Tuesday, 8 January 2013

2013 & Time to fly

Once again it’s been a while but hopefully I shall keep up with myself this year, ha well we’ll see anyway.
I suppose I’d better sum up what I’ve been up to since my last post which was ermmmhhh at the end of last Summer…whoops.  Well since the Lakeland 50 I think I did about 4 more races. The first was the Long Tour of Bradwell. This was part of the excellent Runfurther Series and was 2 weeks after the Lakeland 50. I was feeling a bit tired and was not what I would call in tip top shape for the race but my brother Dave had just developed an interest into fell and ultra running and was up for doing this race as prep for the Long Mynd Hike. It would be his first race and I thought it would be good to accompany him for this. David gives a good account on how his race went in his blog site Running Thoughts". I won’t go into too much detail about my race but I ended up running ok despite a steady start and finished 2nd to Ian Symington (who had finished 4th in the Lakeland 100). Dam, there went my excuse about having tired legs ha. Ian did thank me at the end for being a sport though, I’d had to shout him back a couple of times because he was either running of in the wrong direction or had missed a dibber check point. He truly deserved the win though as he was far spritelier than I was and finished 6minutes ahead of me over the 33 mile Peak District route.
After now completing two Ultras as such; the Lakeland 50 and the Long Tour of Bradwell, I had come to the conclusion I was becoming an Ultra runner with a liking for the mountains. Which is just as well as my next outing was the Tor Des Geants in the Aosta Valley Italy. The race is 330km through the Alps with around about 24000metres of ascent. Trail Running magazine had described it as the World’s Toughest Ultra. I remember reading the article giggling to myself. This race was to be my third ever Ultra and people were saying how they had trained for years and done several 100 mile races in prep for it etc.  It just brought it home to me how ignorant I was about the whole thing and what was truly involved. But I was entered and that was that. There would be no shrinking from responsibility and I was determined that I was going to complete this race even if I had to crawl. Before embarking on this adventure I had also been very fortunate to speak to the excellent outdoor clothing company Montane. They were incredibly generous to me and said they would help out with supplying me some kit for the race as long as I would report back to them on how it all went.  Well blow me down with a feather; I accepted that one straight away. So big thanks to all at Team Montane for your support. My account of this little journey into Europe can be found on their web site (Montane). In summary I did complete it along with my good running friend George Bate. Out of the 630 starters only 73 made it to Courmayeur; George and myself were lucky enough to be part of that small number finishing 64th & 65th. Here's a you tube clip of some moments from the event.

Well my feet were certainly in a mess after the Tor Des Geants. But I had 3 weeks to recover and then it was off to do the RAB Mountain Marathon with my running friend Tracy. I got to the start line of that race and my feet had not fully recovered but I thought they were good enough to get a reasonable run in. As it happens they were. We were blessed by good weather for this event once again. Tracy has done a write up of this on her Blog “The Trivialities of a Mountain Runner” which can be found here (Dark & White & Heathery). This event went well although it was a little too close for comfort on day 2 due to a couple of minor nav errors by myself, but these aside we still managed a win in the mixed category.
Start of Day 2 RaB MM
Another 3 weeks later and Tracy and I were at this Mountain Marathon thing again running in the OMM. We were both determined to have a good run and put behind us last year’s run. We ended day one in a strong position 9th overal in the A Class & 2nd in our catagory. We could sense that a good run on the Sunday would yield a podium finish. However, it all came crashing down as I dropped I clangor with my nav. I had decided to split from a path to drop down into a valley to pick up a check point. However I was using a spot height as my marker on the map and tying that in with my altimeter. Visibility was very poor and rain was coming down (normally conditions for the OMM then). Big mistake as when I took the bearing we dropped into an adjacent valley. What I should have done was to keep running another 4-600metres to a trig point; hindsight is a wonderful thing. By the time I had realized my mistake and contoured around to the next valley I think we had lost somewhere in the region of 15 to 20 minutes. It was game over for a podium finish. So with the wind from our sails completely knocked out Tracy and myself called it a day. A lesson well and truly learnt by myself. Once again Tracy reports this better on her blog (The OMM).
So 4 races done, 3 I was pleased with and 1 I was not.
I ended the 2012 season quietly by taking 5 weeks off from running and for that matter any training what so ever. I started training on December 26th again. This is just as well as I was eating rather a lot of mince pies (warm ones with a side serving of ice cream ….mmmm yummmy), which resulted in me successfully putting on 9lbs in weight, whoops.
I am still glad I took the rest though I think it was needed more from a mental stance rather than a physical one. It felt good just to shut off from running and go back out and socialize again. One of the things I have noticed about training for longer distance events is that I have most definitely become more of a hermit and rarely socialize with people outside of my running circle of friends.
This break though has served a purpose I have come back full of enthusiasm to start training and racing again. The problem now is my brain is racing faster than my body. It has taken me a couple of weeks to just start getting back that feeling that I can run fluidly rather than like an old wheezing donkey. I have though in my enthusiasm to get training and set goals, gone and already planned my race calendar for 2013. The one thing I adored about the Tor Des Geants was the crowds and their enthusiasm for the racing. I was blown away by how big the Trail running scene is in Europe. The energy that the spectators supply to these events is fantastic. With this in mind I decided I would like to experience this again so with a desire to run back in the Alps again and experience other breath taking mountainous courses I decided to enter the Sky Running Ultra Series. I must admit I’m pretty excited about the whole thing. It will certainly be an adventure, which is the way I like most of my running to be.
So looks like I’d better get booking some flights….
1. SPAIN: Transvulcania Ultramarathon - 83k, La Palma - May 11
2. ANDORRA: Ronda dels Cims - 170k, Vallnord - June 21
3. FRANCE: Ice Trail Tarentaise - 65k, Val d’Isère - July 14
4. USA: Speedgoat - 50k, Park City, Utah - July 27
5. USA: Ultra Race of Champions “UROC” - 100k, Vail, Colorado - September 28 
2. FRANCE: Mont-Blanc Marathon - 42k, Chamonix - June 30