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.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Canicross Midlands Social Run

On Sunday there was a social run at Teversal so me and the woofs headed over. I had planned to run the boys on the main run and Chip on the beginners run. But Chip noisy had other ideas and I'm a soft touch so I ran all three. They were very good and didn't kill me even though George decided to pull as well as the other two. Then Chip and I did the beginner run, she was a very good girl back marking with me. Obviously one of the highlights of Teversal is the super cheap cafe where you can have a three course meal for less than a fiver.

Once home I entered a marathon so time to get some long runs in again.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

A run with Chip

Last year I did a number of the Dark and White trail runs but some of the spring ones they didn't allow dogs and this year said it would be a week before they would let us know so I didn't enter. The first event in the spring series is tomorrow and has sold out but also no dogs. They put the maps online so I plotted it on my OS map, planned parking at the top of the loop and this morning me and Chip went to run the loop. It was good for me to practice my map reading as well. The loop was lovely heading up onto Stanton Moor to Nine Ladies, somewhere I've never been before which is an overnight. We got back to bumble just as the rain started so that was perfect timing. I enjoyed the loop especially the first half (from where I started) and will definitely do more running round there.

Friday, 24 February 2017

A snowy adventure

Although it was snowing a bit at home it was also very windy and rainy and pretty yuck. Ali had a 6.5 mile run on her training plan (she's entered a marathon) so I suggested heading up to the edges to see if we could find snow. We all donned waterproofs and packed spare layers (the dogs go got me to carry theirs) and headed out along the river. It was pretty horrid weather but good to be out together. As we started climbing we started to find white stuff. George had a good woogle and we all got excited. Along the edges we were back into the wind and as soon as we started dropping down there was no more snow.

We finished the run at the pub, stripped off our wet layers and had pizza for tea before walking the last bit home. A fab 7 mile adventure from the front door.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Mini mountain marathon - Borrowdale

After the last mini mountain marathon of 2016 in November I entered Hannah and I into the first of 2017 as it was also going to be in the Peak District. Unfortunately they then changed the location to the lakes. We decided to still give it a go as Ali was happy to look after the dogs. So on Saturday I headed up to Leeds to collect Hannah once she finished work. We stopped at Tebay for our tea which was lovely and nice to see it quiet for once. Hannah had worked out a layby for us to sleep in near the start so once we got there and parked I quickly made up the bed and we got some sleep.

In the morning we could see snow on the hills and after lots of faffing, from me, we were on our way at 818am. The first control was relatively easy and flat to get to and then we started climbing. The climb was long but steady and we were soon at the next control. Leaving here was impossible without getting wet feet and then we were in snow. My feet were really hurting and I was trying to get them to warm up. Eventually they did and we got to the next control on the snowy top of a hill. On we continued and started Scrambling a bit, this meant we went too high for the control. A bit of map work and we realised we didn't want to follow the others further up and we started Scrambling down as we were sure the control was below us. This was interesting and slightly terrifying as it was a steep snow covered slope and very very slippy. I was using both hands and when it was less rocky by bum. Hannah had a bit of a slip but fortunately stopped pretty quickly. We were very pleased when we did find that control.

After that excitement we headed back to the valley and along, collecting one more control. With a bit of cajoling Hannah even managed some running as we were going to be late back (which means losing points). We were only ten mins late back in the end so not too bad. After changing into dry clothes it was time to head home, via a late lunch at Tebay.

It was a fab day but such a long way.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Waterways 30

So the day of the ultra finally arrived and I wasn't feeling ready. I hadn't really done much running since Christmas and no long runs but at least I had the best team mates in the world and Ali as our support crew. The race was an hour and a half from home so that meant leaving at 6am but at least it gave lots of time for the rest breakfast to digest.

Us canicross lot started five minutes after the rest of the runners at 9:05am, a nice low key start as there weren't loads of us. I was starting with Chip and obviously she set off like she had a 5k race to win! Especially as her pal Bernard was up front. Soon she settled a bit but was pulling hard so I tried to go with her as much as I could without killing myself. The hardest bit being a ploughed field where most people were walking so we had to do a lot of overtaking. Once on the canal we found our spot though. Here it was surprisingly muddy and I was sliding a lot. Once or twice I thought I was going to end up in the canal! I kept seeing jen and Laura with mav and echo, they were running faster than me but maybe stopping a bit. Before long the support crew were there cheering and then Ali was there with George. We trotted past the first feed station as I'd made sure to carry enough water and food and before long Ali popped up again, this time with Cybi and George. Chip was super happy to see them. I shared a mini pork pie with chip as she ran and she was running like a pro. At about 16miles I thought she was licking the grass so tried to persuade her to have some water. Then I realised she may have been eating it. Another pork pie and she was back into pro mode. We came across a metal bridge and she stopped, I carried her across and would have done anyway as I would have been worried about her paws going through one of the gaps. Onto 19.5miles where Ali was waiting with Cybi and George to swap over. I set off feeling sore but fine and we went onto the Trent flood bank. After a mile we were running into a freezing headwind and I was really struggling. I had to walk for a while and got some more food into me. George took the opportunity for a woogle since I was walking. Back running and we reached a stile, Cybi popped straight over but George refused. A nice man picked him up and lifted him over which George loved as he loves men! Turns out there were lots and lots of stiles which I ended up lifting George over, a couple Cybi even struggled with. Then on the last one there was a gap underneath so George went underneath and Cybi over, nearly hanging himself in the process!

I was really struggling now and doing lots of walking. I was looking forward to seeing ali but she wasn't at the next checkpoint, half an mile later and there was her and chip to chivvy me along. Cybi was being a star, walking sensibly when I walked and pulling but not too hard as then it was too much when we ran. He was constantly checking on me and really looked after me. I saw Ali again 2 miles from the finish and then she was there with chip just before the finish who joined us to cross the line. 31.5miles in total. My longest run ever by some way! U even managed to finish just before it started raining.

It was a great day but I really suffered for the last ten miles. If I do another one I definitely need to get more long runs in. Today my legs are super sore. My four legged team mates were amazing and Ali as always was the best support crew I could wish for. Now to recover.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Tri Dog Duathlon

I'd seen that there was a doggie duathlon running but I was a bit worried about how any of mine would cope in transition, one of the organisers reassured me and Chips foster mum was going to be marshalling in transition so I decided to give it a go. It was down in Gloucestershire so me and the woofs headed off in Bumble on Friday to camp up on a farm where the race was taking place. We got there before it was dark so I could pre-ride. The course was very short (1.1 mile bike and 1.1 mile run) due to the ground conditions being hard work for the dogs. The bike it was fine with a hill from the start and a long draggy hill halfway round. But the canicross section was so muddy I ended up carrying my bike. After the preride I got the awning up, took all the woofs for a walk and then we had our tea. As it was getting cold we all curled up in bumble nice and early, me with my book. 

Saturday morning and it was cold (3 degrees in Bumble) and the ground was frozen. After briefing they took our bags over to the transition for us, mine only contained my canicross line as I had put flat pedals on my bike to make transition quicker. Before I knew it it was time to go. Chip knows what is happening at the start now and dragged me up the first hill. She listened well to her directions and before long we were arriving at transition. I felt like I was faffing but we were soon out and running. The final field was no longer a muddy mess but so frozen it was hard not to go over on my ankles. Finishing I was really pleased with how we had both ran, although Chip looked a lot fresher than me. Turns out we had managed to finish second female.

In the afternoon they ran a second race for people who wanted to race a second dog, it was entry on the day so I entered with Cybi. As always he was a little start but the ground was a lot muddier so a lot harder going and he really was tiring on the run. It was great that he got to race though as he does find two days a bit too tiring now he is getting older.

Day two and the conditions were super muddy we also missed our starting time due to me dropping Chip's lead and her deciding to have zoomies. Amazingly she still was able to pull me up the first hill but the second she lost a bit of confidence and stopped pulling, I think it may have been the ground being so heavy going meant I was slow. Out on the canicross section though and she was flying, super strong and due to starting last we had to do some overtaking, which she did like a pro.

At prize-giving I was chuffed we had held onto second, just by a couple of seconds, as we were slower today and came third on the day.

A fab event, the next one will be a triathlon so I need to persuade one of the dogs they don't mind swimming too much.