Tuesday, 28 August 2012

A Long Coffee Break....

Faithfulness to the past can be a kind of death above ground. Writing of the past is a resurrection; the past then lives in your words and you are free.”Jessamyn West

Well it’s been a while hasn’t it! I set my blog up to help myself in my build up of trying to get fit for my Paddy Buckley Round (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paddy_Buckley_Round) in 2011. With being new to mountain/fell running I had the idea it would help to keep me enthused about my training and just be a bit of fun writing about it. And it worked. It did all of the above. However, after I completed the round in June my initial objectives had been met and this little ole blog has laid dormant for a while. A couple of months ago I came across the above quote by Jessamyn West and the penny dropped with me that this is what I needed to do.
Road stop on my Paddy in June 2011

The last year had been a strange one for me; at first I soared on the euphoria of doing my “Paddy” and decided to help out with as many “Paddy” attempts by other people last year as I could so they too could experience that elation of finishing such a beautiful Round. That was pretty much how my summer went, apart from doing a couple of recce runs with another good running friend Gaynor (http://shoeaholicsguidetorunning.blogspot.co.uk/) of the Lakeland 100, helping out three other friends John Whilock, Bryan Carr and Simon Reed to do a successful joint Ramsey Round (http://www.ramsaysround.com/) –Simons report was published in “Fellrunner” last year, and a moment of madness in August when I woke up in the morning with a little hang over and went and entered the British Masters Half Marathon Champs as it was in Leek that year (my home town). The Leek half is known to be a tough road half marathon due to its ascent up the Roaches but that suited me and I was pleased to finish in the top 20. It was my first race out on tarmac in well over a decade and a half and it completely reassured me that fell and trail is most definitely the way forward for me.

John, Simon and Bryan after their succesful Ramsey Round

Tarmac treading at Leek half Marathon

A fun day in the Welsh Mountains with George Fell Pony, Fairy, Johnny W, Bryan & Hollie the Collie 2011

All in all it was a great summer with some awesome experience’s where I also met some amazing people. The autumn however brought a change not only in the weather but in my running focus. The two day navigation Mountain Marathon races of the RAB and the OMM were undertaken with Tracy in September and at the end of October. Probably one of the hardest things I had done in a while was trying to put a tent up in a freezing cold Scottish field with numb hands in the dark after running day one of the Elite category. In-between these two events were the highly enjoyable Fell Relays, it was the first time I had competed in the event and was lucky enough to be selected and make the Eryri Harriers Vets team. I mixed in a couple of North Wales Cross Country Races as well just for fun. It was, though, at one of these meets that I noticed all was not well with my back/hip. It had been niggling for a while but after one of the Cross Country races in November I think my body was telling me that all was not great.
Fell Relays, photo by Chris Upson

So as the ever diligent athlete that I am, I ignored it and raced the Roaches Fell Race the very next day. I was pleased with my run, my body wasn’t. It finally stopped playing the next day when I found out I could only walk 20 yards then my whole right leg would lock up….whoops. A week later I found out I had been selected to run for North Wales in a Cross country race…double whoops. I didn’t run at all during the 3 week period up to the race and just stretched. It worked to a degree as I got around and completed the race but I knew I was not running at all well.  Time was called and apart from about 4 occasions I didn’t run from December until the middle of February again. It was a disappointing end to an otherwise great year. I put a lot of “spin” on the situation but beneath it all I was well and truly fed up with it.

Having some fun on my last run out of 2011 with Tracy at the Christmas Cracker

The first half of 2012 from my running perspective has been about trying to get going again. I started to pick up the reins in February and get out into the fells for some jog outs. Its here I must truly thank Tracy for helping me to get on with this task in hand. For those people who don’t know the “Fell Fairy” she is incredibly enthusiastic about her running in every aspect and it has something she has put her heart and soul into over the last couple of years. This enthusiasm is infective and gradually through soaking this up on various weekend runs and the telling me like it is phone calls I managed to start getting the desire to push it once more.

First Mixed Team; Buff lightning 12 hour

Gaynor suggested a run out in early spring at the Buff Lightning Ultra event at Eastnor Estate. I was unfit and was still carrying my winter weight (nothing new there then!), but thanks once again to some excellent running by the Fairy, a first place in the Mixed Team was bagged. This really helped with my motivation and after this I managed to keep my weekend running momentum going. This was just as well as I had entered the Montane Lakeland 50 (http://www.lakeland100.com/) with another good running friend George Bate as a male pair Team. George is well known in the fell running fraternity being the founder of the Fell Ponies…a fell running club with no rules, no committee and no membership; brilliant (http://ukfellponies.org.uk/). He is also the person I can blame for suggesting I do a little jog in the Alps with him and wham the next minute we are in the Tor Des Geants! (http://www.tordesgeants.it/). So I have managed to pick up the miles on the mountains by having some consistent weekends out. The training is not where I would like it to be at this moment but I’m working on that and hopefully things will change over the next few months. The Lakeland 50 ended with George and I winning the Male pairs in a new record time; a good run but a great effort from George who endured some intense quad cramps for around 40 miles and still kept going!
The start of the Montane Lakeland 50

The Fairy also had a truly fantastic race at the Montane Lakeland weekend. She won the ladies 50 smashing the old record by a huge margin. Since this win she has also started a blog (http://tracymdean.blogspot.co.uk/) and after not reading many blogs for a long time I found myself reading her report, then clicking on a link and reading another blog and so on. It was great to find so many people out there enthusing about the fells/mountains; it was once again intoxicating and has helped to spur me on with new goals for the year ahead.  Reading all these brilliant reports once again reminded of the Jessamyn West quote and I concluded a resurrection of my blog would be good…well for me anyway J So with that in mind I had better finish my 14 month overdue Paddy report very quickly....:)

Team Fairy at the finish of the Montane Lakeland 50; myself, Fairy & George. Photo Nick Ham