Sunday, 10 May 2015

The Summer Season has started!

I made the right decision not to run last Sunday. The conditions were 'epic' (which translates to cold wet and windy and quite horrid) and on Monday I felt dreadful. I was dragged round Wickes in search of DIY supplies for the ongoing decorating project at home.

Thankfully I had perked up a bit by Tuesday and felt able to participate in the opening fixture of the Harrogate Evening League (HDSRL) held rather fittingly at Harrogate! At the last moment I had thrown an extra T-shirt into my back and I was glad I had as it was cold and windy on the Birkenwith Industrial Estate. I didn't have a plan in mind other than to just get round and run to feel, seeing as I had a cold and this was my first fast outing since the HM55.
Soon after the start, the stitch started. Gosh it hurt. The uphills were hard work and they're quite tough climbs but at least they didn't aggravate the stitch, unlike the fast steep downhills. The (very) short stretch of 'off road' was welcome and I over took a few people who were fannying about in the tiny bit of water and mud and straight into the next big hill. I had been leap-frogging with Claire a lot of the way round and I had to overcoming a spinning head and reeling tummy to get past her on this climb. She too had stitch and the pair of us ran with fingers dug into our ribs!
On the home straight however, she came past me again and I had nothing left to catch her, I just had to watch her go and I was a little cross. Not with Claire as she has worked so hard and made such an improvement with her running, but with myself because I should be able to beat her. But, that's a matter for another day and now I just enjoyed my post race water and quickly got changed as it began to rain.

Wednesday, another day, another league, another race! This time a fell race held out on Carlton Bank and the opening race of the Esk Valley Summer Series. This is a favourite of mine, but I wasn't looking forward to it. I was tired from last night and the lingering cold, my muscles still hurt from yesterday's stitch and I was dreading it coming on again. It was also much cooler tonight and I set off wearing too many layers! My waterproof and gloves came off within the first couple of miles and I was still a bit warm, but I kept my other top on as it protected me from the wind up on the moor.
From the start I was stuck behind a couple of other women, this first stretch is good fun but is very narrow with very limited passing opportunity. As it was, I felt I wasn't running fast enough but every time I upped the effort, I was rewarded with the stabbing pain of the stitch. I had to make do with where I was. At last we reached the woods and a very steep decsent, and the other two women pulled away, Pat almost got away from too but I reeled her in after the drop! There were a couple of hills in the woods that I had forgotten about and I overtook one of the women before we got to the main climb on the Cleveland Way. Up Live Moor and onto Round Hill then all the way along to the double trig point of Carlton Bank. The flags weren't too wet, first I passed Alan from club then at last caught and passed the other lady from earlier. I didn't feel too bad now and could run most of the return leg, the stitch seemed to have subsided quite a bit now.
After touching the trig comes the horrible fast descent, first on the flagged steps then on a corner you hop the barbed wire fence (of course I got snagged on it!) then follow the sheep trods down over the tips and hopefully emerge at the finish! I did have a couple of runners in my sight trying to establish where the race line was, but I think I missed it as I ended up on a near vertical bank sliding down heather on my bum!! As I hit the bottom, just a short distance to go, the second lady I passed emerged on the flagged path to my right! Oh no! There was no way she was going to beat me so I ran like hell on the narrow path across the heather and made sure I beat her to the gate! I was going to congratulate her (as we had chatted during the race) but she didn't hang around.

There had been a good turn out tonight, we had a full men's team for a change consisting of Alan W, Steve M, Duncan and Pete W. We also had two ladies teams Lorraine, Hilary and Carol making up the A team, with me, Pat and a 'ghost' being the B team.
It's meant to be summer! Carol, me, Pat, Hilary and Lorraine at the Carlton Challenge

No rest for the wicked! Back out again on Thursday night for a run round Kilburn Woods. There was another big turn out, including some new club members who didn't even stop to say hello...hmm. There was quite a range of abilities so we split into smaller groups and the fast lads went for an eyeballs out blast round the trails. We had a more sedate plod around and enjoyed the evening sunshine. Must admit I was tired at the end of this run and glad I had a couple of rest days coming up.

In 'Nature News' I am glad the swallows are still here, I was beginning to wonder if they had stayed. The bluebells look lovely in the woods and in my garden, I just wish the temperature would get a little more summer like!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Two runs and a DNS...

I have generally speaking, been having an 'off month' from training following on from the Hardmoors 55 in March. This last week, well week before really now, particularly lacking in training!
Thought I had better start getting back into the swing of things before I forget how to run completely.

Wednesday should have been a time trial at Club, but I felt too fat (I've put on several pounds too due to lack of exercise) and unfit to do that justice, so I decided to go for a jog into town and back. It was a run of two halves to say the least! For the first mile and a half I suffered terrible stitch, having to have 3 walk breaks in that time to try and shift it. I felt like a beginner all over again! Once that finally cleared and I could get into some sort of rhythm, I felt much better and ended up finishing strong with a good run up Plump Bank. It wasn't a pretty run by any means, but I felt better having done it.

Thursday is the traditional Kilburn Woods run, just 6 of us tonight. My legs didn't feel too bad once we'd set off, but my lungs didn't want to work and the whole way round they burned, made worse by any sort of incline. It was uncomfortable to say the least, but we got round in a respectable time.

Friday is always rest day and Saturday was too as I was due to do a half marathon on Sunday. However, by mid-morning on Saturday it was clear I had a cold. Second one of the year. By Saturday evening, I wasn't sure if I wanted to race, especially as the forecast was awful. Still, I got my stuff together and figured I could decide in the morning...

...Sunday dawned and this time the forecast was right, it was pissing it down and blowing a gale. I lay in bed pondering what to do. I figured that 3 hours (it's a Hardmoors race, so Half Mara = 15 miles = 3 hours running) out on the moors in the lashing rain and cold wind probably wouldn't do my cold any favours. A shorter race or better weather and I would have stuck it out. I felt a bit of a pansy, but I didn't go. Of course, I have two more races coming up in quick succession, so they are in jeopardy too! Looks like my 'month off' might continue for a few more days... grr.

A Mixed Bag in Edale.

Last weekend saw my step-mum's 70th birthday, so we all piled in to the Viceroy Indian restaurant in Duffield for a slap up meal. It's a very posh place, the waiters in traditional costume and lovely food. My curry was a coconut one, but still quite spicy. I also tried panneer for the first time and wasn't disappointed.

The next morning, Paul and I headed into the Dark Peak for a spot of camping action. We got a pitch at the Field Head campsite in the little village of Edale, nestled below the hulking mass of Kinder Scout. The forecast was terrible, but now we sat out in sunshine by the tent!

We went for a little walk, just a 3.5 mile loop starting along the Pennine Way as far as Upper Booth then back along the valley bottom and the River Noe. We tried to find some geocaches (there are 16 along this short loop!) but my phone couldn't keep up and in the end we only got a couple. Still, it was a lovely afternoon and it was nice to stretch our legs. The path seemed very popular and there were lots of people about.

It was nice enough still to sit outside at the Ramblers Inn when we got back to the village, but the breeze was getting up now.

We went back to the tent to rearrange our things and feed the dog, before having tea at the Ramblers Inn. I had fish pie and it was really quite good!

Various people in the pub and the weather forecast at the visitor centre suggested horrible weather tomorrow, we bedded down for the night and thought we'd deal with whatever the morning brought...

Monday morning was cold and frosty, but totally clear blue skies!
After a breakfast of porridge, we got organised and set off on our walk. The first objective was Mam Tor. A steady climb from the village lead up to the road, then a final short steep push to the summit. I didn't know there had been a celtic settlement up here. There were tiles depicting Celtic artefacts in the paved footpath.
We soon made it up to the top and where treated to stunning views.

Back down and onto easy to follow tracks leading across rolling farmland, arcing around to join the Limestone Way as it descended into Cave Dale.

Cave Dale is a very narrow, steep sided valley cutting through an ancient limestone reef. It is not clear if it was always like this, or if it was once a cave and the roof has since collapsed. Either way, it is very dramatic and the little tower of Pevril Castle sits high up on the cliffs just adding to the drama!

We reached the town of Castleton a little before the pubs opened, so we had a look in the visitor centre and the little museum/display within. Once it was 12 we retired to the Bulls Head for a drink. The clouds had started to scurry across the sky now and the wind was quite chill, so we didn't sit for long.
The next task was the long climb up onto Lose Hill. It was all on good track which helped, but was still a stiff climb! Eventually we reached the summit, which has a nice viewfinder, and dropped down out of the wind for a snack break. Once we'd eaten, we struck out along the ridge towards Mam Tor. The ridge runs East West from Lose Hill, over Mam Tor and along Rush Up Edge. It is disconnected from the Kinder Scout massive and the moors surrounding Lady Bower reservoir.
We crossed Backtor with it's impressive outcrops and got to the col known as Hollins Cross, here we dropped off the ridge and headed downhill into the Noe Valley. From here it was an easy stroll back to Edale. We sat inside now at the pub as it was decidedly cold and really quite windy.

We used the facilities on the camp site to get showered up etc then went back to the pub! It was too cold to sit out at the tent and too cramped inside the tent. I had a Mam Tor Burger for my tea which I thought was appropriate given todays hike! We spent the evening in the pub drinking and I got my diary written. Eveyone was knackered! It started to rain so we headed 'home' before it got any worse and I spent the night listening to the wind and rain lashing down...

...only to find on Tuesday morning it was snow! We got packed up, it was bitterly cold, and ready to come home to Yorkshire where it was still sunny! Our route measured exactly 10 miles and a more detailed description is contained in the 'Hiking and Running Routes' section over on the right.