Saturday, 28 January 2012

Keld to Richmond

Once I got off the bus at Keld I was shocked to feel how cold it was compared to Richmond that was further down the dale so hanging about before the run wasn't an option.
To start with, Keld was just on the snow line and a light snow had covered the road but traffic had worn most of it away. It was a postcard picture and if it wasn't so cold I could have hung around a while and got a few photos but a job had to be done and now it was time to get on with it.
The first half of the run from Keld to Reeth is on a narrow road where oncoming vehicles have to slow down to pass or in some instances even have to pull over to the side and stop so with this in mind vigilance was the name of the game and I had to keep an ear open at all times for vehicles approaching from behind.
Running on a strip of tarmac between two limestone walls was rather picturesque, and with the old trees lining the road I was amazed with the colours around me. The colours of the moss on the walls and trees was anything from mild brown through to a beautiful bright green. Then there was the lichen which was anywhere between light grey to a lovely golden yellow.There was also an abundance of snow drops along the way which stood straight up like soldiers on parade as I went past.
After about 4 miles a friend of mine stopped his ash cart to see if I wanted a lift home and on asking him if I looked like I needed a lift he answered “yes”. (Bloody hell, do I really look that rough?).
After politely declining his offer he just told me I was mad and shaking his head we parted company.
Approaching Reeth he stopped yet again and asked if I was ready for a lift and again on declining the offer he again shook his head and drove away.
Now looking back I think I can say that I am either mad or I just like to be out of my comfort zone now and again.
Passing through the small hamlets as I slowly made my way down the valley it was easy to see why some people want to move out of the city and live in the dales. Life is a lot slower and the scenery is out of this world. What more could you wish for when you open your curtains in a morning. Rather than looking at concrete buildings and listening the sounds of cars and buses going by, you see a vast wilderness with green pastures, hills rising into the sky with the streams running down the gills between them.
After 13 miles I reached Reeth and the snow had all but gone and I just had to stop at the bakery and get a cheese and onion pasty before heading to the Swaledale Outdoors shop to have a chat with Richard the proprietor who was happy to make me a cup of tea to compliment the pasty but after a quick chat it was time to move on as I was now starting to cool down.

This second part of the run was done on wider roads but with that came more traffic and the scenery was now more bland as the hills and gills were now behind me.
Soon after Reeth I started to feel my old arthritis starting to come back into both big toes and also the soles of my feet were starting to get rather warm. I suppose that heat problem is expected after a long run on tarmac but the mild arthritis comes and goes intermittently and can slow things down tremendously.
On top of that, an old ankle injury has popped up again and over 24 hours later it is still giving me a hard time and even though I have been taking ibuprofen for the pain I have not been able to run today.
Looking at these aches and pains it seems to be something I will just have to put up with as a mature runner and looking back a few years, I can remember a back problem I used to have when driving long distances that no longer occurs since I stopped driving trucks and I have never had even a twitch in the back since starting to run regularly almost two years ago.

To view the run in detail go to my Garmin page  

The start looking down the Swale valley from Keld

Further down the valley with a view from just above Thwait.
Thwait can just be seen on the right hand side of the photo

Close knit communities like this are in abundance in the Yorkshire Dales

Green meadows and lime stone walls along with frequent lime stone buildings are a common site in Swaledale 

Friday, 6 January 2012

18 mile road run

Today's run was the longest for a long time and needed doing to kick start the training plan for this year.
On leaving home it was nice and sunny and a far cry from what we have been experiencing in the north of England all week with the high winds and rain but by the time I got to the other side of Catterick the sun had disappeared , the clouds came over and the air cooled down by a couple of degrees. Cool enough for my sunglasses to start steaming up so they had to come off as well.
After Catterick, it was onwards to Scotton and past Vimmy Barracks where the Paras 10 race is held every year. (I'm considering of doing P company in boots and 35lb bergen again this year but I might TAB the 4.5 miles from home to the 10 mile event over the army training ground, do the race and hen TAB back home again at the end).
Now out of Scotton and onto the Bedale road for a short while before turning left and heading to Tunstall. Just at the start of Tunstasll there is a lane off to the left called Stripe lane which is an unclassified road that has very little traffic on it and is a pleasure to run on. I have never run on the full length of this road before so it was a pleasure to get away from the cars for a while. What made this such a lovely part of the run was the fact that in the open fields near Hornby there was a couple of large herds of dear grazing and in the distance I could even make out a herd of buffalo. (Now there's something you don't see everyday around these parts).
Have you ever tried buffalo meat by the way? I've never had the meat but I have had buffalo burgers on many occasion. Very spicy and if you cook them on the grill there is no fat what so ever coming out of them. (Ermmm, can't wait for the next farmers market to come to town).
After joining the road again at Hakforth (Had my first pint of beer in the Greyhound Inn when I was only thirteen. In fact I was very drunk by the time I came back out) it was a slight uphill drag to East Appleton before dropping down to the A1 flyover and into Catterick Village.
It would have been very nice to have stopped off at the chip shop on the way through the village but I settled for a couple of bites of Clifbar Shot Blocks and a drink of HIGH 5 ZERO berry flavoured electrolite.
Now I was running on the footpath alongside the main road toward Catterick Bridge and the traffic was slowly getting on my nerves but I just had to put up with it now and even got worse when I cleared Brompton on Swale as there was no footpath and some the drivers were very reluctant to even move a couple of inches, let alone a couple of feet.
By this time my legs were slowly getting the better of me and I was reduced to a few seconds walking every now and then just to get a breather and most of the hill into Richmond from ST Trinians was done at walking pace but I still managed to pick the pace up again once I got back onto the flat.
After Maison Dieu it was all down hill for well earned hot soak followed by scrambled egg and beans on toast.

To view a more detailed plan of the route and the split times go to my Garmin page

Follow this link Map My Run and click on the 3D button on the right side of the map to see a fly over video of the route

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Just a quick update

Well I haven't had the time to blog for a while so I thought now was the time for a quick update.

A lot has happened since the Grimsthorpe ultra and already thoughts are starting to enter my head about next years event. I now know that I can run 70 miles. (Even if it was a struggle, I did it). Now looking the next year I was wondering whether to go and get a better time for the 70 or go all the way and try for the 105. this has the same cut off time as the 70 (26 hours) but looking back, I entered the 70 with doubt I my mind as to whether I could do it with my age and lack of experience against me. I did it, and now I feel it is time to move on and go back with that same doubt about the 105. another 12 months training will have gone by and I can always look back at last years mistakes and learn from them. That includes pacing, nutrition and getting help from the sports therapists on site as soon as I get my first twinge instead of leaving it until it is too late.
“If I don't try, I will never know”.

As I said at the start, a lot has happened since then including completing Paras 10 again but this time only in trainers rather than the full outfit of boots and 35lb bergan that I did it in last year.
A week after that I ran the Great North Run and in October I managed to knock a full 5 minutes off last years time for the Richmond 10k.

I'm also getting out a lot more with both the Swaledale Runners Club two nights a week and also with the Reeth Trail Running Group on a Sunday morning.
Both these will help with my training for the Grimsthorpe ultra as there are plenty of hills in both locations and Swaledale Runners also do speed training on a Tuesday night which is hard work but well worth the effort.
I'm also doing a long run on a Friday as this is one of my days off work, Eileen is at work so I get Friday to myself. 
(Pity it doesn't always work that way with life's little problems always getting in the way).

Cross training is also going down well with mountain biking on the local trails and also out on the moors in Swaleldale. I'm also doing the odd session on the eliptical trainer but to be honest I find that a bit boring so I've added a tv to the spare room where the trainer is situated.
More training to come is floor training such as sit ups, press ups, etc, along with pull ups on the bar that is fitted to one of the doors in the house. Free weights are also in the pipeline and all these exercises should help with my core strength.

That's it for now but I will try and update more often. (Hopefully on a weekly basis).

Thursday, 6 October 2011

You don't look like a runner

Thought I'd just share this poem with you about being a Great North Runner

You Don't Look Like A Runner
You? You couldn't run for a bus
or to the end of our street.
You haven't got the right shoes,
You haven't got the right feet,

You make Jabba the Hutt look graceful,
You just weren't Born to Run,
You couldn't pace set for a snail,
You're more funeral than fun.

You're more gradual than evolution,
Slower than a three toed sloth's brain,
You suffer more delays than
A GNER train.

You are...well you're hefty,
You've got wobbly bits and breasts
And bingo wings and lumps
That weren't designed for vests.

Your only experience of half a Marathon,
Is scoffing a renamed chocolate bar,
If you could you'd get to your kitchen
By driving there in your car.

I reply with all the numbers,
The pounds that I will lose
The pounds that I will make
The calories I will use.

The 54 000 other runners,
The 30 years of history,
The 21 water stations,
The millions raised for charity.

But I don't have to be a mathematician either,
And reach for numbers ever bigger,
To show the impressive shrinkage
In my sweating or my figure.

I don't have to be an athlete,
I don't have to make like Zola Budd,
I don't have to beat a record
In order to feel good.

I just want to feel connected,
To be part of something more,
To train my body and my mind
To reach something they've never reached before.

I still won't look like a runner,
And a runner won't look like me
But when I've done my 13 miles
A Great North Runner is what I'll be.

Kate Fox

Happy running

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Grimsthorpe 70

Pre Race

The last few days have been rather crazy to say the least.
As I was working the late shift last week I managed to swap a shift with a colleague which meant finishing work at 10:30pm on Wednesday and going back in at 6:30am on Thursday but with my son in law and running partner Paul Bennett turning up about 11:30 I managed to get about 4 hours sleep before the alarm went off at 5:00 o'clock.
Finishing work at 1:15pm I then dashed home, showered got something to eat, did some last minute kit checks and loaded the car before driving the 3 hour journey to the camp site near Bourne in Lincolnshire.
Sat-nav took us strait in and within no time we had the tent up tea brewed and dinner on the stove.
Now it was time to call home and report in. my wives first words were why didn't you take that new sleeping mat I just bought you? What? Why have you left your air mattress at home? Things could only go down hill from here.
Dinner out of the way and a couple more cups of tea later, the light was fading and it was time to turn in and relax before the god only knew what the following day. Have you ever tried sleeping in a sleeping bag with nothing below you except a very thin ground sheet? (Not recommended believe me). Apart from that I had no pillow so was relying on my kit bag for some kind of comfort. Well, by morning I had had about 3 hours of broken sleep and with the lack of sleep the night before things were just not looking good.
Cup of tea, tent packed away and we were in the car and on our way to Grimsthorpe Castle which was only about 8 miles away.
After registering we got the smaller 2 man tent put up to hold the kit that we would need during the the event.
I ate a pot of cold Italian style pasta while we listened to the race briefing at 8:00 o'clock then tried to chill out for while before making our way down to the start line for 9:00 o'clock.

The Race
All lap times include stoppage time at the main check point as the next lap time started as the runner was checked in.

The route itself was a 10 mile course consisting of 7 laps and after a quick good luck message for Keith the organizer, the horn blew and we were away.
(The 105 mile runners had to follow Keith who was driving his 4x4 for a short 5 mile loop before joining the rest of us on the 10 mile course).
Me and Paul set off with the intention of running at least one full lap so settling down to what we thought was a decent pace a ran about two thirds of the way down the pack at a pace of just over 5mph and we were going out on the second lap after just 1hr 55min.
We then discussed slowing down a little and decided to run the easy sections and walk the hills but Paul got carried away a little and after I had a nature stop I never saw him again until later on in the race.
Now we were both running our own races which were mostly with ourselves rather than the other runners so I settled into a steady run with brisk walks up the hills for the next couple of laps.
The second lap was done in 2hrs 9min so still not bad considering the amount of walking and the third one was covered in 2hrs 48min and but that included a short pit stop back at the main checkpoint. (Start/Finish line).
Pit stops after each lap were the norm now to top up water and take on extra energy foods etc and the following lap was covered a little faster in 2hrs 42min.
It was 18.37 when I came in on lap 4 and as it was raining I decided to change into some warmer clothing and but mu Montane featherlite jacket on to keep dry and as this took up extra time, lap 5 was done in 3hrs 14min but the time wasn't helped by the fact that I was now starting to feel a pain in the side of my left knee which was enough to make me limp al little.
Even so, the fact that I had covered 50 miles in a little under 13 hours put me on course for getting the 70 miles done in under 20 hours which was the goal I had in my head.
Going out on lap 6, I was feeling a little apprehensive about using the head torch bur after about a mile the pain started to get stronger in my knee and not long after it had really slowed me down to a stupid limp which meant a slow walk for the rest of the lap. The pain wasn't helped by the fact that a lot of the course was over limestone trails and grass so dropping into potholes and kicking clumps of grass in the dark all added to the pain.
Not only was it slow going but because of this I was not going fast enough to produce any body heat and there was times when I shivering uncontrollably and felt that hypothermia might have been kicking in.
That was definitely the worst lap of the event and every runner that passed me asked if I was ok. “Yes I'm ok but I'll sort my knee out when I get back to the checkpoint”.
About ½ mile before the end of the lap a voice familiar voice came from behind.
Kev, is that you? Paul had just turned up and was about to finish his last lap but looked about as good as I did and suffering from the same knee problem. He asked if I'd be ok on my own as he wanted to carry on and get finished so I told him to carry on and not wory about me.
Just before I got back to the check point another runner came past and after the same questions I told him I was about to call it a day.
No, you can't do that, you only have 10- miles to go. You can't give up now”.
That whole lap took 4hrs 9min to complete and really felt like giving up.
Coming into the checkpoint at 2:06am I went straight into the main tent for some physiotherapy on the knee.
During the massage I was informed that I had a tight IT band that was giving me the problem and that there was a cream available that would help me to carry on but with me still feeling the cold I said I was going to climb into my sleeping bag for a while to get warm so would go back and get some when I went back out.
Still shivering I crawled into the tent, struggled into the sleeping bag and crashed out but woke every now and then by the pain in my leg. Not only that, Paul as now in his bag and struggling to cope with cramp in his legs.
(I hate to think what people thought about all the groaning noises coming out of that tent at three in the morning).
I woke at 6:00 to the tent shaking in the wind and rain bouncing of the thin material and really didn't want to go back out and do that last 10 miles and I was still ready to call it all off until I finally came to my senses nudged Paul and told him I was going out to finish the job. Your crazy, your bonkers was about all I got out of him except please don't fall on my legs on the way out. (Bloody wuss).
I went to the main tent at 6:30 to let them know I was going back onto the course but couldn't find anyone from physio to sort my knee out. In fact it didn't feel too bad so I hit the course running for a while but soon felt the pain coming back on while running the downhill sections and after a couple of short attempts I decided to stick to a brisk walk. Half way round it was time for breakfast which included jelly babies and a bottle Gatorade.
“Man” I was imagining what each of them babies were and came up with a great game. The yellow ones were egg flavoured with the red ones being bacon. Orange was beans and white ones were mushrooms. But the real treat was black. “Black pudding). Wow, did they taste good.
And what about that Gatorade? That was the best cup of coffee I have ever had.
Breakfast out of the way and it was now time to kill this lap and go home.
About 3 miles from the finish I passed Ria Bright who also looked in a bad way but she assured me she was ok so I carried on but after about 100mts I looked back to see her on her knees with her head on the ground. After returning to check her out she again told me she was ok but just trying to get a couple of minutes sleep. (That's one hell of a way to sleep Ria).
3 hours and 6 minutes after starting that last lap it was all over.
Job done! Mission accomplished! Call it what you like but this guy has just completed a 70 mile ultramarathon at the age of 58 after just 18 months of running.

Post Race

My race was finally over at 9:36am and it felt like a great weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
One thing that kept me going and got me back out of that sleeping bag was the thought of all the people that had sponsored me for the Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team.
I am convinced that the kit I was wearing also gave me the edge. I wore Skins ¾ length compression tights for the day run and changed into the full length ones for the colder night time run. I know I suffered from stiff upper limbs and a tight IT band but without these tights things could possibly have been a lot worse.
As for the footwear, I was wearing Salomon XR Crossmax trail shoes with a pair of More Mile London socks. I can honestly say that I have never had one blister during or after the event even though a lot of the later stages meant running through wet grass. Because of the lack of blisters I was reluctant to change either the shoes or the socks thinking that this idea could have been a bad move.
In fact the only thing I change before leaving Grimsthorpe was my footwear choosing a pair of Clarks slip ons for the drive home. The Skins were left on to aid muscle recovery which I think worked as I recovered a lot quicker than Paul did.
Between the two of us we must have put on a great performance while trying to take the tent down as we both had trouble getting down to pull the pegs out and fold the tent up.
After some effort the tent was just scrunched up and thrown into the car boot with the rest of the gear thrown in any old how.
A few photos later and goodbyes said to the few remaining people on site and we were on our way home but first we had to stop and have some real food rather than pasta, gels, jelly babies or electrolytes. With us both now having well over 24 hours of sweat stuck to our bodies we didn't fancy eating in a cafe so decided on a McDonalds. [I know] not real food but at least this time it just tasted great and kept us going until we got home.
On over three hours in the car we finally got home but it wasn't easy getting out of the car or walking to the house which gave some of the locals a bit of bit of a laugh.
Once in the house it wasn't long before some weird and wonderful smells were wafting about and I was told in uncertain terms to get them socks in the garden and leave them there.
I had three cans of lager that night and went to bed at 9:15, fell strait to sleep and never even heard the five Grandchildren playing outside the bedroom door.

It is now Tuesday and I have been back at work for couple of days and things are starting to improve. The legs have no stiffness but my knee is still sore a little after I have been sat for a while. The lack of sleep is now starting to catch up and this morning was the worst morning for getting out of bed as I have to get up at 5:15 to be at work for 6:00. I think this morning was even harder than getting out of the sleeping bag on Saturday to do another 10 miles.

That's about it then but I would like to thank Fat Feet  who organised such a great event. The marshals also need mentioning as they were great and couldn't do enough for you when returning to camp after every lap. They were very friendly, helpful and full of encouragement.

Another mention should go to Liz Tucker and her colleague (sorry, can't remember his name) from 9 Bar who produce some great tasting, nutritious energy bars and who were sponsors at the event and were handing out energy bars for most of the race. and they were still there to see the final runners coming in. During the race Liz was giving me a lot of moral support as well as motivation and I thank her very much for that. 

 Sprint finish for the cameras (all of about 5 mph)

Photo shoot with Sarah L Hutton on the left (One of the 105 mile runners) and Ria Bright (centre) 

This is the wages for over 24 hours hard work

Monday, 4 July 2011

Osmotherley Phoenix

So that's it! 16 months after getting off the couch and starting to run I am now a fully fledged ultra marathon runner.

The day kicked off at 5:30am with a couple cups of coffee and a kit check before heading for Osmotherley at 6:30.
Arriving at the car park at 7:00 and after another a final kit check it was time to make my way to the village hall nearly ½ mile away to register and pick up my tally. All done and it was now a matter of just mingling with other runners/walkers and waiting for the church clock to strike 9:00.

At the chime we were off and strait into an uphill climb out of the village before turning onto the Cleveland Way and onto the trails. The first check point came after a couple of miles which was just a bucket drop to drop a numbered token in before heading along the edge of Arncliffe Wood and dropping down the slopes to Scugdale.
After Scugdale, we were then getting stuck into the first big climb of the day onto Carlton Bank. Once at the top and the tally clipped at CP -2 we carried on along the Cleveland Way but reaching the bottom of Cringle Moor there is an option of climbing over the moor which in turn means climbing onto Cold Moor and Hasty Bank or take the easier but slightly longer route of going around the northern slopes. I went for the easier option but even this was rather undulating with small gullies coming down from the higher ground. At least getting into the shelter of the trees at Broughton Plantation was a brief respite from the sun that was seemed to be getting warmer by the minute. After dropping down the hill from the plantation I then came to CP-3 so taking a few minutes to take on water and a couple of home made cakes it was time for the next steep climb onto Urra Moor where CP-4 (self clip) was located at a trig point on top of the moor then it was time to leave the Clevland Way and head across the moor towards the next check point at Chop Gate.
It was on the way across the moor at mile 14 that I encountered my first problem. (Cramp).
I couldn't believe it, 14 miles of a 33 miler and and cramp was setting in in my left upper leg. I stood massaging it for a while but found it might be easier to walk on it for a while and soon eased and I was able to start running again.
CP-5 in the car park at Chop Gate was a relief with more cakes and I topped my water up for the next big climb onto the Cleveland Hills and once the cramp set in on the steeper slopes heading for the moor so resting it a while I then carried on and once the climbing was done it was a nice easy crossing of the moor before another ascent to Wheat Beck and CP-6.
At this point the 26 mile route turned off and because of the cramps it would have been very easy to have had a word with the check point attendants and taken the easy option but that isn't me. I set out to run an ultra marathon and an ultra marathon I was going to complete, no matter what.
Now for what I thought was going to be a tough navigational exercise turned into a rather easy section as all the front runners had laid the grass down in the fields and it was just a matter of following the trail of flat grass. It was only Blueberry Wood that I needed to get the map out as a few of us were baffled about which track to to take to got us to the next check point. As I had recced this section only last week and got it wrong I was a bit sceptical when we all decided to take the same turning as I had took last week but as it turned out I had missed a Stile and so going through that we crossed a couple of fields before hitting another track which took us to CP-7 at Hawnby.
That was the last manned check point and about 8 miles to the finish but what lay ahead was over 4 miles of climbing onto the Hambleton Hills. Just after leaving CP-7 I was hit with the cramp again and just told the others to carry on as I would be ok. Now on my own again and the cramp kept kicking in every few minutes I was beginning to wonder if things were going to get worse so I had to glance behind me every now and then to see if anyone was behind me but I never saw another sole until the race was nearly over.
After the climb over the moor I finally joined the Cleveland Way again and this point was
another self clip check point. Turning right it was now a gradual climb across the moor but the cramp had now started to hit the other leg and praying that they wouldn't both kick in together I could only manage a fast walk but when I got to the final descent all I wanted to do was get to the finish line so I started running again but even this wasn't easy as the trail was now bolder ridden and uneven but when I rounded one of the bends I could see two of the guys I had been with at CP-7 walking in front of me and I managed to catch the up at Oak Dale reservoir but unfortunately as we got into another steep climb the cramp came back with a vengeance and again I was left to fend for myself.
Making my way back into Osmotherley wasn't as easy as I thought it was going to be as the organisers had manage to put a sting in the tail of this great event. After crossing a stream via a foot bridge I was hit with a flight of steps which just seemed to go on and on and every one was taken very slowly as my upper legs were now aching and I just did not want the cramp to set off again but every time I lifted a leg I could feel it agitating in the back ground. Once up the steps there was a narrow lane but I could still only walk this as the sun was full in my face and I could hardly see a thing.
After coming out onto Back Lane on the outskirts of the village I mustered up all the strength I could to run and as I it the main road it was another uphill run to the finish and as I rounded the corner the cheers and applause came out and that to me felt like my very own chariots of fire finish. I had done it. (Not fast but I had done it).

So now, 48 hours later, have learned.
For a start, I was using a 2ltr hydration pack with electrolytes added and though I was sipping at regular intervals, when I stripped the bag down I found that I had still only drunk 1ltr. So in future I need to drink more electrolytes and maybe check the pack from time to time. I will try and do it differently at the Grimsthorpe 70 as that event is a 7 lap event and making sure I drink a couple of bottles per lap could help.
Another thing I learned is that no matter what how bad the pain is, it is still possible to run through it. Even if I did have to hobble along now and then. 2 days later and I have already been out and done a couple of miles run just to loosen up a little which I think has worked and I hope to do a club run tomorrow on Tuesday.
I'm quite confident now that Grimsthorpe is possible and I'm aiming to run it in under 20hrs.

Click on the Garmin link to see the full route and stats.  

This is what it was all about.
One piece of paper and a cloth badge. I ran so far for so little but I'm so glad that I could run through the heat and the pain to get this prize. (That badge means more to me than any other medal to date). 
I have now gone from couch potato to 58 year old ultra marathon runner in only 16 months.
Just goes to show that anyone who is able can do the same if they set your mind to it.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Recce run for the Osmotherley Phoenix

Set out from Clay Bank car park this morning with clear blue sky's again but it wasn't long before the clouds started to roll in from the south. Left the car park and got strait into the first climb of the day which followed the Cleveland Way onto Ura Moor then checked out the trig point which is self clip CP-4 then retraced my steps for a couple of hundred yards before heading off across the moor towards the village of Clap Gate.
The car park here is CP-5 so after some refreshment it was onward and upward once again and out onto the Cleveland Hills. I'm just glad I had my treking poles with me to pull myself up that bitch of a climb onto the moor. (It will be worse on the day as I will probably have tiered lags by then).
Once on the moor it was an easy run across the top and nice decent down to Wheat Beck (CP-6).
Now it was just a matter of retracing my steps so tried out the Garmin navigation which was spot on and even told me when a turn was coming up.
By the time I'd got back onto the moor the wind had got up even more but it wasn't a problem as it just served to keep me cool and luckily the rain that was forecast didn't arrive.
Back at Clap Gate, I realised I was running out of time as I had other arrangements at home so I decided to just follow the road back to the car park.
That wasn't an easy task as there was a motorcycle rally on at Helmsley and I think every motorcyclist in Teeside was heading that way, so it was one mad and noisy road.
Back at the car park I me one of the riders who just happened to be a runner so we talked for quite a while and he couldn't get over the fact that I was about to run 33 miles over that terrain. (I just had to tell him I was planning on doing 70 miles later in the year. “That made his mouth open a little”).
If I get chance, I want to go back next week and check out the terrain between CP-6 and CP-7 as there is a lot of field work to navigate through. The rest of the route shouldn't be too bad as most of it follows the Cleveland Way.

I have to put my hand up now and admit that I only ran the easy bits and walked all the uphill sections but that is how it will be on the day to save energy and hopefully get round in the given time of 10 hours.
The elapsed time on the Garmin was 05:21:08 but the actual moving time was 03:55:20 which shows how much time I lost looking at the map and sorting myself out during the day. Hopefully I can keep going on the day and get in in fairly comfortable time.
I actually kept the pace at 4.4 mph and that would be good enough to get me to the finish in 7.5 hours.
I also did 3000 feet of climbing today and with the whole 33 mile event only covering 4000 feet then that is also looking good.


Check out the map of the route and all the fine details including elevation and split times etc at my Garmin page

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Redcar ½ marathon 2011

After getting up at 7:00am, downing a small portion of corn flakes and a couple of coffee's it was time to hit the road. I arrived at Redcar collage car park about 8:20 and after checking that I had everything in the bag that I needed I jumped on the race shuttle bus and was at the start line at around 8:45. I checked my bag into the baggage drop area and made my way down to the coast road where the race would start. A couple of short runs the top of the sand dunes and some other warm up exercises and it was time to get into position. Not wanting to get drawn into a fast start I joined the runners in the mid field section.
As the gun went off we headed away from Redcar towards Marske before doing a U turn and made our way back towards Redcar so as we crossed the start line going the right way we had already done over 2 miles. There was a southerly wind blowing on our backs so the first 4 miles I ran these first miles a fairly fast pace but the sun was shining in a clear blue sky so as we started to run inland it got rather warm but out on the dual carriageway the clouds started to come in thick and fast and it was a relief for the sun to be covered now and then. The roundabout at the entrance to the steel works was the turning point and it was nice to see all the other runners behind me coming the other way. At this point I backed off the pace intentionally to try and save some energy for the final couple of miles through Redcar and along the sea front. Once on the sea front the wind came back to bight me in the arse as it was now a head wind and I was having to work even harder to keep a PB pace going. Once out of Redcar and back on the Marske road it wasn't long before the finish line came into view and time for one last push to to get that PB and also, I didn't want to be seen lagging with the crowd of supporters now getting thicker. As the clock came into view it was looking close to losing that PB so one final push over the line gave me a chip time of 02:03:22. (1min 31 sec faster than last year). So I was happy to get that PB even though I was looking for something under 2 hours but with the heat on the way out and and the head wind on the way back that sub 2 just wasn't to be.
My chip position made me 825th out of 1191 finishers and included beating quite a few younger runners.

Next race is in 3 weeks time and I'm now getting more nervous as that one will be 33 miles of trail running in the Osmotherley Phoenix which takes me over the North Yorkshire Moors and my first ultra.

Congratulations to Greame Taylor (no relation) for winning the race in 1:11:07 almost a minute ahead of David Kirkland in second.

See the route and details of the run on my Garmin page

Saturday, 21 May 2011

New running group & barefoot running

Well, it's been quite a couple of weeks since I last updated the blog so here goes.
Since I started upping the mileage week by week with either running or cycling to work and then fitting in a long run on a Friday along with any thing I can fit in during the rest of the weekend.
I have also joined a newly formed Reeth running group that meet every Sunday morning and run around the trails in Swaledale. Sometimes these take us on easy flat runs along the course of the River Swale and at other time they are more strenuous and go up some of the hills and fells. At the moment a few of the guys are training for the Swaledale marathon which will be run on the 11th of June. (Pity I can't be there as I have the Redcar ½ marathon on the 12th). Never mind, there's always next year. The group is organised by the guys Swaledale outdoor shop in Reeth and you can keep up to date with events on there facebook page. Why not come along and join us sometime if you are in the area. Everyone is welcome and I have never seen a more friendly group. Everyone talks to everyone and there is no clickiness like you get in some clubs. And what more, it doesn't cost you anything. It's just a case of like minded people getting together to have a great time and to learn from each other.
If you want to see what bargains they are offering in the shop then visit them at this link

On the barefoot running side I am now running in Merrell barefoot trail gloves which are very similar to Vibram five fingers but without the toe pieces so they are a little easier to run then streets in and you don't get stared or laughed at. (Those little toe pieces sticking out of the front of the shoe just do not cut it with me). The barefoot running people say you should start with short runs and slowly build up the distance but these shoes are really beginner friendly and I ran 12 miles in them last week with no serious aches or pains afterwards.
To get more insight into these shoes then follow this link to read a full and interesting review
with tomorrows run billed as a 14 miler I will be running in the trail gloves and give them there longest run to date. If that works out ok then I will think about running the Redcar ½ marathon in them as they only weigh 8oz each. (Half the weight of my normal running shoes). And you can't half tell the difference when it comes to speed and distance.

That's it for now but just remember, Redcar ½ on the 12th of June so I will be updating the blog around about then. That should be a good one as I got a time of 02:04:41 last year so I will be looking for a PB of under 2hrs. Hopefully 1:45 but that is just wishful thinking.

All the best to you all with your own personal goals and challenges in the coming months. If you are a runner, may the running gods be with you and keep you safe from injury. If you are not a runner then why not!

Friday, 6 May 2011

2 x 10 mile loops on Grinton Moor

First run in my newly acquired Skins full length compression tights. After pulling them on I wasn't sure that these tights were going to do what people were ranting on about in the reviews but at the first hill I could swear that they helped my to reach the top. Even four hours after the run there are no sign aching limbs which is very unusual for me on a run of this distance. I'm now considering investing in Skins shorts and calf socks for the summer.

The run itself on Grinton moor went to plan with a fairly fast first lap (fast for me anyway) so that I would have to work harder physically and mentally in the second. Think I need to sort my eating habits as I had a stitch for the first half of the second lap due to stopping at the car and taking on food and water. (maybe try and eat little but often while running instead.)
The weather was windy keeping the temperature around 12 Centigrade and promising to rain but that kept away. Getting back down to lower ground in Richmond it was a balmy 21 degrees.

Now just hope the aches and pains don't kick in over the weekend as I have a 8-10 mile group run at Reeth on Sunday morning.

20.04 mi
Elevation Gain:
2,580 ft
2,446 C

Moving Time:
Elapsed Time:
Avg Pace:
13:12 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:
12:57 min/mi
Best Pace:
06:59 min/mi

Elevation Gain:
2,580 ft
Elevation Loss:
2,567 ft
Min Elevation:
1,201 ft
Max Elevation:
1,838 ft

Go to my Garmin page to see the splits and more details of the run.