Tuesday, 28 January 2014

A race recce and lessons learnt

What an adventure the social run turned out to be! Mostly for the wrong reasons...
The plan was to recce the route of the Hardmoors Osmotherly 10km in preperation for the race in Feb. I opened the invite to club members and 12 hardy Harriers gathered in Osmotherly Sunday morning as planned, despite the terrible weather forecast.
The route leaves the village on road, but soon turns onto track as it heads into Oakdale. Past the first reservoir then a sharp left up behind the farmstead and a short climb onto rough pasture.
The rain was icy and was whipping in sideways on the high winds. We forged on along the track, crossing a minor road and onto another track which runs high above the Cod Beck reservoir.
The wind was (thankfully) mostly behind us, it was strong enough to carry us along and was now bringing in horizontal sleet and snow.
Young Ryan and Gavin turned back, taking a more sheltered route down to the reservoir and back to the village. We carried on. I was running towards the back to keep Phillip on track and the faster runners were pulling further and further ahead.
We regrouped in the shelter of the Sheep Wash at the northern end of the reservoir. I said if anyone was piss wet through and too cold, to turn back along the road. The distance would be about the same, but the route far more sheltered from the wind and rain. No-body wanted to turn back. I was pleased as wanted to run the full route.
So, another short road section, being blown along by the wind, then another climb onto Scarth Nick Moor. The wind as we turned the corner almost took me off my feet! I waited for Phillip so he didn't get lost and we crossed the moor, being buffeted continually by the wind all the way. 'We'll be sheltered when we reach the trees' I yelled over the gale.
I was wrong.
It was wet in the woods, and there wasn't much shelter given by the low wall and spindly trees.
At last we hit Beacon Hill, I left Phillip and took off downhill, splashing through the liquid mud and puddles and generally enjoying myself!
The faster runners were already heading back to the cars, so I threw my keys at Nikki then waited for Phillip once more. The last mile is across a muddy field, then down the hill into the village.

People were cold and wet enough to abandon the idea of going for cake. I on the other hand was warm and dry inside my termals and waterproofs and could have gone round again!
I got changed and into the car. Nikki looked really miserable, and broke into tears a few times on the way home. She'd cycled to the meeting point in town, but I was going to take her straight home. Then, just a few minutes away from home, she started passing out and shaking uncontrollably, obviously hypothermia  Ah.
Turned around and back to Northallerton and the A+E department, Becky rung Nikki's husband Steve and Julie wrapped her up in all the spare clothing we had. Once at the hospital, after an initial frosty reception, they got Nikki in a nice warm room and onto warm drip and air. Steve arrived and we handed over to him, with strict instructions to let us know when they were out.
(I'm pleased to say Nikki was at training on Monday looking quite chipper)

Since then, all sorts of 'what ifs?' and 'could haves' have gone through my mind. I'm in no doubt we did exactly the right thing, and the girls in my car all worked together in a wonderful calm fashion, I'm very proud of them.
But even so-
Should I have just cancelled the run given the weather forecast?
Should I have taken control at the Sheepwash and turned us around out of the wind and wet sooner?
Should we have gone for a cuppa after all, but then there's the possibility it was already too late and we would have involved the cafe staff and an ambulance?
If we'd had a flask of hot drink in the car, would it have helped?
What if we'd got her home, then she passed out? We didn't know if Steve was actually at home at the time.

What I found a little scary, is how quickly she went from being cold and miserable, to being in danger.
Speaking to another member of the group, David, he said he was struggling with cold, but he was by himself and driving. There's a lot to be said for car sharing!
It's reinforced in me the need for correct kit selection (like I said, I was warm and dry) but also, to be better prepared for emergencies. A space bag and a hot drink would have been very useful. Thankfully we were in the car and out of the weather when things turned bad, but if we'd been out on the moor still, it could have been a lot worse.
I have (very basic) first aid training, and I was confident that I knew what to do, but there's no harm in taking it to the next level. I've pondered before about taking the Summer Mountain Leadership Course, I wonder if there is something similar for runners.

Anyway, this has become a long winded rambling post about what could have happened, and didn't, and I don't even have any pictures to share, so I'm signing off!

Here is a link to a very good article on Hypothermia, how to spot it and what to do - Hypothermia in Fell Runners

Friday, 24 January 2014

BUTT & THIGHS Boom-Boom Bikini Booty Workout!

This ^^^ is the current We Love a Challenge exercise, to be done 3 times during the week.

Did my first session on Tuesday, felt ok at the time, but talk about sore the next day!!
Wednesday saw us at club, being put through our paces by Greg. Difficult to explain what we did, but we worked in groups of three, doing a combination of core exercises and shuttle runs. The final exercise was squat jumps which turned my quads to jelly!! Then we went outside for a 4x 4min interval session (with jelly legs). Averaged 8.25min/miles, little slower than normal, but I blame that on Greg!!

Thursday is headtorch run with Hilary and Becky. First time I've been out with them this year due to one thing or another. By heck it was cold! And it was fast! Didn't switch my Strava app on soon enough, so it missed the first few minutes, but we still did 4 miles in 31 mins!! Faster than last nights intervals!
Straight home for lasagne and chips.

Friday is 'sort of rest night' as in no running, but I have done another session with Bex, working my potato butt into some sort of shape...

And we still have the social run on Sunday to come!!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Getting up to date - the Big Plan

The Big Plan is going to (hopefully) take me through to the Hardmoors 55 in March 2015. Nothing like looking ahead ay?!
I've brainstormed ideas and critical points I need to work on between now and then.
Such as - Increasing my mileage (obviously!), both weekly totals and distance covered on long runs.
Doing back-2-back long runs to get used to running on tired legs. More headtorch work.
But it's not all about running, I'm aware I need to cross train. I want to include yoga, which I enjoy; and swimming which I don't enjoy so much but it's a good all over exercise.
I also need to work out a better 'in run' fuelling strategy. At the moment I tend to rely on Haribo type sweets, but they get boring after a while, and I often gag on sweet foods at checkpoints! Foods that I'd normally enjoy.

Regarding the mileage, I've drawn up a rough plan of where I'd like my miles to be each week in the 59 weeks I have remaining. This is only a loose plan, I'll work out the details as I go along.

I'm pretty sure it wont be plain sailing!! Life will do it's best to derail me at some crucial moment- I'll get sick, pull a muscle, just be knackered from work or something else will crop up. But my plan is flexible enough I think and looks reasonably sensible...

So, what I have I been up to so far this month?

Jan 1st was Capt. Cooks Fell Race, which I've already blogged about. Great race that one!
7 mile run round the South Kilvington 7 Bridges route.
Club circuits with Sune, wow! A tough start to the club year, the session included modified burpees, seated rows, shoulder press amongst others. We all hurt for several days afterwards...
On the 12th I went to Osmotherly for a nice frosty run with Sarah, followed by homemade soup.
On the 15th I took a 9 mile muddy run round town, followed by core work at home so I skipped club that night!
Sunday 19th saw an early morning swim. 28 lengths of 'old lady' breast stroke. Might not sound like much, but I am rubbish at swimming so I'm quite pleased with that!
Monday I took a 7 mile run over the Mount St. John followed by killer club circuits.

In between all this has been the We Love a Challenge exercises on Facebook, which I am pleased to say I am keeping up with at the moment.

Looking forward- club tomorrow, night run on Thursday all being well and a club social to Osmotherly at the weekend.

New Years Day 2014 - Captain Cooks Fell Race

Thought I'd best write a few words about the Captain Cooks Fell Race on New Years Day.

It was another cold and windy day, with the rain arriving as we set off. There were loads of people there that I knew which is always nice!
The route is a cracker, starts outside the Royal Oak in Great Ayton, leaves the village and is on good track for a while til we pass through a farm, already very wet and muddy. Then the climbing begins... On a stony track for starters, then it gets really steep in the woods, all the way up to Captain Cooks monument. Short flat bit to catch your breath then its down down down! Cock Shaw hill then off the main path for a steep, slippery muddy descent. I must admit, i went to pieces here and lost about 9 places, some of which I'd fought hard for on the climb up, grr. My own fault, need to grow a pair for downhilling!
We tipped out onto the road and I clawed back a position or two.
The road sweeps back on it's self up a short but stiff climb then over a field and into trees. The path was very muddy and populated with walkers, most of whom moved out of the way...
Bit more gentle decent on grass, over the railway line and down a fenced path. I thought the finish was closer than it was and ran hard, thankfully I kept it going and had a good finish in the village green.

Managed to PB, but not by much. Hilary had beaten me despite saying she was feeling a bit rough and was just out for a 'pootle'.

Guisborough Woods Fell Race.

Getting caught up, didn't realise how behind I am!!

High winds and freezing rain were the order of the day for this years running of the Guisborough Woods Fell Race.
I collected Hils and her lad, Ryan nice and early to make sure we got a car parking space and found Coach Rob, David R and stalwart Alan W already there!
After getting ourselves registered, quick chat and hug with Flip we hung about til it was time to warm up a bit with a jog to the start. I'm not very good at warming up, I know I should but I can never be arsed, then 10 mins after the gun I think, I wish I'd warmed up properly...
Anyway, the start/finish area was wind swept with rain blowing in, it was too cold to stand about so we joined everyone else jogging up and down the first hill to keep from freezing.
At last Dave arrived and set us off!
Straight into the first climb, this wasn't too bad and sheltered from the wind. Along tracks I've never been on before in Guisborough Woods, past a disused quarry, to meet the foot of a stiff climb. Oh my, it was really muddy, but not too slippy and went straight up for probably best part of 100m. No-one ran up that! (Well, maybe the fast ones at the front did ;-) )
Gasping for breath we continued climbing, less severely and on good track but exposed to a head wind that at times stopped us in our tracks.
Hilary and I were catching up with Ryan (who was doing the under 12's route) this only meant one thing, we'd set off too fast! As we wound through the forest tracks, the juniors turned off, and we carried on a bit further before doing a hairpin back on ourselves and down a horribly steep tarmac path, I'm glad it wasn't frosty like it was the day before!
We ran through the start/finish area- Hilary Hi-fived Ryan on the way past and we dug into the climb once more, a little more slowly this time!
After climbing the muddy bank, we turned off the main path and headed out onto the moor. We were only just outside the shelter of the trees but oh my goodness it was wild! The first bit of path was wet and boggy underfoot, then as it improved the rain came in. Blown in sideways on 30-40mph winds, everyone was hunched up trying to shelter our faces from the icy blasting, at times it took my breath away. Horrible, I'm glad that 80% of the route was sheltered! As we got back into the forest, I started getting stitch, it got worse on the downhill and when we had rejoined the previous track and were on the steepest tarmac bit, I had doubled over completely to try and get rid of it. Two male runners over took me here, one of whom said 'You must be Fran, I'm Andy, I Love a Challenge too!!' Bit cryptic and I wondered how he recognised me from my backside in the air!?! (He's a member of the FB excercise group...) The stitch eased a bit and I ran on, realising I wasn't far from the finish.
Over the line! Normally we'd wait for everyone to get in, but it was just too cold and windy and horrid so we jogged down to the rugby club for dry clothes and a hot drink.
Dave did the presentation for the summer series, lots of our ladies won age category prizes and Alan W won his category too. When he did the prizes for today's race, Coach Rob won his category too. So overall a successful day!
This race was also the final fixture in the Four Seasons Trophy Series, we'll have to wait for official results, but I have come third in this.