Poolsbrook parkrun

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Saturday 2 February, 09:06

With Hallam parkrun cancelled Sheffield VRs seemed to be split between Poolsbrook and Hillsborough parkruns. Lovely sunny cold winter morning. Great to run with Callum and Jo, and meet up with Karen, Helen and Caroline. Easy pace because my total weekly mileage is high and I’ve got a half marathon tomorrow.

Distance: 5k

Time: official 29:38

training session #1558

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Friday 1 February, 16:28

Run commute home. Heaviest backpack yet, luggage scales measured it as 4.9kg. Managed ok, getting stronger. It snowed a bit during the run.

Distance: 4.72 miles

Time: 46:38

training session #1540

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Lakeland 50 recce: Ambleside to Coniston

Saturday 19 January, 16:06

The official recce began with a talk on map reading skills, tips and what to expect. Very useful. Then everyone split to get ready, eat and make our way to Coniston to leave vehicles at the finish.

Coaches took us back to Ambleside where we were going to set off. I almost went without my headtorch as I’d left it in car boot. Made a mad dash just seconds before the coach left.

No gun or whistle, just report to checkpoint and set off on arrival in groups or individuals. There were around 260 doing the recce but this spread everyone out nicely.

As soon as I started climbing out of the park there was snow, compacted and slushy. This continued to the end. Deep on the hills.

I navigated using the road book at first, then the wiggly line on my watch. There always seemed to be someone nearby that knew the route if I was in doubt.

Apart from zig zagging up a hill to Blea Tarn, the main challenge was the climb after Tilberthwaite. Steep steps, steep hillside, then further and further uphill, never ending.

It was on this uphill I slipped and banged right knee on a rock underneath the snow. I walked and jogged it off. Then a long steep descent into Coniston.

I ran more than half of the recce with a chap called Tom from Manchester. He’s into triathlon and Ironman so might bump into my brother at Salford Quays perhaps.

Overall, the recce was easier than expected. I’d expected 16 miles of testing terrain but only the last 4 miles was particularly difficult; will feel very tough at the end of the 50!

Distance: 15.2 miles

Time: 3:37:10

Avg pace: 14:19 min/mile

Calories: 1512

Ascent: 2548ft

Trainers: inov8 x-claw 275

Grindleford Gallop trail race

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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

Time: 4:12:39

Avg pace: 11:55 min/mile

Calories: 2369

Ascent: 2697ft

Trainers: Inov-8 x-claw 275

training run #1418

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Sunday 11 February, 07:53

0C, cold, windy, snowing. A 15 mile run at Ladybower, this time clockwise starting at Fairholmes. Round Derwent and Howden Reservoirs.

Looking at snow through windscreen

Pic: driving in I could see it was set to snow some more

There was a layer of snow (some places slush) on the road/path, and heavy snow showers. Seemed to be blinded by the snow in the headwind whatever direction I ran in. Right heel niggled throughout, and later on left adductor and hip weren’t quite right.

Kept a slow, steady pace. Had a banana, coconut & date bar and a gel, and 400ml water. Enjoyed battling through the conditions. Wore my old Cascadia shoes rather than breaking in a new pair in the slush.

Distance: 15.1 miles

Time: 2:27:48

Avg pace: 9:43 min/mile

Calories: 1704

Ascent: 1485ft

Trainers: Brooks Cascadia

Wildlife: 10 sheep

National Trust Night Run Longshaw

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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.

training run #1398

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Friday 29 December, 06:56

1C, cold and snowing. Wrapped up for a 4 mile run. An inch of snow/ice slush underfoot slowed me down, made a few corners tricky. Kept my balance and survived without a fall.

Distance: 4.19 miles

Time: 39:45

Avg pace : 9:28 min/mile

Calories: 482

Trainers: Brooks Glycerin

training run #1390

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Saturday 16 December, 07:48

0C, cold and icy. A 9.6 mile run on the parts of the Exterminator course I didn’t do last weekend. Started at Fox House and picked up the route beneath Burbage Edge. Then Higger Tor, Stanage Edge, Hathersage, Mitchell Field, Padley Pump Station, across Longshaw and back to the car.

Wrapped up well. Felt right heel throughout but it didn’t slow me. Lots of ice and a few inches of snow.

Thought I’d got the feel of the snow and part-frozen soil but heading up to Carl Wark I was surprised when I stepped 12 inches deep through the snow into thick mud. Scraped right shin extracting myself.

Got a great view of the sunrise climbing up Higger Tor.

Sunrise viewed from Higger Tor

Getting up onto Stanage Edge I saw a couple sat on an outcrop watching the sunrise. As I got on top I shouted ‘Morning’ and waved, and they waved back. The woman shouted it was her birthday and did I want a cake? I thought why not, and enjoyed a small cupcake, thanked them. A nice memory.

I had a banana before running, 2 gels and a Clif Bar during the run, with 400ml water.

I nearly slipped over on the descent to Hathersage, lots of water running off the fields across the road had frozen.

Crossing and climbing Mitchell Field light snow started, carried on getting more and more.

As I’d expected, the conditions slowed me a lot, and I was walking a fair bit of the climbs.

Approaching the end, the last gate I had to pass through, I took a more direct approach instead of staying in the compacted footprints gently circling to the gate. I learned why when I sank 6 inches into mud without warning. Very cold and muddy feet for the last quarter mile.

A good workout, enjoyed it.

Distance: 9.65 miles

Time: 2:23:21

Avg pace: 14:11 min/mile

Calories: 1066

Ascent: 1468ft

Trainers: inov-8 x-claw 275

training run #1387

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Saturday 9 December, 08:03

-1C, clear skies, chill wind. A 9 mile run on roughly half of the Exterminator course. Wrapped up well and started on Penny Lane. Blessed by a great sunrise.


Stunning view on the climb up from Penny Lane to Totley Trig

I’d taken a week off running due to a cough. It’s not completely gone but that didn’t trouble me on the run. Good to be doing hills again, need to build up fitness again as I’m recovered from the marathon now.

Felt right heel on and off, and it stiffened up afterwards.

Ran to Totley Trig, across and up through Blacka Moor to Piper House Gate, up and across Houndkirk Moor, down over Burbage Edge (carefully!), along to Fox House, and up to Moss Road, back via Horse’s Field to the start.

Lots of ice around, in places the whole width of the path or trail. Slipped and slid but didn’t fall, phew! The x-claw shoes were great for the snow though, and part-frozen peat/soil.

Up on Houndkirk there was a fog/low cloud obscuring the view of Hathersage Moor and Higger Tor.

Drank 250ml water and had 2 sweet jelly things and 1 gel.

Enjoyed this. With heavy snow forecast for tomorrow I hope it clears so I can come back and do the other half of the Exterminator route soon.

The strap is broken on my Tom Tom watch so while I source a replacement I wore Fitbit. That froze on the Settings screen when I wanted to set off. So these stats are from recording my run straight into Strava app.

Distance: 9.1 miles

Time: 1:52:44

Avg pace: 12:17 min/mile

Calories: 1381

Ascent: 1579ft

Trainers: inov8 x-claw 275

Postscript: The black toenail I got in the Exterminator race in September fell off in the shower today. And it looks like I’ve got another black toenail coming on the same toe on opposite foot. Must be something about this route!

training run #1229

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Sunday 12 February, 06:29

1C, dark, cold, wintry showers. A 20 mile run.  Legs felt good and it seemed like I maintained a good pace/effort throughout. Had 4 gels and 1 litre of water. Was soaked through by the time I reached Harthill (12km) and was running into a stiff headwind with icy snow hurting my eyes.

Finished feeling relatively OK. Was keeping a good pace in the last few km and could have carried on a bit further. (Can’t always say that after a 20-miler!)

Fitbit screencap

Distance:  32.22km
Time:  3:05:27 (could only find one faster 20 miler, back in 2013)

Avg HR:  143 (seems low)

Avg pace:  5:45 min/km

Calories:  2097

Brooks Ghost trainers #3