Sunday, 10 April 2016

Back end of 2015...and the start of 2016.

Bit of catching up to do...

November - Started a streak! 
We had the annual running club trip to Buttermere in the Lakes and we had SNOW! 
On the Friday evening, we were a little late for the group lake run, but set out on our own (Helen and I) and got back before it was properly dark and had worked up a nice appetite for dinner. Somehow, through all the beer, Peter H and Brett convinced me to do a pre-breakfast mountain run. Well, I say 'convinced' - I was totally up for it! Peter reckoned it was just over 10k and should take and hour and a half, tops. I decided to have more beer and stay up til midnight. I was regretting that at 6.30am on Saturday...
It had snowed overnight and was freezing cold and windy. I was a little apprehensive about it now (plus had a nasty hangover...) Still, off we went. In the shelter of the trees in Burtness Wood, and climbing steeply we were plenty warm enough, but once exposed to the wind it was bloody cold! The ground in the col was frozen and this made it easier to cross. The next climb was horrible! It's a steep one anyway, all the way up to the summit of Red Pike. As predicted the boys were faster than me and at times it was just a case of head down, follow the footprints and trudge on. As it got steeper, the normal scree was covered in a thin veneer of ice and the prints disappeared! I was cursing them both as I clung to the ice, resisting the wind trying to peel me off the mountain side. All of a sudden though, I heard a cheer go up and I was at the top of Red Pike!! Hurrah!! 
As I begun to have a little rant, Peter pointed out the sunrise over the snow covered mountains and all my fear and anger just melted.
The going was tough, knee deep snow, ice, the wind nearly took me off my feet a couple of times, I just stumbled along behind the boys, worrying what the descent was going to be like...
I need not have worried. The knee deep snow was hard work, but once I'd worked out that I wasn't going to die if I fell (good job really as I spent a lot of time falling over) I started to enjoy the jump and slide descent.
Now, we were more concerned about getting back in time for breakfast!
Our '10k' run turned out to be 7.5 miles and took over 2 hours!! To be fair, we hadn't done much running ;-) 

We wolfed our breakfasts down and then went to catch up with the main group who had already set off on the days main activity, a walk up to Whiteless Pike. I caught them before the summit and we had a good hike in glorious snow conditions. Another 8 miles trekked!

I was too knackered to join the Honister Headtorcher, so settled in the hotel lounge with a hot chocolate and a pile of snacks.

On Sunday, the traditional Rannerdale run took place, hungover again of course :-) but no-one swam in the river this year! Then after breakfast we had a stroll around Buttermere Lake before setting off home. 
Very good weekend indeed!

I'm sure other stuff happened in November, but that was probably the best bit!
(so much for keeping this brief...)

Early December saw me and my buddy Gavin take part in the Frostbite 30 in Nidderdale. It was around the time of the floods starting. Neither of us had really trained specifically for this, but had entered and thought we'd just plod round together. 
Wow, it was tough.
The first 11 miles were quite technical, and very wet. It took us in a loop through woods and over farmland, through the Cold Cut and back to race HQ.
The outward leg started flat along the river and I managed to snag a bramble and fall at about 15 miles in. Ouch.
The path contoured the valley at times and this was hard on the ankles. We were constantly getting wet, some deep puddles then TWO river crossings that came up to my bottom!! (I'm 5'6'') The marshalls had strung a rope across the water to hold onto...
Then some massive climbs. I hit a low patch. Gavin did the best thing by mostly ignoring me but not letting me stop!
Eventually, we got to the Scarhouse Dam which in my head was the turn around point but was really more like 24-25 miles in.
There, I was handed a cup of hot water. Oh my gosh, it was magical. 
My sense of humour returned and we ran on, making the most of a stretch of downhill track which was dry and ran for about 3 miles!
We wound our way back to the riverside path, needing headtorches now and back into the various puddles of standing water. Some people had caught us up and Gavin upped the pace, not wanting to let them beat us!!
We completed in just over 8 hours, a long time out but 34 miles done. It was hard.
We refuelled with cake, soup and cups of tea.

The next morning, I couldn't put any weight on my right ankle. I was worried I had torn my Achilles, but it came back to life over the next couple of days. I was walking (with a limp) by Wednesday and did a 1 mile test run on the Thursday and by the weekend was back with Gavin and Brett running on the moors!

I did break my streak though on day 22.

So, I started the streak again and covered about 137 miles in December. Very pleased with that! Hardmoors 110 training officially begun...

January 2016!

Kick started the year with Captain Cooks Fell race. I love this race, it's great fun and holds happy memories as this is where I met Flip!!
Today the conditions were quite reasonable and with my recent hard training starting to pay off, I knocked 2 mins 40 secs off my previous best for this course. Nice.
Good catch up and chat in the pub afterwards too.

No more races this month. I have continued streaking, through a depressed patch and I'm up to day erm, 44 I think now.
Training a lot with Gavin and anyone else who'll have me!!

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