Tuesday 25 November 2014

Harriers on Hindscarth

Our home for the weekend- the Bridge Hotel.

Sarah and I arrived at the Bridge Hotel shortly before dusk on Friday. After two days of sitting on my bum on trains and in conferences, I was ready for some exercise! We'd just missed the scheduled evening run round the Lake, so we took ourselves for a little wander around the shore. We didn't go far as it was soon dark and we needed to get showered etc before dinner.

At dinner time we sat with Bryan, Claire, Martin and Jane. I had prawn and salmon mousse, followed by roast duck and it was all lovely, the pudding however was too much and I struggled to finish it. A couple of beers topped off the evening before retiring to our cosy rooms.

Saturday - Up and on early ready for the pre-breakfast lake run. We set out before dawn heading in a clock wise direction around Lake Buttermere. The pace was brisk, the air surprisingly warm for both the time of day and the time of year! The fast lads took a detour with a sharp climb from the lake and back down which they all seemed to thoroughly enjoy!

The only problem with all this, is that we all pile into the shower at once... I'd got as far as applying soap before I ran out of water! Cue scraping it off with a damp flannel. I found out over breakfast I wasn't the only one! Sarah had the right idea and waited 15 mins or so and got a proper shower.
For breakfast I sat with John, Nicky J, Carol and Pat. I had yoghurt and muesli followed by smoked haddock with poached eggs, breakfast of champions!!
Setting off on our walk Saturday morning.

Little chapel near Little Town.

Surrounded by fells. Left- Hindscarth. Middle, foreground- High Crags. Right- Robinson

Next we got ourselves arranged into cars and headed over Newlands Pass to the village hall at Little Town for the start of our walk. We started out along the road until we reached the farm at Low Snab, here it all got a little uphill! We clambered up the eastern flank of what would eventually become Hindscarth. First ascending Pan Holes to reach Scop End. At times we had to clamber up wet slippery rocks, taking our time over hand and foot placements. Still, it was good fun and got the heart racing a little! It was easy to pick out the surrounding fells, Catbells and Maiden Moor to the east, the vast bulk of Robinson in front to the west.
Climbing up Scops End.

Steve B on the rocks!

Part way along the ridge.

Bit more climbing to go yet...

On the final push up to Hinscarth summit now.

Hilary is almost there.

We regrouped on the lower ridge before skirting around (thankfully not over!) High Crags. Here was a flatish area so we stopped for a bite to eat, in my case hot cross buns supplied by Sarah and a flask of hot chocolate. Here the weather closed in and we had to don our waterproofs and gloves. The final climb onto Hindscarth summit was straightforward. I thought this was a 'new' Wainwright for my list, but I have since realised we were actually up here last year, oops.

Hindscarth summit

John and Matt check out the views.

Claire and Bryan join us at the top.

Say cheese Hilary!

Sarah, Lorraine and Sarah!
Descending from Hindscarth to skirt around the head of Little Dale, before a stiff climb up and onto Robinson.

Harriers on Robinson

The long descent onto the sponge that is Buttermere Moss.

A little mist swirled around to create an atmosphere on the rocks high above the valley. It was quite cold, so we started off in smaller groups so no-one got too cold waiting. A long descent onto Buttermere Moss ensued, it was steep in places. The Moss was, as usual, very wet indeed. As I had made most of my journey by train, I hadn't brought my hiking boots choosing instead to walk in my trail shoes. While these are light and very comfy, they are not at all waterproof and very quickly my feet were totally numb from the icy water sat on the Moss. Thankfully, it's not far and we passed to the right of High Snockrigg and missed the main path down! To get back on track, we contoured around the edge of the bank, most uncomfortable on the ankles, before picking up the correct route. Gavin hung back so later parties didn't make the same mistake. The descent from High Snockrigg to the road above Buttermere is very steep, but we made it without further mishap.
Down the road and into the hotel.

I debated whether to take part in the Honister head torch run. I have done it twice, I was a little tired, quite hungry and was comfy sat on my bed eating crisps and drinking hot chocolate...
I put my running gear on, still debating what to do when I was sat in the lounge with my trainers and head torch in my hands!! Ever the glutton for punishment, I thought it was best if I went for it!! My trainers had been stuffed with paper (thanks to the resourceful Booths!) and sat in the drying room so although they were still a little damp, they were at least warm when I put them on.
Rob and Sarah are both nursing ankle problems, but wanted to run so they headed off in the Ute and joined us at the far end of the Lake as the climbing got serious. The fast/stronger lads at the front ran most of the climb up the miners path, those of us further back walked briskly with the odd jog when we realised Rob was looking!! This path runs from the road at the far end of lake, around Warnscale Bottom before sweeping sharply uphill to meet Dubs Hut, an old slate miners hut now used as a bothy. I think in the day light, this trip would be terrifying, but the dark hides the big drop and rushing waters of Warnscale Beck below. We slower runners, made it to the hut pretty much without stopping. We had to have a nosey inside (and shelter from the rain for a moment) where Sarah produced a stick of liquorice which was shared between the group. The track is easier underfoot now, but still uphill as it winds its way through the tips and workings of the slate mine. Almost the last obstacle is a big heap of slate chips which we have to traverse, it's easy to loose sight of the head lights in front here and it's important to stick together. Once safely onto the mine road, we spread out as each runner took delight in the downhill! This is where we find the final obstacle in the form of metal draining gullies across the road... We all made it down without tripping over these structures and found Matt and Paul G waiting for us in the Slate Mine car park, heated seats on and ready to go!!
As is traditional, we all piled into the bar and downed a pint a piece before getting showered and warmed up. I knew it was the right thing to go on the night run!

While in the bar, I'd spied Mark tucking into pasta, I hoped it was on the restaurant menu and indeed it was! Vegetable linguini in a pesto and parmesan sauce, it was lovely and just what I needed. Followed by a lighter dessert this time of lemon tart with raspberry sorbet.
We retired to the lounge to while the evening away with beer and giggles.

Sunday - I greeted Sunday with the usual hangover. Sarah decided to miss the morning run due to her ankle, so I got dressed and slipped downstairs. My still damp trainers were waiting for me and we turned out into the pre dawn light for a hilly wake-me-up kind of run. Along the road to the little car park at the base of Rannerdale Knotts, then we pick up a bridle path which skirts the Knotts before a beckside climb through High Rannerdale. As usual my churning stomach, pounding head and weary legs made this fairly gentle ascent bloody hard work! One day I'll run this sober and appreciate it a little more... At last we reached the path junction on the flank of Whiteless Breast, after regrouping we set off on the fast grassy descent, straight down into Grassgarth Coppice. The last bit through the Coppice is my favourite bit, over rocks and tree roots hidden in the fallen leaves, gradually dropping to meet Mill Beck. At the bottom, myself and a few others went into the beck to rid ourselves of mud and ice our limbs. Steve had to go the whole hog with a swim under the bridge!!

Another quick shower and I was refreshed and ready for a fry-up!! Sitting this time with Sarah, Lorraine, Richard, Brett and Naomi.

Alas, all good things must come to an end. Always sad to say 'goodbye' but we'll see each other soon enough at club!
Some people went straight home, a few stay on for a walk around Crummock Water to the pub at Kirkstile and Sarah and I decided to do our own thing. We clambered up the side of the falls at Sour Milk Gill to find a geocache. The GPS on my phone bounced around a bit, but eventually (much to Sarah's excitement) we found the pot of treasure under some rocks. Then we took a walk in the glorious sunshine around the lake, one last cup of tea in the café before finally heading home.

Looking down Sour Milk Gill

Geocaching - Found it!

Sour Milk Gill from below.

High Snockrigg from across the lake.

Especially for Coach Sonja- Sarah scooting on a log!!

Sunny lake scenery.

The teashop was full of baubles!

I can't recommend the Bridge enough, the rooms are really nice, the food is fab and the staff are really friendly and enjoy a bit of banter with the guests. Can't wait til next year now...

Monday 10 November 2014

Goathland Marathon - a return to the moors!

The forecast for today was foul. At 6am however, it was a cold but bright day. My friend Pat arrived early (as expected!) as we were car sharing. She had intended to race but has been plagued with injuries for several weeks and was now marshalling instead.
We had an easy ride out to Goathland and got parked and registered no probs, we were dead early so just sat about in the hall.
RD Jon introduced Pat to her fellow check point marshals and more and more people arrived.
Lisrun and MelH were there to run the marathon, along with Flip doing the half. My WLaC buddies DB and JC arrived, also running the marathon and along the way I got introduced to several WLaC group members and people from the Hardmoors page on Facebook.
By now Pat had gone off to do her duties and I was getting more nervous as the clock slowly ticked towards the start time.

It was still sunny when we left the village and headed across fields towards Beck Hole. Following West Beck to Mallyan Spout was once again spectacular, although I seem to have forgotten about all the steps and the slippery wooden board-walks. The beck was much higher than last year and more water coming over the Spout too. I really MUST come back here for a walk with OH and doglett. We left the beck for a stiff climb, first up muddy steps then on grass, over a road and then onto moor track as we skirted Two Howes Rigg. As we dropped down towards the check point at Hunt House, the front runners in the half marathon were catching us up, they were flying along!!
Just beyond Hunt House was Pat's marshal point. She and Roy were directing the halfers right across Wheeldale Beck over the steeping stones (the stones were 6 inches underwater apparently) and us and the 10km runners up Howl Moor to the Simon Howe check point.
We chatted on and off as we clambered up the steep climb, of course the professional photographers were here too.
At Simon Howe the route splits again, with the 10km runners heading north back to Goathland, us marathoners on the other hand headed South as we still had a few mile to go...
It wasn't too bad running along Simon Howe Rigg, narrow paths in the heather with plenty of mud, but it was ok if you watched your footing. The gentle downhill was welcome after the climb up.
The boggy bits were getting worse though and as we crossed Wardle Green, the girl in front went right in up to her thighs! One of the men had to help pull her out! We were glad to be running in a group, about 6 of us at this point. As we squelched across the fields, the halfers came by in the opposite direction, still flying! They managed to get back before it rained.
Rough forest track took us to the next check point, but not before I stepped into a puddle and did a good Doctor Foster impression up to my knees! Oops. At the check point, DB and JC caught me up and we chatted and ran eating Jaffa cakes, bananas and Pop-tarts! the forest drive drops down very steeply and I walked/trotted down as it's this descent which set my knee off last year. Lisrun and MelH joined us too. We stayed on the good track, undulating through the forest until we crossed the railway line at Needle Eye (I think, I haven't marked my map correctly here but it was ok as the route was very well marked with tape) through the spooky trees and into a stiff muddy climb above Havern Beck.
I'd felt great right up until this point. The exertion of the climb made me feel sick. Dam.
We ran in small groups along Levisham Bottom. My tummy was not happy and it was hard work, I took quite a few walk breaks. Before the hunting tower came into view, the rain started. we all pulled our coats out of our packs and got waterproofed up. I couldn't run with my hood up, so used my buff as a hat instead, kept my ears nice and warm against the wet.
A soggy marshal directed us up another stiff climb I knew this was coming and was dreading it and felt really sick again. I walked from here to the next check point, watching the others, Lisrun, MelH, DB and JC as well as the little group of Quakers all run on I felt a little sad. I had a drink and some sweets at the check point. I figured I'd go a bit further, see how I felt, but maybe think about pulling out at the next stop.
I was also desperate for a wee! There's not much privacy in this part of the world, and I didn't know the group of people I was with well enough just to squat behind a bit of heather!! Now though, as I shuffled through the deluge alone, I found the ditch running along the path was deep enough to hide a desperate runner so I jumped in and answered the call of nature!! Getting wet leggings back over wet skin was an interesting task...
I was hoping this may relieve the nausea, but it didn't and I still had to walk a good few times before finally reaching Gallows Dike. We went along the roadside footpath a little before crossing the surprisingly busy A169, made more dangerous by the mist. I still felt a bit sick as I got to the check point, but I had a cup of water and the man had grapes! Yummy! As I spent a few minutes fishing them out of the tub where they were floating in rain water, I chilled to the core. I was too cold to stand still long enough to explain why I wanted to quit so instead I carried on. I ate the grapes and walked along, then I fished my gloves out of my pack (never thought to keep them to hand when I put my waterproofs on) and a miracle happened. As I thought I must keep running to keep warm, the sickness subsided and I started to feel ok again. Down a steep concrete road, I caught up with DB and JC once more and once over the stile at Newgate Brow I managed to gain a bit of a lead. There was a lone lady running slightly ahead of us, I'd almost catch her at each gate or stile, then she'd pull away again. This continued all the way along the edge of Hazelhead Moor and through the bogs around Fylingdales. At Fylingdales, we turn East onto a good dirt road. It goes uphill, then sweeps down and up again over a beck before a long, long drag along Worm Sike Rigg. for the first 10 minutes you think 'Yeah, easy running' than you quickly get bored. This is the only bit of the route I don't like. I ate my fruit puree as I walked/ran along. I could see the lone lady up ahead and further on the group of Quakers, DC and JC were also visible in the mist behind. At long last, a signpost directs us to Lilla Cross and back into the mud. It was misty up here, but the path is quite distinct through the mire. A lone, damp marshal loomed out of the mist, offering soggy Pringles, and points out the turn onto Lilla Rigg. Again, it's wet, muddy bog hopping fun, join a nice track for a short distance. Here I could see ahead to the next crossing of the A169, I think I must have zoned out a little as I took a nasty stumble and nearly fell. I reminded myself to concentrate as I turned back onto the moor. A wrong footing here could be disastrous, it was open bog often with no clues as to how deep it was. I worried if I went in deep, I'd have to wait for DB and JC to catch up to pull me out. Not a nice place to be alone. Anyway, such gloomy thoughts were uncalled for and the ground became firmer (but just as wet!) as I reached Eller Beck. I remembered having to jump the beck last year, and it was tricky then, today it seemed a raging torrent! I had seen other people on the far side so it must be possible and I worked my way along the bank until I found a likely spot and went for it. I made it across without getting any wetter and squidged along in the sticky mud down towards the road crossing and the next checkpoint. My other knee was sore now, but nothing like last year and I was in good spirits, I knew once over the road I'd cracked it. I started to think about the finish.
Before that though, was another crossing of Eller Beck. This one was wider and deeper, a little test of the bank revealed it to be unstable and it took several minutes to psyche myself up for the jump, one wet foot this time. The chaps at the checkpoint offered me tea, but I said I just wanted to finish now, only 4 miles left I'm told. I couldn't stomach the gingerbread man I'd picked up, despite feeling hungry, and set off through Fen Bogs Nature reserve. A steep drop, over the railway line again and another beck crossing, which had been improved since last year. Then it's a long but shallow uphill slog through mud and water to reach the Simon Howe check point once more. The lads marshalling here were remarkably chipper as they pointed the way home. Just two more miles!
I had it in my head it was downhill all the way, nope. Only a shallow gradient, but my tired legs felt it, plus of course the continuing water both underfoot and falling from the sky. I'd had enough now. In my head I told myself 'Only two miles, you can do this, it's only a time trial.' Out loud I said 'More like a fucking ordeal.' I stamped and sloped and trotted along at last we turn off to cross Two Howes Rigg and it really is downhill and the ankle deep water was flowing with me for once instead of against. I swore at my sore knee some more and gradually through the murk I could see the village down below. Such relief flowed through me, soon I could be warm and dry. On the final descent before hitting tarmac, I heard the slap slap of feet in water, a quick glance told me two blokes were closing in on me. I prayed it wasn't DB and JC, I prepared to shout that if they over took me now I'd cry, but I realised they wouldn't do that and if it had of been them, they'd have carried me along. As it was, I've no idea who it was! They flew past and bowled on through the village. My feet hit solid tarmac, I spotted a lone orange figure and it was Pat who'd come out to cheer me on! Spirits once again lifted, I ran on. 'Fuck' shoelace came undone for the THIRD time, but I wasn't stopping for that now! I ran a little carefully, I feared if I fell now on my lace, I might just smash into little pieces. Flip was also out in the rain, he took my picture as a flailed past and at last I was crossing grass and into the village hall so Shelly could record my time. I must have looked a mess as several people asked me if I was ok, in a genuine concerned way rather than 'wasn't that fun?' kind of way. I was fine, just a little bewildered now it was all over. I got a cup of tea and wandered back outside to find Pat coming down the road. It was only on going back outside I realised just how cold and horrid it was! I drank tea, chatted to Ultrarunner Moorsman who I'd missed earlier, and to Lisrun and MelH and gradually got changed. Some dry clothes, hot tea and a bit of food made such a difference and I felt vaguely human again. DB and JC made it back too and we congratulated each other.

I do remember last year writing a blog about this race and saying what a lovely route it was, but it would be very different on a wet day... well, I was right! It's still a wonderful route and has been my favourite marathon so far. Well, it must be as I've done it twice now!

Now it is Monday and I can report that I feel pretty good. Obviously a bit stiff and sore which is to be expected, but even though I had soaking feet for over 6 hours, I don't have any blisters, and the soreness is not excessive or worrying at all. Indeed, I'm planning on jogging down to club tonight, but we'll see what happens closer the time.
So, I must have done something right, even though becoming an Ultra Runner is still a work in progress, Just need to work on this nausea business 'cos it's down right unpleasant.

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Very quick, but long over due catch up!

Can't believe I haven't posted since August, tut tut.
So, what has been happening? Not a lot I suppose...

In between the normal club sessions and Thursday night forest runs -

Gribdale Gallop Fell Race. A tough course, managed to go wrong on the route, but not by much. Took it steady as still have the marathon in my poor legs.

Guisborough Grunt Fell Race. A funny little race, nearly made myself sick running too fast up the grunt! Paid for it with a crap overall time.

Levisham-Saltergate Fell Race. After a period of not running (mostly due to holiday, see below) this was never going to be pretty. As it was, we mis-routed, I was nearly sick on the big climbs, I was slower than I was two years ago when I ran this race with a nasty cold and to top it all off, I was last.

Seem to be getting slower at the moment, not good at all.

On a lighter note, holiday!
In September Paul and I went to California. We stayed at a place called Whiskeytown Lake in the County of Shasta. We stayed in our tent.
We hiked most days, looked at various historical stuff, the area was part of the 1850's glod rush and took in lots of wildlife and waterfalls.
The best bit was seeing a black bear while out walking!! A real life Black Bear, not far off the footpath.
We also visited Alcatraz, Shasta Caverns, Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Lassen Volcanic Park.
We kayaked and climbed up to the top of Shasta Bally, the park's highest point.
All in all had a pretty cool time!

Tuesday 5 August 2014

Supposedly resting...

Isn't that the normal thing to do after a marathon? Hmm.

Monday I went to club, drove down instead of running! Tough circuits, but my legs didn't want to know for the running portion, so it was just a steady jog.

Wednesday was Rolling Relays organised by a couple of guys from club. Oh dear. I was put into Coach Rob's team as the middle runner.
The route was a 6 mile off road loop, the fastest runners doing the full 6, middle runners doing 4 and the slowest runners doing the final 2.
We jogged out to our 'collection point' and awaited the arrival of the fast runners. As predicted, Rob was leading the pack and I took off like the clappers to keep up with him. It went well for the first 200m or so, then I spent the rest of the two miles trying not to vomit. Amazingly my legs pretty much went along with it! Rob and I were first into the collection point for our slowest team member, in our case Rob's wife Christine. (Christine later told me I looked dreadful as I came in...) Thankfully Christine is quite a bit slower than Rob and pace became more comfortable. The only problem with that was, two other teams over took us. Dammit.
The event had gone quite well, and we all had good runs.
Afterwards, we met up at the Athletic club for drinks and nibbles with our Beginners Group as a bit of a 'getting to know each other' exercise.

Thursday saw Hilary and I dragging Rob L up the big climbs in Kilburn Woods! Well, I say dragging, he didn't have any problems at all and we told him he should try a fell race...
I was tired now from the recent activities and was knackered by the time we'd done.
Time for a pint.

The big news is I managed to cover 100miles this month! Hurrah. I even put in an extra 1.5miles before going to Kilburn on Thursday just to make sure...

Saturday 2 August 2014

Rock and Rowel, baby Yeah!!!

Very early start on the 26th for the L.D.W.A Rock and Rowel Challenge Walk. 26 miles, multi-terrain, self navigated. Sounds good, yes?

I got to Dacre near Ripon and found the village hall. These LDWA events are all about the food it would seem and there was 'help yourself' tea and toast for brekki!
It was 8am and about 15 degrees, I knew it wasn't going to stay like that though...

The runners start was 8.20am and we were into our first hill within minutes!!
I knew Dave R and Mel H from Elvet Striders and was also introduced to Rachel and Juliet and the 5 of us ran together. The navigation was a joint effort, one with a map one with the written description. The going was good on rolling farmland, it was already getting hot and there was little shade. First checkpoint down, we got our tally's clipped. Over more fields, passing farmers busy at work.
We were soon at the next check point at Bishop Thornton and I collected some crisps to munch on.
We pressed on, there was a long stretch of road now and we fell into a run walk pattern. I tagged along with the Striders. One of the ladies was nursing a niggle so fell behind.
As we approached the next check point, we realised our running numbers were sequential and it raised a giggle as the marshal's checked us in!
The table was laden with home made cakes, but I chose a couple of dry Ritz crackers, still struggling with eating on the move, but I had decided I was going to force myself to eat something at every check point.
We were now on the Ripon Rowel route, hence the name of the event. We passed through the Valley of the Seven Bridges and the deer park, part of Fountains Abbey. Stunning scenery, but it was blisteringly hot, especially in the valleys where there was no breeze at all.
On one climb through a wood, we found wild raspberries and had a mini-fruit-feast as we walked up the hill. It had been a long way between check points, but at Sawley village hall was a fine spread! Not only was there the normal cake, crisps and sweets, there was also various sandwiches and wraps but best of all, ice-cream and sauce!! Of course, we all indulged! The injured Elvet lady had caught up with us in the deer park and we enjoyed the ice-cream together.
Of course, we also suffered stitch together too...
The route takes in Eavestone Lake that was cool and shady, we were still running on and off, but I was now struggling to keep up with Dave R and MelH.
Another check point, here we were treated to refreshing chunks of water melon, delicious.
We crossed onto the access road across Eavestone Moor. Too hot and bothered to chat much any more. I decided I'd had enough of running now and said so to Dave and Mel. It was a while before they ran on again and I was alone under the unrelenting sun.
Brimham Rocks was the next objective, but there was a few more tricky zig-zags en route. I actually caught up with Dave and Mel. Turns out, Dave had cockled his ankle a few miles off the start and now his calf was bothering him, so he'd decided to walk so as not to make it worse. It's too hot for racing. MelH ran on once we got to the visitor centre at Brimham. It was weird to literally turn the corner after seeing no-body all day, and find hundreds of tourists!!
We walked through the cool rock formations and found the check point, last one before the finish! It was a good feeling, I was ready to finish now.
A nice bridlepath took us to Smelthouses, but I started to feel sick. I also noticed I'd stopped sweating, not a good sign. I didn't mention to Dave I felt sick and kept going. With my stomach reeling, we went through a farmyard and found the last self-clip point, just 1.5 mile to go. Was I going to make it without puking?? I forced down some electrolytes, sick of those too. I was desperate for something that wasn't sweet and sticky and warm. Everything was warm, even the top-ups from the check points were warm. Yuk.
With about 3/4 mile to go, I was happy to see the slick of sweat return to the backs of my hands and my tummy, although fragile had stopped churning! I felt better and chatted a bit more easily again.
On the final stretch, Juliet and Rachel passed us along with a couple of other runners, drat!
MelH met us as we walked through the village and informed us there was ice-cream and JELLY at the finish! That spurred us on for the last 100yards into the hall to have our time recorded!!
At last, I could sit down for the first time in almost 7 hours, it felt great!
First job was to get some jelly and ice-cream, it was wonderfully cold and gentle on my tummy. Once that had settled a little, we had a look at the food, there was cold meat, pasta, cous-cous, salad and hot potatoes. I had pasta and salad and some rather nice ham. As well as my milkshake I'd brought.

The Striders were off to the pub after, as much as I would have liked to join them, I felt I should get off home as I'd promised Paul a pub tea! It was amazing how hot it was and how heavy my pack was for the 5 minute walk from the hall to the car. How I'd mananged to run/walk in this heat for the last 7 hours I don't know!

I'd drunk a good 3 litres of fluid during the event and still didn't have a proper wee until Sunday!!
Time for a bit of a rest and replacing calories and fluids I think.

Finishing July! including Cock Howe Race Report.

I mentioned in my last post, I was off for a long run to Kilburn.

Well, it was a hot sticky morning an early morning downpour had only served to increase the humidity and the vegetation at the side of the path was steaming nicely.
I set off along Green Lane, an uninspiring track that leads from the A170 to the village of Bagby. From there I skirt around fields leading to Thirkleby. In Thirkleby I thought I'd try one of the gels I was carrying. It an orange flavour SiS gel. It was gross, although not as gross as I thought it might be! It gave me a little boost as I took off once more along farm tracks.
There is a bit of a climb into Kilburn village and I took it steady as it was so very hot!
Today was the day of the Kilburn Feast, a 7 mile road race part of the village festival. It was still 2.5 hours til the start but there were already plenty of runners milling about!
I'm glad I wasn't racing as it was so hot.
I sat on the bench just outside the village to have a snack and text Paul with my whereabouts. Coach Rob and Christine stopped for a chat on their way to the race.
I carried on, managed to find some mud on Trenacre Lane, then it's a gentle downhill across fields back to Thirkleby. I retraced my steps for a while, then took a different track back to Balk. I was flagging in the heat, so I tried my other gel, Hi5 'Mojito' flavour. That was really gross!! Fruity toothpaste. And it gave me tummy ache. Yuk. Short road stretch from Balk to Bagby then back onto the Green Lane. I pretty much walked all the way back as I was knackered in the heat.
I hope it's not as hot as this for the Rock n Rowel...

Fast forward to Wednesday 23rd. I'd dithered about doing the Cock Howe and Beyond fell race. It's a course I enjoy, but I have the RnR marathon on the Saturday. Was it too close? Considering my options - go to club and risk pushing it too hard on intervals. Go for a run by myself (probably not going to happen...) OR do the fell race, slowly. At about 10.30pm the night before, I decided to do the race!! I managed to secure a last minute start and after work on Wednesday evening we were off to Chop Gate for the start.
I ran up the first track as far as the grass hill, then walked. It's a long climb up a big steep hill! It had cooled down a bit but the sweat was still flowing freely off the end of my nose!
At last we reached the top and thought we'd best run on. The route crossed the moor on a little narrow path and the people behind me were pushing me faster than I liked as we passed downhill and jumped a little stream. Short climb, then over long bog-grass (dry today, usually ankle deep water) and out onto good track. The faster runners, including Hilary, passed me and pulled away. I didn't mind as I wasn't racing. I took it steady up the little climb, then just enjoyed the trot along the tracks, heading back towards the top of the initial hill. As I was pootling along, I actually felt sorry for pretty much everyone who wasn't up there! It was warm, but with a nice breeze, the moor looked amazing and massive under a big blue sky the track winding off into the distance, dotted with runners.
We turned off the good track at Cock Howe and the descent began. At first fairly gentle, I could have gone faster but couldn't risk turning an ankle at this stage in the game. I wasn't in anyone's way so just kept trotting on. It got steeper right up to the steepest part, although I did walk down it, I didn't go to pieces like I normally do! That bit over, the rest was steep but on grass. My stupid knee decided to make itself known, but I pushed on down the hill, onto the track, fell off the stile near the bottom and into the finish! Dave Parry noted I wasn't last! DCR said I looked too fresh... I didn't care as I had really enjoyed the run out, it was the right decision. (Also turns out, I was a full 5 minutes faster than two years ago!! Here's to going steady...)

Saturday 12 July 2014

Early July, not much happening.

What it says in the title!

Following on from the Swaledale social run, we went to Kilburn Woods for a Monday night hill reps session with Sonja.

Wednesday was a time trial up on Sutton Bank. Was pleased with a time of 15:33, we had good conditions for a change which helped!

Thursday saw Hilary and I taking it steady round Sowerby Fields, then at the weekend Paul and I took off to the seaside for a spot of camping at Robin Hoods Bay!

Had to skip club first Monday of July as I was drowning in a sea of paperwork, so I sat down and got on with that.
Next training session was 6x 3min intervals with Rob. Think I must have tweaked something behind my knee, feels like either the bit that connects the muscle at the back of my leg into my knee or the end of the muscle itself. Running doesn't hurt, but high-knees or steeping out of the bath does!

Hyper aware that I have a marathon (LDWA Rock and Rowel) rapidly creeping up on me, I can do without a random injury. I haven't done nearly enough training to rest up and taper now. I haven't done nearly enough training full stop. It's weird, I booked my place in this marathon months ago, yet it's crept up on me.

Soldiering on, Hilary and I found ourselves in Kilburn Woods once more with the fast gang! Gosh it was hot, and the woods were full of sweat flies. Yuk.

No training over the weekend as we had Paul's daughter over to stay.

Monday night I jogged down to club and Hilary took us for the session! 6 station circuits before Rob took over for a sprint session. I should not have tried so hard to keep up with Hilary and Helen, as after that my knee REALLY hurt...

Took it a little easier on Wednesday evening as we did a progressive interval session.

Back to Kilburn Woods on Thursday, different group of people out tonight and we took it a lot slower which I was really pleased about. Felt a lot stronger on the hills at this pace and wasn't completely spent at the end!

This time in two weeks today I will be sat here typing about the Rock and Rowel...
Long run to Kilburn tomorrow. Hope it's not too hot.

Monday 30 June 2014

2 Races and a Social Run!

I've been busy since I last updated!

Race #1 - Hardmoors Rosedale Half Marathon, 15th June.

I really like the Hardmoors events, lovely routes based around the Cleveland Way and the North Yorkshire Moors. Always well organised and attended by some lovely people, some of who have become friends.
This particular race starts from the quaint little village of Hutton-le-Hole. It was raining when I arrived and I dithered over what kit to wear/carry. I decided to stick with my original plan of wearing my Harriers vest and carrying a light shower proof jacket. I'm glad I didn't put any extra layers on as it wasn't cold in the slightest!!
Before the off I had a chat with Flip and Ray and found fellow Harrier Gavin along with Ryan who'd come to help out. Newly wed Jon was sporting a rather fetching Superman onesie to do the race briefing, well, he is the Man of Steele after all...
Our run started at the allotted time and the tame village sheep ran with us up the main street!! I was cheered on by Gavin who took great delight in telling me he'd already eaten all the jelly babies!!

The route started by going through rolling, green farmland. It was all very pleasant but getting warm already. I went the usual set of emotions, mostly along the lines of 'this is stupid.' 'I'll never make it.' 'I'll just give up now and save everyone the hassle.' etc etc. I've learnt to ignore these little voices, but they always make the first few miles bloody hard work!
The first check point was soon upon us, and I was glad to see Gavin had left us some Jelly babies after all! Then onto some rough ground and a long downhill on a narrow path. I'd caught up with a lady on the descent and we ended up leap frogging each other for quite some time.
I caught up with Ray at the bottom of the Big Climb that Jon had warned us about, we both had some water and sweets to set us up for what we were about to tackle... It was steep from the outset, and about half way up was energy sapping mud, wet and sloppy! My kind of terrain, Ray and I squelched our way up and up some more. The climbing eased a little as we passed out onto the moor, but not much. Gosh it was hot! I noticed people ahead running on, I soon realised why as we were approaching a marshalled check point at a road crossing, nobody wanted to be seen walking!! Gavin and Ryan were there, Ryan handing out sweets- good man.
Short road stretch before we joined the old railway line, after more water and sweets! Ray had pulled ahead again, but I kept him in sight now as the going was good on flat cinder track.
The track snaked across open moor high above Rosedale until we reached the ovens at the top of Chimney Bank where yet another marshal point was offering water and sweeties! We are well looked after. Ray and I ran together a short while and as we left the road to return to rutted moor footpath, I took the lead. I was now enjoying myself, the narrow path was dry underfoot but you had to continually watch your step. I shouted to Ray to just me know if he wanted to pass, he didn't.
I can run well on this sort of ground, despite being quite clumsy normally and I ran on, knowing we were well on our way back. We got to Lodge Road, a short stretch of tarmac between footpaths and I knew we were nearly home, I know Hutton-le-Hole reasonably well, so I knew I could push on the pace. So that's what I did! I enjoyed a really strong run across the grass and tipped out onto the road above the village, knowing Ray was behind me, but not sure where I ran hard down into the village, dodging cars and into the village hall to have my time recorded as 2hrs 42mins. Not a PB at this distance, but I was perfectly happy with that! Ray bowled in behind me a few seconds later.
I'd really enjoyed the run, I felt a real confidence boost after a few not so good runs and the recent period of exhaustion, I felt good and with a grin from ear-to-ear to tucked into the selection of homemade biscuits before settling down to watch the presentation. Turns out the lady I ran with won her age category!

Out of focus but happy at the end of the Rosedale Half Marathon.

Race #2 - Whorlton Run, Esk Valley Summer Series 18th June.

The Whorlton Run is more like a technical multi-terrain than a fell race, still it's good fun!
This night it was really hot, like still 20+ degrees at 7pm hot. Phew, a 10 min jog up and down the road had me sweating buckets.
I still had Rosedale in my legs, so I knew this wasn't going to be a record breaking run, just a case of getting some miles in really.
The race starts with a long run in on the road, not very exciting really. The climbing starts on the road, gradually getting steeper and steeper until the route suddenly disappears into vegetation and gets really steep! Normally I'm chuntering 'cos I get stuck behind somebody walking and can't get past, tonight I was pleased to be able to walk!! A chap from Quakers (and a fellow Hardmoors runner) asked me if I had recovered from Sunday, in a word, no.
We come out of the trees and on to the road to cross a cattle grid before the real 'fun' climb on this route. Pat from Harriers was ahead of me, and took a different ascent.
My route was more direct, and subsequently more vertical!! At times hands and knees are required, as is using the fence to pull oneself up the steepest bits! It's good fun, in a twisted kind of way! With sweat running off me and my Hardmoors battered calves screaming in protest, I topped out just feet ahead of Pat. We ran on together for a while, I was desperately looking forward to the downhill I knew was coming... til we got there. Usually you can get a solid, fast descent through the trees but recent logging activity has churned up the good track into a mess of wheel ruts, fallen branches and rocks. We ran as fast as we dared through the obstacle course, Pat taking the lead as my legs had given up on me! Didn't even have the energy to propel myself downhill.
At the bottom we joined the Cleveland Way, undulating through Clain Wood then crossing the double stream, up the sneaky little hill and through the hamlet of Scugdale. At the base of Live Moor, we leave the Cleveland Way and continue over some rough fields, my tired legs threatening to put me in a rabbit hole any moment. At last onto good track, I felt like I was running hard, David Aspin's race photo tells a different story! Pat was long gone into the distance by the time I reached the road. Not much further to go til the uphill finish outside Whorlton Castle.
I knew I'd had a slow one, bloody hard work, but I also knew I had good reason to be knackered so I didn't need to beat myself up about it. We waited for Alan to return, then watched the presentations back at the pub.

Working hard, about a mile to go at Whorlton Run.

And last, but not least- The Social Run, Upper Swaledale, 22nd June.

After Whorlton, I rested up as I knew this run was going to be tough!
So, on the Sunday 7 hardy Harriers headed out to Keld, and beyond passing into Cumbria for the start of our adventure. It started easy enough, jogging along a nice grassy track on the moor. David pointed out the hill ahead that we were going to tackle first. As we got closer it got bigger. And bigger. Then we realised we had to drop right down to the little stream at the bottom and from here the hill looked frankly huge!! We slowly clambered up a rough path alongside a small beck to meet with a stone wall running along the crest of the hill.
The running here was once again easy (when we'd caught our breath!) and we followed the wall til it met the Coast-to-Coast route coming up from Kirkby Stephen. We turned East onto the C2C route and made our way up a long drag to eventually reach Nine Standards Rigg. What a view point! The weather was kind to us and the panorama was amazing! We saw plenty of people obviously hiking the C2C. This was almost half way for them...
After a photo stop, we pressed on East across Harter Fell. The going was good and mostly dry, although we all got a wet foot or two on one grough crossing, and Bryan managed to go in up to his knee in a random bog hole.
As we descended towards Whitsundale, the ground became less forgiving and it was hard work over tussocky grass and uneven paths. Our ankles took a lot of abuse!
We followed Whitsundale Beck for some time, running along a narrow little path. Claire was struggling following a 'shoe malfunction' and turning her ankle about a dozen times so when we came to the appropriate point, her and Bryan took the road option. Not losing any distance, but the terrain was much more forgiving.
The rest of us carried on and soon missed the path!! The ground was awful, long grass and poached by the resident cattle. Once we found the path once more, the running became much more pleasant! It was very warm as we undulated high above the banks of the Swale. We gradually worked our way down, through a farm and onto a track to meet the river at Kidson Force. I had thought about a swim, to be honest I was knackered, too tired for pratting about so we carried on, only a short sharp uphill and down the road to run into the carpark! I do wonder what the other day trippers and holiday makers thought as we all arrived and collapsed into various heaps in the grass!!
While Sonja and David went to sort the cars, the rest of us got showers then did some yoga in the grass to stretch out a little! Then we went for very grumpy soup and cake with the midges at the farm café.
All in all a good day out in a stunning location, definitely worth revisiting!

Here are a few pictures...
Looking over towards Cumbria from the start of our run.

The big climb...

Crossing the stream before the climb.

Nikki and David running on having reached the top.

Harriers on top of the world! Nine Standards Rigg.
David, Nikki, Sonja, Hywel, Claire, Bryan and me!

Route options

On our way to Whitsundale


Stunning Swaledale scenery.

Kidson Force, just outside Keld.

Refuelling with cake, soup, sausage rolls and tea!

Claire's eyes were bigger than her tummy, but Nikki and I helped her out!!

PS- the C2C hikers were seen again on Saturday 28th in the Bay Hotel, Robin Hoods Bay having successfully completed their expedition! I made sure to congratulate them.

Saturday 14 June 2014

Catching up#2 - Early June

Still not a lot happening, but I thought I'd get up to date ahead of tomorrow's Hardmoors Rosedale Half Marathon.

Gradually feeling a little more myself after the recent bout of exhaustion and not sleeping. Just pootling along really, so I don't know how I'm going to fare tomorrow.

After Jon and Shirley's race, gosh that was 2 weeks ago now! I've been to 2 Monday night training sessions, missed both Wednesday night sessions (one was cancelled due to various races, one I was travelling back from a conference) and the planned fell race last week was also cancelled by the organisers. I have however done a couple of runs with Hilary and last night (Friday) we had a club social run from South Kilvington. So, although I haven't done much, I've done more than nothing!!

Prepare for tomorrow's race report!!

Catching up#1 - Ossy Oiks

Or maybe it should be down and up?

On a bit of a downer following Reeth 20k. Skipped TWO club sessions that week but still went out with Hils. Both of us nursing niggles so actually had a slow run for a change.

Going onto my full time rotation at work has knocked me for six (going from working 3 days a week to 6 is a bit of a shock to the system!) coupled with a two week long stint in the insomnia camp took the wind clean out of my sails.

On the 18th I managed to make the most of the May sunshine and got out for a very steady 10.5 mile run from home. Took 2.5 hours but quite enjoyed it.

Then on Wednesday it was time to race again, having skipped the first in the fell summer series. Ossy Oiks, one of my faves! Not sure why really cos it's not exactly easy! Three climbs, two of them killers followed by a near vertical descent! The weather was kind and I enjoyed the run, didn't manage to run all the way up Beacon Hill this year though :(
Somehow, I was the only one covered in mud at the end??
When the results came in, I was a little disappointed to find I was a full 4 minutes slower than last year. Grr, that's a lot over a short distance (5.3 miles).

Now it's Bank Holiday Monday and the sun is out once more and I have yet to do anything productive with my day.
I have a half marathon in three weeks which is going to kick my arse again if I don't get it into gear!!

PS - on the knee/ITB front I have been rollering, stretching and doing hip/glute specific exercises and so far so good...

Wednesday 4 June 2014

1 week, 3 weddings!

(Well, 9 days, 3 weddings would be more accurate, but not as catchy!!)

Some of my Facebook friends will have seen me using that ^^^ as a hashtag, so I thought I should write a bit more about it!

Wedding #1.
Late May bank holiday saw the beautiful Becky from Harriers wed her boyfriend Nick. They got married at St. Oswald's in Sowerby before having the evening reception at the Majestic Hotel in Harrogate. A few people from club were invited to share in the celebrations.
We were treated to a live Ceilidh band and a hot buffet before Hilary and I danced the night away to the disco!
It was a great night and involved quite a bit of alcohol...

Wedding #2.
The subsequent Friday, I joined in the evening do to celebrate the luscious Becky from work's wedding to her long term partner Johnny. They had got married earlier in the week at Gretna Green, very romantic.
We had a lovely three course meal at the Angel in Topcliffe and again, a bit of a boogie! Not so much alcohol as I had to be at work the next day :(

Wedding #3.
On Sunday, 1st of June a load of runners in fancy dress descended upon the Lord Stone's café at Carlton Bank to take part in Jon and Shirley's Wedding Race!! 7 miles of rugged terrain, taking in the Wainstones not once but twice!! They had got married the day before in a big yurt.
It was bloody hot, but the atmosphere was amazing! It was great to be part of something so surreal.
The run was followed by a BBQ outside at the café.

Monday 5 May 2014

Reeth 20k Trail Race, in Denial...

Yesterday saw the inaugural running of the Reeth 20km race, hosted by Gr8 Events. Swaledale Outdoors and Mountain Rescue played their parts too.

I don't think I enjoyed this as much as I should have done. I knew from my limited experience of Reeth, that whichever way you go, it's all uphill, so I knew it was going to be tough.
Also, I had no idea how many people would be there (the more people there are, the less likely I am to be last!)

The day dawned, it was considerably colder, and wetter and windier at Reeth than it had been at my house. I wished I'd packed warmer gear. I'd also forgotten my Chia emergency flapjack.
I felt disorganised and couldn't get my race head on. It's ok, it's a new race. Just enjoy the run and the scenery. I'd got with Pat from club, and she felt the same.
Once we'd set off, I got warmed up and soon the gloves came off.
The first bit follows the river, a couple of stiles getting in the way, before the climbing started. Pat and I had run together, but she is far stronger on the uphill and ran on ahead. for the most part I could see her in the distance, mostly running while I was employing a run/walk strategy, allowing the gradient to dictate the speed! Everyone around me was doing the same and I felt no pressure.
The views, when I got chance to look were amazing. The earlier drizzle had cleared, but it was still windy.
The route was marked with occasional bits of tape and the odd arrow. Enough markers to remove the need for navigation, but so many that it still felt like an adventure!
The climbing was tough but eventually we reached the top and it levelled out. The good track snaked it's way across the tops, no idea where I was really! Just keep following the tape...
We passed through a gate and the track swept downhill. Here the people I was following pulled away and I ran through Apedale alone. I wondered how far off track you would get before you realised you'd gone wrong? No need to worry though, as at each turn there was a little piece of tape staked in the grass.
I was gently trotting along, with only a short distance to go to the water station (around 8miles) when my bloody knee decided to make itself known. Bloody hell.
Had a cup of water at the windswept water station before getting stuck into the next climb. Kept up a brisk walk.
Unfortunately shortly after this a cheery marshal announced it was all downhill, enjoy! My knee doesn't like downhill...
Dam it hurt. I took it very steady on the downhills, holding my breath against the pain. We hit the road, which was flat for a short while, before another short descent. Thankfully, none of the descents were too steep and despite the discomfort I didn't have to walk. I could see Reeth in the valley below, but we had a long loop to contour around a hillside, before we could get closer. I'd had about enough now as my knee was hurting even though it was flat and a really strong headwind was hampering progress somewhat. Then more downhill.
As I was chuntering and having a bit of a mardy, I looked up and saw the big orange tent at the finish! That lifted my spirits considerably, but we still had another short road stretch and a drop through a farm yard and a steep descent on wonderfully lush Swaledale grass and 2-3 stiles to negotiate before the finish!
At last, through a gated stile, and a steep grassy descent which really hurt, I rounded the final ditch and limped into the funnel.

Pat was waiting for me, she'd had a great run and really enjoyed it, getting round in just over 2 hours. She's training for the Ossy Pheonix and said this run was a good confidence boost. I on the other hand felt quite 'meh' about the whole thing.
Part of me just wanted to go home, but we got changed and went for a cuppa and a scone at the Copper Kettle instead.

Today, the results are in and I got a time of 2hrs 22 mins which is actually a PB for this distance! And the little voice said 'Imagine how much faster you could run if your knee was right...'

And here come the bit about denial.
I'd put the knee pain down to having twisted it badly about 10years ago, a hiking injury not a running one! I think that is part of the problem... I have been consulting doctor Google, and I'm wondering if it's actually ITBS. Great. I do get hip pain/discomfort and on the race I could feel a line of tightness/discomfort running along my thigh from hip to knee.
Great, just what I need. I think perhaps the original twist was the precursor to the ITBS.

Before I panic too much, I'm going to have a chat with a lady at club who it struggling with ITBS and coach Sonja who is a fizz.
In some ways, if it is and I have to take a break from running, now is a good time to do it as I am now back at work full time and will struggle to get in long runs etc anyway, so focusing on strength work and stretching wouldn't be such a bad thing.
I just hope I don't have to give up running altogether for the summer months as the evening fell league starts on Wednesday!

Monday 28 April 2014

A week inbetween.

Easter Monday and a bonus day off together so Paul and I headed to the nearby village of Hawnby for a nice sunny 8 mile-ish walk. The route was fairly easy to follow and might make a good running route for the future. For once though, it wasn't pleasantly uneventful! Tammy and I got 'attacked' by a ewe who took offence to us getting too close, Tammy got trampled and I got a horn in the leg, ouch! Then our path had been destroyed by recent logging so we had to re-route and at the same place we found an ant hill as high as Paul is tall! I think it was a manmade stack of logging debris and the ants had moved in. There were ants everywhere on the route, big horrid red ants. I almost wanted to pick Tammy up so they weren't on her feet. Yuk. Then, on the moor when were sat having a bite to eat, I got bitten by a common flower bug! I'm writing this a week later and I still have a bump. All in all though, it was a good walk- route details can be found in the routes section over on the right of the page.

Hawnby village.

On Tuesday I met up with Sharon to discuss club paperwork, but first we had a jog along the beck in town and around the tracks in Sowerby. I'd run down to meet her so did about 6.3 miles in total.

Wednesday was club training, Peter put us through our paces once more with a tough 'boot camp' style circuit session, before we attacked a 2 min interval session. I averaged around 7:18m/miles and for all but the last two reps felt quite comfortable at that! So why doesn't it translate to improving race times?!

The Thursday gang convened in Kilburn Woods for a fast, hilly 6 miler before descending on the Forresters Arm for a pint!

At last, rest days!! Quite ready for them as I've clocked up a good few miles again.

Plan A for this weekend had been the Yorkshire Three Peaks, but I'm worried I'm not fast enough so I never got as far as entering.
So, Plan B was to attend the Fell Leader in Running Fitness course at Carlton, but it was cancelled due to insufficient numbers, which was a shame. But it did mean I could participate in...
Plan C which involved consuming large quantities of calories at my Dad and Stepmum's joint birthday meal at a very posh Indian Restaurant. Much more civilised!

Sunday 20 April 2014

Easter Sunday Racing- Helmsley 10k

Ok, so perhaps a 30+ mile week wasn't the best preparation for a 10k PB attempt but thought I'd give it a bash!

In decidedly better weather than last year, we rocked up to Helmsley for the 5th Helmsley multi-terrain 10k race.
7 Harriers in a field of around 400.
We were soon off and wound our way up the big hill to Carlton village, and it's a good couple of miles uphill, quite steep at first then eases as you pass through the village, before a sharp right turn takes you past the water station and into Riccal Dale. The route is now on a good track as it undulates through the woods, dropping down towards a farm. Dog leg, through the farm then out onto grassy fields, I made the most of the sharp downhill (but no mud) and over took a few people.
The last mile is over flat fields, but the lush grass makes it hard work and the last little bit through the backstreets of Helmsley has a cheeky gradient!
I overtook a couple more blokes as I approached the gate into the field and the start of the funnel. As I fought down the urge to throw up, I could hear team mates shouting my name and I made it over the line!

After seeing everyone in and putting some warm clothes on, I indulged in a cuppa and a slice of cake while we watched the presentation. We all got a mug AND an Easter Egg, I chose an Aero one.

Just before we left, I spied people with results printouts so I grabbed a couple for club. My time was 50:26. I am pleased with that, I would have liked to get under the 50min mark (which would also be a 10k PB) but this is a tough course, I was however 1 second faster than last year, so that will do. For now...

Friday 18 April 2014

Another week of good mileage!

Managed lots of running this week, think I am trying to make the most of my part-time stint before going back to full weeks for the summer!
Unlike last time though, I seem to have broken the miles down into more manageable chunks as although my legs feel a little jaded, they're not trashed!

Results were in for Sunday and I was quite disappointed to be 4 minutes slower than last year. But, I stopped three times to help runners who'd fallen. I thought I'd had a reasonable run. But still, it's 12 miles under the belt and every mile is a step closer to my goal of taking on the HM55 next year...

Monday I jogged down to club. I was tired and it was hard work, but it was a glorious evening.

Tuesday I took myself off for a (very slow) run around town. I put in 9.4 miles, mostly off road but flat.

Wednesday evening was time for club again, Peter took the circuits part of the session then we did 6x 3min intervals.

Thursday was a rest!!

Friday, that's today, is Good Friday so a cheeky day off work. The sun was out and I went for an off road run with Sarah around Boltby and Gormire. Another slow one, but trying to save legs a little for Helmsley 10k on Sunday...
So, all that plus Sunday's race adds up to 34miles. Nicely done.

Sunday 13 April 2014

Guisborough Moors Fell Race

While the rest of the world was focused on some run in London, 5 hardy Harriers joined the start line on the 37th Guisborough Moors Fell Race.
I like this race, approx. 12.5 miles and it's a toughy. I thought I would try and run in a more relaxed fashion from the start, not powering up the hills early on and save some for the long drag across Hutton Moor at the end.

Off the start and straight into the climbing! I ran the first bit til we got to the woods, then walked up the muddy bank. A girl from Pickering took a tumble, doing a full on Superman dive into the brambles! She got up quick and seemed ok as we trudged up the hill.
It was breezy on the moor, but sort of sunny. The usual boggy path was pretty much dry just one or two puddles to jump. A rough track sweeps down, and another runner took a tumble, I nearly had to jump over him! He grazed his hands but was otherwise ok. We joined the moor road, missing out a big corner by hopping across a stream then the stiff climb out onto Percy Rigg. It's always windy up there, but at least today it was a cross wind so it didn't impede progress.
Next comes the big drop down a usually muddy, slippery lane (which was dry!) and straight back up a steep tarmac road. At the top we turned right and onto the Cleveland Way. The path undulates through trees on East Cote Moor before a final push up onto Captain Cooks Monument. Fast descent to the carpark at Gribdale, where I had a cup of water.
I'd been running well, steady pace, walking where needed. The climb out of Gribdale is a beast and I found it hard to get going again once it levelled out. I wasn't too worried, and conserved my energy for what was to come...
...Roseberry Topping. I hit the bottom hard, and it hit me harder. I honestly felt like I was going to pass out on the way up. Legs, lungs everything stopped working, my guts suddenly cramped hard and I thought this isn't good- for god's sake don't trump!! The final insult was to be overtaken by a Geordie carrying his picnic in a carrier bag. I think if he'd been wearing jeans I would have sat down and given up!! I've never been overtaken on the climb up Roseberry before. With heaving lungs and a reeling head I pushed through the throng at the summit to give the trig point a slap (you never know if a marshal is hiding among the day trippers) and staggered across the rocks and down the other side. I was even slower up Little Roseberry but made it without passing out! Once back on the level, I let my breathing recover and took some salt and sweeties on board before jogging on once more. I ran comfortably over the moor and along the narrow path, passing the Cleveland Way volunteers who were doing some path repairs; and onto the flagged crossing of Hutton Moor. This is a crucial section of the race. It is easy to think that once you've conquered Roseberry, you're on the home straight, but really there's another 4 miles to go!
I slowly jogged along the flags until I reached the gentle climb before Highcliff Nab. I had to have a walk. Once through the gate, another jog but walked the steps up the side of the Nab. Now you're almost home!
Steady run through the forest to begin the final descent! It's usually wet and muddy but today it was quite ok. I could hear a runner closing in on me, and being rubbish at descending I let them by, only to realise it was Colin! Either he was storming or I was having a terrible run! We leapfrogged a little as the descent eased and I thought he was going to race me home til he too took a tumble! He fell badly and bashed his head, cutting it open. Thankfully DCR had come up from the finish to greet me so he helped Colin up and I ran on. Now, normally the finish is just at the bottom of the hill, but today Dave was sat in the Rugby club carpark, adding about 0.2 of a mile! I'm pleased I wasn't having a sprint off with Colin as we'd have peaked too early!!
(Colin followed me in a few minutes later and wasn't too badly injured after all)
I was glad it was all over!

We waited for Alan to get in before getting changed and having a nice cup of tea in the club. We watched the presentations before coming home.

Tuesday 8 April 2014

A (Short) Long Weekend In the Lakes.

Our trip to the Lakes had been planned for months and finally the time had come to load up the car and head off West!
The journey was suitably uneventful and we found the Castlerigg Farm Campsite without too much hassle. It was dull and gloomy, the mountains hiding in the mist.
We got our tent pitched in double quick time and got into the on-site café for a pre-walk bacon buttie just before they closed. Once we'd eaten, we got our rucksacks on and headed up the lane towards the fells. We picked up Brockle Beck which is the 'direct route' up to Bleaberry Fell, our first objective of the day. The going was on long tussocky grass, interspersed with wet boggy bits, but navigation was a breeze as we simply followed the beck. At the remains of a gamekeepers cottage, the beck swung left and so did we. Bleaberry Fell was hiding in the mist, playfully teasing us with glimpses of it's slopes.
The climb began in earnest, and the beck petered out into wet ground. We swung around to the right and eventually joined up with the main track for the final stony push to the summit.
Our first Wainwright of the trip and after a few minutes search, our first Geocache too.
The breeze up here was a little more brisk and the mist billowed in and out, but it wasn't too bad and more importantly it wasn't raining.
It was considerably wetter under foot however, at times the peaty mush going over the tops of our boots, the dog disappearing up to her belly from time to time! Some of it was avoidable, but not all.
The path was straight forward despite the bogs and mist and we soon clambered up on to the rocky outcrop topped with a stone trig point which marked the summit of High Seat and Wainwright number two. We'd passed a Geocache along the way and weren't about to back track for it.
At that moment, the fog closed in and it was like we were stood on an island! We decided not to continue along the ridge to High Tove and instead make our way down before we got lost. A compass check confirmed the way down and soon we were on good track. Annoyingly about 10 minutes after leaving the summit, the fog lifted and started to clear.
We stopped part way along the track for a bite to eat and we could see the Catbells Ridge across the Lake.
After about a kilometre of good track, we began the descent of a rocky outthrust called Dodd. One of many, many Dodd's in the Lakes. We picked our way down, til we got to a rock ledge that required careful negotiation. Paul went first and found the rocks to be slick with water. The dog had some difficulty gripping and Paul had to lift her down, but she didn't want to cooperate and wouldn't let go. From my vantage point above, this was quite entertaining. Til it was my turn. The rocks were indeed very slippy and I ended up with sodden hands and bottom from levering myself down.
The rest of the track was steep and rocky, but not as bad as that bit. We crossed onto grass above Ashness Gill, but it remained steep all the way down to the road at Ashness Bridge.
We followed the road down to join the Borrowdale Road. We followed this for a while before crossing into the area surrounding the lake and had an altogether more pleasant, traffic free walk along the Lakeside and eventually into town.
The mist had lifted completely, and although the sun wasn't quite out, it had turned into a nice afternoon and all the fells were now on display.
We ducked into the Dog and Gun for a pint, but decided to stay for tea. I had chillie, Paul had steak and kidney pudding.
After tea and several beers, we meandered our way out of town and up Springs Road and along a woodland path which took us back to the campsite. We now had magnificent views from our pitch.
After a refreshing shower and several cups of tea, we spent the evening in the Crag Bar just down the lane from the campsite.

Saturday morning we were greeted with drizzle. The plan for today was to have a wander in town, visit the nearby stone circle and generally relax a bit. So after breakfast, we set off to Castlerigg Stone Circle. It's only about a mile away over wet fields. It drizzled on and off throughout the walk but wasn't too bad. We called back at the tent before heading into Keswick. Back down the woodland path, then taking a detour up to the viewpoint at Castlehead which over looks the lake. The view was quite spectacular, despite the rain which was getting heavier now.
We carried on into town and had a good look (and a spend!) in the various walking shops. Tammy was allowed into the shops too, although it took her a while to figure out how to walk on the smooth laminate floors!
We had a couple of pints in the Dog and Gun before getting fish and chips for lunch and the long uphill home.
It continued to rain all afternoon. I think we'd come away from town a bit early and I confess I had a little snooze! Tammy spent the whole time fast asleep, wrapped up in our sleeping bags. We wondered if the planned route for tomorrow was going to be too much for her? (The plan was at least 14miles over and around Skiddaw) so we discussed our options. We thought maybe we'd do the Catbells ridge instead which was shorter and with less ascent. We could 'bag' Walla Crag on Monday before we left. That decided, we got on with making tea in the tent before heading off to the Crag Bar for a few jars.
We got back to find puddles of water in the tent vestibule. The inside was wet through, with drips coming from various places. Worst of all, my sleeping bag was wet through. Unfortunately, both of us were drunk, so there was no option but to bed down and try to sleep. Thankfully, my body heat dried my sleeping bag fairly quickly so I didn't spend the night wet, but I could hear dripping in the tent and hear the wind and rain raging outside.

In the cold light of Sunday morning, we could see just how much water was in the tent. Too much. During the night, it must have been windy as at least one corner of the tent had come unpegged. It was still raining now. We debated what to do over porridge and tea.
We made the decision to get packed up, as our indoor pool was only going to get bigger as the rain continued but to go and climb Catbells before we left. We maintained that idea until we came to collapsing the tent... Both of us already wet through and now filthy from folding a muddy wet tent, we called it quits and got in the car.

Disappointed and pissed off we came home. We wont get another chance to come to the Lakes or camp until September now as my job doesn't allow any time off over summer, I don't even get so much as a full weekend, as I work Monday - Saturday. Camping out of season is proving frustrating at best.
Upon getting home and reading about other peoples trips to the Lakes this weekend, I didn't feel so bad about coming home. The weather on the tops was even worse than we'd experienced and we wouldn't have got very far with our walk, potentially just getting more pissed off!!
Also, I think the problem with the tent was our own fault. We've camped in bad weather before with the thing and not had quite so much water on the inside. We'd pitched in a hurry and on taking down the tent, I found at least one peg-point which had been missed, and we hadn't put out all the guys as wasn't windy when we first arrived. A little lesson to be learnt there I feel...

Oh well, just 5 months to plan the next trip then.