Friday, February 24, 2006

Friday 24th Feb

Last Saturday's run (Leg 5) over Blencathra, Great Calva and Skiddaw was inspiring. A few inches of dry, crisp snow on the first and the last summits, two snow covered descents and warm sunshine. The size of the hills makes a staggering difference - the 4 hours and a few minutes that were needed to get round the 24 mile Anglezark Amble a week ago were required for this 13.5 mile circuit. Skiddaw summit was littered with "half-term tourists" in full winter kit (as advised by National Park weather line) - I am not knocking them, they got out their cars, out the car park and made it to the summit but the conditions didn't require anything like full winter kit. Sunday saw Pauline and I tackle the LDWA 'Beacon Bash' for the third time with at least as many route finding difficulties as the previous occassions - even running with someone else so that we had a marked map and instructions to hand! Anyway it was another 21 miles 'in the legs' and the rest of the week was as normal.

Last Week
Miles: 74 Feet of climb: 11032 Weight: 156.8 lbs Loss: 1 lb

Next Week
Long run in the Lakes on Saturday, recce of first leg of the Jos Naylor Challenge with Ray Stafford in preparation for his attempt later in the year. On Sunday we walking in the Howgills and so after two consecutive weeks of around 70 miles, next week will be a somewhat easier 55 ish and my legs are looking forward to it.

Overall
70 mile weeks still seem pretty tough, especially when they include a hard day in the Lakes but my enthusiasm remains high and apart from niggling ligament problem in my left ankle I am injury-free. This 'injury' is almost a year old and comes and goes with rough terrain - last week it was worse than usual until I went over on it, in a hole in the road, last night. This mornign it is better than it has been for weeks. I am looking forward to light nights and getting off the roads in daylight after work.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Saturday 18th Feb

Fantastic - the first 'blog volunteer'.

After posting "
If, however, I haven't contacted you and you want to be involved - don't wait for me. Post a comment here (click 'comments' below)" - Pike (HRMI) didn't wait, he did just that and added himself to the team.

Thanks Pike.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Friday 17th February

Details of the very encouraging results from the "Winter Hill Weekend" are below. The rest of the week, or at least the early part of the week were a bit of slog as I tried to 'run the wekend out of my legs'. Monday's 12 was very slow, track on Tuesday was a little better, Wednesday's 12 started slow but improved and by the end I felt I had recovered but last night's session on Foxholes was hard and I am glad of a rest today. I am encouraged by the weekend's times and the fact that I managed my usual mileage during the rest of the week, even if Monday was the slowest I have done.

Last Week
Miles: 69 Feet of climb: 9800 Weight: 157.8 Loss: 0.4

Next Week
Saturday is a recce of Leg 5, Threlkeld to Keswick with Colin Jones, Mark, Suzanne and a number of others from Horwich. On Sunday morning Pauline and I will trundle round the 21 mile "Beacon Bash" and then the rest of the week will be as normal to produce a total mileage of around 70.

Support Team
I still have one or two others at HRMI to contact but I think the team is nearly complete and I am beginning to think about organising each leg now. If, however, I haven't contacted you and you want to be involved - don't wait for me. Post a comment here (click 'comments' below) or get my contact details from Karen. Since last week Tony Hesketh and Brian Walton (both HRMI) have offered to help, thanks.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Winter Hill Weekend 2006

This would be the first serious test of my winter training program with a long run on Saturday and a tough race on Sunday. The weather, of course, is going to play its part just as it did last year. Saturday was cool, clear and bright with very little wind - unlike last year when the cold strong wind was a constant companion.

Anglezark Amble - 2005 5:04; 2006 4:03. 61 minutes faster

Sunday's weather was pretty dreadful, worse even than last year, with a constant wind to produce driving rain that was always a hindrance in the low cloud that did nothing to aid route finding.

Winter Hill Fell Race - 2005 2:35:00; 2006 2:29:56. 5 minutes faster and 3 minutes faster than previous best time.

Conditions on Saturday were better than last year when, I am sure I held back to 'save a bit' for Sunday whereas this year I ran harder and pushed on to try to take an hour off last year's time. On Sunday I was looking to take 10 minutes off last year's time and I could be persuaded that the awful conditions and the slightly longer course were worth the other 5 minutes I was looking for.

I am encouraged by these times even if I would have liked 2:25 on Sunday the improvement on Saturday was way beyond what I anticipated might be possible, particularly when I ran more than half the distance on my own with no one to chase.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Friday 10th February

Cold clear nights this week on Winter Hill have been invigorating, none more so than last night when the hill session went up to the mast. Running back down, overlooking the Lancashire Plain, with all the lights and traffic below is a powerful reminder of how good it is to escape it all, however briefly. More significantly this has been another week injury free and on target for mileage. I am still losing weight and although this was the weekend I had targeted to hit 11st (155lb) I was 157lb this morning so I am slightly disappointed about that. Running hard up the climbs on Saturday morning transformed the session so that a comfomfortable 19 miles became a hard 19 miles and I was glad I was only walking on the Sunday - my legs were so heavy. The rest of the week went well although the motorway traffic meant I missed the track session on Tuesday - I did manage a road session in the pouring rain, instead, and on Wednesday took a couple of minutes off my best time for my 12 mile loop through Horwich so things are still going well, "touch wood" (scratch head at this point).

Last Week
Miles: 55.5 Feet of climbing: 7300 Weight: 158.2 Loss: 1.2lb

Next Week
This is the first really hard weekend of the year. Anglezark Amble on Saturday (24 miles, 4000 ft) with Winter Hill race on Sunday (11 miles, 2700 ft) - so a reet good Winter Hill Weekend! I hoping for better weather than last year when a strong cold wind blew all of Saturday and a brief blizzard blessed Winter Hill on Sunday.

Winter Hill Weekend 2005
Anglezarke Amble - 05:04
Winter Hill Fell Race - 02:35

Support Team
Since last week Keith Foster (W&NL LDWA), Doug Fleming and Mary White (both HRMI) have offered to help on the 24th, thanks.



Thursday, February 09, 2006

BGR - Schedule

I've been trying, not altogether successfully, to paste, import or create a table to show my detailed schedule but it seems impossible without editing the html code directly. That in itself isn't a huge problem but it is time consuming so here is a summary, until I can get to grips with a table for the whole thing.

Moot Hall - dep 08:00 daylight
Honister - arr 10:11
Honister - dep 10:16
Wasdale - arr 14:08
Wasdale - dep 14:18
Dumail - arr 20:23
Dumail - dep 20:33 daylight
Threkeld - arr 02:16 dark
Threkeld - dep 02:36 dark
Moot Hall - arr 06:59 daylight

On schedule it will be dark from Dollywagon Pike to Blencathra and with almost no moon even on a clear night it is unlikely to be bright enough to manage without torches. The schedule is weighted to allow for a slower pace towards the end, particularly on the last leg over the Northern Fells.


Friday, February 03, 2006

Friday 3 February

This has been the coldest, hardest week of the winter, despite the lack of frost. Hardest because, for the first time, on a Saturday morning I made each of the climbs an 'effort', climbing as fast as I was able and then doing the same again on Sunday going round "That's Lyth" from the first checkpoint. By Sunday night my legs were tired and by Wednesday night I decided to revert to the nearly flat circuit through Lostock. Last night, Chorley Road was hard work although my time for the final rep of 5:10 was only 1 second slower than my best time. It does feel that 70 -75 miles is pretty close to my comfortable weekly limit although there is probably not quite enough climbing there, yet.

Last Week
Miles: 75 Feet of Climbing: 8300 Weight: 159.5 lbs Weight Loss 0.5 lbs

Next Week
An easier week aiming for 55 - 60 miles with an easy walk on Sunday. This should ensure recovery from last week in preparation for a hard weekend on 11/12 but more of that later. I'll try to continue with 'fast' climbs on Saturday and aim to get round the "New Chapel / Foxholes" circuit on both Monday and Wednesday.

Support Team
Continues to grow and the enthusiasm within the club is fantastic, thanks everyone. Since last week Cyril Williams & Philippa O'Callaghan (Merseystride LDWA) and Rob Green, Sue & Doug Hayes and Barry Allman (all HRMI) have offered to help.

Schedule
I have just about finalised my schedule and if I can work out a way to publish the file here I'll do so. If I can't I'll publish it on another site and add a link to it from here. i have reduced the road stops to shortest I think I can manage but I would appreciate your thoughts on the schedule in general and the length of the road stops, in particular.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

January

The end of a month and the end of a quarter and so it seems like a good time to step back, a little, from the daily and weekly training routine and consider how the last months have gone. My initial 'plan' (in quotes because it was a plan only in name) was to go through the winter on about 50 miles a week, plus a bit of walking and some recces. In October, before stepping up the mileage my weekly average was 29 miles. Subsequent weekly mileages are -

November: 58 37 58 54 avg 52
December: 32 58 59 58 26 avg 47
January: 68 77 44 75 avg 66

December is skewed by Christmas & New Year, mainly by days walking in the Lakes rather than lazing about. During November & December I found the 55+ miles a week not too difficult and decided in January to push a little harder by adding a few miles on Saturday to get a minimum of 18 and then adding 10 or more on Sunday with dropping many during the rest of the week.

The way I feel at the end of this week is that 75 miles is just about my 'comfortable limit', perhaps a little beyond but by pushing a little bit harder, earlier than planned, I feel I have made more progress than anticipated and more importantly achieved it without injury. Mixing hard weeks with easy ones also seems to work and cuts out some of the routine involved in consistent weekly mileages.

It may seem a strange way of doing things but as my hardest run of the week and most races are on Saturday, Friday is the obvious rest day and if I add miles on a Sunday I can do them during the day rather than after work in a evening.