Friday, April 24, 2009

JNC & Keswick to Dunmail

Weekly Totals - 101.57 Miles (3 Walked, 32 Cycled, 66.57 Run)
23,082 ft of Ascent
Time 21:25:31

I have had a really good consolidation week that has proved to me that my training is starting to work, the weekly totals for this week were mostly completed over two long runs so I am pleased that my fitness is starting to show.

I mentioned last week that I had supported Ian Charters' JNC on Saturday, there is a detailed report of the legs on Ian's Blog with some photos. I had an early start on Saturday getting up and on the road at 3am to make sure I made it Pooley Bridge to start at 5am. I was about half an hour early which gave me chance to sort out my kit for the day, and prepare myself for what was going to be a long day. I had planned to run a couple of legs from Dunmail Raise to Greendale Bridge with Ian ,but due to a couple of people dropping out in the week, he was short of support on leg 1. So I planned to run from Pooley Bridge to Sty Head Tarn, round about 35 miles and 12,000 ft of ascent so a good days training all round.

Leaving High Raise

We set off in the dark but didn't really need our torches for long as the clear morning soon brightened and we could see clearly. Gary, Ian and myself met Iain on top of Arthurs Pike and we set off along the ridge on our way along the summits leading to High Street and then to Thornthwaite Beacon and on to Stony Cove Pike and Pike How before dropping to Kirkstone Pass and the first road crossing. It was really cold and we didn't hang around for long, the first leg had been quite quick as the schedule was fairly tight but it felt good and I was moving well.

After picking up Phil and Dave at Kirkstone we started the slog up Red Screes before crossing Hart Crag and then to Fairfield, from the summit we could see for miles with the clear sunny day. From here the terrain was pretty familiar down from Fairfield and over Seat Sandal then to Dumail Raise and the second road crossing. I changed into shorts and changed my shoes for the next leg to Wasdale and teamed up with Duncan Richards and Rhiannon.

The pull up Steel Fell doesn't get much easier but we were soon at the top and on our way, we were all suffering climbing up onto High Raise as we were out of the breeze and I felt pretty grim for a while. By the time we got to Rossett Pike, after crossing Stake Pass, I was feeling okay again and ran well all the way to Sty Head(where I met Joss Naylor!!) and then down to Wasdale Head.

Quick Drink at Wasdale Head

I was still feeling a bit stiff on Monday but a quick run at lunch time loosened me up a bit, by the time I had cycled into work on Tuesday morning I was feeling alright again. Got a puncture on the way in on Tuesday and managed to snap my pump so not the best day.

Friday I met up with Duncan Richards again at Dunmail Raise, and Bill, who I had seen briefly on Saturday at Sty Head, we drove to Threlkeld to pick up Helen, who was also joining us, before driving to Keswick. It was warm as we set off but as we gained height there was a strong wind that was battering us about a bit, we took the right line off Skiddaw and down over Hare Crag before climbing Great Calva, Bill showed me an excellent line off here, much better than the line I had used the other week and pretty simple to follow. After crossing the river we headed directly over Mungrisdale Common and the under the scree on Atkinson Pike and to the summit of Blencathra, a slightly different line than I have previously used but I think one I will use in the future. From the summit Bill showed me Yiannis' descent route, quite steep in places and rocky but I think it would be a good alternative should Halls Fell be wet, although I want to try Doddick as well.


Bill and Helen where heading back to Keswick from here but Duncan and I had planned to do two legs today. I was moving pretty well so Duncan decided he would move a bit slower behind me and maybe miss out Fairfield and Seat Sandal. The wind made it hard work along the ridge but apart from that it was a beautiful day and the sun came out very bright, if not a little hazy. I was a bit tight for time so I skipped Fairfield and headed straight over Seat Sandal ( I had already done it once this week!)

Great Calva

Another 25 miles in the bag and I felt great, should have some photos as well to add to the blog. Next week I am planning a recce of leg 5 or maybe 4 with some runs and bike rides during the week to keep the mileage up. Only a couple of weeks to the Fellsman now and I am feeling quite confident that I should beat my previous times on this event.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Flat Week & Ian's JNC

Weekly Totals - 76.4 Miles (23 Run, 20.5 Walked & 32.9 Cycled) 1061 ft of Ascent
Time - 10:56:15

Approaching Keasgill Head on Ian Charters' JNC

Due to my upcoming Saturday on Ian Charters' Joss Naylor Challenge I have had a week of relatively modest mileage with more walking than usual and not much climbing. Saturday we had a great walk in the sun round Croston by the river, I took advantage of the continued fine weather and ran the route we had walked the previous day, on Sunday morning, followd by a walk to the woods where we have seen some deer. Monday Gem and I had another walk across the moss to Rufford and back by the canal and the river.

Tuesday, and the long sunny weekend came to an end, back to work, I ran my usual 5 mile route around Balderstone. I cycled into work on Wednesday against a strong wind, this was very hard, my average speed was about 2 mph slower than usual over this distance and I was glad to get to work! Cycyling home was great though, I was flying with the wind on my back and averaged over 20 mph. Thursday I had a rest day, then Friday had a good run with Ali round the Balderstone route, feeling very light on my feet and ready for a long day out Saturday.

I won't steal Ian's thunder as I'm sure he will post a report on his blog but I had a very enjoyable run on Saturday from Pooley Bridge to Wasdale Head 35 miles and 12,000ft of ascent for next weeks totals. Iain who joined us from Arthurs Pike to Fairfield has posted some photos. A beautiful sun rise was the start to a great sunny day, the pace on a 14hr schedule is pretty stiff and I did have a couple of lows but overall it was great, good company and road support and just to top it off I met Joss Naylor at Sty Head, what a day. Cheers Ian

Monday, April 13, 2009

Fellsman Recce

Weekly Totals - 37.5 Miles, 5282ft of Ascent, in 07:00:59

I had a steady start to the week, on an early morning run round Winter Hill and the surrounding tops getting in 13.5 miles and 2500ft of ascent. Another morning of nice weather with good running underfoot, I felt pretty strong and really enjoyed the running, just a little stiffness from Friday on Skiddaw but overall I was running well. Bumped into Mark from Horwich so had a chat with him on the way off Two Lads and then we went our separate ways as he headed home and I headed up the pike and back over Winter Hill for the second time of the morning.
The rest of the week I was struggling, lunch time meetings on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday meant I couldn't run at lunch time at work. I had booked off Thursday though to go and recce part of the Fellsman route. The race is in a months time, I have run it twice before but I have usually been teamed up by this point and have always had someone to follow when I have felt spent, which after 40+ miles I usually am! I am aiming for a faster time this year, and although I will still be subject to grouping I expect, it would be nice just to know where I am going exactly.
I parked at Kettlewell on the National Trust car park and after getting my stuff together I headed off to Buckden Pike via the Buckden Lead Mines. The weather was certainly not as good as I have been experiencing of late, and the rain was being blown pretty hard into my face, reminiscent of the first year I ran the Fellsman. I ran as far as the Capplestone Gate checkpoint and then turned back for Kettlewell, I had forgotten just how boggy the terrain is over the top of Buckden Pike, but I feel a lot more confident now on the descent route from Great Whernside which was my main concern.
Finished the week off with a walk around Croston with Gem.
Four big weeks coming up so I have taken it quite easy this week, just longer steady runs with a good bit of climbing.
Next Saturday I am pacing for Ian Charters on his Joss Naylor Challenge originally I was going to do two legs, but due to a couple of his support team dropping out I am now on for three legs from Pooley Bridge to Sty Head, this should be a good training day though. Two long Fridays planned for the next two weeks after this and then the Fellsman weekend, so some high mileage weeks coming up.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


I have had a bit of a hiccup in my organisation, hopefully one that will still enable me to complete the round with enough support. One of my road side support team has had to cancel for the 5/6th June, we have also been having trouble sorting accomodation for the Saturday night due to the beer festival in Keswick. I have had to make the decision to move my attempt to the 26/27th June, hopefully this is slightly better as there are no major races this weekend as far as I can see in the diary and I have booked somewhere to get my head down when I finish.
I will be posting my schedule soon and on the look out for some support on the legs, I have been in touch with quite a few people but if anyone wants to join the team and has a preffered leg please let me know. I am on a 23hr clockwise schedule starting at 19:00 from the Moot Hall.


Bob Graham Round Route

Found this whilst browsing the net, it shows the route pretty well but the distance does seem a little short. The elevation picture is pretty interesting though.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Leg 1 And a Big Blue Sky

Weekly Totals - 49.1 Miles (9.1 walked), 8268ft of Ascent in 09:43:26
A return to beautiful sunshine at the end of the week for a run round leg 1 on Friday with Ali & Toby(Ali's Dog). We made an early start and met up across the road from work making our way up in Ali's car to Keswick, it was very foggy all the way up and I was slightly concerned that we were not going to get any great views, but this was not to be the case.

We didn't make the best start as I wasn't sure where to pick up the footpath to the bridge over the river Greta in Keswick, so we wasted about ten minutes checking notes and maps but we were soon on the way, I will know for next time !! I discovered on the way up Latrigg that I was developing a bit of a wet hip, my bladder had punctured at some point (that's my water bladder in my rucksack!) and was leaking down my leg, a quick but of patching up with a plaster and we were soon on the way again, not a good start so far.

Ali had done the Skiddaw race last year so was more than familiar with the route to the summit, not that it is hard to miss! We climbed out of the fog in the valley and started catching up the walkers who had made an early start from the car park at Latrigg, and we were soon on the summit of Skiddaw, it was really warm and I was down to just my shorts as even my t-shirt seemed to be too hot. We had made good progress and were well within schedule time.

I made a slight error on the way down though and missed the fence crossing to Hare Crag and crossed lower down, I realised my error but we continued down to the Skiddaw House track and back tracked to pick up the path to Great Calva. We stopped for a quick bite to eat at the top of Great Calva, Toby ate about half of Ali's food as well as his biscuits, we had a quick chat to a runner out for a long day, and then headed down to the River Caldew.

I tried the route following the fence, but the heather was really high in places, and was hard going, it was very dry and you could feel it scratching your legs as you tried to run through it, we both ended up in the river Caldew looking like Freddy Kruger had tried to rugby tackle us, I am going to have to figure out a better way down here, I could see quite a few lines of trods coming off the top as I looked back, just none in the direction we went! Poor Toby had to be carried part of the way, the heather was a least twice or three times the height of the average spaniel and he's only a little lad, it was quite funny though watching him bounce through the heather!

We carried on up over Mungrisdale common and onto the last climb of the day, the summit ridge of Blencathra, from here all that was left was to head down Halls Fell to Threlkeld, it was very dry and we made good time dropping down the ridge, although when I come back I want four legs, Toby was making it look far too easy and did scare us a little as he is very inquisitive looking over edges!

We followed the old railway line back to Keswick, a really pleasant path I discovered last year when Gem and I were camping at Dale Bottom. 18 miles and just over 5800' of ascent in 4hrs 25mins not too bad, we even managed a couple of 8:30 miles on the way back to Keswick.
The rest of the week has just been the usual lunch time running, walking in the evening with Gem round Croston, taking advantage of the clocks changing, and as mentioned in my previous post, the Liver Hill race Tuesday might instead of the track session. My legs felt quite tired at the beginning of Friday's run but towards the end I felt pretty strong. I think I'll be out for about 20miles on Sunday morning, and then cycling and running through the week, not sure about my plans for next Friday.

I tried out my new shoes on Friday as well, I have bought them, mainly to replace my Montrail Highlanders which were fantastic shoes but the uppers have seen better days, they are not bad for short training runs, but I needed something for the Fellsman. I have invested in some Adidas Kanadia TR shoes and found them to be great, good grip, comfortable and secure. I will be giving them the ultimate testing on the Fellsman but up to now I am very pleased with them.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Liver Hill Race

Didn't post for last week as I was off doing the decorating and didn't get much running done, shock to the system. But we did decorate like crazy and finished the whole house in 4 days. My totals were 10 miles cycled and 11 miles run, but I'm back to normal this week.
Ran the Liver Hill Race 5m/800' last night, organised by Rossendale Harriers from Marl Pitts, a free race with a free cream egg at the end as well as a bonus. It was great conditions and a nice start to the summer evening races after the clocks changed. The moor on the top was pretty muddy and boggy in places and I sunk up to my knee a couple of times but apart from this it was okay. It was my first race of the year due to my training schedule for my BG but thouroughly enjoyed it, probably went out a bit quick as I was in the lead at one point!! The race climbs up a track then along a footpath to the open moor, along a well marked course and through quite a few muddy sections with good gloopy mud that sapped the energy from my legs and over quite a few stiles. At the turn at the top of Liver Hill I was feeling pretty burnt out, but the sight of Ali hot on my heals spurred me on. The race returns back the way you have just come so there is a bit of congestion at the stiles but I got over most of them with not much delay, I reeled in a couple of people on the way back in and by the last 1/2 mile I was running well and had a sprint finish in me to take over a couple more to finish 34th in 40:36 out of a field of 149, a cracking race and I would recommend it especially for free!