Friday, 25 April 2008

Barbondale Round

Last Week
52 miles, 6254 ft, 07:58:47

Barbondale was blessed with a cold 20 mph wind that contrived to blow down most of the two big climbs on the LDWA "Barbondale Round" last Saturday. After struggling into what seemed like a direct headwind to the top of Great Coum we thought we could look forward to some assistance during the second half, returning to Barbon. Most of the climb up Calf Top was into the same wind and then on most of the descent it was a tail wind constantly threatening to knock you on your face - so no assistance at all. Most of the way round we thought the wind was going to put paid to improving on last year's 05:22 and the splits suggested the same (2007, 2008; Great Coum 01:15:43, 01:33:24; Calf Top 04:06:53, 04:35:14) but a super effort on the last descent and run in enabled us to make up all the lost time and finish in 05:18:18, suggesting a sub 5 hour time in good conditions should be achievable.

Sunday I went out at first light to find the wind was almost as strong in Horwich as it had been in Barbon and on the way home took a fairly heavy fall slightly bruising my chest and smashing my garmin watch. Not sure which was worst - I managed to run home and again later in the day, mainly to see how restricted my breathing was. Quite restricted but it eased (a little) as I warmed up so I needed to rethink the week's training because a track session wouldn't be possible. I intended an easy week, to recover from the last 5 hard weeks and to prepare for tomorrow's Three Peaks so with almost 40 miles done by Sunday night I settled on three more short easy sessions, mainly to see how my chest was recovering and then two complete rest days.

Next Week
Three Peaks tomorrow and, at the moment, the forecast looks dry and not too warm. Is last year's 04:13 under threat? I doubt it. I think I improved on my 2005 time, last year, with a fast (in my terms) run to Ribblehead courtesy of Albert Sunter and I am unsure about being able to repeat it without a pacer. I may try though because it was surprising how many people we passed but I may also try to remember to eat and drink a bit before Ribblehead. The rest of the week is going to depend on how quickly I can recover

Friday, 18 April 2008

Friday 18th April 2008

Last Week
W: 27 miles 6078 ft 09:17:15
R: 51 miles 7873 ft 10:28:50
T: 78 miles 13951 ft 19:46:05

Another big week, 5th consecutive week with over 10,000 feet of climbing and the second consecutive week with total miles over 70. The "walking" miles were with the Rucksack Club on a long walk around Ullswater at an average pace of around 3 mph (including the climbing and stops) which, being faster than a BGR requires, almost justifies including as 'running' miles. The following day Paul Murray took me through the NW fells to Newlands Hause for a first look at the 'new' night section. Paul's daughter Ros and Rae Pritchard joined us for part of a really worthwhile morning. I think I have descent route that is 'do-able' in the dark but it still needs a bit of practice and the climb out, although well provided with handrails, needs a close look to confirm they are as good as they seem from a distance. With so much done over the weekend I didn't feel guilty about not going out on Monday morning and even after two recovery runs when I set off running to the track session on Tuesday I realised I didn't have a 'track session' in my legs and so just went for another long road run. By Thursday morning I was so weary I decided to sacrifice the morning run to try to get something worthwhile out of the evening Hill Session which was probably a good call.

I am happy now my climbing has caught up with where I would have wanted to be, had I not had any injuries and so I am starting to confirm the Support Teams. Pauline and Keith Foster will be the main road support and Colin Jones will lead Leg 4 to Threkeld. Other details will follow as they are confirmed.

Next Week
An easier week starting with the 23 mile LDWA "Barbondale Round" on Saturday. something on Winter Hill on Sunday and then some tapering, from mid-week, before the 3 Peaks on the 26th. I think after the last 5 weeks I need a bit of recovery so the timing is good and Barbondale is always a good day out. Pauline is running well and so last year's 05:22:36 ought to be under threat if the weather holds and the clag doesn't wreck my route finding.

I have paid little attention to my Nutrition Schedule as yet and will experiment with marizpan which is highly recommended as being easy to get down, on the run, and according to the "CalorieKing calculator" a 3.6 ounce serving is worth 427 calories or 48 minutes of jogging. The split is fat 31%, 63% carbs and 6% protein - the high fat content may make it relatively slow to digest but it is worth a try even if it only provides a change from carb bars.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Friday 11th April 2008

Last Week
73 Miles, 11030 Feet, 18:38:44

Three pictures from Saturday, first two from Steeple and the last from Middle Fell as we were descending to Greendale Bridge having jogged round the last leg of the Joss Naylor Traverse in some very entertaining weather. On Sunday Pauline, Keith and I set off round the Duddon race route but ran into some heavy snow on our way up Hard Knott and in the face of deteriorating weather decided to head back down Duddon Valley instead. I managed three morning sessions this week to lift my miles and, as my training enters its final phase, I have increased my target to 74 miles a week without losing any climbing. This is a bit of a step up from the 55-60 I was aiming for before and so to be only a mile short on the first week is neither here nor there. Traffic was so bad last night that I couldn't get to the Hill Session but the way my legs felt it was probably a blessing.

Four consecutive weeks of over 10,000 feet of climbing and I now feel much happier about the whole thing, so much so that I am starting to confirm support arrangements. If you want to help or just want to come along and say hello somewhere round the route then please post a comment below and I'll be in touch.

Next Week
After very welcome rest day today we are off for a long, probably fast, walk round Ullswater with the Rucksack Club on Saturday and then on Sunday (if the weather holds) a recce of the North Western fells bit of Leg 1 and perhaps a little more. The rest of the week will be working towards 74 miles and 10,000+ feet on two sessions a day. As well as confirming support details I need to sort out food and water for each leg and the for the road crossings. So far everything has been easy - just running - now the logistics have to be tackled and they are much more difficult.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Friday 4th April 2008

Last Week
58 miles, 12110 ft, 13:01:44
Third week with over 10,000 feet with starting with what turned out to be a hard weekend. 18 miles and just under 4000 feet (3991 feet - mustn't miss Noon Hill next time) and a further 7 miles and 4600 feet on Sunday. The weather is unpredictable that planning is almost impossible - we met Keith at Threlkeld on Sunday with a 'plan' to run back from Rydal but the clouds were so low and the rain so heavy we went to a pub for coffee. By 10:30 it was a bit better but we decided just to go to Dunmail and as soon as we got there the 'heavens opened' and we went to Windermere because Keith needed a new sleeping bag! By about 13:00 it was beginning to fair up a bit so we set off from Dunmail only to meet a runner descending Seat Sandal. He described conditions on Helvellyn as difficult and found it impossible to get beyond Little Man and having crossed Helvellyn twice in a white-out, he recommended we run towards the Langdales. The weather was improving and having climbed Seat Sandal we thought we could get to Dollywagon then back to Fairfield (now the clouds had lifted) and having reached there we dropped down into the valley below Seat Sandal and crossed it again on the way back to Dunlmail. With shredded quads we crossed the road back to car and slumped.

I hadn't recovered sufficiently to tackle a track session on Tuesday but I did manage another recovery run - one that worked, unlike Monday's. Wednesday's slog up New Chapel and Foxholes Road went OK and the week was finished (as my legs were) by a particularly fierce hill session last night - first off-road one of the year.

Next Week
Forecast looks good for Saturday and a not quite so good for Sunday but I hopeful of two days running in the Lakes, again looking for 10,000+ feet and about 60 miles. With three consecutive big climbing weeks in my legs I am beginning to feel as though some 'lost ground' is being made up. I don't think I need much mileage beyond my weekly 60 and if I can keep getting the climbing and remain injury free then I'll begin to feel a bit happier about my fitness than I have for some weeks.