Monday, 16 May 2011

A nice week, if quiet...

Ran for the first time since London on what felt like quite recovered legs last Monday - just 8 miles, and not terribly quick (although I think I was probably bobbing along at about 7:20 pace on the canal).  I actually felt fairly light on my feet, which shows the amount of time it's taken to recover, and shows how much the combination of London and the Peaks took out of me.

Did another steady 5 on Wednesday night in Newcastle, then nothing until Sunday, when I ditched the Etape du Dales (thankfully - it sounded horrendous) and went out with Herb and my new cycling club chums from Ilkley CC.  The "A" ride (which the Afterburner reckons me and Herb should just about be able to hang on to the back of) was cancelled, as all the fast boys would be up doing the Etape, so we hooked up with the "B" group, leaving the Old Bridge at 8:30.  Out to Askwith, and up to the moor, which reminded up how much fun riding in a group can be - people to talk to, people to draft, and no need to cower in the gutter every time a car passes.

We dropped down to the reservoirs on a road that's new to me, then headed over to Harrogate and Pannal before turning for home at Kirkby Overblow.  The pace was very comfortable, and Herb and I were always somewhere near the fron, which suggests to me that we'll be about "A and a half" standard - which for me means the B group for a few weeks whilst I get some more stamina.

We came back via Castley and Leathley, with an encounter with a mad old woman at Farnley who objected to us stopping on the edge of the road, and would prefer us to be right out in the middle where we could get run over.  A blast back to Ilkley saw us do a really nice 38 miles at an average speed of 15.5mph, so not blistering but respectable.

Rick came round shell-shocked from the Etape, having taken 9:30 (Herb and I were 8:12 in much more clement conditions last year).  Tis confirmed our decision to pootle.

Then today I took my posh new Garmin 610 out for a run for the first time - 6 miles on the canal with the middle 4 as an effort.  2 were into the wind and were 6:42 and 6:33, then I turned at Riddlesden and came back in 6:28 and 6:23.  A mile back saw me do 6 miles at an average of under 7min pace - the first decent effort for a couple of weeks.

Saturday, 7 May 2011


I've done a bit of exercise this week, but not a lot.  My blisters have been sore (til Wednesday) and my legs have been sore (til Friday) so I managed a cycle commute and a ploddy (although I did a couple of 7:15 miles just to show I could) 5 miles on Friday evening.

The week's "event" was the West Riding Classic, a new sportive based in Clapham near Ingleton.  I picked The Herb up aftre battling with my new towbar and my bike rack, then we were away about 9 o'clock.

Ingleborough from Kingsdale.  I ran(ish) up that bugger last week.

We had a decent run over to Ingleton then a bit of a battle over to Kingsdale before we crested the watershed and saw this:

The view down into Dentdale
Stunning (and a great deal more stunning than that picture looks).  Once in Dentdale we turned east and realised that there was "a bit of a breeze" blowing.  It got tougher and tougher, and Herb started to struggle with his bad back, so the decision was taken that we'd do the 60 mile route instead of the 75 miler.

The pull up to Newby Head was really hard, but once we turned down towards Ribblehead the speed and the spirits rose.  And why wouldn't they?

Ribblehead with Whernside in the background.  I ran(ish) up that bugger last week as well.
After we turned at Ribblehead the wind got stronger and Herb really started to struggle - he's definitely a lot bike fitter than me and I was leaving him almost at will.  Eventually after a couple of stretch stops we hit Horton and the feed.  Lovely soup, a cup of coffee and a quick check of may wallet left me energised...and terrified.  I'd carefully put Karen's car key in my wallet and put the wallet in my jersey pocket.  Sadly I was in my car not Karen's, which was sat, unlocked, with the key in the armrest, in the car park in Clapham.

Herb suggested going back and I didn't need much persuading - the weather was looking ominous and I could imagine the pain of making 5 years loan repayments on a car that'd been nicked.  A brilliant blast through Helwith Bridge and Austwick quickly saw us back at the car park and my still immobile car, so we handed in our chips and went home after an enjoyable but interrupted 40 mile ride.  And it lashed it down 10 minutes after we finished.

A good event, and one we'll go back to, and well done to Bob for getting round the full 75 mile route.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Ticked it

Well I did it, but it wasn't pretty.

3 Peaks race yesterday in glorious but very windy weather.  I arrived at Horton and was surprised to feel really quite nervous - which is odd as I didn't have much of a target other then to get round without getting timed out.  I lined up with several other Harriers, and we were soon off and climbing up Pen y Ghent.  I found I was able to run most of the initial climb, which meant I passed quite a few people - no trouble from my legs at this early stage.

I hit the top of PyG in about 40 minutes, so slightly up on 4:30 schedule, and made good time to Ribblehead where I was a good 25 minutes inside the cut off.  The only problem was the underside of my heels were sore, which I assume is my compression socks sliding about in my shoes - whatever the cause this meant I was struggling to run quickly downhill from very early on.

After a quick slurp of water at Riblehead it was off to the second peak, Whernside, via a route I've never done - straight up the middle to the summit.  This was all walking, and in my case pretty bloody slow walking too!  On the way up here was when my legs realised that this wasn't another steady recovery run after London and decided to let me know they weren't pleased.  I got to the top having dropped a few places, then struggled on the descent with my dodgy feet.

Me and Rebecca M-W just after the Hill Inn - before the pain really started...Photo Terry Lonergan
 The main objective for the day was to hit the Hill Inn check within 3:30 to be allowed to finish - which I did in under 3 hours, so apart from being absolutely shagged out with sore feet and dehydration there was nothing to stop me.

I ran quite a bit of the initial section, but once we hit the paved section I was pretty much walkign everything, and I really struggled up the last steep bit before the ridge.  A kind bloke saw my problems and gave me a quick drink, which helped get me the last bit to the summit via another slurp from a marshall.

Just the descent then - which I'd secretly been hoping would be my moment of triumph as my marathon trained legs took me down the last 4 3/4 miles in about 40 minutes. What actually happened was my shot at legs and agonising feet ran-walked it in 48 minutes and just failed to get under 4:30.

My left foot - note blisters on the heel and the ball.  Ouch.

Would I do it again 13 days after London?  Of course I bloody wouldn't - that'd be stupid.  Would I do it again if I'd trained specifically for it and rested properly ? Abso-bloody-lutely.  I suspect I could get under 4:15 without too much bother, and a sub-4 should be feasible if I did a proper "campaign" of lots of hills and longer off-road runs.  Which gives me a dilemma for 2012 - do I give London another bash, or do I give the 3 Peaks a proper go?

Decisions, decisions...