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.