BGR - Other Objectives
During the next six months, or so, I'll post progress updates against certain objectives and race times. As noted previously my healthy weight of 173 lbs needed reducing and I have target of 155 lbs. Progress has been good, on 29 Dec after 'Christmas excess', I weigh 161 lbs. I hope to be at or very close to my target weight by the weekend of the Winter Hill Race (12 Feb).
At the start of November I increased my weekly mileage, aiming for 50-60 in order to average over 50 miles per week each month. From an average around 30 miles a week, November averaged 52 and December also averaged 52 to date (29 Dec). Although I will be happy to maintain this mileage through the winter I will also look to make some of the miles harder by using routes with more climbing.
I am also happy to listen to advice on mileage and other training suggestions.
BGR - Plan
Direction, start time and date all need sorting - the schedule isn't really a problem because I'll be happy to work off a 23 hour schedule to get round in under 24. A morning start, almost from the beginning, seemed more attractive because it offers the possibility of (most of) a night's sleep before setting off rather than spending all day waiting to go.
So an 08:00 start for an anti-clockwise circuit looks best and now just the date. Not too late because the days are hotter, the bracken is higher and it may preclude a second attempt the same summer. May is full of long events - LDWA (marshalls) 100, The Fellsman and the Old County Tops as well as Bank Holidays and while early June looks good (soon after these events) Duddon Valley is the first weekend, Ennerdale the second and the Tour of Horwich & Rivington finishes on the third weekend - so that makes the fourth weekend favourite and the 24th June is "penciled in".
The FRA calendar arrives on 22 December and confirms there are no long races on 24th June - 24th June it is.
Need to give some thought to food & drink and a Support Team
2005 was intended to be a "get round" year to see if I could "get round" some of the classic ALs in the FRA calendar but my own calendar would also include, of course, Winter Hill, Rivington Pike and the Two Lads.
My Winter Hill 2005 was about 2.5 minutes slower than 2004 but I had run the 24 miles Anglezark Amble the previous day. Rivington Pike was about 1 minute faster than 2004 and in 2005 I had a run up Scafell Pike in the morning. Two Lads time was also about a minute quicker so some improvements were achieved.
Of the longer races, I got round the Wuthering Hike (31 miles, 4400'), Three Peaks (24 miles, 4500'), Old County Tops (37 miles, 10000'), first Horwich runner, due to a route finding error by a couple of others, at Ennerdale (23 miles, 7500') and Borrowdale (17 miles, 6500') but not Wasdale, on a hot day, I failed to reach Pillar before the cut off time.
In September I went along to see Norman Mathews (Head Senior Coach at Horwich) to find out what I should be doing to improve on my 2005 performances. Didn't take Norman long to identify areas for improvement. Some hamstring flexibility (I don't mean some more hamstring flexibility, I mean some hamstring flexibility), a deal of quad strengthening and the loss of some body fat - at 6 feet tall and weighing 173 lbs (12st 5lbs) I was a 'healthy weight' which is no use for an endurance athlete.
By the Tour of Pendle in November (when I took 21 minutes off my 2004 time but I took a bit of a tumble in 2004) I was beginning to think that with a bit of work a Bob Graham Round in 2006 might just be do-able.
At the beginning of December I was beginning to start the required planning but that, as they say, is another story.
During the 2003 and 2004 I ran a few fell races trying to make the transition from a strong long distance walker to a long distance fell runner. These races confirmed the quantum leap in fitness neccessary would only be achieved with specialist advice, encouragement and support.
Fortunately, I live near Horwich and while the town has been synonymous with the railways since the mid-1920s there is an athletics club that was, originally part of the Railway Mechanics Institute, Horwich RMI (Horwich RMI). Horwich RMI is a club with a considerable pedigree in fell running. In the 1970s, Mike Short became British fell champion on two occasions. In so doing he rewrote the record books by breaking countless course records in most of the classic fell races of Britain. In addition, Paul Murray, Norman Matthews, Tony Hesketh and Steve Jackson have all been national veteran fell running champions. Horwich RMI also host a race that is held dear to the heart of the people of Horwich and the surrounding area. On Easter Saturday crowds gather along Lever Park Avenue to await the spectacle of the Rivington Pike Fell race, one the oldest established fell races in the country.
Rivington Pike Fell race (2003) was the first fell race I had run since school (in 1970) and so, really, only Horwich RMI would do - I joined in late 2004 and started winter training.