Sunday, 16 May 2010

Back to it (again)

First run out since getting back from the Lakes. I am lazy. Had decided to have a rest after the PPPs and Mike's run, which in a way more or less added up to two marathons on consecutive weekends, but had begun to climb the walls. Usually I have to negotiate time for running but this morning I was Sent. Bonus.

About nine miles, taking in Shurdington Hill, Crickley Hill and Lecky Hill. A different route again despite the familiar ground. Pottered along, feeling a bit stiff.

Came across some native Black Poplars - fairly rare.

The bluebells and wild garlic were out so I took a picture on the crap argos camera. A deer went crashing off through the trees.

A nice run. Good to get out. Funny thing about running: all the racing and training can sometimes detract from the core reasons for doing it in the first place.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Fairfield, St Sunday Crag, Wansfell

Well, it was more like 'Childcare in Shambleside', with snatched moments of unremarkable but very enjoyable 'Fell Action'.

Making the most of a negotiated day, leaving Rach and Ag with the kids, Pete and I walked up over Heron Pike and Great Rigg to Fairfield, and then over St Sunday Crag and down into Patterdale. Pete tucked his trousers into his socks - he meant business. Four seasons in one day - almost - we had bright sunsine to start, some hail on the tops and a few showers on the way down. Looking up Ullswater and across to High Street the light contrasts were dramatic. A couple of pints in the Patterdale Hotel and then the bus back: smashing.

Another evening I had 45mins free, so it was on with the mudclaws and off out back, along a great little footpath and up Wansfell in a still, humid evening. Went up pretty hard and was able to take five mins on the top to take in the sounds of the town floating up from the valley and the still views. I remember the wash of the steamer spreading out across a smooth Windermere. Bombed back down (the runners' shortcuts were easy to follow) and was showered and then out with Pete with enough time for a pint before picking up the takeaway.

A great holiday but, as is always the way with the Lakes, nowhere near long enough.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

24Hr Cotswold Way

Sorry for the late post. Currently in the spiritual home using a wi-fi pub :)

Well he did it! 104 miles in 23:48. A brilliant effort. Haven’t yet worked out how much ascent was involved. It’s academic really.

People talk about BGRs, Ramsay Rounds and PBRs, and I know that this isn't on the same scale, but it is still a fantastic achievement.

We set off from Chipping Campden at 21:00, but had arrived early. Rich was driving the support van, a veteran of amateur athletics over the decades he was wearing a flat cap which contrasted nicely with the Inov8 freebee super etand dart running coat that he'd been given for helping at some ultra event in Keswick. He and I sat in the foyer of a posh hotel him sipping a coffee and holding a conversation with the Polish waitress, me jumpy and exited and with a job to do. Mike’s wife, Kate, and their girls Thea and Scarlet came in after a private moment or two and then the timekeeper (forgot name sorry) turned up and we were set.

"Let's have it, Mike," I said meaning every word. They counted us down quietly, and with minimal fuss we were off, bouncing down the road, feeling fit.

It was my first so-called pacing experience and I was surprised how much there was to think about – running ahead to open gates, making sure he kept eating, getting the drinks quickly sorted at the 10 mile pit stops.

The support was always there on the section that I did. At the Stanton pit stop, as well as Rich in the support van, there was a Dave who’d turned up of his own accord. The same Dave picked us up later at the next road crossing in Stanway, and gave us a good toot of his car horn as we disappeared into the night.

"Who's Dave?"

"Lovely guy. He came up to me in the pub after the club run, shook my hand and said, 'I lost a good mate to CF. I want to give you some money."



It brings a tear to my eye to type it now. I ran ahead to open another gate. There was a job to do. What it took to bring this guy out in the middle of the night to lend his support?

The run went well. I had the compass bearing ready for the long section across fields where we'd gone arwy inthe past. Steady away.

At Cleeve we saw the torches of half a dozen Almosts with the good heart to be out at one in the morning. Unbelievable.

Next day, I was tired after my section and short sleep, but couldn’t believe that he was still going. 24 hours is a very long time to keep running.

Spoke to Mike from a Shambleside pavement.

The section after mine with Duncan went well but for one nav error. Mike stopped for a 12 min power nap at severn springs. Was an hour behind at the next checkpoint but Marek pulled him together well. Nick kept up the good work on the final section - he's a very experienced long-distance runner and must have been the perfect accomplice.

Apparently the last mile and a half came in at 7min mile pace. The adrenaline kicked in. There were loads of other Almosts at the finish.

Everyone happy. Will add some pics at a later date.

John many thanks for contacting Mike and sponsoring!