Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Kinder North

Today was a navigation/long run day. I'm dropped off in the layby opposite the Alport and am heading up onto Kinder's North edge, and making my way back home to Glossop. There's a slight frost on the ground but shorts it is, it's going to get hot once I get into the sun.

Setting off

The first 3km seemed to take an age. There was a bit of faffage setting off due to the lack of footbridge which was marked on the map but not actually there...so a wade across the ford it was. I was glad of my shoe choice at this point, Walsh's, which seem to hold out the water more than INOV8s do. It would have been a shame to have soggy feet only 250m from where I'd been dropped off. Study the map, get round the farm at Upper Ashop and I'm off up the track to Jubilee Cabin.

Jubilee Cabin

Following the clough upwards I pick the line of grouse butts heading south west and eventually find myself at the top...just to the west of Crookstone Knoll...

looking back down to Jubilee Cabin, Upper Ashop Farm and across to the Alport

...and not long after superb views towards the Hope Valley with Win Hill and Lose Hill clearly in sight.

Win Hill and Lose Hill

I'm out to practice navigation so at the end of the grouse butts I take a bearing to Madwoman's Stones...sure enough I can see them under the clear blue sunny sky, but reassuring that my bearing is good.

Madwoman's Stones

From the stones I take another bearing to the trig point at 590m...and before long it comes in to view. Up and over a few groughs and I'm at the trig.

590m trig point

Next its a beeline back to the North edge path. I've done about 4km and it's taken an hour. At this pace I'll be out about 5 hours. That's a long time. So I pick up the pace and trundle along the edge path, dodging in and out of the various rock formations.

Looking west towards Blackden Clough

Past Blackden, over to Fairbrook, and suddenly getting home seems like it's not very far away. Nearly 9km and I've been moving about 2 hours.

Mushroom Stone at Fairbrook Naze
I say moving, there's been a fair bit of stopping to study the map, take bearings on features and generally have a good look around. It'd be a shame to rush too much on such a glorious day.

Spot the grouse
With the exception of a few workers building a new fence near Fairbrook Naze it was just me, a couple of sheep and several dozen grouse on the hill this morning.

The Edge, looking West

Past Nether Red Brook and Upper Red Brook and a few other unnamed groughs and before you know it I'm stashing the map back in my bag as I'm heading down to Mill Hill and onto ground I know fairly well. Good enough not to need the map anyway.

Looking back East to Kinder

At the Liberator plane wreck (no photo sorry, battery had run out!) I pick up a small trod and head vaguely Northwest to either pass by Chunal Cabin, or as I did, miss it and skirt the edge of Bray Clough. Over the wall and I'm onto the track down to Derbyshire Level. Quick watch check. It's coming up to 2hrs 50mins time lapsed....to push myself I think about the 3hr score event I've got coming up in April...and imagine that Derbyshire Level is the finish line. It forces me to push on down the hill, pushing myself that bit harder to run faster and stop getting distracted by the hot spots on my big toes that has been developing for the last half hour or so. I reach the road, about 1.3km from the top of the track and I've got just under 2 mins to spare. Lovely.

Now it's a short walk to catch my breath then a trot back along the road to home. I get back in 3:09, and have covered 17.35km. My average pace was 10:54, not as quick as I could ahve run the same route, but very respectable. There were times on the edge path where it undulates that I know I could have pushed myself harder.With less gear on me, less water, and a whole lot less navigation I'm pretty sure I could knock a good 30-45mins off the time. Perhaps I'll repeat the route in a few months to see.
Oh....what happened to my legs...?

Burnt heather scratches from bashing across Chunal Moor, that's what!!

If you're interested in seeing where I ran, and the stats, here's the garmin track. So far I've not found any blisters despite my big toes both feeling like they had them coming...I've just got a few tender spots which will heal in a day or so. All in all, a great morning out, made even better by returning back to home baked hot cross buns - thanks Tim (practicing for Easter).

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Lessons Learned

Club run last night and I'm down at the leisure centre hoping my heel is not going to annoy me too much. I have the remains of a blister which was quite sore only the day before - well that was the second blister in the same spot within a week or so. But what they heck, it's only a bit of pain and not something that was going to stop me running.

Well that wasn't going to stop me. What did was the incredible tiredness I felt even running on the flat. From Old Glossop the group of seven Glossopdale Harriers plus me set off towards Doctors Gate....torches on as it was dark. By the gate onto the fields I was feeling a little drained and wondering if I had made the right choice to come out. I didn't feel tired at home. I pushed on, slowly losing touch with the group (well apart from Tim who was lovely and waited for me). Onwards I plodded, noticing I was just not feeling the love of running.

I made a decision to run as far as the bottom of James Thorn where the group turned up the steep slope - the plan was to follow the race route, and a shorter option to turn back westwards at the top of the first climb.  Being good souls there were offers to slow down and hang back for me, but I just wanted to get home and stop moving.

Heading off into the darkness alone I put aside creepy thoughts about the darkness and just tried to keep momentum going. It didn't always work, stopping on flat and downhill sections to walk and try to recover slightly. I took the shorter road route home, partly because there was a light being swept across the hillside ahead in a really odd place - no paths where the torch beam was on - but mostly because it was shorter.

I managed 6.23km in 44:04 with 130m ascent...averaging 7:04/km...which is actually a decent enough pace, shame it didn't feel like it!

Anyway, enough of the self-pity. I ran over 18km on Sunday, just 2 days previously. Then on Monday I did my strength and conditioning training at the gym. The combination of that, plus a hectic previous week has accumulated and taken it's toll more than I had appreciated. I was pleasantly surprised I felt so fresh after Sunday's race. The lesson I take from all this is that as my body is subjected to longer runs, races and packing a little more into a week I need to factor in more quality rest and recovery. On that note, I'm off for a sports massage.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012


With the month end looming I have been drawing up my training plan for April. Gosh it looks busy! I'm sticking to the principle of 3 hard days, 2 recovery and 2 rest. Sometimes that's a challenge. It's also a challenge to get walking and navigation time on the hill but it's in there somewhere, and I'll no doubt stick a few half days in as well.

Red = hard training: get sweaty and increase heart rate for a good period of time.
Orange = recovery: steady and low heart rate, shouldn't really get sweaty.
Green = rest: but can include walking if not a challenging orange or red route.
Turquoise = race ...therefore hard, unless it should be recovery!

The first 2 weeks are fine (3 red, 2 orange, 2 green)...the third is ok, I won't be breaking any records on Herod Farm so will just run it, rather than race; plus I'll have a light strength & conditioning day on the Thursday most likely. Then I have a crazy week where I'm still doing my strength and conditioning training, would like to do a club run but should be resting and then have a series of 3 races on consecutive days. My aim is to do the first one race on the Friday, see how I feel for the second...and by the third I may or may not be in a reasonable state to drag myself around the 8km route with nearly 500m ascent.  Something will give on that week for sure.

This is just the plan. I'll listen to my body and continually reassess where I'm at each week. What I do know is that the mini mountain marathon and Kinder Downfall will be run - those are absolute givens for April.