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