Monday, 27 April 2009

Joss Naylor Recovery

Last Week: 71 miles; 18350 feet; 18:23:43 (6 miles; 17:18 on bike trainer)

The bike trainer was an unsuccessful attempt at loosening my legs on Sunday 19th. It warmed up my legs but did little help them. A Sports Massage, a gentle Sports Massage, on Monday helped quite a lot and I managed out for an early run on Tuesday. Managed a bit more on Wednesday and Thursday and was very glad of a rest day on Friday. Previous experience suggests it will be the climbing that needs recovering from the most. By Friday morning only my right calf hadn’t recovered – it is still a little tight, not painful but I am aware of it.

Next Week: Less climbing but keep the miles at 70+. Back to Winter Hill on Saturday and then something fairly easy – flattish 10 miles on Sunday followed by a normal week.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Sty Head at 15:32 18th April 2009

Running in I recognise John Fleetwood whom I was expecting still to be in Scotland. A pleasant surprise, and then I can see Bill Williamson and Rachel Metcalfe who will take me to Greendale Bridge. John Coope, Nicole Kirkham and Joss are also here but it takes me a while to realise Pauline isn’t. Keith Foster is and he will come with us over the tops to Greendale Bridge. Cake and encouragement from Joss and it is time to worry about the big climbs. Karl and Duncan drop down to Wasdale Head while Rhiannon stays with us for the next two summits before joining Karl and Duncan.There are about 13 miles and 5000 feet of climbing left to do over the roughest ground on the route. Unlike many, I have spent all day looking forward to this, the most spectacular section of all.

The next two hours are spent gaining almost 3500 feet in less then 5 miles on three climbs crossing Great Gable, Kirk Fell and Pillar. Setting off up Great Gable I finally realise I haven’t seen Pauline and when I enquire I find there has been a car problem and she and Ed Swift are somewhere between Wasdale & Dunmail sorting it out. On the way up Gable I ask Rachel to tell the the time on each of the summits because I need to know that I am still climbing fast enough. My recovery from the problems encountered around High Raise seems complete as I pick up time on the 14 hour schedule going up both Great Gable and Kirk Fell. Pillar is ‘just a slog’ as all fell runners who have done the Ennerdale fell race know and by know I am pretty happy that, barring accident or injury, I’ll reach Greendale Bridge within 15 hours. Part way up the steepest part of the climb there is time for a seat in the sunshine, a bar, a long cool drink and the chance to savour the views across Wasdale.

The final pull up on to Pillar contains a wonderful surprise as I recognise Pauline running down to meet us. Ed Swift is on the summit and brother John has just set off for Scoat Fell. Pillar is the last of the big climbs and John Fleetwood heads back to Great Langdale after a handshake and the reassurance that “I know you have done it”. Bill takes us off Pillar on a route, new to me, to miss the worst of teh rocky ground and we head off to Scoat Fell and Steeple and more runnable ground. We are comfortably ahead of the schedule and it is time to ease off a little and really enjoy the day. Seatallen provides the ‘sting in the tail’ but on top are John Coope, Nicole and David Powell-Thompson. From there, only Middlefell, where Julie Laverock is waiting, and the final descent to Greendale Bridge remain. After the ‘evening sun’ photo shoot it is all downhill to Greendale Bridge where Joss and his dogs are waiting. 14 hours and 14 minutes after leaving Pooley Bridge I stand on Greendale Bridge happy, and relieved, to have completed the “Joss Naylor Challenge” and happy to have enjoyed such a perfect day. I don’t think it is possible to adequately express appreciation to those who helped on the day, those without whom it wouldn’t have happened. I am so glad Pauline and the others who provided the road support were able to join me during the last leg. Thanks too to Joss for coming up to Sty Head and for meeting us at the end.

Place 14hr 15 hr Actual 14 hrs 15 hrs Actual
Sty Head - depart 09:32 10:12 09:58 14:32 15:12 14:58
Great Gable 10:07 10:47 10:29 15:07 15:47 15:29
Kirkfell 10:52 11:32 11:02 15:52 16:32 16:02
Pillar 11:52 12:32 12:00 16:52 17:32 17:00
Scoat Fell 12:17 12:57 12:24 17:17 17:57 17:24
Steeple 12:22 13:02 12:30 17:22 18:02 17:30
Haycock 12:42 13:22 12:51 17:42 18:22 17:51
Seatallon 13:15 13:55 13:29 18:15 18:55 18:29
Middlefell 13:40 14:20 13:54 18:40 19:20 18:54
Greendale Bridge - arrive 14:00 14:40 14:14 19:00 19:40 19:14

 

 

The slideshow contains photos taken by Pauline, Rhiannon, Duncan and John Coope – thank you all.

 

Iain Kelly’s early morning photos are here -

http://www.flickr.com/photos/16329500@N07/sets/72157616980378132/show/

Iain’s blog is here - http://42tops.blogspot.com/

Friday, 24 April 2009

Dunmail Raise – 10:26 18th April

After the cramp induced ‘rests’ I am no longer ahead of the 14 hour schedule but this really isn’t a concern. The 15 hour schedule has 20 minutes to spare and I am still happy with progress, even if concerned about the lingering cramp. Phil is going to turn round and run back to his, having only just realised he wasn’t paying any attention to the route. Dave has finished his leg but Karl will stay with me again. Duncan Richards and Rhiannon George join us here for the leg to Sty Head. After a change of shoes and socks and more rice pudding with banana I strap on my bottle carrier ready for the climb to Steel Fell. There is nothing pleasant about this except perhaps the final wave from the top to the road team as the prepare to move to Wasdale.

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Rhiannon, Duncan, Karl & Monica (behind)         Nearing the top (by Duncan Richards)

The top of the climb is followed by some gentle slopes leading to the summit where it is, just about, possible for your legs to recover. Although it is still early the sun is beginning to feel warm and the gentle breeze is more than welcome. With six hours done I still feel pretty good apart from the cramp which is still bothering me a bit. The ground here is pretty uneven which means the pace isn’t constant for long and this is helping. We settle on the slightly longer but gentler climb to High Raise and as soon as we reach the sheltered gully we find out just how warm the sun is and it isn’t good. The pace slows and most of the chat stops as we all slog up the gully in the stifling heat. I am starting to feel nauseous and begin to struggle to eat and drink. Before we reach the top of the gully I am wondering about reaching Sty Head with enough energy for the last leg and unless I can eat and drink enough I am going to have real problems. Karl’s observation that we have done 24 miles before lunch only serves to remind there are another 24 to go (glass half empty, for sure).

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Nearing the top of the gully and, finally, nearing High Raise and a cool breeze (both by Rhiannon)

The descent allowed me to begin to recover but it is nearly another hour to the  next summit and it takes about half of that before I feel able to start eating and drinking again. Concerned about time lost, I start to push on to avoid losing any more. Duncan & Rhiannon decide to go round the next couple of summits to ensure they don’t slow us up. After reassuring Karl that I do know the way up Bowfell I miss the route half way up but we exit in the right re-entrant and lose only a minute or so on the climb. Now 28 minutes behind the 14 hour schedule I am still happy with my progress but I need now to not lose more time. I am now feeling better and start to pick up time on the next two summits and feel really good, absolutely elated, in fact, running into Sty Head knowing I am strong enough for the 5000 feet of climbing on the last leg.

 

Place 14hr 15 hr Actual 14 hrs 15 hrs Actual
Dunmail Raise - depart 05:34 05:57 05:42 10:34 10:57 10:42
Steel Fell 05:57 06:22 06:06 10:57 11:22 11:06
High Raise 06:48 07:17 07:08 11:48 12:17 12:08
Rossett Pike 07:35 08:07 08:00 12:35 13:07 13:00
Bowfell 08:08 08:42 08:36 13:08 13:42 13:36
Esk Pike 08:36 09:12 09:00 13:36 14:12 14:00
Great End 08:59 09:37 09:23 13:59 14:37 14:23
Sty Head - arrive 09:27 10:07 09:50 14:27 15:07 14:50

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Kirkstone Pass – 08:01 18th April

The wind was chilling here and I want to use the time gained as a rest, I don’t want to be chasing the schedule all the way to Greendale Bridge but it is too cold to stay here and rest. I enjoy the extra three minutes finishing rice pudding with a banana and drinking warm water before jogging to the climb up Red Screes. This is the first real climb of the day, more than 1000 feet in just over half a mile, and having worried about the pace on the first leg I am now concerned about getting the climbing right. I know I can climb fast enough but there is a lot of climbing to come and here I need to keep to the schedule and not do much more. Settling into an ‘almost comfortable’ pace I decide to wait and see what the time is at the summit before thinking too much about the pace. 23 minutes later we reach the summit – right on the 14 hour schedule and now I know the climbing will be fine too.

Down the other side, giving up all the height just gained, to get in position to climb over Hart Crag and on to Fairfield. Phil Dewhurst runs down to Scandale Pass and we catch up on other runners as we haven’t seen each other since last August on my 55at55. Dave Bateson chats all the way up Hart Crag re-assuring me that this pace is fine and encouraging me to eat and drink all the way up the hill. Experienced pacers help so much and as the day goes on this becomes more and more important. The pace seems comfortable now, perhaps only in comparison with the first leg, and we are picking up time on the climbs so that we arrive on Fairfield 8 minutes ahead of the 14 hour schedule. The sun is beginning to feel warm and the views are fantastic – in complete contrast to the many cold wet days I have run over here in the winter and last summer. Iain Kelly turns for Patterdale and the bus home – we say our farewells and head off in different directions. A very ‘southerly line’ that no-one else knows drops us onto the path for Seat Sandal – I nearly get this wrong but may have improved the descent route. I should take another look this later.

Rough descent most of the way and just after reaching the grass I am felled by cramp in both calfs. Phil and Dave stretch them and it eases. Eating more salted cashews and drinking water before setting off again should help but I fear it isn’t a lack of salt or fluid but a reaction to the climbing after the earlier fast pace. It maybe a combination of any or all of the above three but I know there will be more to come before it finally goes. Climbing steadily, rather then trying to catch on lost time, allows cramp into my quads but it isn’t as severe and requires only an occasional pause. Descending Seat Sandal it strikes my calfs again but not as severely and I begin to hope it is starting to recede. We lost about 10 minutes from Fairfield and reach Dunmail Raise two minutes down on the 14 hour schedule but 21 minutes up on the 15 hour one and I am delighted.

Monica Shone (the event’s Recorder) is here taking photographs and providing encouragement. She tells us Joss will be at Sty Head and David Powell-Thompson will meet somewhere after that. Ed and John Swift have joined the road team, particularly to help move pacers’ cars, and it is good to see them too. I try and fail to remember to collect a small camera here.

 

Place 14hr 15 hr Actual 14 hrs 15 hrs Actual
Kirkstone Pass - depart 03:13 03:27 03:08 08:13 08:27 08:08
Red Screes 03:36 03:52 03:31 08:36 08:52 08:31
Hart Crag 04:28 04:47 04:20 09:28 09:47 09:20
Fairfield 04:42 05:02 04:34 09:42 10:02 09:34
Seat Sandal 05:05 05:27 05:07 10:05 10:27 10:07
Dunmail Raise - arrive 05:24 05:47 05:26 10:24 10:47 10:26

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Pooley Bridge – 05:00 18th April

Cold morning and already there is some light in the sky and the moon is just going down over the ridge we will soon be climbing. These are the worst moments, I want to be off, to be away and submerged in the simple task of getting to Greendale Bridge before 20:00 tonight. No thoughts of the 30 summits, the 48 miles or the 17000 feet of climbing that lie ahead – I just want to be running again.

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With Gary and Karl waiting for 05:00

Gary and Karl seem relaxed while Pauline seems anxious, I don’t know if she is but it will be a long hard day for her and Keith doing the road support. Keith counts down, I start my stopwatch and we are away. Across the car park and down the lane, over the field and up through the caravan park and out on to the fells. Reaching the intake wall leading up the hill means we are really on our way. I am still concerned about the schedule, the first leg is tight and perhaps too fast but I don’t know if by going slower now I can be sure of making up the time later. Late last week I decided my 14 hour schedule might be too demanding at this stage so all the leg notes now show both a 14 hour & and a 15 hour (14:40) schedule and I am going to try to stay between them.

Before we are halfway to Arthur’s Pike it is bright enough to stow our torches and the early light shows this is going to be a very bright, sunny day. The ground is already dry and will only improve as the day goes on and I can hardly believe it. Before reaching the cairn marking the turn to Arthur’s Pike we can see Iain Kelly waiting by the summit. Iain is going to come as far as Fairfield before heading for home. We reach Iain 42 minutes after setting off, exactly on the 15 hour schedule.

Iain’s blog has photos of the early legs taken from just after first light until he left us on Fairfield.

This first leg is all very runnable, too runnable and so tempting when you are full of adrenaline and have been tapering for days but Gary keeps gently reminding me there is a lot of running left to do after this leg and so I stop trying to push on. The views all around are stunning and, of course, at this time of day we have the fells to ourselves – there are very few sheep around here – until approaching High Street when two deer stop to have a look before running down into Riggindale. There are no navigation problems and few route choices until leaving Thornthwaite Beacon. Between there and Stoney Cove Pike is a stoney descent and a rocky climb out but a couple of visits last autumn with Pauline identified a grassy descent and a grassy climb out both of which seemed faster than the usual routes. The final descent to the Kirkstone Inn has a number of possible lines and we had two or three looks at them until we were happy that the good grassy rake could be found from the ridge. The route to Stoney Cove Pike worked well as the splits show but we ran into clouds after Pike How and I couldn’t find the top of the rake I was looking for but we still picked up 3 minutes on the descent. This leg was ending too soon, it seemed only minutes since dawn but we had covered 16 miles & 3900 feet of climbing in 3 hours and 1 minute, 7 minutes faster than my 14 hour schedule.

Place 14hr 15 hr Actual 14 hrs 15 hrs Actual
Pooley Bridge 05:00 05:00 05:00
Arthur’s Pike 00:39 00:42 00:42 05:39 05:42 05:42
Loadpot Hill 00:57 01:02 01:02 05:57 06:02 06:02
Wether Hill 01:07 01:12 01:12 06:07 06:12 06:12
Red Crag 01:21 01:27 01:25 06:21 06:27 06:25
Raven Howe 01:25 01:32 01:31 06:25 06:32 06:31
High Raise 01:35 01:42 01:41 06:35 06:42 06:41
Kidsty Pike 01:44 01:52 01:48 06:44 06:52 06:48
Rampsgill Head 01:49 01:57 01:52 06:49 06:57 06:52
High Street 02:03 02:12 02:07 07:03 07:12 07:07
Thornthwaite Beacon 02:14 02:24 02:16 07:14 07:24 07:16
Stoney Cove Pike 02:40 02:52 02:37 07:40 07:52 07:37
Pike How 02:49 03:02 02:46 07:49 08:02 07:46
Kirkstone Pass - arrive 03:08 03:22 03:01 08:08 08:22 08:01

Arriving early meant things were a little less organised than usual and for the first time all morning we had encountered low clouds that obscured the tops and the pass was funnelling the chilling NE wind so the car park was the coldest place we had been all morning.

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Red Screes – the climb out from the Kirkstone Inn

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Just A Perfect Day

I’ll get put together a more detailed report in due course and I am still ‘gathering’ photos taken yesterday as well as trying to get to grips with Flickr so that as many as possible can be shared.

The weather was perfect, the ground was perfect, support on the hills and at the roads couldn’t have been better and Joss came up to meet us at Sty Head. I reached Greendale Bridge 14 hours and 14 minutes after leaving Pooley Bridge, comfortably within my 15 hour allowance, with a posse of other runners to help celebrate my successful traverse.

Ian Kirk posted some his photos of the first two legs, taken from just after first light and onwards, on his blog here

Rhiannon George took this portrait of Joss at Sty Head.

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Thursday, 16 April 2009

Joss Naylor Challenge – final preparations

Near daily changes to the support teams and car logistics are drawing to a close, I hope. The changes are shown below – Karl is coming all the way from Pooley Bridge to Greendale Bridge for good "Bob Graham” training day. I am looking forward to meeting Duncan and ‘newest recruit’ Rhiannon at Dunmail. It will be good to see Dave Bateson and Bill Williamson – I haven’t seen them since last August’s 55at55 attempt – as well as Karl and Rachel whom I haven’t seen for a good while.

Car logistics seem to have been particularly difficult but they all seem sorted now. Thanks, in particular, to Ed Swift and Dave Bateson getting a spare set of keys sorted last night. Two more rest days and then I can run again! Since Friday’s race I have done 20 minutes on my turbo trainer on Saturday, 10 mile near flat run on Sunday followed by 15 miles on my mountain bike, 11 miles on my road bike on Monday and finally a gentle 4 mile run on Tuesday morning.

The weather forecast is still improving and is beginning to look pretty good for Saturday – I hope it stays that way because I have enough experience of the difference bad weather can make. This will be the first attempt of 2009 and I hope it goes as well as the first attempt of 2008 when we were privileged to help John Swift reach Greendale Bridge not only ahead of his schedule but in time for a cup of tea with Joss and Mary afterwards.

Thanks to everyone who helped and cajoled me through the winter’s training. At times it can seem like a long slog but days on Kentmere, both with Pauline & Colin, reminded me how good even the slog can be. Club mates at Horwich RMI and friends in The Rucksack Club provided constant encouragement and Pauline, most of all, provided never ending support.

There could be a lot of runners on the last leg and Pauline, having managed the Road Support all day, should be able to join me on it. Other runners have called and emailed to say they are going will try to meet me part way round to say hello and help me enjoy the day. I hope we all have a grand day out in the hills because this, to me, is fell running at its very best.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Calder Vale 10

Despite threatening all morning the rain stayed away until after the race and without any wind it was almost not cold. The first two downhill miles are always too fast and then the next three almost flat ones are a bit of a struggle. 35:16 at halfway meant a PB wasn’t going to happen because the climbing hasn’t started yet. The 6 mile hill wasn’t as bad as I remembered and there were runners to chase although one guy came past as though he was going downhill. I had hoped to pick a place or two on the long descent but there was no-one close enough. I did get away from another runner who had been chasing/pulling me along for the last three miles. Reeling in the runner in front on the long second climb worked I got past him just after the summit and then eventually away from him on the descent. Three or four more places in the last mile suggest I could have gone quicker in the middle but I don’t have the experience of this type of racing to know what pace I can sustain. My 71:53 was quicker than my 2008 and 2007 times so I am not disappointed and Pauline wasn’t disappointed to finish just outside her 2008 time but under 90 minutes.

 CV10_ElevationCV10_Pace

 

CV10_Splits

The splits show how fast the first two miles are or how little control over my pace I have. Miles 6-8 involve a long lovely downhill bookended by two climbs and then there is enough downhill to the finish to encourage you to stretch your legs – if you have anything left.

 

This completed my week with a total of 51.5 miles; 9988 feet spread over 14:24:52.

Next week will be far fewer miles and almost no climbing.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Taper – 1st Week

It isn’t quite over and there will an update on the Calder Vale 10 road race which is described as the best “tough” race this month. Dominic Walsh is quoted, “I was amazed at how there came to be  more uphill stretches than downhills, especially as as the downhills weren’t even steep” – aren’t road runners sweet? Certainly not a PB course; it is good testing hilly route but more of that later.

The Cumbrian Traverse might not be everyone’s idea of tapering but I had to start somewhere and the alternative was a 60 mile crossing of the Lake District with the Rucksack Club which makes it seem almost sensible. I have had a couple early morning runs and two days complete rest so I am looking forward to Calder Vale and a 50 mile week.

Next week will be really short, probably one day in the Dales on Sunday with Pauline (who has a pretty tough weekend – CV 10 today, usual Sat 14-46 and then the Dales on Sunday but I am just jealous) after a rest day tomorrow and then just a couple of mornings.

Joss Naylor Traverse – Support Teams III

The previous one was version II because the original version although it lasted a long time never made the blog but I hope this one is the final one. Road support remains unchanged although some of the additional assistance may need rescheduling as the number of cars remains “uncertain at this time”.

Road Support: Pauline & Keith Foster with help from Ed & John Swift, Nicole Kirkham and John Coope

Pooley Bridge to Kirkstone Inn: Gary Murray & Karl Taylor

Kirkstone Inn to Dumail Raise: Gary Murray, Karl Taylor & Dave Bateson

Dunmail Raise to Sty Head: Duncan Richards, Rhiannon George & Karl Taylor

Sty Head to Greendale Bridge: Bill Williamson & Rachel Metcalfe, Duncan Richards, Rhiannon George & Karl Taylor

The weather (forecast) is beginning to look better but it it still for 7 days ahead and little more than a guess at this stage. The last leg will be slow, perhaps painfully slow, and it gives a chance for the road support team to join on all or part of it so that we can all finish off the final summit, Middlefell together – if it all works and I am on schedule.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Joss Naylor Traverse 18th April – Support Teams

Injuries forced a couple of last minute changes and there is still time for more but the support teams are as shown below. Special thanks and due to Duncan Richards who stepped in yesterday when a second runner on the Dunmail-Sty Head leg declared an injury. Originally Adrian Hope and Paul Murray were helping on this leg but both are injured. My wife, Pauline, will, as always, manage the Road Support with help all day from Keith. Ed, Nicole and John are going to help later in the day when there are, or may be, more cars to move. The last minute changes mean the final logistics are still to be settled.

 

Road Support:

Pauline

Keith Foster

Additional Help: John Coope Ed Swift Nicole Kirkham

Pooley Bridge to Kirkstone Pass:

Phil Dewhurst

Gary Murray

 

Kirkstone Pass to Dunmail Raise:

Gary Murray

Dave Bateson

 

Dunmail Raise to Sty Head:

Karl Taylor

Duncan Richards

 

Sty Head to Greendale Bridge:

Bill Williamson

Rachel Metcalfe

Karl Taylor

 

My schedule is further below (http://fss55at55.blogspot.com/2009/03/joss-naylor-challenge-14-hour-schedule.html) so if you are on the hills on the 18th look out for us.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Unfinished Business – Cumbrian Traverse

At around 06:00 on Saturday morning Pauline and I along with Keith Foster and Gary Murray left Broughton Mills just before first light in a gentle drizzle. Forecast suggested a difficult morning but a 90% cloud free afternoon and while the wind might build through the morning it would decline in strength in the early afternoon. If first light wasn’t far away neither was the clag although it did appear to be lifting a little, perhaps. Great Stickle (987 ft) was wreathed in clouds and by the time we reached Stickle Pike (1085 ft) a little later the clouds were above the summit – this, however, would be the only summit where anything beyond the hand at the end of your arm could be seen. The Three Shires Stone road crossing some 4 hours later allowed us to, briefly, drop out of the clouds. Occasional showers of rain drifted through most of the morning, never heavy and never prolonged but as we gained height the strength of the wind grew disproportionately. Coniston Old Man to Swirl How was difficult and cold and leaving Great Carrs was very difficult and Pauline was having trouble staying upright. Heavy rain driven by the (now) very strong wind was punctuated by blasts of hailstones – the joys of a Lakeland spring. By Esk Pike, almost seven and a half hours from the start there was no sign of the wind abating and while the rain had stopped we were all having trouble moving fast enough to keep warm. No matter how much any of us wished for signs of the wind dropping they just weren’t there. Re-grouping at Esk Hause, we decided we couldn’t keep warm for another 5 hours in these conditions and that continuing would run the very real risk of hypothermia.  Even “finishing” here meant we still had another 13 miles to cover before reaching a car or a fish and chip shop! Retiring to Borrowdale valley was the only realistic option and, perhaps surprisingly, we took it and headed down Grains Gill for Keswick. Neither the rain nor the wind had finished with us and eventually, about 6 hours late, the weather improved.

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Stickle Tarn from Stickle Pike at 06:50 and seven hours later our next view -  Grains Gill

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Evening sun below Stickle Pike (– how it should have been all afternoon)

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Early Sunday morning in Duddon Valley and the start of a near perfect day!

Friday, 3 April 2009

Cold Windy Saturday – Bright Sunny Sunday

Last Week: 71 miles; 10250 feet; 13:03:29

Third consecutive week over 70 miles averaging over 10,000 feet each week which I am pleased with. Legs are tired but niggle free although both feet have very slight niggles that are actually better than they were two weeks ago. Didn’t ever think I would miss track sessions on Tuesdays but I do. However the extra miles and more significantly the extra climbing the run up Winter Hill provides is more valuable at this time of year. Three years ago I did both, running morning and night Monday to Thursday but that isn’t a year on year training regime. Keeping Monday and Wednesday evenings for other things is working well.

Saturday’s run was unusual, almost unique because I have, very occasionally, done long road runs on a Saturday when the weather was bad. Halfway through my early road run I turned into Georges Lane and a strong cold head wind. Realising it would be worse, much worse, on the top of Winter Hill I started wondering about the wisdom of another wind battered session. Some quick sums showed 5 laps of these road loops would amount to 21.5 miles and 4000 feet of climbing. I wouldn’t avoid the wind altogether but I would miss the worst of it. I would only need to carry a car key and stop for a drink at the end of every lap and a bit when I wanted it. Just need to get my head round 5 laps all on the road but that wasn’t too difficult and it provided some interesting splits - 41:12, 41:05, 41:11, 41:28 and 43:31. Wheels fell off on the last one, maybe not enough food or perhaps simply weariness. This may be worth trying again as ran faster than I would have off road and my legs felt worse than they usually do.

On Sunday Pauline and I went to Kentmere for a clock-wise run round the Horseshoe in beautiful conditions. The wind hadn’t gone away and it was particularly unpleasant in Harter Fell but couldn’t spoil another wonderful day on these fells.

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Last Night’s Ice and Thornthwaite Beacon without any visitors

2009-03-29_Kentmere_ 013Head of Kentmere valley

Next Week: Cumbrian Traverse

With Pauline, Keith Foster (who we met when Colin and I went round Kentmere) and Gary Murray both of whom are helping on my Joss Naylor attempt in a couple of weeks time for an attempt on this 35 mile 12,000 feet crossing of the Lake District from Broughton Mills in the south to Keswick in the north. It has been done once already this year, in the fastest time ever of just over 10 and a half hours but our pace will be somewhat more sedate. This will be a self-supported attempt which means although we can collect water on the way we will have to carry all our food – having packed it last night I know how heavy 13-14 hours worth of food is. It should be a good long day in the hills and the weather forecast doesn’t look too bad and it suggests the day will improve as it goes on rather than the other way round. More details here http://www.gofar.eclipse.co.uk/cumbrian%20traverse.html I suspect Sunday will be a quiet day.