Friday, September 30, 2011

At last...... last I seem to have recovered from the High Peaks race and my prolonged viral illness. Knew I'd put a lot into the race just to finish but I was beginning to get very fed up with feeling knackered all the time!

Tried a couple of short runs last weekend but felt so tired with absolutely no strength in my legs. Resting heart rate was still 7 or 8 up on normal so I should have guessed the likely outcome. Did investigate a little bit of the Viking Way going south out of Lincoln though which was a pleasant change, as I'm getting really frustrated by the lack of hills etc round here - at least it was mildly undulating!!

Anyway, took Monday off and then did a belting 6 mile tempo run Tuesday lunch-time and that got the endorphins going! Longer slower run Wednesday lunch - feeling good again but managed to re-strain one of my left hip flexors. Very gentle 7miles yesterday just to confirm that my groin really did hurt! Really must learn to listen to my body rather than paying homage to the training diary/weekly mileage.........

Hopefully decent long run first thing in the morning - planning to try out my new LED Lenser headtorch in preparation for my attempt on Caesar's Camp - and then 3 week re-taper, if I can actually manage to do the rest thing!

It will have been my first proper week's training since before the UltraRace Peaks - I'm not including my Castleton recce 2 days?!

Caesar's Camp?! Yes, a moment of madness.....but nothing ventured, nothing gained .....or something like that.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

High Peak 40 Challenge, 17th September 2011, 40 miles

Writing this 4 days after the race, I'm still tired and my legs are still feeling battered! This was a tough race physically and mentally.

I'd had a stomach bug all week and had been feeling fairly lethargic with it. So an enforced rest/taper for a few days. In fact I'd done very little since my recce 2 weeks earlier due to a slight hip flexor strain. So not ideal preparation - did think about not starting but that would have been far too sensible.....and it's not as though I should know better....

Arrived in Buxton, went for a quick jog and actually felt pretty good. Jenny arrived from Manchester and we went to an Italian for tea - not the best. Back to the hotel, hard bed - and just to add insult to injury, there was a wedding reception until 1am so minimal sleep. Up at 5.20, creeping round the room trying (unsuccessfully) not to wake Jenny up.

Walked to Buxton Community College and registered. Had a natter with Helen & Will, fellow "wrong turners" at UltraRace Peaks - assure them I have my map! Chat with some walkers - they'll be out there 10-12 hours!

Then we all walked down to Broad Walk and it stopped raining just in time for the start at 8. The course essentially heads out east from Buxton goes around Chapel-en-le-Firth up onto Rushup Edge, over Mam Tor, down into Castleton, work its way to Tideswell via Cavedale, down Monsal Dale, up Deep Dale then turns westwards for the last  7 miles back to Buxton - sounds easy! It wasn't!!

Settled into a reasonable pace from the start and began to pick a few people off going up the first hill. Straight away noticed my heart rate was 5-10 beats higher than it should have been for the pace - hmm, thinks I, this could get interesting! A long fast descent to Fernilee Reservoir which I know will induce shin splints post race - I just have to accept this fact after any hard downhill racing.

Felt pretty good until the climb up to Rushup Edge at about 14 miles - no much strength in legs and stomach really "churning" as it had been doing all week. Had to stop behind a wall once on top to "admire the view" but felt a lot better for it.

Met up with Jim who had been in the leading group but had taken a wrong turn and was now heading for CP7 to meet his girlfriend. We ran at a good pace into Castleton where Jenny was waiting to greet us. Was surprisingly told that we were in 10/11th place. It was great to see Jenny but very tempting to jump in the car! Having contemplated stopping here, legs were feeling a lot better so decided to at least get to Tideswell at marathon distance.

Cavedale....ah yes, Cavedale. I died a thousand deaths going up Cavedale out of Castleton. No energy at all, legs cramping - walked almost the entire way whilst Jim shepherded me on and upwards. Realised I hadn't drunk that much and had only eaten half a banana and 1 gel.....bad mistake. Had been so concerned with my guts that I neglected the re-fuelling. Silly boy! Ate lots, drank lots
Got going again on the long downhill section to Tideswell but had pretty much decided to jack it in there - a marathon would be a respectful day out and deserving of at least some ice cream! Jenny was waiting in Tideswell looking very cheerful. Told her I felt shit and was struggling and then I think I said "See you in Buxton" or something equally stupid. I had decided to go into Ironman mode - checkpoint to checkpoint.

Along Monsal Trail something at the top at my left thigh started to go into spasm, followed by something on the lateral side of my knee - insertion of ITB? This led to me running 50m, hopping to  a stop, walking a bit, then doing it all again - must have looked quite comical. Remembered my nurofen, chucked a couple down which seemed to settle thinks down. Walked most the way up Deepdale1, still with Jim - we had begun to lose a few places by now. We were passed by a couple of people Jim knew so he went of with them - I was so grateful for his support - no way would I have finished if I'd been running on my own.

Refilled all my bottles at the top of Deepdale, and had another piece of flapjack. 7 miles to go and now I knew I'd finish and I began to focus on this. then followed a mindless, straight 3mile road section - lovely after 33 miles! And the heavens opened. The forecast rain had held off until now and in fact we had had quite a few sunny spells. Donned by Omm Kamleika waterproof for the first time - very comfortable, very impressed. Walked/ran along the road road section and was grateful to hit the path again at King Sterndale where the sun cam out again too.

Having recce'd this bit I knew Deepdale 2 was approaching - a deep ravine that appears out of nowhere at the bottom of a field. I picked my way carefully down and then walked strongly up the other side, overtaking someone sitting on a bench having a cake stop! Feeling much better now and finishing strongly, ran across the fields to the last CP and hit my emergency jelly beans and chocolate coated coffee beans. Nice!

Then the last 2-3 miles across some fields passing a few slowing runners. A final hill in Buxton and down to the finish where Jenny was waiting - a sight for sore eyes! Received my commemorative mug - makes a change from a medal.

I was so pleased to finish - it had been a really tough day both mentally and physically and was really chuffed to guts it out and finish. Surprised to find I was 19th - thought I had dropped more places.

41.2 miles, 1775m ascent, 6hrs 45 min, 19th/200, 4220 calories burnt!

A really well organised event with a good but low key atmosphere. Well marked course. Perhaps a bit too much road which made it more punishing but some great views along the way. Suffering forgotten, I'll probably do it all again next year!

No wonder it hurt!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Next up - High Peak 40 mile Challenge

High Peak 40 mile Challenge on Saturday which I had been really looking forward to since my last race and particularly since my recent recce.

However...I tweaked something in my groin last Tuesday doing a fast 6 miles, then stupidly tried to run it off the next day. Rested Thursday & Friday and it felt fine. Saturday planned 10-12 miles slow and was fine for 45 min - then sore again so called it a day. Lots of stretching and a couple of gym sessions since. Just done my traditional 3-4 gentle miles as last pre-race run and it feels OK - fingers crossed. My left thigh/groin seems to be rotating it's injuries round at the moment!!

Also think I've got a bit of a bug - been feeling nauseous for 2-3 days and absolutely exhausted - really lacking energy.

Hopefully all will be well by the weekend and I'll feel motivated again but right now, the thought of running 40miles on Saturday doesn't sound like a heap of fun.
Must watch a motivational video!

Monday, September 05, 2011


What a surprise - after Thursday and Friday's effort, my shins really hurt.

Have taken Rory's advice and purchased some Brooks Adrenaline trainers - much lower cut at the back, which should help my Achilles and apparently much better for preventing shin splints - it's all about the angle I think!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Peak District recce

Spent Thursday & Friday in Castleton checking out the route for the High Peaks 40 Challenge - well, I don't want to get lost do I!

On Thursday, I ran from Castleton following the course most of the way to Buxton - Cavedale, Tideswell, Monsal Dale, Deep Dale, then along the road to Chelmorton finishing the route at Cowdale. Then I fiddled my way bak to Castleton via the Monsal Trail and the Limestone Way, the latter of which was not a bundle of laughs. By the end my hip flexors were shot and for half an hour after finishing I could barely walk - but fortunately did make it to a very nice ice-cream shop! Very useful though as a recce and definitely clarified a few possible "going the wrong way" places. All in all, 4:53 and 32 miles - although I was probably out for more like 7 hours. In the evening I had a highly deserved dinner at Ye Old Nags Head in Castleton - sirloin steak which all the trimming, and treacle tart with ice cream - very nice.

On Friday, with hip flexors miraculously OK, I ran along the road to Hope then picked up the old Roman Road (skirting under Win Hill to Hope Cross), then down the valley to Edale, Upper Booth, Barber Booth, up onto Rushup Edge. Then right along the ridge to Loose Hill, down to Hope (which I knew was giving me shin splints) and back to Castleton and a slab of Bakewell Tart with ice-cream :-)
Really nice run, 2:55 and 19 miles.

Even though I'm very familiar with walking along a lot of this (especially through Edale & Rushup Edge), it's so different when running. had a really fun 2 days - although probably not everyone's idea of fun

Friday, September 02, 2011

Fitness Assessment

Met with Rory Coleman at Fitness First in Derby yesterday for a Fitness Assessment and general chat re training.

After a general chat re aims & goals etc and a brief warm-up, Rory flogged me on the treadmill for 12 min up to maximum effort. After this, he calculated my VO2 Max and a predicted time for marathon and 1/2 marathon - 2:35 and 1:14 respectively. Yes, that somewhat surprised me too!! Then he ran me through a new gym session (my thigh adductors are so weak!) , some core stability work and finally he gave me a 12 week macrocycle. We had a chat re upcoming races and diet - must eat more! Altogether I was there for the best part of 3 hours.

Really helpful and productive session which I would highly recommend. Rory is highly motivational and I left really invigorated, and with a real sense of purpose.