Friday, 31 October 2014

Bumbag review: OMM Ultra Waist Pouch 6L: UPDATE

Back in August 2013 I wrote a review of the OMM Ultra Waist Pouch 6L bumbag. Since then the bumbag has been my main pack for carrying stuff on the hill. I still love it. It's versatile, has enough room for most days out fell running (even in winter with extra kit), is still just as comfortable and I've learnt to live with the niggles. I've recommended it to loads of other people and loaned mine to others to try before they buy themselves. I know others have bought one on my recommendation.

But, I am wearing a vital component of my lovely yellow OMM bumbag out. I first noticed the issue about a few months ago. The stitching on the right hand strap is slowly coming away from the main part of the bag. Oh no! I have used it tentatively since, keeping a watchful eye on it whilst also having my sewing kit on standby. In the last few weeks however I'd refrained from using it and have reverted back to my Osprey 5.5ltr rucksack - I just can't have the strap fail on me, especially if I'm out leading a group or private client on the hill. I do wonder what has caused this issue - me adjusting the straps regularly perhaps? (they have a slight tendency to work lose as you run, but this would be the case for any strap that doesn't have a locking system). But then surely adjusting a strap is something that is going to happen all the time, so it should be robust enough to cope. Could it be I have a bag with faulty stitching?

Sewing seems like the only option...I've had it too long to return it to where I bought it from, and no doubt OMM won't deal direct just like most manufacturers. So, I reckon it's a hand stitching repair that's needed as my little domestic sewing machine wouldn't cope with going through the fabric of the strap plus the material of the bag. I'm a reluctant-not-very-good-sewer, so the needle and thread have sat to one side waiting patiently. It's either that or I'll have to pay someone to spend about two minutes stitching it for me on a commercial grade machine. Any local offers?

All those lovely positive things I said about the bag last year still stand. It will get repaired one way or another, and soon; I miss using it.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Instructor at the UK Run Chat Training w/end March 2015

I am pleased to announce that I will be one of the instructors at the UK Run Chat Training Weekend in Anglesey, Wales from 27-29 March 2015. 

If you don't know what UK Run Chat is, it's an online community for runners (they have a facebook page and are on twitter, @ukrunchat), though group meet-ups are becoming more popular. This is what their website says:

"Set up by Jeff from @crea8it and Joe @iRunJoe in July 2013 #UKRunChat’s purpose is to link the UK running community, supporting each other in any which way we can to achieve our running goals."

That's me running on sand dunes in the Rhinogs, Wales.
Shoes necessary there as the grass is really sharp.

This training weekend will comprise of various sessions including yoga, stretching, and obviously some group running on road and trails. That's where I come in....I will be leading some off-road runs and a barefoot running session down on the local beach. That will be shoes off and looking at foot placement in the sand. I can't wait!

To find out more about me head over to the About Me page - my qualifications are listed at the bottom of that page. If you're on twitter then follow me @RunningDelights and you can hashtag #UKRunChat.

The training weekend is being coordinated by Howard Chambers (@Howard50at50 on twitter). There's more details about the weekend and how to book on over on the UK Run Chat forum

Monday, 13 October 2014

Instructor on NNAS Silver Navigation Award

I had an absolutely superb weekend teaching navigation on the hills around Derwent and Edale in the Peak District this weekend. The course I was instructing on was a two day NNAS Silver Award. I love taking those who don't know north from south through a weekend of instruction and leaving them at the end of the course feeling confident enough to lead others on the hill. Job done.  Once they've practiced a bit more and built on that confidence they'll take the next step and be back for some night nav tuition....such a great way to simulate poor weather conditions. Here's a selection of photographs from the weekend. I've posted a separate blog on the amazing cloud inversion we had on Sunday.

Day One, location: Foulstone Moor, Howden Moor and Derwent Edge

Practicing pacing on good ground
Pacing over rough ground
Relocating using a grouse butt
Walking on a bearing

Day Two, location: Edale Valley and up onto the Kinder Plateau

Sometimes walking on a bearing isn't going to take you over the best ground
Emerging from the cloud inversion in the Edale valley
Handrailing along the wall
Relocating on a linear feature using bearings
Is this the right stream crossing?
Taking a bearing - best done kneeling or sitting 
Kinder 590m trig point located
Walking on a bearing
Pacing and walking on a bearing over rough ground

Handrailing a clough

If these photos have inspired you to learn navigation but you don't know your handrail from your attack point then get in touch. This weekend was a NNAS Silver Award course for Will4Adventure but I also run bespoke private one-to-one or group tuition - course content is tailored to suit your level of knowledge (from beginner to advanced) and your pace of walking/running. I am available for instruction in the Peak District, Snowdonia and the Lake District. I've been walking and running in the hills for many years, competed in fell races that require navigation, orienteering events which are totally based on navigation, and safely got myself around hills and mountains in the UK and Europe.

Cloud Inversion

What an amazing and wonderful cloud inversion we were treated to yesterday in the Peak District. I was out teaching on the second of a two day NNAS Silver Navigation Award, setting off from Edale. Here's some photos to show you just how magical the inversion was...sorry if a few photos are very similar, I just can't chose which are best!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014


Returning home after last Tuesday's hill reps I felt a slight twinge in my left calf, a bit like cramp was about to grip my muscles, but it didn't. That evening I had a good session with the foam roller, was well hydrated and had a good nights sleep.

Wednesday morning takes us on our weekly 6am Dawn Patrol run. Again, a slight twinge was felt in the first kilometre but nothing really. We always warm up slowly and I had no reason to worry...until about 15mins into the run when cramp struck! Ouch and double ouch. I do occasionally get cramp so knew to stretch, walk it out and perhaps try running again. I did try, but no way was my calf having it. I was reduced to a limp and hobble back home. Luckily we weren't too far away.

So what happened?
Well, the cramp was so severe that it actually damaged the muscle. Through testing I know which muscle (soleus if you're interested) so know what actions to avoid (plantarflexion, like when you press on the accelerator pedal in your car). So here's what my rehab has been like for the last week:

Wednesday - acute stage of injury - applying the RICE principle, avoiding all movements that induced pain.

Thursday - still acute, applying ice, resting as much as possible. I did have to go to the shops and while walking very cautiously and slowly I felt the same area twinge quite significantly. It again reduced me to a hobble.

Friday - ice + full rest. As much sitting down as possible plus rolling a ball under my feet - to loosen any tight tissues in the fascial line. Gentle massage from Tim, away from the area, helped to reduce any unnecessary tension building up in any muscles that may have been used to compensate from the injury.

Saturday - as Friday, plus a short 500m very slow and gentle walk on flat ground. In addition to using the ball under my feet I also had a session with the foam roller - but, and this is important, I kept well clear of where the damaged tissues were. If I were to use the foam roller right over the damaged area I would risk re-injury through mechanical pressure pulling the tissues apart.

Sunday - As Saturday. Additionally I could now do full ankle circles with no pain, and very gentle heel drops and raises (3 sets of 10 on each) to keep some movement happening, but not too much. I went for a 500m walk in the morning - no pain, no after effects, so in the evening we walked to a nearby pub for dinner. It was a slow, cautious walk as I could still feel tightness around the healing area, but no pain felt so all good.

Monday - As Sunday - no pub visit but I did go for a gentle stroll. I continued with gentle stretching, rollering and also jumped (cautiously) onto the bike (on the turbo) to test whether cycling induced any pain. It didn't. So, on very easy resistance I span the pedals for 20mins. Another sports massage as before.

There you have it. My rehab so far. Sadly I had to cancel my Running Delights session today, but better to err on the side of caution, even though it feels much better. I shall be going for a longer stroll tonight (or bike ride if the rain doesn't clear up) and then the same tomorrow.

When walking on the flat, and going up and down stairs, I have been doing so very slowly and deliberately. There can be a tendency to keep moving at the same pace as pre-injury, limping along. But, if I had done that then my gait would have changed. Initially I was limping (for about 24hrs), but to avoid significant change to my gait and the potential for muscular imbalances to start I kept walking slowly and in my natural gait.

I have not real idea when I will do a short walk/run to test my leg. It will depend on how the next few days go. Missing a few runs for 1-2 weeks isn't going to affect me too much, but if I return to running too soon I could end up being out for much much longer.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

B29 Overexposed Commemorative Fell Run

On 3rd November 1948 'Overexposed' - a Boeing B29 Superfortress plane - crashed on the Bleaklow plateau, high above Glossop. This is the largest wreckage site in the area and to commemorate this we are organising a guided fell run to the crash site. Running Delights have organised several group and individual runs onto Bleaklow, and we've been featured in the Buxton Advertiser and Derbyshire Times. We're timing this run to coincide with the annual memorial service which is held at the site at approximately 10.45am.

The possible options for this commemorative run are:
  1. meet at the summit of snake pass and run over Bleaklow, taking us around 1.5hrs and a 6km run or:
  2. run from Old Glossop up Doctors Gate, returning over Bleaklow for a run of around 15km and 2.5hrs.
Either choice gives us plenty of time to attend the memorial service and pause for thought at the wreckage site. At the time of the crash the RAF Mountain Rescue attended the incident, and continuing their good work today Glossop Mountain Rescue Team are responsible for this area of the Peak District.

Once I have an indication of interest I'll finalise the details and add them onto the facebook Event page. This run will take us to a higher elevation than our usual Running Delights sessions so it will be weather dependent and clothing to suit the conditions on the day. The cost will be £5 with any additional money raised being donated to GMRT.

Final approach on the run up to Higher Shelf Stones and the plane wreck

For details of how to book on this guided fell run head over to the facebook Event page or call/text Lynne on 07985251185.

Running Delights 'Wreck Run' as featured in Derbyshire Times and Buxton Advertiser