Saturday 21 April, 09:07
9C, cool, bright. First time at Rother Valley Parkrun, and only my second ever parkrun.
Obviously I knew the course well but this runs the opposite way round to all my training laps. Started not far from the front of the runners, not sure if I’d made a mistake. Set off at a pace I thought I could maintain, pushing it. Splits showed consistency: 6:59; 6:55; 6:57 and the last 0.1 was 6:12 min/mile.
Pleased to overtake a few runners on the way and be strong to the end. Was 39th finisher out of 318, 6th in my age category! Felt overdressed in a long sleeved top, would have been fine in just the vest.
Great to meet a big bunch of Vegan Runners at this run, very good turnout.
Distance: 3.09 miles (TomTom)
Time: 21:34 (official and TT)
Avg pace: 6:56 min/mile
Trainers: Brooks Ghost 10
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.
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
Trainers: Brooks Ghost 10
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.
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
Avg HR: 141bpm
Avg pace: 9:14 min/mile
Trainers: inov -8 x-claw 275
Race position: overall 52/154 and in age category 7/18
Saturday 17 March, 10:05
-3C, blowing a gale adding -10 windchill and very heavy snow showers. A 21.2 mile race around the Peak District.
Shivering in the car I wasn’t looking forward to this. I’d put a fleece top in the car for afterwards, but put it on to make sure I ran hot rather than froze on the crags. Good call. I had 2 shirts, a long sleeve top from Decathlon and the New Balance fleece, with my Salomon waterproof jacket on top!
It was a mass start of a few hundred runners with a very narrow step-over bridge 400 yards away. Lots of stiles after made it stop / start for the first few miles, and stiles and gates were dotted throughout the course.
I started fairly easy and just planned to get round without sprawling in either mud or a puddle. Succeeded.
About 5 miles in I noticed we were running the route of a Calver race I did last year but in reverse. The part where I was followed by sheep there were no sheep this time, just a blizzard and my left ear feeling like it was being frozen off!
It’s been a relatively wet winter and this showed with plenty of mud. Even crossing Chatsworth estate the ‘grass’ was sodden muddy ground.
At the third drink station in Baslow I asked for a black coffee. Or tried – my face was frozen. But she understood. Had 2 gels, 500ml water, 1.5 flapjacks and half that coffee during the race.
Climbing from Baslow to Curbar Edge was a lot of straight uphill walking. Then on top it was an apocalyptic scene. Dark sky, snow was horizontal, the wind was blowing hard and towards the edge of the crag. Awful and I remember thinking conditions like this could get the organisers in trouble with plenty of runners struggling.
I knew the Curbar stretch well in reverse, have run it plenty of times. I was run / walking due to fatigue. Right heel niggle as usual.
Overall, pleased to beat the conditions and very happy with my watch time. Official results not out at time of writing but I’ll update this post. Brilliant stewards and helpers throughout. Would be nice to run this in normal and dry spring weather.
Distance: 21.2 miles
Avg pace: 11:55 min/mile
Trainers: Inov-8 x-claw 275
2C, cold, rainy. A 16 mile trail race starting at Longshaw and taking in Burbage Edges, Higger Tor, Grindleford, Big Moor, and Totley Moor.
I thought about cancelling because I wasn’t rested or ready. Had lots of stress this week. But decided to go, it would be good preparation for Grindleford Gallop in March.
Only about 10 people in my start group and I was trailing after the first half mile. Then I remembered to start my TomTom watch, doh! Gradually picked a couple of runners off on the way up Higger Tor and down to Grindleford. There was a new (for me) route up to Hayfield. Never felt really strong though, just plodding along.
Along Froggatt and Curbar I walked more than usual. At the halfway checkpoint I enjoyed a flapjack and cordial. Really didn’t have a lot left in me but got going. The route after this took in a few paths I’d not been on before, right up to Flask. Low cloud here, with rain and on Moss Road a freezing headwind was miserable.
At the end of Moss Road I struggled with the gate latch and a very nice marshall asked if I was ok. I felt like I was close to bonking, but there was only 700m to go.
Thinking about this afterwards, I put it down to hardly eating this week, tiredness, the very heavy going (lots of mud), and just not feeling it today. It’s been a difficult week and probably should have stayed at home. My glycogen stores must have been severely reduced.
I’d carried and used 2 gels and 500ml water. I’d even had porridge at home before setting off, but lesson learned.
Official time/distance 3:05:15 / 25.6km
TomTom stats (late activation)
Distance: 15.59 miles
Avg pace: 11:30 min/mile
Trainers: inov-8 x-claw 275
Wildlife: 1 squirrel, a herd of ‘Highland Coo’
Saturday 3 February, 17:25
0C, snowing, cold, foggy. Walked the 2.5km torchlight explorer race with Emma, Ash, Emma and her 2 kids. Lots of deep puddles and a muddy climb. Nice route though and enjoyed it. A bit surprised no one ended up flat in the mud, and the kids were fine.
This ended up the better option compared to Wolves v Blades on TV. Result 3-0 and our keeper sent off.
Saturday 27 January, 17:30
Ran and walked this 3k race with Emma. Lots of families and a real buzz. There was also a 7k race. Apart from one muddy incident everything went really smoothly and we will probably do more of these, they’re fun and well organised.