Monday, 8 August 2011

The Lakeland 100....and the winner is... :)

Okay I admit it, I'm pants at keeping my blog up to date in the summer months. Its just I like to get out and play when summer time is here and yep I've been playing alot. So I have an awful lot to catch up on, which I'll do in a few subsequent blogs. But whilst I am here I may as well add a bit of meaning to my subject headline.
Yep I had the privilege of going up to spectate the Lakeland 100 with my running friend Tracy to show some support for our mutual running friend Gaynor Prior. We also had the duty to try and bring her back in one piece or at least the pieces in one bag as her significant other was working in you do. And what a treat it was. The race was very well organised and it has to be one of the best Ultra's in the UK at present. I don't really class myself as an ultra runner but I do admit that I did leave with a thought about 2012 and entry forms...ha.
Well there's not much point me writing about the event when the first Lady and new record holder Mrs Gaynor Prior has now started her own blog page and has covered it all in wonderful detail. The site is called "shoeaholics guide to running", hopefully the link is below:
Gaynor is also the lady who won and smashed the record at Caesar's Camp last year. So if you are interested  in following her random running world just subscribe. I promise she'll be far more prolific with her writing than me and no doubt very informative.

Right I'd better get my arse into gear and start writing a catch up post, which will no doubt have lots of photo's.

Toodlepips for now.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Apologies, gifts from the Gods and eeeeeeeek!

Cripes!!! How long has it been since I have posted something....flipping ages is a polite phrase that comes to mind. So my apology to those who have wondered what has happened to me (well all one of you, haha). Basically the weather has just been so good that it was necessary to strap those mudclaws to me feet and head out into the fells for days of fun. And fun it has been.

Well quite a bit of running has happened in the meantime and if I go on one of my normal rambles I'll be nattering for ages. To avoid masses of drivel and the possibility of sending people into a state of comatose I have decided that I should just bullet point a few sentences and post a load of pictures.

So here goes......
1. Training for my Paddy Buckley Round on the 4th of June has been going well during April :)
2. All but one weekend of April was spent doing recon runs in Snowdonia.
3. The one weekend I missed Tracy & I ran the Dark & White Mini Mountain Marathon and won the Hope Valley Mixed Team event and therefore the overall Series for the Mixed Team. Which we are both pleased about as we have not ran a navigation race before until we ran this series.
4.I have been eating like a horse (and enjoying it) with out putting weight on...pass me the chocolate :)
5. I have a first class support team for my Paddy attempt now finalised.
6. The Gifts from the Gods!......Whilst out running the Moelwyns section I realised I had put some old socks on and blisters where beginning to form...drat. If I had only remembered to pack my padded compression socks....3 miles in hanging of a barb wire fence what did I find...yes a pair of socks that where perfectly dry and my size! The rest of the run went well needless to say. Thank you sock gods! Mmmmm I could do with some new fell shoes..I wonder if there is a God that deals with this? I might have to email Terry Prachett to find out :P
7. Eeeeeeeek as I said training went well in April. May however is a different story. I lost concentration coming down the Roaches after an easy run and yes the ankle went in one direction I went in the other. Anglo-saxon terminology filled the air in a very colour full way. To cut a long story short the police drove me to the local hospital where I was transferred to Macclesfield for an xray. Luckily no fracture or brake but several badly torn ligaments.I've started physio and I'm still aiming for the 4th June its just looks like I'll be having a longer taper period than I thought. Time to buy some ultra light trekking poles me thinks at least I can then aim to be the first person to hop around the Paddy :)

Hope everyone else there has been having loads of fun on the fells! Here's the pictures then :)
Tracy survives, but only just, the bogs of the Moelwyns.

Jon & Tracy climb out of the Moelwyn quarries

More of the Moelwyns.

Just before starting the climb from Llanberis slate mines

Great views and great weather along the Glyders section.

Looking back to the Snowdon section from the Glyders

The lunar landscape between Glyder Fawr and Glyder fach

The scree slope of Glyder Fach...if you tilt your head sideways ha

Dale, George (on his hands & knees) and Tracy doing the Cnicht ascent.

George, Dale, Tracy and Jon take the views in from Moelwyn Mawr

Moi, Tracy, Dale, George and Jon still on Moelwyn Mawr

Tracy and Moi at the start of the Dark & White Hope Valley MM (Photo's from Dark & White)

Running to the end of the Dark & White and still energy left for a smile (Photo's from Dark & White)

The result of weekends away running the fells in Wales. Time for new shoes for Tracy me thinks.

And what do fell runners do after a hard day on the fells...get down to Pete's Eats in Llanberis and eat like a horse...well I do anyway. Tracy and the ex fell runner, legendary cafe owner that is Pete; who has a brilliant beach running theory which I shall share at a later date :)

Monday, 14 March 2011

“You win some you loose some; it’s all the same to me” Lemmy, Motorhead, from the Ace of Spades.

Well once again it’s been a while since I whizzed over the keyboard and published some random running rambling. However, with all the current crises in the world it does seem somewhat frivolous to go on about my aching legs or something. Yet I suppose I am not that different to most people with a passion and no matter what is going on at some point your thoughts turn to it. So with that in mind what the blinking flip have I been up to over the last few weeks.
Well the first thing was entering my first navigational running event; the Dark & White Mini Mountain Marathons. The first event of the current 3 race series was held near Chesterfield on the 27th of February. So it was another early morning start (not so good when you’ve been to your cousins wedding celebrations the night before) that comprises of stumbling around trying to make a flask of coffee, pasting on loads of deep heat on the war wounds, rubbing yours eyes because you are not quite awake then realising that that strange burning sensation in your head was because you still had deep heat on your fingers and rushing to the bathroom to wash your eyes before they become burnt out of their sockets! Luckily for me my team mate Tracy is rather more awake and we hit the road to chesterfield with exciting anticipation as this was also the first time Tracy had run this type of event. In fact it would be her second ever race having only started running last summer.

No photo's from the event as we did not have time to take any so here's one from a training mission in the Roaches

We had entered the event as a mixed team running under the Fell Ponies banner, so collected 2 sets of dibbers and the Dark & White chaps explained how it all worked to us. After another coffee for moi we decided to get the show on the road. We started the clocks got our maps and then looked at each other eeeeekkkkk! There were 25 check points and only 3 hours to reach them all for maximum points. It was fairly obvious this would have to be a make the best route we can run and just make do with what we get. It took me around 5 minutes to get used to the maps scale...think I need to eat more carrots. After that though we both got down to business and just kept running making up the route as we went and modifying it every now and then. With around 15minutes left to get back to the start on time realisation dawned on us that we were not going to make it. So it was time for my sergeant major approach and tell Tracy to get a move on....whilst remaining out of punching and kicking distance (well she is a brown belt in kickboxing!). And bloody hell did she move, with a fantastic effort Tracy started running at 7min mile pace. We clocked in 6minutes past the dead line and as such lost some points due to time penalties. We had covered 17.5 miles according to my Garmin so we were both pleased. After a coffee though the interim results came out and we were both amazed to see that we had topped the mixed teams, in fact we finished 16th overall and were the second overall team in! We were so pleased we celebrated by having a fried egg butty each from the local cafe!  It was close however, we had won by 1 point! It just goes to show even after 3 hours of running things can be tight in a finish. However, we did also notice that on top of loosing the 9 points in time penalties we also didn’t get an extra 15 points from check point 107 as it registered on my dibber but not Tracy’s. But heyho it will make for a very interesting run on the next event. Now if I can only win the next race I was running in the Long Mynd Valley........ooooo look there’s that flying pig again!
So there it was the Long Mynd mountain range looming at me as I sat in the car with fellow fell runners John Whillock, Ian Ankers, Gareth Briggs and Rod Campbell. Cripes I thought this is serious running. I would honestly say that this was going to be my first proper fell race. Having only ever done 2 before (Mow Cop BM and Lantysilio AS) I didn’t really feel as though I could be called a fell runner until I had entered one of the classic races. The likes of Lloyd Taggart, Dave Neil (and his promising son Will) and Pete Vale were all lining up at the start as this race was a counter for the English Champs. Jon told me to expect 11 miles or there about of hell. In retro spec he was about right ha. I had absolutely no idea how to run the race but everyone had warned me about the last two big climbs so I thought I’d take it easy at the beginning and see what I felt like at the mid stage. By mile 3 I was panting heavily and Jon Whillock had about half a mile on me. No beating him today I thought as another fellow friend fell runner Dale Colclough (Mercia) pulled up alongside me and also commented on how far Jon was in front of us. “Mind you” said Dale “this race hasn’t actually begun yet”. Not begun I thought; tell that to my lungs and legs! At about this point Eryri Harriers runner Jackie Lee went past. O well I thought there’s a vest I recognise after running for them in the North Wales Cross Country League; time to see if I could follow it. I was running as a Fell Ponie as I had managed to get in the event by default as injured Simon Reed had signed his place over to me (Cheers Simon!). So it was cat and mouse between Pony and Eagle for the next 5 miles. Jackie came past me then I managed to pass her and so on....that was until I hit the last two climbs or should I say brick walls. Talk about quads on fire, there just seemed to be an awful lot of nerve ends firing in my muscles to get them moving but I think the bottom of my shoes were covered in treacle because I was having real difficulty in lifting them and moving them upwards. Needless to say that was the last I saw of Jackie until the presentations ha. Despite the treacle shoes I was wearing I kept on persevering and then coming down the last ascent before the run home I could see my friend Jon! It was a lift to me and helped to spur me on down the home track and after around 11miles of running with only a quarter of a mile to go I past Jon.  Did he try to trip me up or cut me being a true gentleman of the fells even though he was knackered he was telling me to get a move on and take a few more places as the finish was only just around the corner. So I did what he said, I came around the corner and was faced with the most amazing finishing straight I have ever run...straight down a steep  slope to the base of a stream you have to leap over to get to the tape 10metres away, brilliant J I finished 132 in a gruelling but very enjoyable 2hours 2mins. Lloyd Taggart won in an amazing 1hour 34mins and Jackie Lee finished 1min 20 secs ahead of me.....challenge on for the next event haha. I will certainly be turning up for this one next year again, regardless if I get an entry or not, as it had some of the best chocolate cakes after any race I have ever had mmmmmmmm yummmy
Running down to the stream & finish line for a kit kat break :)

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Muddy ell!

This was probably the most solid part of the course!
Well that was an eventful English National Cross Country Champs for sure. The morning of the 19th of February brought with it rain, sleet and snow. O joy I thought as I packed my kit for the journey just up the road to Alton Towers. Still though by the afternoon the onslaught from the heavens had ceased. However, driving over the snow covered ridge of Ipstones Edge didn't do much to enthuse me with eagerness to get out and race. I travelled down with Staffs Moorlands athlete Jon Whilock and I think we were both pleased to see the snow disappear as we descended to Alton Towers. However, when we arrived we were greeted with a scene similar to something from the Somme Battlefields. Mud mud glorious mud......

The brown sticky stuff had been causing serious problems all day with St Johns rushing left right and centre. It was rumoured that 1 or possibly 2 people had broken their legs. It was correct though that the courses were altered in the afternoon as medics and ambulances could not gain access to certain areas. This was the proviso to keep the event from being cancelled.

I set of as the sole athlete for Severn AC (the rest of the team quite sensibly staying at home) amongst some 1300+ runners. It was like an early American gold rush, well that was until the mud enveloped every ones feet (this is were if I was sponsored by Inov8 I'd be saying my Xtalon 212's gave me great grip on the muddy course....however, I don't think anything that day gave anyone any great grip...but just in case you are wondering the Xtalons didn't do bad and I faired a lot better than most). The men's course had been shortened to 10k. At the time I was quite glad about that as running was extremely difficult, however in hindsight I think I would have faired better had it been the usual 7.5miles as people were tiring at the end and I think I may have made more places up. In the end I finished a very muddy 543; I think 1302 or there abouts finished. A lot dropped out though that's for certain, many due to conditions and several due to loosing shoes! It was a hard run, one which I didn't overly enjoy but it definitely served as a good training run, so mustn't grumble.

I rounded the weekend of with a 17mile run with Tracy on a circular route from Froghall travelling up to the Weaver hills. Then down into Wooton Estate (Mr Bamfords place; him of big yellow JCB digger fame), back up to Alton Towers, over the Churnet up to Alton and then into Dimmingsdale Woods (one the FC haven't sold yet Kate!). From there we followed the River Churnet up the Valley, ascended up to Whiston and back down to Froghall. It was a great trail run over footpaths. I'll have to take my camera next time to get some snaps as it is very scenic on most parts of the route. It was a great appetite builder that's for sure and I don't think much of my pizza and chips touched the sides as it went down. So not a bad weekend all in all. :)

Another just for fun link below. I appear looking heavy and tired at around the 7min50 point. But its worth watching from around 7min10 as a poor runner has a shoe mishap.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Cross Country a go go

Whoops I haven’t rambled on at all yet in February, and it’s over half way through the here goes. ....
I must admit I have been reading about everyone’s exploits on the fells over the last few weeks and it’s got me excited about the start of the season. However, even though my feet were itching to get out on the fells as well, I stuck to my back of a postage stamp training plan and just carried on doing the cross-country races on the Saturday and doing a long slow distance run on the Sunday.

So after the initial shock inductions of the Birmingham league X country and North Wales X country league in January I had a rough idea what to expect at the Midland Championships at Leamington on the 29th of the same month. I was running for Severn but Terry the coach had forgot to enter me for the race! Well I hadn’t travelled 2hours down the M6 to not run so I suddenly had a name change and ran as another athlete who hadn’t turned up..a little naughty but Severn had not got enough athletes there on the day for a full team so my running wasn’t going to unbalance any team results. The one thing I have noticed at these races is how people start getting worried about hills and wonder about the place spreading this “dreaded” news. Since I’ve started fell running I now know what a hill really is and I just smile at people when I hear about “the hills” on the course. Most fell runners would describe them as hillocks or a few light undulations. This was the case at Leamington as well...mind you my smile was soon wiped of my face when the usual break neck speed ensued at the off. I must say well done to a couple of local fell running Leek lads; Matt Clowes who  finished 4th and Alex Derricott who came in 15th. Brilliant running. I think we’ll be seeing a bit of them both on the fells this season..well perhaps I’ll see them if I’m a spectator, ha. I enjoyed the race though and kept roughly even splits over the 7.5mile course (around 6:35 pace) and finished in 144th. About 300 ran so I was just about in the top half of the field so a good excuse to grab Pizza and beer for a carb loading session that evening prior to Sundays run.

Sundays run was an exploration of a few footpaths around the Chesterfield area in order to get a little familiar with the Dark & White Mini- Mountain Marathons series. Tracy and I have decided to sign up to it and give the mixed pairs ago. As we both have not done anything like this before (Tracy only started running last summer!) we thought it would be a fun thing to try out....well you cant go too wrong in 3hours we assumed.... having had a closer look at the network of paths we are now revising that view ha. O well on the 27th of February we will find out for sure. It was an enjoyable run out but got a little dampened when on the way there another car came around a blind bend and added some extra remodelling to the side of mine. Doh!

The following Saturday I and the dented car headed through rain and high winds to the last North Wales X country race at Oswestry. Now that was a fun race, the challenge wasn’t just about running through the mud, or up the reasonably steep gradients but more about not getting blown of your feet. I must admit I went over twice but you just had to smile, it would have been a perfect “You’ve Been Framed” moment if anyone had been mad enough to be outside filming it. I found I had a better race overall though. The long Sunday runs were I felt beginning to pay off, and as the race was particularly sapping due to the winds and mud I found that the strength I had built up from the Sunday runs began to pay off with me making up extra places on the last lap, to finish eventually in 25th (121 runners this time).  I was pleased with my run not only on the greatly improved position from last time but I was also the 4th counter for Eryri, and the men’s team won the league title for the first time since 2001/2.
Sunday saw the usual jaunt for Tracy & I again over the Roaches to put 20miles under our belts. The weather was quite inclement, but despite this for some bizarre reason we ended up running some 20minutes faster than our previous best time!?!? I certainly didn’t expect that after Saturdays run, but hey I wasn’t going to question it. I must admit though I did feel somewhat tired come Monday morning. Apart from 4miles on the Friday I didn’t do any running from Monday onwards. However, those high winds on the Monday kept me busy in the week climbing trees and lifting logs so I suppose I was getting some sort of a steady aerobic work out J
A work moment; a blown tree that fell over a 11,000 volt electric line, brought the middle line down and set fire to its trunk!
The 12th of February came and yep you guessed it another cross country run for Moi. It was a jaunt down the M6 & M5 to Longbridge for the final Birmingham League X country race. The sun had come out to play although the temperature was not reflecting that, and an icy chill was in the air but otherwise perfect conditions. It was the usual stampede at the start, but things soon spread out as the first half a mile was practically up a steady incline. I have got a lot better at my pace judgement and set of at a 6.30 mile pace and as with previous races decided that I should try and maintain this. The course itself had several inclines in it and once again I noticed that this is where I would make positions up. It was a 3 lap race and on the last lap I had a great battle with my fellow club mate Alex. He would overtake me on the flats I would pull him back and overtake on the inclines. With 400metres to go I was just in front of him then at 350 he puts in an extra burst and he’s in front of me again...dam. Then remembering once upon a time many many moons ago I used to be a 4.09 miler I thought I’d better fire up the ole wooden pegs. With 150 to go I past him and then decided for good measure I would overtake the Bournville Harrier some 15metres ahead as well. I did it... just about; it was good to know there is a little life left in the legs yet. Terry (Severn's coach) also gave a similar comment, which is good to know it wasn’t just my fisherman’s tale imagination kicking in. He also pointed out that Alex used to run 1:52 800’s...bloody good job I didn’t know that when he first came past otherwise I may have just rolled over and died. Position wise I finished 80th, so a big improvement from my 106 (I think I said 103 in an earlier blog but checked the official results and I was out by 3). Well as far as I was concerned it was a good enough reason for another beer and pizza session as Tracy and I were planning the 3 trigs run again that we did a few weeks earlier for the Sunday.
So not much travelling for this Saturday’s event, it’s the English National X Country Champs at Alton Towers. Just 7 miles up the road from my home, this makes a nice change. It will be the last one of the season for me, which is both good and bad. I have enjoyed the cross country races and they have definitely served in adding a little speed endurance to my legs. But reading about everyone else out on the fells as I said earlier has got me itching to join in as well. So although I won’t see any of the Severn crew till next season I will hopefully be bumping into a few of my fell friends who I haven’t seen in at least 6 months. First on the agenda is the Dark and White with Tracy and then its straight in at the deep end for me and the Long Mynd on the 6th March....mmmmm that will certainly be a baptism of fire for me, but I am sure I’ll finish with a masochistic smile on my face J

Just for fun here is a you tube clip of the Midland X Country Champs... Ditch!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Mud, Sweat and Beers!

January’s summary statement: Golly gosh I’ve been perspiring!
Due to lack of time from work and family commitments trying to train on a Monday to Friday basis is difficult for me. Any session I do manage to get in, even if it is a 2 mile jog I count as a blessing. So to counter this I decided that if I was going to have any chance of a successful PBR this year I would be as active as I could at the weekend. So with a coffee in hand a few weeks ago I pencilled in a race nearly every weekend from mid January to the end of March. Haha I thought, a race on Saturday and a steady 20 miler or so on a Sunday should do the trick. Nothing to strenuous with plenty of recovery and maintaining a weekly distance of around 30 or so miles; or in other words 1 day’s worth of running if you are called Anton Krupicka! The key word here is nothing to strenuous! My first race was for Severn AC in Division 2 of the Birmingham Cross Country League. January 15th came and it was a quick trip down to Wolverhampton for the race. It was good to see a few old faces from many moons ago and to meet some new ones as well. Within no time we were off at full tilt on the twisting course. After about 1 minute I realised I had completely forgotten how dam fast these cross country races are. Nothing to strenuous my ar*e! My garmin registered 5:39 for my first mile. I hadn’t run this fast off road for a decade or more and to make matters worse there was some strange liquid dripping down my forehead, ..surely it couldn’t be.., but yes it was; sweat! I had no choice but to slow; I was going to end up in a muddy heap after mile 2 if I didn’t. I eased back to a more suitable pace, which is always a bit disconcerting as for the next few miles I had to put up with a lot of fitter chaps filtering past. By about mile 4 I found my place though I just sat at a steady pace and finished the 6.5miler in 103rd place, with my Garmin giving me an average pace of 6:35 per mile and being the 3rd counter for Severn. Overall I was quite pleased with the end result. The main thing had been to test my hamstring, which I had pulled badly back in September. Although I felt it knotting up, it managed to keep itself together for the whole race.

The twisty turny route of the Birmingham League Cross Country Race.
On Sunday it was out for a local 20+ miler with my friend Tracy up and over the Roaches. It was a drab and wet day with not much happening on the view front. However, it’s always an enjoyable run no matter what the weather throws at us. We had being trying to beat our PB on this run for a month or so but had always just missed it by a few minutes. The thought of beating it this week didn’t even enter our heads due to the weather, however, with 3 miles to go we suddenly glanced at our watches and saw a great chance to snatch it. So with the thought of a cold Hobgoblin dark beer back in my fridge at home it was time to pick up the pace of Hen Cloud. We opened our stride length and breezed alongside Tittesworth Reservoir to get to Leek 6 minutes under our previous best. Another pleasing run which should hopefully stand us in good stead for the Dark and White Mini’s over the next few months. And o yes that Beer tasted so much sweeter J
Probably one of the last times I ran in the North Wales XC league many many many moons ago!
It was pretty much the same formula for the weekend of the 22nd. This time though I went to Lilleshall for the North Wales Cross Country League. I was running for Eryri Harriers (my second claim club) for the first time in 22 years! And I still had my old vest haha, it just about fits..mmmm must work on the pie thing :P It was a foggy cold day but once again I was soon warm and covered in a mixture of mud and sweat. This time I was a little wiser and ran at a more constant pace all the way around. The garmin gave me a 6:29 average mile pace and I finished 43rd whilst also making up the last team counter for Eryri. So I was once again pleased with the result and as a bonus my hamstring had still remained in one piece. Not quite a Hobgoblin beer celebration this time but it was most definitely a homemade cake and tea moment J
Sundays run this time comprised of a new route for Tracy and I. I had a daft idea I wanted to run to Shutlingsloe (1660ft) from Leek. So it was out with the map and after a bit of coffee slurping and postulation I decided it was within our striking distance. I christened the run the 3 Trigs. It was up Gun hill (1224ft), then onto Shuttlingsloe with the Roaches (1657ft) on the way back. It was a fantastic day for it and we had some sublime views from both Shuttlingsloe and the Roaches. However, by around mile 20 my legs were definitely tightening. I think Saturday’s effort was beginning to be felt. Good training though I thought then immediately shifted my thought to the beer back at home in my fridge! Well it worked last time :P After 24 miles and a total of 6000ft of ascent we got back to those poor lonely cold sweet tasting beers!!
Sundays "3 Trigs Trot"

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Every Cloud Has a Goretex linning

Well bless my little compression socks! I emailed Haglofs UK to ask them if it was possible to repair my Ozo jacket after my spill at Edale. Those super peeps there have confirmed that it is indeed possible and to help me on my way with my training for my Paddy Buckley Round they have said they would repair it free of charge! How super is that :) I love that jacket and its one of the best bits of running kit I own so needless to say I was like a Cheshire cat upon reading their response. Now that's what I call back up service.
So my message to all you people at Haglofs UK is "YOU ROCK!" Thank you so much, and you have made me smile again so I can go and have more Fun on the Fells with my trusty super lightweight goretex Ozo :)
See happy again :P

Monday, 10 January 2011

Slip, slip, ouch, tear, doh!

Well another week done with a few more miles under the belt. I think I have developed a shoe fetish mind you. I had been advised by my fellow fell running friend Jon to include a change of footwear for every rest stop on my up and coming Paddy Round, to reduce the chance of blistering, rubbing etc. Mmmm good idea I thought, but then realised I only owned 1 pair of fell shoes. So that was that, I was caught up in an Internet bargain hunting frenzy. After around about an hour 4 new pairs of shoes had been ordered and were winging there way towards me. Hurrah for January sales as you all know fell shoes aren't the cheapest of things to buy...mmm maybe I should buy shares in Inov8.

Well the arrival of my Mudclaw 330's saw me all excited and wanting to test them out on Sunday. So as it was new shoes I thought it may as well be a new course. So when my friend Tracy arrived it was a hop into the car and off to Edale. We drove past the Roaches, looking splendid bathed in sunlight, and remarked it would have made a great run today; but onwards to new pastures we thought. Well I say new pastures, Edale is in the Dark Peak so it would be more accurate to say onwards to new heather bogs.

When we pulled into the car park the sunshine had disappeared and the Dark Peak was living up to its name. I had packed my Haglof Ozo just in case, but as soon as I got out of the car I thought crikey that is going on straight away; the winds were up and temperatures had plummeted. Still though, with map and compass, we made a good start and enjoyed the run along the Edale vale past Grindslow House. We then forked west along Grinds Brook. As we started the ascent the dreaded white stuff became more prevalent. Once again we had to slow due to the ice at the top, as most of the rock stepping stones were covered in ice. The initial ascent took us from around 240 metres to 590 metres so I freely admit I was beginning to get warmer! At the top of Grinds Brook it was a compass reading to check our direction and then off West  Crowden Tower and Edale Head. It surprised me to see how much snow and ice was around on the top. I expected it last week in Snowdonnia but for some reason I didn't expect to see the whole top covered at Edale still. But hey ho onwards we went. We picked up the Pennine way at Edale Head and went North towards Kinder Low and Cluthers Rocks still slip sliding our way around. The peat bogs were frozen which helped in one respect but in another way the frozen peat mounds were throwing our ankles all over the place, so we still had to be careful with our foot placement. When we got to Kinder Downfall we were treated with a great sight of the Waterfall with a white frozen sheen covering the surrounding millstone grit. We then bore off to the North West and off to Ashop Head. It was on this section that I didn't pay attention to my foot placement and over I went...slip, slip, fall, ouch, tear! The tearing bit was in two parts; a few minor grazes to me- no problem, but then upon looking Haglof Ozo had torn across the middle. Dam! The lesson here I think is to leave race kit at home and wear training kit for training. So needless to say I was then muttering on like a grumpy old man for the next 10 minutes ha.

At Ashop Head it was time to run Eastward to Fairbrook Naze along The Edge. It was also at this time that we noted the sun had probably only got another hour left in it before it set. And yep I had not packed my head torch. Time to get a wiggle on then. So it was as fast as we could go over the snow and ice to Seal Stones along Seal Edge. Past them and along Blackden Moor, buy this time our legs were beginning to realise they had been working hard and it was time to reassess the situation. So at Blackden Edge we took a compass bearing straight South to cut of the corner of our planned route and go over the moor top to Nether Tor. It was the right decision, when we got to Nether Tor and we could see the descent before us the sun was on the horizon just beginning to set. So it was a quick descent past a group of 4 other fell runners coming down from Ringing Roger and a stride out back to the car park. We left Edale just as the sun set; Tracy moaning about how she hates running through heather bogs and myself moaning about my torn Haglof ha. However, we both enjoyed the challenge and will no doubt be back to finish the planned route another day. All in all we were out for 3hours 30mins over 14.5 miles, it wasn't fast but then again conditions were not favourable and it was our first time over the course. But a good training run regardless :)

Monday, 3 January 2011

A Wintery Wonderland Run

Howdydiddlydoo to you,

Its the start of a new year and as a novice to fell running I thought I'd give myself a reasonable challenge to get my teeth stuck into. I've decided to run the Paddy Buckley Round in North Wales; it traverses 47 peaks, approximately over a 62 miles distance with around 29,000ft of ascent. I am hoping to do this in early June, weather permitting. So to give myself abit of focus and clarity on what I have decided to do I thought why don't I write a blog about my fell running ups and downs and struggle to get fit enough to undertake the challenge in less than 24hours.
So being keen to make headway I suggested to my friend Tracy that we should head into Wales for a little New Years training run over the Pen yr Ole Wen to Capel Curig leg. I checked the forecast and it said bright sunshine for the 2nd of January, so that was the date sorted and booked. We hit the road at around 7.30am and got into Ogwen to find the car park almost full! So we were not the only daft peeps heading into the hills that day. However, most of the other people had ice axes, crampons, and Arctic clothing! Never mind though we had trusty Lycra, and lightweight gortex, whilst not forgetting our trusty Inov8 mudclaws (or should I say Snowclaws). I also packed a mini flask of coffee and a few mince pies, get in :)
The ascents were fine, it was the descents that gave us the trouble. The ice was extremely thick in places and there was no way you could travel at speed on the rocky descents. Where grass and heather was present then the going wasn't too bad, however, if you know this route you also know that around 70% of it is over rock!
Still though it was a great day with breath taking scenery and although we were 30minutes outside the schedule for that leg I think given the conditions we didn't do bad at all. Needless to say after 15.25 miles and 4625ft of ascent it was a quick trip to Pete's Eats in Llanberis for a pint of tea and a large plate of stodge before the journey home.

Cheers for now