to physically pick up and lower down by a couple of metres,  then we were off again and almost sprinted up the next section which is much less demanding or scary.

Where better?

Nowt on Friday

Today (Saturday) 12 miles. Set out hoping to run 6:15 pace but wondered really if I would be able to manage as fast as that. A couple of 6:25s early on had me thinking I had indeed overestimated my ability. But as the run continued I just got faster and faster. Not even the slow mile up Warwick Bank was enough to stop me recording 1:14:20 for the 12 miles. Near the end I was cruising along inside 6 pace and am very happy with the 6:11 and bits I managed overall.

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