Monday, 31 October 2011

Back Racing

Well after a whole year without racing i have now done two races in two weeks.Race to the Summit on the 22nd and Great Whernside on the 29th with no real ill effects to report.

Race to the Summit
This is a nice low key 4.5 mile fast fell race (route extended by 0.5 mile this year) with 800ft ascent from the summit inn just outside Littleborough near Rochdale.The race ascends steadily for 2 miles on footpaths and dirt roads up to the whitehouse inn on the road over to Halifax and then descends on a different route for about a mile before rejoining the ascent route for the final push to the finish.After such a long break from racing i was a little nervous before the start as to how i would feel and wether or not i would reignite any troubles in my foot but all was well.Although i felt a bit stale and slow on the flatter bits i felt good on the climb and the steeper bit of the descent and managed to finish in 33:05 in 8th place out of 51 runners,this did my confidence the world of good and it was really nice just to get a good hard run under my belt.

The Whitehouse Inn high above Littleborough,the turning point for the race.

Great Whernside
The Great Whernside race for me is everything a fell race should be,it's got steep climbs,big bogs that stop you dead in your tracks,steep rocky descents,and a cracking run down into the finish,and best of all no flat in sight! I have done the race twice before and so knew to expect a high quality field,even more so this year as it was the Yorkshire Championships.After a pretty hard week of training i wasn't expecting to run that well and was just going into it for a hard training run not really bothered about time or postition but i surprised myself with my run.The race attracted a field of 175 including some top runners.The race was won in 31:06 by Carl Bell of Howgill Harriers who has been in sensational form this year including recent wins at the Three Shires and Langdale Horseshoe races in the Lake District.I finished in 28th position in 36:20 and although i jarred my knee sprinting into the finish i felt pretty good if a little blunt from a decent week of training,the race taking my total for last week to 40 miles and 9000ft ascent,which is the highest for quite some time! Hopefully keep on building on this over the winter and now the clocks have gone back it's going to be time to dig out the road shoes for some tarmac slapping.Next race is going to be the Gravy Pud race on the 2nd December and then after that it will be the new year!

Have been forming some more definitive but still provisional plans for next year on the running front.Having seen the dates and race selection for the British Championships i am now intending to run all four of the races to hopefully try and medal in the under 23's,especially excited by the long counter, the Arrochar Alps race,I have been wanting to have a crack at this beast for the last 3 years since i first heard about it and this is an ideal excuse for a trip up to race in Scotland.The races in Northern Ireland are always a great weekend away and next year it's the short but very sharp Slieve Bernargh race which i last did 2 years ago.Moel Wnion in North Wales is the other short counter and having done this race once before i know that it's going to be a cracker with the top runners in Britain racing it.The medium counter is the classic Coledale Horseshoe in the Lake District which although i haven't raced is one of my favourite parts of the Lakes.

                  The Stunning terrain taken in by the Arrochar Alps race.

Really excited about next year on the running front and hopefully getting into university and starting on a new career path it's going to be challenging and exciting year full stop.

Happy Running

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Midweek Mountains

Taking advantage of my week off i decided to head up to the lakes on tuesday,and the 4 hour round trip was well worth it.Decided to head to the Newlands Valley to have a run around the Newlands Horseshoe,pretty much the Anniversary Waltz race route (11.5 miles 3600ft ascent).Although i have spent alot of the summer walking in the mountains i haven't run in them for a good while and so was super excited,no rain and decent visibilty made it perfect running conditions and apart from the summit of catbells there wasn't many people out on the hill,which is just how i like it.Forgot how hard the slog up to Robinson is,about 2000ft in maybe 3 miles but once i got up to the summit i felt great and just drifted over to Hindscarth and over to Dale Head in a trance taking in the views over the Gables and up to Scafell Pike.The run went very quickly and before i knew it i was dropping back down into the valley to the car.I will be taking advantage of my free time midweek in the coming months to get some ascent in my legs over the winter months and hopefully it will pay off next year.

On the racing front,after a good week last week i decided to run in the Race to the Summit on saturday from Littleborough.After a hard week of training i felt a bit jaded on the climb but still managed to finsh in 8th position,which in my first race of the year is very pleasing,really looking forward to Great Whernside this saturday,although again i haven't really rested up for it,having run 30 miles and done 5000ft ascent already this week so it will just be a case of running hard and seeing what happens.

Happy Running

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Dark nights....

Winter is well on the way! Freezing cycling to college this morning. Scotland has had some snow already so hopefully it will be a good winter again.Going to buy some big silly boots and crampons and have some fun this winter instead of sulking and watching tv,one thing that wont be fun is the dark nights,which mean either snapping an ankle on head torch runs on the fells or hitting the roads.This will be my first winter of full training instead of just hitting the booze and hibernating so i intend to run on the tarmac for about 50 % of my mileage,luckily i have a free morning every wednesday so i intend to get out for a long hill run midweek and hit the hills again on the weekends,the rest will have to be road,which will hopefully bring me into the spring with a good solid base ready for the summer.

I do think something good has come out of being injured the whole year in that i am so motivated going into the winter,i'm finding it quite hard to reign myself in at the moment but i need to be sensible and remember that my main goal for next year is not until August.Speaking of plans for next year,i want to run the Duddon Valley race after last years super bonk on Dow Crag and that should lead me into some alpine adventures in July and August.The provisional plan is to head out to Italy at the end of July to run the Dolomites Skyrace then head into Switzerland for Sierre-Zinal....the greatest race in the world! then might pay a vist to Chamonix for some adventures on mont blanc but that is only a provisional plan.

Going to head up to Kettlewell for the Great Whernside race next saturday,my first race since.......Great Whernside 12 months ago!! Great race and beer afterwards.

Happy Running

                                             Great Whernside 2010

                    Summit of Piz Boe,Italian Dolomites,at 3152m/10334ft

Sunday, 9 October 2011

A good week

30 miles running for the week,the highest weekly mileage for 14 months!

Feel great and although my foot aches a bit it doesn't bother me much at all,good stuff.

The weather has been terrible this weekend and thankfully i'd planned a day of eating and drinking beer today after running every day this week so far.Ran one of my favourite local routes yesterday,up alphin and back from home,10 miles with two 1000ft ascents thrown in,one up alphin and the other after dropping right down to the valley floor to climb right back up to my house again,all off road with a bit of everything thrown in,fields,foot paths and open fell.It was very wet and misty,couldn't see anything above 1000ft on alphin.Did the run in 1 hour 26 minutes which is not far off what i was doing last summer,even more pleasing as i didn't feel like i was pushing it at all.Going to try for the same mileage this week.

                                                Alphin Pike

I have often jokingly slagged ultra running off as being for people who can't run fast enough to do real races and said i'd never get into it but having been watching alot of youtube videos and reading UTMB reports i have changed my mind! Although i wont be doing any in the next few years i can see myself trying in the future.

Some inspiring stuff going on out there..........

Happy Running