Monday, 2 November 2020

Spire Ultra

After my first ultra was cancelled in April due to the country going into the locdown for Covid I put my name on the waiting list for one in May, that then got rearranged for October and I forgot about it. On the 31st October I was meant to be running the Cani-Trail 22mile with Chip again but it was postponed for a year after the County in Wales went into lockdown. Just days after I got an invite for the Spire Ultra as unfortunately people in tier 3 areas aren't meant to travel. So on Saturday I was lining up for my first ultra without dog power.
I was in the first starting pod, pods were made up of six people and so lined up next to my smiley face.
On go I headed off, being careful not to head off too fast as my plan for the day was to be sensible for the first half in the hope I wouldn't die. It still took a long time till people started passing me.
The weather was pretty wet and very windy and the ground very muddy. A couple of times I nearly fell over.
As was getting close to nine miles I hear cheering and there was Ali, she'd been shopping after dropping me off so stopped on her way home.
After seeing Ali the rain got heavier but although my top was wet I was warm and it was keeping the wind out so I never put my waterproof jacket on.
On one section someone had put a selection of signs up especially for us which made me smile.
I stopped at a couple of checkpoints to fill up with water and took advantage of a couple of walls to add torq powder so I was keeping getting electrolytes as well as water into me. 

On one descent I thought I must be coming to the last checkpoint but no it was a pheasant shoot.  They moved soon after I went last and I actually saw them again on another section.
The last checkpoint mentioned in the toute notes was at 20miles and I was pleased that I had maintained a 12 min mile average. After this I had a long section straight into the wind that was hard going and it was starting to hurt. But otherwise I felt okay as I had been eating and drinking well.
About 25miles I started  swapping places with two guys and then the last six miles was mainly uphill so I did slow as I was walking most of it.

The last bit was over boggy fields but as I approached the finish I heard Ali cheering for me which kept me running. I crossed the line and stopped my Garmin at 6hours and 40minutes which smashed my Gold goal of breaking 7 hours.

Really chuffed to find i finished 3rd female and 25 out of 63 finishers.

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

AKA Mustard SwimRun - Spring Lakes

After winning the As Keen As Mustard swimrun series last year I was looking forward to racing this year however with Covid all the races were rescheduled for September and October meaning I definitely couldn't do the whole series. But on Sunday I headed to Spring Lakes in Nottingham ready to race the 21k, well as ready as I could be having done no open water swimming this year.
Registration was quickly done and I walked the dogs round to the start and realised it was actually a fair way so I'd better head back to the van and get my wetsuit on! 
Due to Covid the start was done as individual starts, people lined up and I just waited till the end to go. Luckily for me Ali was tail biker so cold be with me for registration and the start, Covid means no spectators to be brought with you to the event.
I actually caught the team in front pretty quickly before entering the water for swim one. Where Imanaged to head towards the wrong point bu sighting off the wrong flag, fortunately I realised I couldn't see any other swimmers going that way so only did about 100m extra. I went past someone on the next run and then for the first lap (it was a two lap course) the only other competitors I saw were two going the opposite way to me! Turns out they had pulled out.
I passed the finish just after an hour and a half and I was still feeling strong. Coming out of the first swim on this lap I was surprised to see another competitor ahead of me and went past him on the way into the next swim.
I was beginning to notice the cold on the swims but warming up enough on the runs, I was very glad when I got to the longest run to get properly warm and it meant there was only one swim left.
It turns out I actually did pretty well with the water temperature, considering I hadn't been swimming outside so hadn't had any acclimatisation. There were quite a few people didn't finish and one competitor had to have an ambulance called for her due to hypothermia. 
I finished in just under three hours so I did the second lap faster than the first which I was very pleased with and I finished 3rd female and 6th overall.

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Grindleford Gallop

This weekend I was meant to be at a weekend canicross race but it had been cancelled a few weeks ago as the ground was too saturated for parking or camping. Luckily I got a transfer place into the Grindleford Gallop which starts a few miles away from where I live and is a 21mile loop. 

I cycled to the start as it was close to home and there isn't a lot of parking there, this meant I didn't have to get there super early to get parked! 
All the registration was done outside due to the Corona Virus meaning we had to be careful about being around people. 

I'd already done a reasonable amount of running this week, including a 17 mile run with Chip on Wednesday, so the plan was to use it as a good training run. Then they said GO and of course I was running as fast as I could to the queue for the first stile! 

It wasn't long before the climbing started and I was walking! But the views were stunning. The day had started off misty but the weather kept improving with the sun shining by partway through, in fact I was wishing I had shorts on! I was behind a guy descending well into Longstone and I was able to stay with him. I mentioned to him I often find the Monsal Trail hard in races and he said just treat it like a parkrun. I may have took that too literally clocking a sub 8minute mile! 

Leaving the trail we headed up towards Chatsworth, I enjoyed eating my cake while walking up this that I had picked up at the checkpoint on the trail. Heading towards Chatsworth my legs seemed to be struggling and once I got to Chatsworth I started to really need the toilet but I knew it wasn't far to Baslow! Getting there it was a quick toilet stop and I got one of my bottles refilled. 

Up to hill onto Baslow Edge, it was just along Baslow, Curbar and Froggatt Edges before dropping to the finish. It felt like I was just shuffling along while more and more people came past me. But once descending to the finish I found some more oomph and even a sprint along the road to the finish! 

I was aiming for sub 5, with sub 4.5hrs being my A goal. So I was super happy with finishing at just over 4hrs!

After finishing they fed us soup, which was delicious, oh and lots of cake options! Then I had to cycle home.... It took me a while to set off and the uphill was hard, at least then it was mainly downhill to home! 

It's definetly an event I would do again. Also showed me I probably need to do some more long training runs without Chip so I don't just die! But the really good thing is I managed about three 500ml bottles of liquid and the day after my legs weren't sore, meaning I was right about a lot of the soreness after the Wales race being down to barely drinking anything! 

190th/387 runners
44th/147 females
27th/76 V40 females

Now to hope my main event in April goes ahead!

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Christmas Day Park Run

Ali had suggesyed we did the Bakewell Park Run on Christmas Day and why didn't I run it with Chip. I have to admit that I hadn't been interested before as it's just out and back on the monsal trail and there is much nicer running round there, also I wasn't sure about running chip somewhere so busy. Since I have been working on my running style and Chip have getting faster I decided to give it a go. I went the sat before dogless to check it out and ask if it was okay to start at the front, the event director kindly agreed, normally they ask dogs to start at the back. On the day we had a fantastic run getting a fantastic pb. Chip was a star coping with the legs around us.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

The difference a day makes.

Sunday we had a lazy start to the morning, I briefly got out of the van at 6:30am to take chip to the toilet. I couldn't believe all the ice had melted melt the car park was no longer an ice rink! We had decided to do a short one after the adventure, a 4km out and back.

Heading up the hill it was stunning and reaching the shooting cabin we decided to explore a possible circular loop .

We headed out over a Grouse Moor, Chip thought this was amazing! But it was slow going on two legs!

We descended down into a stunning valley before picking up a runable path, which was a shock to the legs!

A weekwnd to remind me to get out and explore more.

An Epic Kinder Adventure

Saturday me and Abbi set out from the Snake Pass Inn to recce a route she had plotted as a possible group run. The forecast was cold with possible snow showers turning to rain, with Black Ice on the roads. We set off onto Snake Path and found the equivalent of black ice on the trails. I expected slippy rocks, but the mud was ice and you couldn't see it! With the rain beginning to fall I popped my emergency waterproof trousers on, something I was very glad of later.
Getting up onto Kinder the weather was getting bad, very windy and basically ice falling from the sky, all our zips on our rucksacks were frozen shut! We made a decision to drop down off the edge and follow a lower path, unfortunately there was no actual path on the ground so it was hard work making our way across Moor land. With Abbi's dogs getting good frozen fur, they're cockapoo's so more fur than chip, and it starting to get close to getting dark, we got my emergency shelter out (which I nearly didn't carry), got the dogs defrosted, added some layers, got zips defrosted to get my head torch out. We then made a plan to drop to the path we had come up on and it was easy to follow.
We got down to the other side of the river and found a footbridge to cross, only it was covered in sheet ice and had no sides. The only way across was to crawl. Chip refused the bridge and went across the river, only trying to use a rock to stay drier she slipped into the river on her back, I had to crawl the rest of the way across the bridge and pull her in and drag her out, fortunately she was in three coats and she stayed warm! When Abbi crawled across she lost her map, glad we both had a map with us. All that was left then was to slowly pick our way back down the path as it got dark. But at least we were confident with how to get back.
We were so glad to get back to the road and back to the vans, it was straight in, get chip changed, get me changed and then into the pub for tea.
It's a long time since I've felt that scared on the hill and shows how important it is to carry emergency kit. So glad to be there with someone else with the hill experience and the right kit.
We decided that it wasn't ideal as a group run as no good bailout options and the weather can change so quickly up there.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

A morning Run up the Edges.

Laura and I met up at Curbar Gap this morning for a run, I had told her we didn't need to worry about it being busy as the Peak District only opens at 10am. We went out along White Edge where the deer were as close as I've seen them in a long time, back along Froggatt dropping down under Curbar and along under Baslow where we met the Highland Cooos. Back over onto White Edge we arrived back at the car park after 9.5 miles to a busy car park and lots of people heading out. Meanwhile we'd had empty trails most of the time.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

6.5 miles in glorious sunshine.

It's felt a very wet and muddy winter and then i ended up not running much in January due to illness so it was lovely to get out today and have sunshine and trails that weren't completely muddy. We ran fro  Rowsley to the edge of Chatsworth and back and hardly saw anyone else. The singletrack through the woods was especially fun. Lovely to be getting the miles in again!

Monday, 4 December 2017

Dark Peak Trail 14

I contacted the organisers of this race a while ago to ask if I could run with a dog, explaining that he would be attached to me on a short lead at all times and I had my own insurance. They kindly agreed and I decided to take cybi as the route went over cut gate which I know can be boggy. He will just keep going, chip wouldn't enjoy it.

Getting close to the event I was nervous as I hadn't done much running in November due to illness but the Monday before cybi and I did ten miles so I was confident we could do the distance, fourteen miles.

The day came and I kept cybi away from the start so he didn't get over excited, once they started going we joined the back and he was a star walking and jogging till the field spread out and we worked our way through on the first hill as cybi obviously thought I should be running it. It was a lot less boggy than expected as it was cold but that meant a lot of ice. One bit even cybi slide on! Soon we were descending to Howden Reservoir and the views were stunning. Some easy running along Howden and we turned off leaving the marathon runners to their longer route. It wasn't long before we started the steep climb up to the edge, near the top I was even using my hands, cybi kept an eye on me as he had no issues. From there it was nearly all descending back to langsett reservoir. Here there was a short section of road before a last climb to the finish.

A brilliant route and so pleased I got to run it with the wee man, who turned left for another lap at the finish!

Monday, 23 October 2017

A weekend in the lakes with the dogs

A friend mentioned that High Terrain Events are dog friendly and I spotted one at Ennerdale in the Lake District back in the summer and decided to enter as it was a part of the lakes I hadn't been to and there was camping at the start if required. There was a choice of a 10k, a 25k or a 50k race I decided to go for the 25k as the 50k was just two laps and the 10 just part of the 25k route. This meant I would be racing on the Sunday but it is a long way so I headed up on the Friday for the weekend.

On the way up, after spending way to long sat in traffic, I met up with a Canicross friend Helen and her two trailhounds and we went for a lovely 4.5 mile walk in the Howgills, somewhere I love as its so quiet and so beautiful.

After a hot chocolate and cake at Tebay I headed off to Ennerdale, arriving at the Scout camp just before dark. I was given a choice of where to park up and went for the most out of the way spot even though that meant there wouldn't be a quick getaway. Meant the dogs didn't have anyone wandering past them at any point. Van set up I made myself tea and with the weather getting worse, wind and rain, curled up with a book before falling asleep early. I woke up loads in the night, probably the wind and was up and about early.

On Saturday it was the turn of the 50k Ultra runners so after a walk along the last part of the course with Chip and George, which meant my first view of the lake and an idea what the terrain was like I headed out with Cybi for a run along the 10k route. I wanted to make sure I was well out of the way before the fast ultra runners caught me. The route started along the southern lake shore and the wind was so strong it was blowing the water into the lake wall where it was splashing up and covering us, well at least I knew I wasn't going to stay dry, turning onto the West side things improved and it was mainly fireroad, with one muddy section, up to the top of the lake where we turned down the other side. This was vary different terrain, it felt like running along a wet slippy river bed on rocks that were baby head sized, even with Cybi looking after me I was mainly walking. Once we got on the bit that is mentioned in the race notes, below Anglers Tarn it was fine and the bit of scrambling easy enough. We got back to camp too late to see the ultra start though.

After an afternoon of chilling in the van with some cheering on the ultra finishers we curled up in bed early listening the rain and wind get worse. Waking up I decided it was a little better and got myself and Chip ready. I spent some time trying to decide which trainers to wear and went with my Altra Lone Peaks, this turned out to be the right decision as most of the trail was hard pack and I did manage the muddy sections in them! It is our first time running a human race without a canicross start so we started at the back and she was a star trotting to heel until the tracks widened out and we could do some overtaking. She got lots of compliments as she trotted out nicely in front of me most of the time, she let me lead the way through the boggy section up near Black Sail Youth Hostel though! They had changed the route as it had been decided the East side of the lake was just too dangerous in the weather conditions so once we returned to the lake we crossed over and retraced our steps down the west side. Chip started to feel cold here, well her bum did, so we had a few stops to warm her up and she got a bit scared by a lab who wouldn't leave her alone. But it wasn't long to the finish and we crossed the line in 2hrs 48mins 28secs which I was chuffed with. I did miss the finish line cake though as I quickly took Chip to the van to get warm! This meant we were 72nd overall (out of 113), 12th in our categorey ( F / 20) and 22nd out of all the females in the race (/42).

After some lunch it was time for some last walks before packing up and heading home. I'm now looking at what other races they do up there.