Just for interest I thought I would post a bit of a run down of last years ups and downs. Some races, some great days out and other snippets of stuff.
My main aim for the first part of the year was the London Marathon. Most Sunday mornings were spent out on the road with Gem riding alongside me on the bike to keep me company which was awfully nice of her. We had a week in Majorca at the end of February, the main plan was to climb but I used it as an opportunity to do some running in the warm mornings, even some hilly stuff round Formentor. The Marathon day was great, the atmosphere was fantastic and it carries you round. I came in at 3hrs 43 not too bad but up to 18 miles was on pace for a 3:15, maybe next time. Gem and I both applied this year but neither of us got a place.
I carried on the distance work but spent a bit more time on the fells in preparation for the Fellsman on the second weekend in May. I wish I had done a bit more climbing as I found it pretty hard, it didn't help that the weather was baking hot for May and was up to about 26 deg in the valley. I think I suffered from the early stages of heat stroke and it took me about 2 hours of steady going and lots of water to cool down and rehydrate before I felt alright again. I was three quarters of an hour slower than the previous year but even Mark Hartell was slower this year (not that it stopped him from winning). I finished in 18hrs 33mins in 57th place out of 177 finishers, a further 122 didn't finish and retired on the course.
I joined Horwich RMI Harriers in 2008 and started training down at the track with them on a Tuesday night and doing the hill sessions on a Thursday. This saw a big improvement in my race performances throughout the summer. I haven't been down to the club for a couple of months but I will be heading down there again early this year.
I did quite a few of the local races in the FRA calendar this summer, mostly the mid week ones Great Hameldon Hill (BM), Stanhill (BS), Paddy's Pole (AS), Hendersons End (BS), Aggie's Staircase (AS) and Harrock Hill 3&4 (BS). I saw a gradual improvement through the summer and was starting to make the top third of the field in these races.
I spent a few days in the lakes having a go at the Lakeland Traverse, this was abandoned due to bad weather and high winds and we took a low level route instead, but is a score still to settle. I also supported Ian Charters on his 55 at 55 attempt on the Wasdale to Dunmail leg of the route, this gave me a bit of a taste for the BG. I then set my sights on the OMM and through the FRA forums contacted Anthony Fryer as a potential partner, we had a few runs round Todmorden and decided to team up for the event. This was my first mountain marathon but Anthony has done quite a few and won his class at the Rab mountain marathon in 2008. We decided to enter the elite class and then spent most of our time trying to get the weight down in our sacks. I think in the end Anthony was under 5kg and I was just under 6kg before we made a last minute decision to change tents, this added approximately 0.5kg each. We had a very challenging day on the hill on the first day and finished in about 6hrs and it had all gone well until we found out the camping field had flooded and we had to head back over to Seathwaite Farm. To cut a long story short we spent the night on the floor of a barn and after the BBC got hold of the story I even made the news !
My last race of the year was the Full Tour of Pendle in November and I managed to get round 6 mins quicker than the previous year so was very pleased with this. I also added to my shed inventory this year and bought a road bike from Ribble Cycles in July for commuting to work, the ride is 15.5 miles each way and I try to do it at least twice a week. The cycling seems to have helped my fitness and it fits into my day pretty well. Towards the end of the year I have given it a miss due to ice on the roads and bad weather but should be back on it come February.
I let my training slip a bit over Christmas, and Gem and I also were on holiday in Cuba in December so I probably had about 4 slack weeks really so a bit of fitness has been lost and needs catching up again.