Dig Deep 12.12 trail race

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20 August 2017, 10:00

14C to 16C (felt hotter), sunny, breezy, ideal for running.

I’d had a breakfast at 6am and a coffee in the registration area.  Lined up in the starting area to listen to the marshall’s instructions.  A big laugh went around when he said everyone but one female  had managed to successfully put their dibber on their wrists; the odd one out had managed to put it on her ankle, probably thinking there would be timing mats.

I tried to place myself behind the clutch of serious runners on the line, maybe 30-40% way back in total.  The route seemed familiar from my recce many weeks earlier.  I ended up keeping pace with most around me.

I felt good on the first long uphill.  Slipped and slid heading down muddy steps into Limb Valley, laughing.  Told another runner in Lady Canning’s Plantation that I thought I’d set off too fast, expected to blow up later.

in Lady Canning’s Plantation

Along Houndkirk Road was the first bit I walked, on one of the uphills.  (Lots of others had been walking well before that point).  There were only two other walking spots for me, the steepest bit of the climb up Higger Tor and part of the climb back over Burbage.  Pleased to just keep going the rest of the route.  

My local knowledge helped me overtake a bunch of slower runners on a downhill (Burbage), darting to the right and throwing myself down a hill while they tip-toed down a rockier track.

Turned right ankle two times, not badly, and scraped my knee slightly climbing down Higger.  Drank 200ml water I carried and two tiny plastic cups at the water points.  Didn’t need any food.

returning along Houndkirk Road

My tired legs seemed to get stength back later on. Mentally I was trying to keep runners behind me and keep pace with the one in front.  Chased down a runner returning through Limb Valley, then passed two more, all in the last half mile.  The climb back to Whirlow Hall Farm I was pushing on and feeling great, then along a field and up the last 200m to the finish. Brilliant, felt so good, and then I saw the time…!

Right achilles was sore afterwards, and can feel some DOMS in my quads today (Mon) writing this. Otherwise, I was good enough to go jogging with Emma Sunday pm.

Distance:  11.97 miles (TT) (official – 12.12)

Time:  1:53:57 (TT) (official – 1:55:18, don’t understand the difference)

Avg pace:  9:28 min / mile

Calories:  1344

Ascent:  1633ft

Trainers:  Brooks Cascadia

I’d definitely recommend this race to anyone.  Great organisation, good variety of countryside and great fun.

after the finish, still no idea how well I’d done, but pleased and content

Really pleased to see that I’d come 28th overall out of 136, and I was 5th in my age group.  That’s really encouraging, spurs me on to train well and keep enjoying trail running. 

training run #1308

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Sunday 16 July, 07:15

14C, overcast and drizzly.  A 7 mile run on the checkpoint 7 to checkpoint 9 loop I’ve done before.  It was 18C at home and forecast sunny and getting wamer, but arriving at Fox House there was low cloud, drizzle and a forecast for more of the same.  Probably overdressed changing to a long sleeved top.

Thought I’d follow one of the recce loops again and still got lost at one point where high ferns and heather moorland obscured any obvious trail path.  In spite of this, I was 25 minutes quicker than last time I did this route (run #1302) and ran 0.75 miles less.

Felt strong, ran more of the uphills and enjoyed it.  Drank 500ml water and had a gel at home, another at 3 miles.

Wore my new inov-8 x-claw 275 trainers today.  Thought I’d better break them in and expected that a few rainy days may have left softer ground.  The trainers were great, nice and lightweight, lovely feeling running on grass and soil, no problem on some of the rocky paths.  Today the ground wasn’t as soft / muddy as I’d expected.  Feet still got wet though due to wet grass and foliage.

It is 16 weeks to the Indianapolis Marathon, so I’ll start following a training schedule.  Have downloaded one from the marathon website and it seems OK, but I’ll not be sticking religiously to any plan, I need to build good fitness and mileage and accommodate a few races as well.  Would be nice to get under 4 hours – apparently it’s a fairly flat course – but my main concern is managing niggles and getting to the start line able to finish the course.

Distance:  6.98 miles

Time:  1:21:33

Avg pace:  11:24 min/mile

Calories:  835

Elevation gain:  1003ft

Trainers:  Inov-8 x-claw 275

Wildlife:  1 squirrel

training run #1304

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Sunday 9 July, 07:06

15C, bright, sunny.  A 5 mile run from Fox House past Higger Tor and back along Burbage Edge.  I was checking out a possible route skirting around Higger Tor, instead of going right over it for a future race.  The trail I followed petered out in the heather and foliage, so it may be just as quick going over as trying to follow a much flatter but wider route around.

Drank 500ml water.  Turning back at Ringinglow Road the return was easy and mostly downhill along a good path, so a much a faster pace than I’ve been doing of late.

I’ve enjoyed this past two weeks on leave, having the time to do lots of trail and hill running in the Peak District.  Back to work tomorrow, so I will be using Rother Valley and run-commuting again as the marathon training schedule gets near.

Distance:  4.87 miles

Time:  52:42

Avg pace:  10:38 min/mile

Calories:  587

Elevation gain:  549ft

Trainers:  Brooks Cascadia

training run #1303

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Friday 7 July, 07:00

16C – 20C, fairly warm and some sunshine.  A 17.4 mile run along the route of the Exterminator race, to check the route I’ve plotted and see how it feels.  

today’s route

Managed to navigate almost all of it without reference to phone or watch, it seemed familiar from the recce runs I’ve done this week.  About 10.5 miles in a triple whammy; phone died as I tried to check a turning; turned left ankle but no damage; full sunshine started and it got very hot.  Took a wrong turn between CP8 and CP9, wasted a few hundred yards/ 5 minutes wandering. 

Drank 1 litre of water and 2 gels.  Could have done with more water, will consider using a bladder for these longer summer runs instead of just relying on the Salomon collapsible bottles.  

Right heel hurt a bit in the second half.  Had a niggle in right knee, most notable when climbing after CP8 Grindleford.  Both feet hurt a bit.  Lower left back niggled a bit due to the descents I think.  Might be easier to say what wasn’t aching or hurting!  

Tired a lot, but got a surprising boost of energy when I realised I could finish in under 4 hours and decided to push on.  In race conditions, with adrenaline and more urgency to push on I can knock time off.  Overall, this felt like I’d run a marathon, it was that tough with the climbing and heat.

Need to check if there’s a better route just before CP3, going round Higger Tor instead of climbing over it.  Did find a (new to me) steep ‘short-cut’ between CP1 and CP2 🙂

Distance:  17.38 miles

Time:  3:57:50

Avg pace:  13:12 min/mile

Calories:  2038

Elevation gain:  3454ft

Trainers:  Brooks Cascadia

training run #1302

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Wednesday 5 July, 07:03.

13C, mild, overcast.  An 8 mile run, checking out the latter part of the Exterminator race route from CP7 to CP9.

Ran from Fox House to CP7, then an easy run downhill to CP8 at Grindleford.  From there it’s a steep climb up a wooded hillside.  Near the top, where the stream wanders right I went round and round checking the best way onto the moor.  Found it, then got lost striding across the heather and foliage and wondering where the path went.  Should have veered left towards a house/farm, but will know that for next time.  

view from White Edge, showing the bit of moor where I lost the path

The run over Flask was straightforward, done it before on my 12 mile runs.  Easily found CP9 (Totley Trig) and checked out the best approach.  Then headed off on a familiar route to my car at Fox House.  Had 2 gels and 500ml water.  Overall, not a testing run, though I’ve done three runs in three days and all with some climbing.  Think I just about know the route to take for the race in September, next step is to run it all – maybe at the weekend.
Distance:  7.74 miles

Time:  1:46:56 (LOTS of wandering around slowly and figuring where to go)

Avg pace:  12:25 min/mile

Calories:  926

Elevation gain:  1031ft

Trainers:  Brooks Cascadia

training run #1300

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Monday 3 July, 07:21

12C to 14C, breezy and overcast.  An 8.5 mile run taking in parts of the Exterminator route again.  Started at Fox House and went round CP 3 to CP6, to find the optimum route off Stanage Edge and down to Hathersage, then followed a better route up to Mitchell Field.  

Succeeded, I found the intended route off Stanage and the rest to CP6, then struggled to actually find the path to return to my car!  Ended up stomping across a moor wondering where the path showing on the map had gone to.  So I’d done the hard bit and failed on the return. 

Drank 500ml water and had 2 gels (no breakfast).  Tired on the uphills and walked a lot of the steeper bits.  Expect I can go faster in race conditions, but I consider the recce a success because i found the intended turns and paths.

Distance:  8.53 miles

Time:  2:05:31

Avg pace:  13:45 min/mile (so, lots of walking…)

Calories:  1011

Elevation gain:  1619ft

Trainers:  Brooks Cascadia

training run #1280

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Bank Holiday Monday 29 May, 07:05

12C, cool, misty and drizzly.  A 6 mile run, aiming to learn about the Blacka Moor route ahead of the race on 20/6.  Started on Penny Lane and headed along the route, uphill of course.  Found the second hill a bit steep, and got my turning wrong.  Ended up going anti-clockwise around the loop rather than clockwise.  At least I’ve seen the route now though.  This meant I did the long and very steep downhill as a strong walk uphill, and given the damp weather I probably avoided breaking my neck doing it this way round. 

On Totley Moor I could see a turn on my map/phone but it took me a few mins to find it in the low cloud. Yikes, lost on the moors!

It’s easy to lose your bearings with no landmarks!

Enjoyed the run and even in the misty murk parts of it were familiar from the Totley Moor race.  Will have a go sometime running it clockwise, so I’m ready for the race.  A couple of good hill workouts in this run.

Distance:  6.14 miles

Time:  1:16:25

Avg HR:  132bpm

Avg pace:  12:26 min/mile

Calories:  813

Elevation gain:  1260ft

Trainers:  Brooks Cascadia