Friday, December 28, 2012

Last Spine training

Went up to Edale again yesterday for a 'bimble'. Woke early so just got up, got going, and was parked by 06:30. As I started it was dark but as I climbed Jacob's Ladder dawn began to break and I was overcome by the sheer beauty of the moment.


I posted the following on Facebook at the time which I think sums up the moment:

"Just reached the top of Jacobs Ladder as the first light of a new day breeches the horizon. Glorious. As I climbed I reflected on the past year - how lucky I am to have such a supportive family, how lucky I am to have loving children that I am truly proud of. But most of all how lucky I am to have my darling Jenny - she has tried so hard to be my support, my strength, this year - and has succeeded so wonderfully well. I am a very lucky man"

23 miles/5:30/great day out....... and that's my in-situ Spine training done........happy days!

Feeling confident, feeling strong.....and ready for The Spine - it's there for the taking

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Spine training in the snow

A couple of weeks ago I went up to Edale for a couple of days and had simply wonderful conditions ideal for some more Spine training.

Heavy snow on the Thursday evening left absolutely pristine conditions the next day. I was in virgin snow from Edale, up Jacobs ladder and all the way to Kinder Downfall. Often up to my knees, and coupled with strong winds, it was hard going but totally exhilarating. From Kinder Downfall, I made my way along to William Clough and down to Hayfield where I picked up the Pennine Bridleway all the way to Rushup Edge. Here, the snow had drifted more and it was very slow going. Met some mountain bikers who informed me it was a nice day to take their bikes for a walk! Along to Hollins Cross then back down to Edale - just over 7 hours in total and a wonderful day out.

Drove to Castleton YHA where I had a very nice meal and an early night!

Up & out on Saturday morning at 6am, I did another 3 hours up and around Castleton and Edale. Conditions were much icier which gave me a chance to try out my Kahtoola Microspikes - what a great piece of kit! Even met Jon Steele & friends on Back Tor.

Then home for a late lunch!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Frostbite 30, 1st December 2012

It was a last minute decision to enter this when I discovered a gimme pass-out due to Jenny & Jade going shopping for the day in Cambridge, James out drinking and Jess at hockey tournament – it would have been rude not to!

It was first-time for this new event starting at Pateley Bridge. Along the Nidderdale Way, up onto the moors, then back down along the Nidderdale Way to Pateley Bridge. I was treating this very much as training for The Spine and after a normal week’s training with absolutely no taper, I was interested to see how I’d go. I was also trying out my new Salomon Speedcross.

An early start on a cold, winter’s morning got me to Pateley Bridge just as the sun was breaking through. The forecast was for cold but clear conditions. The first 200m was ridiculously icy which pretty much set the tone for a lot of the race. Running along the edge of the reservoir I did manage to go “A over T”, bruising my knee and my pride! The views and weather were gorgeous – it was a lovely morning to be out. My legs felt a bit heavy for the first few miles but I soon settled into the leading 4 or 5 as we started the climb out of the valley up to the moors.

I was very much going for Day 1 Spine tactics – walk anything more than a slight hill, run the flats and down. Consequently, I was losing a little distance going up but soon caught it up at the top. The views were spectacular and we made good time across the moors. I moved into 2nd place for a while but there were no significant breaks and I soon settled into 4th. Had a flat spell along the last few miles of the tops but as we came down to Ribbledale again, I gave myself a good talking to, and my legs returned to normal.

A few flattish miles were followed by a good climb and then treacherously icy descent. Saw a mountain biker slide off, but pretty much escaped undamaged myself. After a quick visit to the men’s (!!), I suddenly had a real surge of energy and pushed on into 3rd place.

With about 4 miles to go, I was feeling great – full of running – feeling chuffed – chasing 2nd – running up a hill when I should have been following the reservoir edge!!! Oh no, attack of the missed turns!! Quickly assessing my map, sorted out the error and ran cross country, through a major bog where I temporarily lost a shoe, and back on course – probably a 1km detour, and probably now in 4th

Rather than my usual pissed off thoughts, I got angry at myself and really started pushing it. This was by far the fastest I have ever finished an ultra. I soon reeled in 3rd place again and ran strongly to the finish. 

For my efforts, I received a 3rd place medal in the shape of a Snowman (now proudly hanging on our tree) and a Christmas cake. There were superb cakes for all and a great locally made pork pie.

This was a really fun race – organisation was spot on and really friendly. Lovely route, excellent sign posting (!), and great food both before and after. I’ll definitely be looking out for more events from Rob Jarman and the Never Rest team