Wednesday, 26 December 2012

We arrived home from Somerset late on Christmas Eve. Great to have seen mum and dad plus brother and his family again. Delivered elder son to his girlfriends  - the appeal of small children, excitement and getting up early on Christmas Day? We then got home and relaxed. Younger son opened presents with us, at a very civilised hour, but then wanted a lift to his girlfriends. After sherry and mince pies there we set off for some fun in the fresh air. Pendle was shrouded in low cloud but it was hardly raining. What wind and drizzle there was hit our backs and went almost un-noticed.

We don't normally run at the same speed but it was good to have my husband for company today and I never did get all that far ahead. He had suggested I get out and run up from Pendleton- but I am glad I used the boggy fields as an excuse not to today.We didn't pass many others but there were at least 3 other runners out having fun. Although it was wet underfoot it wasn't that boggy and the good path made for easy running. Long before the flag stones we were in the clag.
I shot off up to the trig point and tried to take a photo on self-timer only to watch in horror as my camera got blown off the top just as it started to flash and take my photo. It was with trepidation that I turned it back on but it seems OK thankfully despite bouncing on rocks and getting wet. To get a photo of both of us I built a 'fort' on top of the trig.
Then we parted company- Bob retraced his foot steps while I shot off north, over the wall and along the ridge to the shelter and big scout cairn. Turning into the wind and rain was a bit of a shock but it gave my new waterproof gloves a good test and once I put some effort in I was warm as toast. It was just as wet and I expected but not so boggy. Shame there were no views across to Bowland and the 3 Peaks but I did have the whole ridge to myself. I successfully picked up the broken stone wall and headed back to the main path and joined it just behind Bob who had been on an unplanned detour of his own. The run down the main path and back to the Nick is always a joy - not steep, few rocks or tussocks - easy running.
We had planned for rain and taken the van but weren't as wet as we had dreaded so after sheddding muddy shoes we leapt in and headed home for alcohol and food! I am sure it tastes better when you feel you have earned it and have worked up a bit of an appetite. I managed to test 2 Christmas
presents in the outing  - the afore mentioned waterproof gloves and also a new slim line garmin. Both were a success. I have an old forerunner201 and it is great mainly because it has  a long battery life making it suitable for ultras. BUT it is enormous on my wrist and so I hate wearing it unless I am going to be out for 6 hours plus and have no real choice. The new one is a lovely lime green, barely bigger than my usual wrist watch and is almost idiot proof- the fewer buttons the better!  

Monday, 24 December 2012

The VERY last run before Christmas

It was not until Friday evening that I was 100% of attending this but I am so glad that I turned up. Preston Harriers run up Paddy's Pole every solstice and set off a firework. I had never managed to make this as we have always been away skiing. I had misgivings as I had to be up early for a long drive on Saturday but decided that if I drove, rather than take the minibus option, all would be well. We assembled at Fell Foot in the dark and within minutes I knew I had made the right decision. What a lovely bunch of men. I had not seen some for months was but was greeted with a smile just the same. We jogged off up the lane and into the night. John, ever safety conscious, tried to count us through the gate. It was nice to plod up Parlic without worrying about a race position and to have the chance to chat and catch up on gossip. Once on this first peak it was easy running to the trig point and shelter. We shouted Merry Christmas at the Bowland folk running down in the opposite direction and then assembled at the cairn. Roy and Joe sorted out the rocket- and we all prayed for a vertical lift off this time (and that MR would not think it was a distress flare). Pete and Alan showed how organised they were with flasks of mulled wine for us to share while Gordan handed round the stollen. More calories eaten than expended I suspect but hey ho! By now it had clagged in a fair bit so we retraced our steps and ran back to the vehicles before a quick change and regroup at the Sun Inn. Beer and hot pot followed. Yum.It was tempting to stay..... but that was why I had arrived by car! No more beer allowed and a fairly early night, but not before I had renewed some frienships and had a good natter. Thanks for a lovely evening Mick.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Last runs before Christmas

Still no more ultras.. combination of a cold, work and weather (yes, bit of a woos there). On Wednesday night I got an early preview run of our next street orienteering event. My husband had done all the planning but wanted the map and control sheet checking, plus he needs my help on the night. I drove to the start and waited for dark, which didn't take long. It was a bit frosty but not too bad. I had a couple of 'moments' on steeper paved corners but no scares or tumbles. It might have been better if I had worked later and run later- it was plenty dark but I had forgotten about rush hour traffic so crossing roads was a pain. I also managed to scare some people by running up behind them panting hard and with a very bright head torch. Having checked the map from two years ago I decided I would do 75 mins this time not 60. The map is crossed by a large dual carriageway which is out of bounds and I felt this would give me the option of crossing it and still having time to do a lop and get back. In the end I didn't cross it all but tried to collect pretty much all the controls on the eastern side. I didn't notice the cold once I got running and managed not to get confused or lost on an area I do not know very well. Quite a pleasing run on the whole. It was also worth my checking as I did find one small error and one potentially dangerous control which has now been resited. On Saturday I had a slower jog around the other half of the map to check that. well, I checked most of it before getting very wet and giving up.
I had been looking forward to Sunday and the last mini MM for some time. I had even managed to get a lift there and back and the forecast was good. Sadly it did quite pan out as I had hoped. I struggled to run form the start. Thought perhaps I was hungry so ate but was then sick..... And it didn't get much better. My brain wouldn't work so I made some poor choices and then spent some time looking for a control on a tor top when it was 100m or so down the slope on a spring! Sitting down feeling dizzy wasted even more time. I did nearly give up as I felt so ropey but by then the shortest way back to the finish was past some controls anyway. Crossing the top I hit my first patch of ice in a huge grough. I went crashing down getting very wet and muddy.

 Decided this was far too glum and depressing so have edited with 2 photos - happy memories running on Kinder when the boys thought it was hilarious to get very muddy!

Worse though I bashed my shoulder and my head and broke the ice and cut my hand. It clearly was not my day! Under two minutes later and I went down again. I was now getting fed up. The cuts were fairly superficial but would not stop bleeding. I looked sorry site running with my arm stuck out and blood dripping off the end. I collected a couple more easy controls and called it a day. I knew I was missing between 15 and 45 points but I had had enough. Still I got back inside the 4 hours so at least I didn't lose any points. It will not be my best run and was a very poor effort after such a good run at Coniston. Thanks very much to Charmian for making me a cup of tea. Sorry to Mick for being so grumpy when he shouted Hello. Thanks and Sorry to Mandy - for taking the runfurther prizes and for having them thrown at her as she crossed the finish line. One to put down to experience and be grateful that it was at least dry and even sunny! I'll be back for more.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Still no more ultras

I was feeling better and the rain stopped so I cycled to work.. and came off on the ice. Fortunately nobody saw and I did not hurt myself much. My cold was then replaced by an irritating cough so not much running. Sunday was forecast to be cold but dry so I took up my invitation to join the Calder Valley runners on their 3 hour winter score event. I had great fun and had to concentrate as I did not really know the area. After a hesitant start and then ending up under, rather than on top of the viaduct, things improved. I was struggling to breath and run but the views were fantastic. I probably didn't make the best choices of controls to collect but had a wonderful time and got round without slipping on any ice and without getting seriously lost. The food afterwards was very welcome and it was good to chat. Mid week was the next of our winter street orienteering events so for 75 mins I ran my heart out. I actually had a pleasing run and did not cough once, until I finished.
The weekend was rather mixed. An introductory walk with my DoE group did not really get me any exercise and I was missing the night O as well. Saturday evening was the Runfurther prizegiving. A lovely evening with talks, food, prizes and a chance to catch up with friends. I really owe Karen and Si such a huge thank you for all their work with the series. It has given me such wonderful days out, new races to try and so many new friends. It was the end of an era with them handing over to mark and Jon- lots of relieved faces as we can now rest happy that the series is in good hands. Although I missed the run I was very pleased to find that Jon had completed his 50@50 and still managed to get to the meal. He was full of support for my plans next year.  I had hoped to run the Derbyshire edges on Sunday but the wind and rain rocked the van all night with no sign of a let up in the morning. My cold had somehow refreshed it self and I felt dreadful anyway. By the time we were close to Preston theer was blue sky so I jumped out at the motorway junction and ran the last 7-8 miles home on the Guild Wheel in the sunshine. Not an ultra, all paved but better than no running at all. Now all I need to do is get rid of the cold readu for next weekend.