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.
Time: official 29:38
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
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
Avg pace: 14:19 min/mile
Trainers: inov8 x-claw 275
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
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.
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
Avg pace: 9:43 min/mile
Trainers: Brooks Cascadia
Wildlife: 10 sheep
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.
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
Avg pace : 9:28 min/mile
Trainers: Brooks Glycerin