Friday 22 June 2012

A Tale of Two Races.

Wednesday evening saw the latest instalment of the Esk Valley Summer Series, Whorlton Run starting from the little village of Swainby. It was a warm and muggy evening, so I was surprised to see just one other Harrier.
The race was started by a man with a shotgun! Eep!
The first mile or so was on flat tarmac (this one only just scrapes in as a fell race really) and I was bored already. For the first time in a race I thought about giving up. I'd always thought I enjoyed my races, just the training I was struggling with??
as we rounded a corner, we were faced with Clain Wood and the massive hill we needed to climb and I really thought, this is silly. Anyway, I pressed on. The climb was on good track and road I ran as much as I could but eventually it got too steep to run with any sort of conviction. Climb continued through trees then briefly back onto the road before turning straight uphill. And I mean straight up hill! No one was running this, the field closed right up. As I scrambled up the bank, clinging onto the fence for balance and grabbing handfuls of wet bilberry bushes with my map clenched between my teeth and sweat dripping off my nose (sorry Flip, 'glow' dripping off my nose) I realised I was having a whale of a time!!
At the top was Whorlton Moor and the ground levelled out and we could run once more. It was easy going here and I loped along at a fairly steady pace. I could see Flip up ahead, but then as the route turned sharply downhill I lost him to the heather!
We crossed the rough ground and entered the woods on good track. To my amazement, I passed about 4 people on the downhill section!! Normally it's the other way around and I got this odd giddy feeling, I was at the front of my pack. I ran on, working to keep them behind me. We crossed a stream and the road at Scugdale before skirting another wood. The track undualted and I passed more people as I was able to run the 'ups'. I almost caught up with Flip once more, but he was faster over the fields marked with molehills and rabbit holes.
The final straight was back on tarmac, and only one of the people I passed came to overtake me. The finish was up hill and outside the castle ruins at Whorlton so we had a quick guided tour from a local runner!!
Back to the pub for tea and medals!!

No rest for the wicked, or tired legs, back out on THursday for the HDSRL fixture hosted by Swaledale. Slightly more Harriers for this race, 11 in total, mostly women.
We didn't really warm up as the heavens opened!!
Thankfully, it stopped raining in time for the start but it remained sticky throughout the race.
There's not a lot I can say about it really. The course was mostly flat, one bit went along rough track which was almost flooeded in places, but I managed to keep my trainers dry!
Everyone moaned about the 'big hill' about 4.5 miles in. I ran it without hardly breaking pace (I'm a fell runner don't you know?)
However, I am pleased I didn't have to do a head-to-head sprint at the end as I don't think my poor fell battered legs would have managed it!
For what felt like an old lady shuffle, I managed 9 min/miles or there abouts.
The club and pub had laid on a good spread of sarnies and acres of cake!! I was famished and ate loads!

So, a good two days of running. When I feel like crap and am about to spit my dummy out, I must remember how I felt on Weds night when I was running strong and enjoying myself on rough terrain.
Also, my form is looking better on the HDSRL photo, especially as it was taken right at the end of the race.

Sunday 17 June 2012

Nothing to say about running...

A quick round up of the week...

Monday - Club night with Sonja was a little harder than usual, essentially we did a sprints session!! I was struggling to keep up the 80% effort, even over the short timings, felt very sick! But we all managed it. It hurt after yesterdays long 'run'.

Tuesday - No specific training, stiff and achey. Rest day.

Wednesday - Bloody cricket on the field. Our running track was a funny shape! We did 6x 3min efforts. Then there was a committee meeting afterwards. Interesting...

Thursday and Friday - Both very lazy evenings really. OH out at Scouts on Friday night.

Saturday - Headed out for a run from work, but struggled with stitch all the way around. My normal loop is approx 5miles, but I decided to do the shorter loop instead. When I measured it at home, I found it was 2.25 miles. Was it worth it I ask myself??
Did do an hour of gardening though!

Sunday - Today's plan stated 18miles. In my head I'd put together a route which I admit didn't fill me with excitement. It's now half 3 in the afternoon and I still haven't been out. I was dangerously close to being motivated, first by a blog on Fetch then again by a little video on YouTube about the HM110. Still didn't make it out of the door.
I don't know.
There's all sorts of stupid stuff going on in my head. A lot of it is straight forward lazyness and I just can't be arsed. I'm not quitting cos it's difficult, more cos I'm bored. I can run 10miles, so what is the point of running 4? Will it make any difference to the marathon? How will I feel after it? I figure I'll either be full of motivation or it will finish me off.
Not so long ago my dream was to run an Ultra, ultimately the HM110. I'm not going to get there with this attitude. Do I want to get there any more??
I had a look earlier through some of my older diaries, I have them going back to 2000. I wanted to see if this apathy is as 'new' as it feels... No, it's not. I've been battling the same demons for the last 30 years it would seem. I'm seeking some sort of epiphany to break me out of my hibernation. I'm aware I'm not living to the full and that bugs me somewhat. Hushing the fuck up and getting on with stuff would probably be a good place to start!

Sunday 10 June 2012

An Emotional Run!

This morning was sunny (hurrah!) so after a nice lie-in and breakfast, OH took me to Osmotherly so I could run back home again. A little part of me didn't want to go, but what else was I going to do with myself all day?!

OH dropped me in the little village, I saw the notices for the Osmotherly summer games were up- the Phoenix is part of these games... He went off to take doglett around the reservoir, I hoisted my pack and started to trot out of the village on the Cleveland Way. Got nettled on the first bit of path!
A nice jog across fields, then a steep climb past White House Farm. This is the finishing route of the Phoenix and I thought I'll either be on my hand and knees trying not to be sick or skipping in jubilation. Most probably the former...
Now past the two small reservoirs in Oak Dale and onto the stiff climb to Square Corner where I joined the drove road which would form most of my route.
As I ascended Black Hambleton, I saw a familiar collie dog, was it the infamous Hazza Stollwood I wondered? No, he's more brown, then I realised it was Sam with Lorraine from Harriers out for a walk with her hubby and BIL. I pretended to run up the steep track, but they were having none of it! We stopped for a chat before continuing on our separate ways.
Now the track levelled out and I could get a bit more speed up. The weather was just right, high cloud, gentle breeze and not too hot. I stopped at a stream and washed my face and arms which was very refreshing. Said hello to lots of cyclists, walkers and a couple of runners.
Reached Kepwick quarry quite easily and texted OH to let him know where I was.
It was shortly after this my motivation started to fail.
When I first started running, I'd watched Anton-what's-his-face effortlessly gliding across the desert on YouTube, and it was that freedom and wilderness that I wanted to achieve with my running. Here I was, running solo on the moors, free to go where I like as fast as I like and it all just felt boring and pointless. Physically, I was fine, not even particularly tired and I must have run about 7 miles by now. Just bored. I walked a bit. Half heartedly jogged a bit. Walked again. Considered texting OH to pick me up. Almost had a cry. Is this what they mean about the mental side of running?
I decided I wasn't a quitter, I'm not going to let this beat me and set off running again.
This flush didn't last long and I found myself sat on a log at High Barn looking down into the valley in the direction of home. I sat there for some time, wondering what to do. Sent OH a text saying I was sat in the rain struggling with motivation. He replied 'Move it'. I figured he was probably right and got going.
The terrain got a little more rocky and undulating now and I actually enjoyed that more than the flat easy drovers road!
I figured if I could get to the top of Thirlby Bank, I'd cracked it!
The bank path drops steeply down through trees, very muddy in places and I slithered and squelched my way down without getting too wet. I'd forgotten about Carr Lane which goes on forever before getting to Thirlby village. I stopped again at the ford to wash the sweat from my face and arms. In the village I saw one of my old work colleagues we said hi but neither had time for a chat.
Only 3 miles to go, I'd pre-ordered a chocolate milkshake and the thoughts of it kept me going. I was getting tired and stiff now.
The last obstacle was Felixkirk Bank and I walked up that. A slow downhill shuffle all the way home. I scoffed the last few jelly babies in my pocket and had a good drink of water as I didn't need to worry about getting stitch any more. At last I was home and the promised milkshake was waiting for me. I gulped it too fast and made myself feel a bit queasy, my own fault for being greedy!!

So, now it's over and I've had a nice hot shower, I'm bloody glad I carried on. I'm so pleased that OH didn't offer me a lift when I texted him, as I would have spent the rest of the day beating myself up.

I'm not a quitter, I can do this.

Tuesday 5 June 2012

Getting up to date!

Though I should maybe bring this up to date, now I have a follower!!
I'll leave out the depressing bits...

Few race updates from my blog on Fetch.

APRIL 14th 
Tomorrow I shall be embarking on my longest race/run to date, the Guisborough Moors fell race. It's almost a half marathon fell race, 4 good climbs and the possibility of snow. Eep.

I'm not going to attempt to 'race' it. Just run the runnable bits, walk the tough bits, and get round in one piece. That's the plan anyway!
Having a bigger dilemma over what to wear than the distance at the moment. 

Thursday evening I went for a run with a lady from club. She matches me almost to the second on races, sprints etc and it generally gets a little competitive if we're next to each other training!! We went to Kilburn Woods, just a short drive away, and explored! We didn't get lost, we were route finding *cough cough* But it was really pleasant to run with someone at my pace, nice and relaxed, no worry about time (or direction particularly!) and it restored my faith a little in the whole running business. 
Since then, I have done very little, resting up prior to tomorrow's aforementioned adventure... *frantically crams in more pasta*

APRIL 15th - Guisborough Moors Fell Race

I packed my bags last night, jelly babies, cake waterproofs etc. Ate loads of calories and got a good sleep.
Glad I checked my Facebook this morning as my friend decided we should set off 10 mins earlier than we'd planned as parking can be a bit tight. A Brisk walk in the sunshine got me to our designated meeting point in plenty of time!

It was the right decision as there were rugby matches going on the rugby club (how dare they!) and parking was limited.

There was a good turnout and it was with great trepidation I paid my fee. Part of me was calm, I had brought food, water and last weekend we'd walked the route. The other part of me was terrified!! "12 miles is a f*cking long way with some f*cking big hills!! AArgh!!"

Had a quick chat with Flip who was casually supping a mug of coffee...

My plan was simple, run the flat bits, walk the steep bits, have the odd jelly baby and get round in one piece.

Before too long it was 11am and we gathered on the road, ready for the off.
Straight into climbing!! Up through Guisborough Woods on a very muddy, quite steep bank. About 3/4 of the way up I realised I'd have to come down this...
Like everyone, I managed to run past the photographer!

Out onto the moor along a narrow path through the heather. The sun was out, the going was good, a few good bogs but they were easily avoided. Then onto a good track skirting Codhill Heights. I was quite hot so took off my jacket. A gradual decent made for some good running before jumping a stream then climbing out onto Percy Cross Rigg.
Here the headwind hampered the progress somewhat but it was only a short section and I chatted to another runner before we turned onto a muddy track and steeply downhill.
Which of course meant an even steeper uphill! Had to walk that! 
We entered the plantation of Coate Moor which winds it's way through the trees to eventually reach Captain Cook's Monument. The sky was now brooding and a little hail fell.
Fast down Cock Shaw Hill, navigating the fallen tree and a welcome water station in the carpark at Gribdale. The chap asked me if I was ok and I managed to make some joke. I was surprised to find I was quite ok. 
Another stiff climb out of Gribdale, the hard bit was to come in about a mile... Roseberry Topping, followed by Little Roseberry. Oh my. Walked all the way up, bit of a faff on the way down cost me a place then my calves were screaming on the way up Little Roseberry. I tried going sideways a little, it sort of helped but was hard work!!

Now across the moor.

I could see the sky to the north was black, and before long the blizzard started. Horizontal, in your face snow. We were on a narrow, muddy path and it was difficult to see where I was going. I had to stop to tighten my shoe laces and it was nice that a (passing) runner AND some walkers both asked if I was ok! I suppose I was hunched over in the heather, in a blizzard.

At that point, I must admit I thought I've had enough now.

Then I fell over!
Thankfully a soft landing, I have a bruised bum but I think I'll survive...
The snow continued as we passed High Cliff Farm. The small stand of trees just off the moor looked quite pretty in the snow.
Last steep bit onto Highcliffe Nab where the photographer was perched and I managed to give him the thumbs up and a cheesy grin! Not far to go now!
Back into the woods, I was amazed I was still running. Well, not walking anyway. Did start feeling a bit sick though.
Then the drop down the muddy bank. My legs were a bit weak by now and I walked down most of it. At the bottom it levelled out and I finished the race at a run! Hurrah! I had a little 'hands-in-the-air' celebration as I crossed the line!

I walked back to the rugby club where my friend was waiting for me.

I peeled off my mud caked clothes and got a nice cup of tea. I felt too sick to eat the cake I brought, but everyone else tucked in.
My friend had won her age category and came away with two bottles of red.

All in all, I enjoyed it. Challenging race on good terrain, had I have been up to it, there were chips and bacon butties on sale afterwards too.
It was nice to see Flip and Phil G and my old boss from when I worked at Scunny General, he'd really enjoyed it too.

By the time I'd got home, my stomach had stopped churning and I was ready for chocolate and pasta! 

So what have I learnt today?
- I am improving BUT there is still a lot of work to do.
- I need to work on my downhill technique/guts! That cost me at least 3 places alone. 
- Jelly babies are very tasty, but hard to chew!

And I've got my first race-tumble out of the way.

Oh, and I wasn't last.

MAY 11th - Three Races In One Week!

Not quite the 10-in-10 but even so!

1. First Harrogate and District Summer Race League (HDSRL) fixture at Ilkley. Good turn out of runners and T+S Harriers. We managed to organise ourselves and mostly car share. 
Grey and drizzly and quite cool, but I managed to run in just my vest. (Well, leggings and trainers too of course *shocked smilie* )
The course went up 'that hill' which if anyone has been to Ilkley will know what I mean! Of course, what goes up must come down.
I was meant to be taking this as a training run, but it turned out I'd put out 8 1/2 minute miles which is quite good for me! Ran the whole hill, which was tough.
The HDSRL events are all catered afterwards, so I tucked into sarnies, crisps and cold sausage, nommy. Late night getting home.

2. First NEHRA summer series fell race, Carlton Challenge. Only a short race, but with twice the ascent of last nights road race!!
It was even colder, with mist on top this time too. I had long sleeves and started in my cagoule! Legs didn't feel too bad while running (walking up the big climb) but I later found the only reason I wasn't last was because one lady's calf went 'ping' about half way round so she and her friend walked the rest of the course...
I did however bag 2 bottles of wine for no particular reason!

Couple of days to rest, then...

3. Bluebell Trail 10 at Halifax, hosted by the Stainland Lions. Lovely weather at last! Very interesting course, a little narrow at the start with a couple of busy road crossings, but otherwise quite pleasant. I did get stuck behind some dithering little old ladies in the woods not far off the start and wondered if this is what it's like getting stuck behind me on a fell descent... I took off over rocks and through mud to get around. (Impatient young whipper snapper!)
Trooper Lane was everything it promised to be, and I gladly took a jelly worm from a marshall to munch! The race ends with a river crossing, I think a couple of other people have posted pics in the gallery. It was knee deep and quite refreshing, then it's a short squelch across the grass to the finish. 
Lovely course, well organised and marshalled and the goodie bag contained a Buff and a Lion bar, om nom nom!
Managed 10 1/2 ish minute miles for that one, I could have run faster (only a little bit!) but I wasn't *racing* as such so that was ok.

That'll do. Thank goodness for 'copy and paste'!