Saturday, May 31, 2014

Not the Hardmoors 160

Well, that didn’t go quite as planned!

The grim facts. First person to pullout from the race, after 30 miles at CP3 (Cropton). A fully conscious decision, and one that I was happy with at the time and still just about am!

It just wasn’t happening.

I felt my preparation had been good. I done a couple of long recce’s since the Viking Way and my legs seemed to have recovered OK, apart from some residual calf tenderness. Mentally, I was looking forward to the event but was aware that the excitement, the build-up, wasn’t quite there.

I packed all my gear on Thursday, putting a lot of thought into what I would need at each particular stop. Jenny would be supporting me through to late Saturday evening, and I knew that Tony Holland & Archie Stewart would be around on Sunday.

We arrived at the start at Scalby Mills in good time, and I was beginning to get that ‘buzz’. It was good to see some the usual suspects - Annie Garcia, Allan Rumbles and Ben Davis amongst others. Andrew Hayes, Tony Holland had come to support the start which was great.

Soon we were off. Initially things went well. Eventual winner, Lee Knight, Shelli Gordon, and Neil Ridsdale shot off, leaving the rest of us in their wake.

As usually happens, my legs started to feel a bit lethargy and achy after 90 minutes or so. This generally eases by 3 hours as I get into the race. However, this seemed a bit different, almost crampy. Instead of getting better, my legs just got tighter and tighter, but I was still moving along nicely. I was running with Matt who had ‘rescued’ me on the Spine this year. Apparently I had been walking around in circles; I didn’t think I’d been that bad!

I acquired my head torch from Jenny at CP2 (Levisham)

Then it began to rain. As we stopped to put on waterproof tops, it started to rain a lot. Waterproof trousers were donned. In torrential rain, conversation stopped. My legs seemed to hurt more.

We got to Cropton and that was that.

So what happened?

From a physical point of view, I’d done a couple of good long runs and had also done a couple of really nice shorter, tempo runs since the Viking Way. My legs had felt really stiff and sore for 2-3 days prior to the start but I had put that down to taperitis. Just one of those things or fallout from the Viking Way? Not sure really but probably cumulative damage.

Mentally, I didn’t feel the same as I had before the Viking Way. Once the rain started, my will disintegrated. Ultimately the want, the desire just wasn’t there.

Bottom line is that 5 weeks isn’t enough time to recover from a 147 mile run. Now there’s a surprise. Physically, perhaps, if you’re lucky, but mentally it’s just not enough time to get yourself up again. Not enough time to regain the drive and the desire required for something of this magnitude.

I’m not beating myself up after this one. Yes, I’m disappointed but it just wasn't going to happen. Any Jon Steele said he’d hit me if I got all depressed about it!

So, lesson learnt.

Probably not.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Getting ready for the Hardmoors 160

So this time next week, I’ll be readying myself for my next big challenge – the Hardmoors 160. A new addition to the Hardmoors family, the 160 links up the 48 mile Tabular Hills Route with the Cleveland Way. Starting at the coast at the cliff tops of Scalby Mills, Scarborough, the route first heads westwards and inland to Helmsley and then follows the 112 mile Cleveland Way (Hardmoors 110) to Filey.

Having done the 110 last year, it seemed like a good idea at the time!

After the Viking Way Ultra, I had a couple of restful weeks. My thighs recovered remarkable quickly but my calves have been pretty stiff ever since. I imagine this is a combination of changing to Hoka’s (with their lower hill drop) and the sheer distance and runability of the VWU. 

Anyway over the last couple of weeks I’ve recce’d the second half of the Tabular Hills route and reminded myself of some of the Cleveland Way, trying to do the bits which I will encounter at night. Due to the linear nature and the intricacies of public transport, this has required an encyclopaedic knowledge of the bus routes of North Yorkshire, and I have spent many hours pouring over text books

For the Tabular Hills part, I parked at Pickering and picked up the route south of Levisham. The route passes through several pretty villages and is mainly rolling countryside, but there is one vicious hill that pops up out of nowhere! I made my way to Hemsley and caught the 16:30 bus back to Pickering.

Last week, after typical Richard indecision and procrastination, I finally decided to start the next recce at…….Hemsley. This was mainly based on the fact that I like the moors more than the coast!

The plan was to Gump it; essentially I just keep on going until it seems a good time to stop. It was a lovely day as I set off and I made good time towards Osmotherley, stopping only briefly to chat to a man carrying a Venice Marathon rucksack. At Osmotherley, I decided an ice cream boost was required; I can recommend the Brymoor’s ice cream from the village store.

Over the moors I went; I love this part of the route. Having gone t*ts up after Bloworth Crossing, and with well-bloodied knees, I decided it might be time to stop. Kildale was close and seemed like a good option. Unfortunately there was no room at the stable so studying maps and consulting the locals, I decided to run 5 miles down the road to Great Ayton. I mobilized my brother who kindly did the sensible thing and sourced a B&B for me. Arriving at 8pm, after 45 miles, the owner proceeded to tell me off for not booking anywhere in advance!! I smiled sweetly, had a quick bath and wandered to the pub for a very well earned meal.

I felt remarkably fresh in the morning as I made my way up towards Roseberry Topping. I was planning to get as far down the coast as I could given time constraints and the complex combination of buses required to get back to Helmsley.

I merrily made my way on to Saltburn, stopping for emergency blister repair and a bun. 

I ran along the coast on a glorious morning, passing through the lovely village of Staithes.

After 25 miles, I arrived in Runswick Bay, just catching the 12:42 bus to Whitby. Then the 13:35 bus to Scarborough, followed by the 14:45 to Helmsley, followed by an ice cream.

Happy days.

So is my body recovered and ready for another onslaught? More importantly is my head ready again? If the motivation and drive is there, then my body respond.

Anyone need any information on bus routes?