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
Trainers: Brooks Cascadia
Sunday 1 July, 07:50
Warm, sunny. A 5.1 mile run on trails, searching new routes without gps or map. Enjoyed it and my fitness seemed to improve as I went further. Hot work though.
Distance: 5.11 miles
Avg pace: 9:51 min/mile
Trainers: Brooks Ghost 10
Wildlife: 1 rabbit/hare, 1 squirrel
Felt warm at the start and got hotter, 20-22C I think. Used this race as preparation for Ultimate Trails 55k, thought it’d be useful with its stage format. Running and climbing with ‘rest sections’ between stages that I can power walk. Mimics the Lake District with plenty of walking (for me).
I knew only a couple of parts of the course, was nice to see Sheffield from a new perspective. Felt good on the king of the mountain stage 2, passed a few competitors. And liked some of the descents, flying down the Limb Valley for example.
Would like to run this again next year, an enjoyable and challenging course.
Distance: 14.53 miles in total, stages & walking between
Time overall: 2:43:37
RSR overall timed stages: 1:50:53 (for 20km)
Average pace overall: 11:15 min/mile
Avg HR: 136bpm
Trainers: Brooks Ghost 10
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 27 January, 07:49
4C, overcast and windy, turning to rain with low cloud on the high parts of the run. A 20.3 mile run on the Exterminator course.
Started from another point in Totley and went up a gentler ascent towards Totley Trig. Adapted the route to avoid Carl Wark and the swamp. Kept a good steady pace. Lots of soggy ground.
Had a gel and a Clif Bar and 800ml water. Tired towards the end but walked strong when I had to. Loved it, chuffed to do 20 miles when I’m not at that point in a marathon (or ultra) training cycle. Heel niggled throughout. TomTom didn’t find GPS for the first half mile.
Distance: 19.8 miles
Avg pace: 12:08 min/mile
Trainers: Inov-8 x-claw 275
Wildlife: 1 deer, cows and sheep
Sunday 24 December, 07:49. Christmas Eve.
9C, windy, overcast and cool. A 9 mile run on half the Exterminator race route. I followed the same route as 2 weeks ago, run #1387.
Climbing up the first hill, I only walked up the last bit of tarmac and the beginning of the rough track. Seemed better than last time.
Light drizzle began was leaving Blackamoor and by the time I’d crossed Houndkirk and descended Burbage Edge it was heavier. But the wind was the main thing.
It was soggy underfoot but no ice like last time. Had a Clif Bar, 1 gel and 500ml water. A good workout. Right heel niggled throughout but I’ve started a regime of calf-rollering and heel lifts to get it sorted once and for all.
Distance: 8.76 miles
Avg pace: 12:18 min/mile
Trainers: Brooks Cascadia
Wildlife: 1 flock of sheep