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Ultimate Trails 55k, Ambleside

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Sunday 8 July, 07:00

Got up at 4:15 to get ready and park near the start/finish. Lots of chatty people sharing info about what to expect. I put myself about 60-70% of the way back from the front starters.

Was relieved when in the first mile runners around me were walking up hills/inclines, to save energy. The sky was bright and the sun stayed behind high cloud until later, had full sun from about 13:00 onwards.

The checkpoints and refreshment stops were good. I drank my water with SIS tabs in and refilled bottles with electrolyte at every stop. Munched often, banana and flapjack from the stops and a couple of Clif bars I carried.

The terrain was frequently rocky / stony underfoot, and there was lots of climbing up steep slopes, interspersed with brief and short sections in the valley bottoms. Epic scenery, ran past totally still lakes and looked back at picturesque valleys. Worth doing for the views alone.

I seemed able to power walk up the steep bits, passing many others. Didn’t hit the wall, fuelling and hydrating were going well. Looked for shade wherever possible.

I noticed that mentally I was very positive, enjoying the experience. Marshalls noticed I was a smiler, I said hello to sheep and wasn’t worrying about the next climb, and the next. I’m sure this attitude really helped me, I didn’t hit a low point or have any doubts. I was counting distance in hours rather than miles, but later on did ask some marshalls ‘how far?’ They weren’t that accurate. Wasn’t using gps watch, battery wouldn’t have lasted.

Loved the finish chute and felt ok. Had a drink and found a vegan food van!! Lots of choice, bought a bhaji burger and when other folk nearby me saw it they ordered some. Should have been on commission! Cheered finishers and had a coffee for an hour or so before heading off to car.

Was surprised to find my legs were not that bad in the following few days, just took a few minutes to get moving but I was mobile and could do stairs. Achilles soreness indicated I’d done a tough run but was not at all bad. Applied ibuprofen gel to heels for 2 days more as a precaution. Had three points of chafing (won’t go into details!).

Later I found out I was finisher 167 out of 375, in 9:22:39. Very pleased with that. Read that a lot dropped out and folk that had done it previously had slower times this year because of the hot conditions. Nearly 600 were on the start list so I guess some didn’t start and others were sensible and dropped out if they hit problems.

It was steeper, rougher terrain with less flat sections or undulating running than I’d expected. And who put the photographer near the top of the penultimate climb? I was walking strongly but had to break into a jog when I saw the photo sign and chap with a camera pointing down the path at me…

Distance: 34m / 55km

Time: 9:22:39

Trainers: Brooks Cascadia

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Day 5, Lake District

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Friday 15 June

Have to leave Ambleside, my time here is up. Enjoyed my few days here, and will definitely return. Got up earlier that I have been doing, showered and got another porridge breakfast. Just as I was folding the tent up a tiny few spots of rain came, not bad.

Would have liked to do more running on this trip but severely bad weather intervened.

Day 2, Lake District / training run #1457

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Tuesday 12 June, 12:28

18C, started out sunny, clouded over.

Physio allowed me a 60 minute run today but I stretched it a bit to do a recce of part of the Ultimate Trails 55k Race route. Did 11 miles.

Starting in Ambleside not far from the actual start line, it was clearly all uphill at first. Did a run/walk. Went through the first mountain pass on the route, reached 5.5 miles and turned round. Used a bit of road then got on the trail path back to Ambleside, power walking the return to save my Achilles.

This was tough. Can see I’ve missed a lot of training with injury. Heel was ‘ok’, a bit tender so I’ll apply some gel. Brilliant scenery and good to get 3 hours on my feet.

The tarmac turned into rocky trail a bit further on
Someone left me a message on the road, near the top of the pass
Distance: 10.92 miles

Time: 2:48:54

Avg HR: 122bpm

Avg pace: 15:27 min/mile (some bits were steep!!)

Calories: 1427

Trainers: Brooks Cascadia

Achilles recovery, long walk

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Sunday 20 May, 15:09

23C, hot and sunny. Went from Fox House along the path under Burbage Edge. At Ringinglow Road I went up onto Burbage North for the return, turned left to get to Houndkirk Road and back to the car.

Heel felt ok until about 3.5 miles, then felt a small niggle, level 1. Calf was a little tight too. Iced it at home, stretched and rollered.

So good to get out in the Peak District in lovely weather, even if it was only walking.

View from Burbage North

Distance: 4.49 miles

Time: 1:20:38

Trainers: inov-8 parkclaw 275

Sheffield Half Marathon 2018

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Sunday 8 April, 09:42

8C, bright but overcast, slight breeze. Ideal running conditions. The start was delayed due to police dealing with something on the route.

I’d met a few vegan runners outside the Crucible before the race. Felt calm and ready.

Vegan runners before Sheffield Half Marathon 2018

The race climbed gradually up Ecclesall Road, then got steeper. Passed Zaz from the VR group just after Endcliffe Park. Feeling strong and legs bouncy on the hills. Seemed to pass a lot of slower runners, my trail racing paying off.

After 6 miles the route turned left towards Dore & Totley. Somewhere round mile 7-ish I looked across and saw Billy Sharp (SUFC) in the crowd. I shouted “Billy”, (waved) “It’s Billy Sharp!!” Laughed and sped onwards. Best bit of the race!

From here it was mostly downhill, still running by feel rather than Tom Tom watch. Pressed on and tried hard down Eccy Road, there had been the odd shout here and there ‘go vegan runner’. Big crowds except for the country part.

I’d been checking off the mile markers and with a mile to go I gritted my teeth and pushed harder. Up Charter Row and Pinstone Street I gave it everything. Left it all out on the course.

Really pleased to knock 10 minutes off my best time for this race. Surprised at the average pace, given the 5 miles of uphill.

Distance: 13.18 miles

Time: official 1:42:58, Tom Tom 1:42:52

Avg pace: 7:46 min/mile

Calories: 1414

Ascent: 1036ft

Trainers: Brooks Ghost 10

Dark and White events Bakewell trail race

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Sunday 25 March, 08:40

3C rising to 8C, cool, sunny. A 10 mile trail race with 1000ft/300m of climbing. The ground was still muddy and sodden from the rain and snow of recent weeks.

Sunrise at Bakewell, view from race registration

Pic: sunrise at Bakewell, view from race registration

Right hamstring was a bit stiff from the start, but heel was fine 🙂 Flat for the first km then started climbing. Passed a few runners uphill and walked the very steepest bits.

Descending off Chatsworth Estate there was a long gradual slope with a few twists and turns. Loved it, I powered down and left some runners behind. Missed one sign and went 100ft off route, laughed about it and carried on.

In the last couple of miles I was feeling great and had plenty left to push to the finish across boggy ground.

Ideal running weather, bright sun and no wind. Great organisation and I think I did ok.

Felt hamstring again later, and I also foam rollered right calf which had a few tight spots.

Distance: 10.14 miles

Time: 1:33:36

Avg HR: 141bpm

Avg pace: 9:14 min/mile

Calories: 954

Ascent: 1083ft

Trainers: inov -8 x-claw 275

Race position: overall 52/154 and in age category 7/18

training run #1422

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Thursday 22 February, 08:05

2C, cool, sunny. Went for a 7 mile run at RV, and the schedule called for a moderate pace.

Wore new Inov-8 Parkclaw 275 trainers for the first time, breaking them in. They’re designed for a mix of path running and soft trail running. Nothing too muddy just park/trail suited.

Inov-8 Parkclaw 275

Felt right heel /soleus a lot at first, but as it eased off I could turn up the pace and run more freely. That showed in my splits: 9:28; 8:36; 8:08; 7:54; 7:54; 7:39; 8:36. Just pushed a little more then usual rather than trying to blast it around. Enjoyed the sunshine, lovely.

In the last 2 miles I noticed the trainers rubbing my heel bone on right foot. Blistered.

Think this is my second fastest time for this route, a bit surprised as I’d thought the heel had hindered me in the first part, and it certainly didn’t feel fast.

Distance: 7.07 miles

Time: 58:54

Avg HR: 169bpm

Avg pace: 8:19 min/mile

Calories: 760

Trainers: inov-8 Parkclaw 275