Friday, 13 February 2009

Week Commencing 7th February

Last Week: 59 miles; 8160 feet; 11:27:04

Saturday round the Kentmere Horseshoe with Colin was a fantastic day, We got some strange looks from walkers (runners do anyway although some walkers nod or say “hello” but not many) who clearly thought we were irresponsible being out without boots & crampons. Strange thing was, we were the only ones actually carrying ice axes (with one exception) – those other few who had an axe with them had it secured, safely out of the way on their rucksack so that if they slipped they couldn’t reach it – even those walking on crampons. Crampons, as Colin observed, seem to have become fashion accessories and, in the process, people have forgotten that crampons make things easier but an axe makes things safer.

Tirade over and a good race on Sunday, great conditions underfoot and I doubt I’ll ever get round that race as fast again because those conditions are so rare. I wasn’t looking forward to it much and coming off the last fell on Saturday I wondered why I was doing it. It is the big local fell race, it has a great atmosphere and even in good conditions it is a tough outing. I felt pretty good all the way round although I had little left for the last climb even there I wasn’t reduced to walking. Much to my surprise, at the end, I found I had enjoyed it – for the first time. Thanks Tony for organising it and thanks too to the marshals for making it all possible.

I missed the track session on Tuesday because The Rucksack Club persuaded Colin Prior (http://www.colinprior.co.uk/) to give an illustrated talk on mountain photography. He is relaxed speaker with an inspiring portfolio and an ability to explain clearly what he is trying to achieve as well as how he is trying to do it. An entertaining, insightful evening exploring the chasm between ‘point and press’ and making a living from taking photos in the mountains. I have just signed up for his “helpful tips” but don’t hold your breath – it will still be “point and press” on here.

Finishing the week with last night’s hill session completed my 8th consecutive 50 mile week. I have probably averaged about 58 miles a week since having a cold in mid December and there were a couple of 50+ weeks before that. At the moment, I feel pretty good, any niggles are very slight and I am just thinking about increasing the miles a bit and increasing the climbing because that is what makes the difference.

Finally, on Twitter, I met Gordon Scott from Tiree who is going to Everest Base Camp in April and blogging his experience. His blog is worth a read and there is a link below.

Next Week: Saturday is the “Anglezark Amble” a 25 mile run over Winter Hill and its environs. A thaw seems to be beginning so perhaps the ground won’t be as good as last weekend. Last year I did in 4:02, about 30 seconds quicker than my previous best but I did the last 12 miles or so with a torn calf muscle – I know I shouldn’t have and I didn’t run for 3 weeks afterwards. I hesitate to make predictions especially when the weather makes such a difference but I should be able to get round in under 4 hours.

As February draws on and, encouragingly, the days get longer I need to start planning the next few weeks to ensure we get enough time on the long routes planned for the summer. The main ones are, in April,  “Joss Naylor Traverse” (48 miles), in May “The Fellsman” (62 miles) and in June the “55at55” about 75 miles and 30,000 feet of climbing in 24 hours. Before that, in March, I am racing as part of the Rucksack Club Vets team in the 42 mile “High Peak Marathon” but more of these in due course.

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