Monday, 30 May 2011

Round up

Busy few days ...did an hours recovery on the turbo on 25th, then caving in Bagshaw Cavern on 26th - just a walk in with a couple of short crawls for a few hours. Got a nice bruise on my left forearm now. Rest day on 27th.

Sat 28th run up Shelf Benches with a friend. Extended the route on last time by running all way towards Doctors Gate to the FB then left and up the steep ground towards James Thorn - then contouring round to Shelf Benches higher up than last time, and a wonderfully enjoyable trot down the track to Shire Hill. I felt good on the rougher ground on the top, keeping a slow pace where we were running as the friend I was out with normally runs on roads so was breaking her INOV8 shoes in for the first time off road. Interestingly, she stumbled a few times and I can see why fellrunners have to pick up their feet a lot more than road runners - having to constantly avoid the tuffs of grass and heather when off the path certainly adds a different element to the run which I must work on more. It was very windy on top of Shelf Benches so we didn't hang around, heading back down and retracing our steps on the hard packed/grassy track. I was deliberately keeping my line on the most difficult part of the path to build up my experience on rougher ground. Along the track over the fields, past the farm, we were on a 5:30/km pace which I was really pleased with having already done 8.5km. Back home and 10km done. Nice.  My INOV8s were comfy as, no issues whatsoever.

Total distance 10.01km; overall time 01:32:21, actual moving time 01:19:46. Stops just navigation and showing my friend various features of the route the boys were taking (they were reccying the Shelf Moor Fell Race route). Elevation gained 315m.

Its interesting running with someone else, it adds an element I'm unsure I like in some ways, particularly as this is my back garden. I was constantly wondering whether I was running too fast, too slow, if the conditions were too much for her, if the distance would be too much, or the terrain too difficult. As it was, she did fabulously, and I can see she'd make a good off road runner with some improvement in ankle strength. I already feel that my ankles are improving, just need to get my quads stronger and get out running more. I think a lot of my concerns about running with someone else are more about whether I come up to their standards, and if you run with someone often enough those thoughts would just disappear because you'd know what each other was capable of - or at least how far you can push them.

Moving on...later that day we all walked up to Wormstones (3.5km each way) and did some climbing - even me! I did 2.5 routes - giving in to my headspace on the attempt of one route but then going back to finish it off and show myself I can do it.

Sunday we hiked up to Kinder Downfall via William Clough and down next to Red Brook time 2:59:29 (moving time 2:33:29), distance 11.94km, elevation gain 437m. Lungs kicked off on the ascent and took ages to settle. Must remember to take my inhaler before getting on to the hill as that certainly helped on my last run. Weather stayed dry which was lovely after the heavy downpour in the morning, but it was very windy on top. Great to see the downfall being blown back up!!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Shelf Moor Fell Race???

It's the Shelf Moor Fell Race on 4th September this year. Will I be fit enough to give it a decent go? It's a local race, and one of Glossopdale's, so it would be nice to have a bash.

There's 1500ft/457m of climbing over 5.9m/9.5km.  2010 results have the fastest man at 40:40, slowest 1:55:03 and fastest lady at 48:49, slowest 1:46:00.

Comparing the states to my Kinder Downfall run
1439ft climb, 6.46m, total time 1:50:30 (moving time 1:30:01).

Almost the same amount of climbing, slightly longer on Kinder, and if we discount some of the stopping time on Kinder and call it 1:40 then I would not have been last. Even if we take the total time I'd still not have been last.

Does that mean I could give Shelf Moor a go? I don't see why not. I've got 4 months to improve to a point where I can run that distance and not feel totally beaten up. Seems feasible.

We went for a walk last night and stood at the 621 trig point above Higher Shelf Stones, this is the furthest easterly point of the race.

View from Hern Stones looking towards 621 trig point
Having been up on the moor it's pretty featureless and would make navigation interesting. I wonder how much of the route is flagged? FRA states course is partially marked, I somehow doubt they'll go and stick flags all the way across from Shelf stones to the top of Dowstone Clough.  I take this race as a a possibility right now and will recce it pretty soon to get a feel for it.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Breezy....or was it a Gale?

According to the Beaufort Scale the wind today looked like a steady Strong Breeze (force 6), gusting to Gale (force 8). The range in mph for 6-8 is 22 to 40mph. Having been out on the hill near Keswick on Saturday with a local Mountain Leader, and having been given a lesson in how the wind feels at 20-25mph, I can safely say that today's wind was definitely gusting stronger. You can find the Met Office Beaufort Scale here (if you're interested)

So, having established it was a tad breezy, and very rainy this morning, I tried a few delaying tactics to avoid a run. But, as it says on my notice board (written by myself)..."Run or Get Fat...the Choice is Mine". And it is. I felt a little guilty for not doing a great deal of exercise since last Thursdays run (the 10km walk at the weekend doesn't really count). Luckily the torrential sheets of rain that had been lashing down this morning stopped. So the decision was fairly easy. On with the running gear, bumbag packed with essentials (map, thumb compass, phone, tiny water bottle, inhaler, energy gel, windproof top).  A quick 5 mins on the turbo got my legs warmed up and the circulation flowing then off out in to the Strong Breeze (evidenced by the overturned wheely bins).

From home I did a steady couple of kilometres heading up towards Mossy Lea Farm, right turn and up the track towards Shelf Benches. I was walking less than last time up here so felt good. Thing is, the wind was behind me so I knew however it felt on the way out it was going to be hell breathing on the way back. I'd already had a puff on the inhaler to relax my bronchioles a little, and knew it would be unlikely to help much once straight into the wind. I don't seem to be able to run with relaxed breathing...something I need to research as I don't tend to get affected by asthma at all until I run.

Anyway, about one kilometre on, keeping Shelf Brook to my right I locate Little Clough and turn uphill. After my very (painfully) slow ascent last week up to Kinder Downfall I've decided to stick some steep uphill ground in on every run. It has to get easier. With map and compass out I navigate to a fork in the clough on the left of Little Clough, look at my garmin...still not done onwards and upwards until I hit that point. I was contemplating heading up to James Thorn, it looked ever so inviting, but knew I needed to keep something in my legs to get home. So at 4km and after gaining a little more height I turned downhill on a lovely sheep track, no sign of a path on the map, but happy to have it there. Keeping Shelf Benches to my right I pick up speed and lose height. The problem now is that the wind is directly in my face, eyes are streaming, and wind is being forced into my lungs. Great you'd think. But no, I found it difficult to breath out. For a short time I had my buff over my mouth but that just got too claustrophobic. Knowing I need to learn how to run in the wind I put the buff back on as a headband and just got on with it.

I passed two walkers with a speedy "hi" and onwards back towards the farm. 5.5km done at the turn for the farm and while I wanted to run further I know that I shouldn't be increasing my mileage more than 10% in a week. I had glanced right, up Lightside, wondering if I should do another bit of steep ground work but dismissed it...this time.  I reckoned another 2.5km and I'd be home. Easy down the track, over a couple of stiles/gates and a sharp left over the footbridge and heading South on the West side of Shire Hill. A killer of a last climb was walked, then a steady last kilometre home.  The wind was still dominating the run...this time from a near side on angle requiring my hand over my mouth just to enable me to breath out!!

Last push up to home on the road, with that stoic determination that I won't be seen walking so have to run commitment once out in the publics view. I did it. Soggy but comfortable feet, hot and thirsty.
Total distance 8.32km; overall time 01:07:31 with actual moving time 01:01:30. Stops were pretty much all just navigation checks or admiring the view. I'm pretty determined that I'll keep walking where I can't run. Elevation gained 280m.

I can see that Shelf Moor is going to be well explored come the end of summer. It's a delight having Bleaklow and Kinder on my doorstep and as I paused at the high point of today's run, I thought, wow, I live here. How amazing is this. 

Recovery from this run will be a short turbo session - steady and easy pace for 10 mins later on, then a sports massage to flush my legs of all the toxins, followed by a good stretch. Tomorrow is a Recovery Day - 45mins turbo.

Friday, 20 May 2011


Here's what I'm running in...

Walsh Classic Race
INOV8 Roclite 268

I'm actually really surprised that the Walsh's are as comfortable as they are to say that the upper part of the sole seems to be made of cardboard! I've replaced the insoles with Superfeet as I didn't want to totally destroy my feet or damage myself on the first few runs in them. I am afterall new to this fell running stuff, being more used to pounding round Blackheath and London streets for the last decade.

The INOV8s have only had a couple of outings, Shelf Benches mostly on track/grass and last night's fell run up to Kinder Downfall via Mermaids Pool, down Red Brook and back to the Kinder Reservoir. I may have had a few people comment on how clean they were last night....I'm pretty sure with all those peat bogs and more rain coming in that they won't stay this way very long at all.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Glossopdale Harriers - first training run

A little more on my first training run with the Glossopdale Harriers. There was an unusually high turn out for this Thursday evening training run, maybe 20 of us. Weirdly there wasn't much demand for a longer A group run, with only about 4 or 5 wanting to split off at the top of Kinder Downfall. Not that it would bother me, those fast guys and girls would be up the hill and off before I was halfway, no chance of me seeing them after the initial few regrouping stops. Or so I thought.

We set off from Bowden Bridge car park for what seemed like too long on tarmac. I was mildly concerned at the pace but determined not to be left behind at this early stage of my first run. Looking at the map it appears to be about 1.25km on the road, there and back would be about a third of a long run for me, so you can see why I was concerned knowing we were heading up to Kinder Downfall.

Pushing that thought to the back of my mind my next challenge was the start of the uphill....up past the side of the reservoir and a lovely path. We veered right as the path approached William Clough onto rougher ground. Now, I can claim to be a keen (and novice) fell runner but in all honesty I've not done much actual running off of paths yet. This is one area I need to do more of. Lots more. Heading approximately East we aimed for Mermaids Pool, a few kind club members had offered to look out for me and at my pace we were quickly being left behind by the rest of the group. Not that I felt any pressure now, or throughout the run to speed up, nor did I detect any annoyance that I could potentially be slowing them down. They're a good bunch and I knew I was being looked after.

At some point our group bisected the Pennine running club heading downhill....apparently there as some confusion for one of their dogs who thought it belonged to ours, me...well I was totally oblivious to that occurance as I plodded my way towards our group and under a fence and onwards.  Next target was the downfall. A lot of the group headed off fairly quickly and left me and my babysitters moving slowly on the steep traverse towards the River Kinder underneath the fall. A few had opted to head up the river pretty much and scramble up the break off group were heading straight up the steep group. By two thirds up, already after several short stops to catch my breath (to be clear we're all walking at this point given the terrain), my legs are starting to burn. More practice on steep ground is needed. Well more practice at all aspects of fell running to be fair.

Eventually I see the ridge is upon me and glance right to the top of the Downfall...I'm slightly put out because the whole group had congragated to wait for me and regroup. Oh well. Not a lot I can do to make myself go faster and they were warned I was slow!! There's discussions about what route to take, some thinking to go back via Sandy Heys though this is dismissed as rougher than the planned route. It turns out the whole group is sticking together and taking the B route down Red Brook.

So off we go, as one chap pointed out, this was what the effort of the up hill is all about as its now only downhill (well a few undulations) but definitely no serious climbing to do. I'm happy with how I feel, a little concerned that time is passing and the time for sunset fast approaching. Only a few minutes into the run along the peat bogs my left calf starts to cramp. Damn. I did not want that to happen, especially on a bit I can actually run! A mini-break to stretch and it seems ok, if a little tense and in that pre-cramp stage. I choose to think of something I heard not so long ago and ignore the pain...."free your mind and your legs will follow".  It seemed to work as we were soon heading down the clough and towards the trees. It felt good to be able to try and keep up with the other runners. There was no way in hell of the fast chaps being in sight, but I kept a couple of others within easy distance and didn't let the gap grow.

About halfway down there was a gathering of all the runners again, this time to look at a carving in a stone - that was after 6 or so of the group had lifted the stone so you could see it! I just wanted to keep going, knowing if I hung about too long my muscles would resist movement. I headed down to one guy who hadn't climbed back up to see the stone and by the time I'd reached him the fast guys were on me and past. The little path was nice to run on, springy under foot, but concentration needed to avoid the stones.  Turning to grass and a few bogs lower down, over a stile and on we ran. I could feel my legs tiring by now and knew the end wasn't all that far away.

Past the trees and down a nice grassy slope....another regroup (or was that just a wait for me?) and down into a wooded area on a track. Then tarmac. By now I'd forgotten how long we'd run on this on the way out. Just over 1km may not seem much but when you're ready to stop it seems very long indeed. I just wanted it to end but given that it was fairly level I was damned determined not to stop. And I didn't. Ran all the way to the carpark.

What's nice about this run is that although I was wearing my garmin the stats it was collecting were of no importance. When running in London it was all about the stats. Something had to make the Blackheath circuits meaningful, and that was pace, distance, improving on previous times, etc. Out in the fells none of that matters. Ok so I'd like to be faster, but actually what I'd really like it better technique. I've downloaded my stats for anyone who's here.

So, with the run ended and some farewells shouted around the main talking point was which pub! This was the pub run afterall so a load of us wandered down to Hayfield and generally socialised for a while. Happy times. Will I join the club on a training run again? Definitely. But, I do want to do a few more serious runs on my own. By serious I mean longer than I have been running, and get my technique on both uphill and downhill improved, if only a little.

Life up't North

Have been in Glossop for about 6 weeks now...first month entailed 3 separate trips to London to finish off my old job (with Easter and all the bank holidays in the middle) so really it only feels like I've been here a couple of weeks. And my running shows it! I've managed a few short runs to get my legs back into thinking about running, mostly need to get them adjusted to the hills. Running in London is not only tedious but relatively flat, and nowhere near what defines the fells of Derbyshire.

So here's a link to my first serious training run with Glossopdale Harriers - I'll write a separate blog about that run. Glossopdale - first training run by cyclopsrunner at Garmin Connect - Details

Previous to this I've sauntered up to the shooting cabin on Chunal Moor and bashed across to Wormstones - a nice run which included a fair bit of walking on anything going uphill.

view of Wormstones and shooting cabin from Kidd Road
On Monday I did about 7km up to Shelf Benches and back round Shirehill - all on track/grass so no real challenge with the terrain but it was the first outing in my new INOV8's. They felt good, surprisingly good. Not a single pinch or rub which is great; fingers crossed they'll stay that way.  My other shorter runs have been about exploring my new local area, working out where the network of paths immediately out of Glossop end up.

What I love about being up here is that you are out in the hills immediately. And there's so much to see - which can be quite distracting when I'm supposed to be focussing on running and training. But hey, if you can't pause to soak in the view or the wildlife what's the point. So far I've seen nesting buzzards, hares, curlews, lapwings with their very distinct calls, geese a plenty and a all the usual bird suspects!