Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Sunday, 23 October 2011


3rd time lucky in terms of making it to the start line this year. A murky day, not cold, not really raining but yes wet and claggy. I'd recce'd the 2nd half and was confident from Bowfell onwards and not having time to recce the 1st half thought I'd be ok in terms of navigation on this part anyway given the long strung out fellow racers and the route seemed self explanatory. What I hadn't studied was the severity of the 1st climb, it took me by suprise and in the grand scheme of lakeland races not as severe as some but today it caught me out. I was knackered by the Esk Hause shelter check point and the horrible traverse over to Bowfell saw me throwing the teddy out the cot. It was a bad day at the office. No energy, no grip, no sense of humour. Bowfell came and went in a blur and the dreaded climb up Pike O Blisco was a trudge where only humming a tune made it seem slightly less horrific!
It was auto pilot from there on in for the LONG run back to the
final checkpoint where the Bowland support crew were ever present. I ran in with Ian and it was nice to have some company on the final furlong for what had not been the best run I've ever done. I vowed on finishing NEVER AGAIN and said if I even thought of entering next year, shoot me.
hmmmm - wonder if I'll remember that?!

Don't believe the photo's it's sheer exhaustion - not enjoyment on the face!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Heads and Tales

Approaching the Three Shires Stone.

Busy week.
1 race
3 recces and a trip to A&E

The tuesday before the Three Shires was the inaugral Bowland Up/Down relay and my partner and I were all psyched up for a blast 'up' (Duncan) and a zip 'down' (me) Pendles Big End. Due to rushing about before work I ended up running into a not quite fully open overhead garage door. Next thing I know I'm in Preston Hospital seeing a doctor and diagnosed with concussion with instructions to rest and not do a great deal. No relay this time round.

I did feel pretty rough to be honest and probably shouldn't have gone off to so the Three Shires on the saturday but some people won't be told. Long story short, by Swirl How I decided to just take it steady and admire the view and not worry about the pains in the head and strangely moving ground beneath the feet. Needless to say it was far from a PB and a case of just getting to the end. Still, there were some fabulous moments of clear skies and stunning views - always a joy.

The headaches stopped last friday, a week and a half after the whack and I've since been out and about, running here and there and have also done a couple of recce's of the Ian Hodgson mountain relay as well as squeezing a Langdale run in too.

Rowena and I were on leg 1 of the relay but since it's been altered are now on leg 3, which is still our leg 1 route only backwards! The recce was a success of sorts although the visibility wasn't as good as we'd hoped and neither of us are sure we found the best lines but I'm looking forward to it this coming sunday, I just need to wrap up in cotton wool in the meantime and hope for better luck 2nd time round on the relay front.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Sundays Scamper

Patterdale Playing Fields - errr, blue sky right?

An excited pooch and the threatening clouds...

Turning down the Padfield Plum version I opted to go off and do my own 'scamper' In hindsight (that old chestnut) it might have been the better option?
Dave and I, although he had no choice, arrived at the National Trust car park in between Brotherswater and Patterdale do a recce of leg 4 of the Ian Hodgson Mountain Relay
Running for Bowland in the mixed team and partnering up with Rowena it's likely we'll be on leg 4 (or maybe 1 it seems!) either way with no time to recce both and thinking 4 would be more important, of we headed.

Sitting in the car at 9.30 and questioning whether to find a less windy and wet part of the lakes to 'just have a run' there was a break in the clouds and it looked as if there may be a decent weather window for an hour or two? Running to the start of the leg at Patterdale playing field was a lot further than first thought although Dave was quite obliging and ran on ahead.

Starting the first climb it soon became clear this was going to be one of those epic days out. The wind started to pick up shortly followed by the rain. The first checkpoint reached it was a nip through the gate for the climb to keep continuing up and up over very wet and boggy ground. The run towards St Sunday Crag became virtually impossible. The wind was gale force blowing me completely off my feet and making any attempt at running forwards almost impossible. The rain was belting down with what felt like nails ramming into the face.

The cloud was by now very low and visibility non existent other than the ground in front, even Dave didn't stray too far - proof indeed how horrible it was! Any question of it being 'fun' had long gone and it was now simply a slog. On reaching the summit it would have been foolish to carry on and recce the rest of the leg as this part, so far navigationally, hadn't been difficult - just follow the path to the top. There is a scramble to Hartsop I believe and something I haven't done before, attempting it in these conditions wouldn't have been much help and Dave and I could well have still been there!

We abandoned our run therefore and made a hasty retreat back the way we had come which with a full on tail wind was just as 'entertaining'
It was a long old trudge back to the car as by now Dave had also had enough and was virtually dragged all the way, one of the reasons he doesn't do these longer runs anymore, I think he was grateful for the towel and a dry place to get his head down, me, I was grateful I'd been bothered to make a big batch of broth the day before, a sight for literally very sore eyes indeed.

The view! The camera went Kaputten after this shot, too much rain


Something that would be nice to be able to do for yourself but sadly as we age and in most cases deteriorate some things do continue to get better- honest!
Avenham and Miller Park in Preston have been going through some serious transformations of late and have now become a joy to run around. A 2 mile run from my door to the middle of the park is where I meet up with my running pal Rebecca - strictly a tarmac girl she will even forgo a PB if a puddle appears to tentatively tip toe around it. One of the these days I swear I will get her onto a fell, for now though we make the most of our monday evening runs when we can and post Ben monday epitomised a late summer evening with the Autumn colours appearing and the river running high yet still very tranquil. On the 2 mile run back after our extended loop it hit me how this run will be put into hibernation far too soon given the darker nights are now far too rapidly upon us. As much as I am impressed with the new developments and all the work that's been done it's still not a place to run around in the dark but I'm sure come the spring it will take on new meaning again and the ever improving regeneration program will reveal itself in another form.

The old railway line - now part of a cycle network

The rail bridge and a gently flowing river Ribble and photo 2. Rebecca on her way

Photo's on the iphone so not great quality....does the iphone 4 have a flash? May have to get myself one....

Saturday, 10 September 2011

The Ben race - 2011

Has it been a week already?
This time last Saturday I was trying to get my legs to function again (as well as nurse a toothache)
A wet day for the Ben race, although pleasantly still with relatively no breeze and hey you could even say it was warm, well, for Scotland!
I'd little optimism for a PB owing to slippy wet rock, a contrast to last years sun and almost cloud free sky. I'd no idea how I'd fair to be honest, I was hoping I'd do ok but you just never can tell.
Milling about in the field after collecting the race pack it was a quick catch up with familiar faces, you can see some Bowland shots on Ian's blog (and here was me thinking I was quite tall - this lot make me look a midget!)
Warm up complete it was time to be piped round to the start, always a great part of the day, something special indeed. My plan was to attempt to get a half descent start instead of getting wedged at the back of the field but all the hustle and bustle in the starting pen meant the inevitable squash followed by an entanglement in the starter tape!
We were soon off and already I could see the leaders way in the distance along the road as I struggled for breath in the first mile.
It's simply a case of head down and plough on.
No particular tactics
No sneaky shortcuts
Just keep going - the summit will come.
As the leaders began hurtling back down the mountain you know that it won't be too long before you hit the top (in theory!) I started to count the women coming by, Angela, Jasmin, Sarah....I was in 13th place at the top.
Handing the token at the top I turned and attempted to pick up speed. Passing 2 women I was now 11th by my reckoning and then one. Where did everybody go?
Suddenly realising, me (and the bloke in front) had completely missed the direct line down and were on the zig zag tourist path. Disaster.
We couldn't see a thing, the clag was down and there was no way of heading back the way we came it was a case of get down that path as quickly as possible to rejoin the main field. The legs were like jelly and it was a fight to keep the head together - no point fretting over it just get on with it.
Soon enough the main pack could be seen and so could the steep grassy bank heading to the red burn.
(photo - with thanks to Pauline Charters)

I saw a fellow female runner but just couldn't work out if or rather how many places I'd lost given the detour.
Just keep going
I could see Sarah just ahead as we were now well onto the lower section of the mountain - I did have to rub my eyes as she is a hell of a lot faster than me and in 3rd place at the summit, I thought something must have happened, and injury maybe? Turns out her race ended when she stopped to help a fellow runner with a head injury - true sportsmanship. I chinked off the tourist path to the left which is a fair old drop but for me much better running on the lower path and before you know it the track ends and it's the slog up the road. I could see a Lochaber runner (hard not too given about 250 enter!) but this was another female runner giving the extra impetus needed to push to the finish. A sneaky look at the watch but it was all a blur, a few words of encouragement from the infamous 30mph sign and I just about managed to shuffle by Ms Lochaber before the last effort around that bloomin field. It seems such a small field on the warm up but by now it had become another mountain to climb.
Collapsing over the line and falling in a crumpled heap a concerned race official beetled over asking in his dulcet Scottish lilt if 'I needed a medic' my reply was 'I just need a minute, not a medic'
I'd a rough idea of my time but didn't want to get too excited. It was a long wait to the end of the presentation evening to collect the certificate.
I was 8th lady in the end so I'm not convinced the detour cost much? Don't suppose I'll ever really know. Maybe as the conditions were so wet it didn't make a huge difference?
Did I get a PB?
yep 2:17 (over 9 minutes quicker)
Did I manage that target time?
No - not quite
There's always next year I guess

The summit marshal's taxi - shhh, don't tell anyone!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

It's all about preparation.....

If I keep telling myself that do you think it will work?
I know I said this week would be an easy week but I didn't think it would be this easy.
The mele of family visits, children back at school and my perpertual need to spring clean in Autumn (it's autumn now right?) means that after last sundays long run little else has been done. The thought has been there, the legs and mind willing more a simple case of not enough hours in the day. I went for a cruise around the park last night and the legs felt ok but I don't do well on TOO much rest and tomorrow will of course be spent driving north - far north.
Maybe a walk up this 'hill' will ease the worry?

Glen Fyne in the distance and the road I'll be travelling on tomorrow - hopefully it will be as bright and sunny again. Maybe I could call in at the Glen and carbo load on Smoked Salmon and Oysters - now there's a thought!