Monday, 19 February 2018

February update and moving on

So the MRI came and went and then so did the consultant appointment. No nueroma showed up and whilst the guy was polite, pleasant and apologetic nothing was really resolved. I didn't know whether to be happy or upset. No surgery was good and would mean I could get on and enter races, make plans etc but it also suggested no change from the discomfort and at times pain. All that waiting for much of Dec and all of January.........No alternative diagnosis offered and no solution.
So time to man up and move on!
Fortunately only two days later was the Anglezarke Amble and I had entered in the hope of running. I had not been out training as much as I would have liked and the forecast was awful but I was determined to run. It's fairly local for me and I know the paths from training runs. Now that they have separate starts for the walkers and runners I even got a lie in. I was still early and this gave me time to hand over a box of new Runfurther postcards to Nick and chat to people. The RO warned of snow and ice - just when I had decided not to take my kahtoolas. I was more worried about staying warm and dry. In the end I started with over-trousers on and it was a good call. Albert shot past very early on, then Josie and also Isaline. Nick was up ahead but in sight. I was very slow up through the Japanese gardens and not much better onto the Pike. It was chilly and wet but bearable. There was not enough frozen ground for kahtoolas but more than enough to make me wary and timid. I lost time on the big track to Pikes Cottage, gained some up to the mast on Winter Hill but then was a total wuss on the descent.
Sunny Belmont- not today
 I wasn't alone and could see Abi just ahead. My legs were struggling and I just wasn't fit enough. Using the gym to improve my upper body for climbing and also using the cycles and treadmills there is clearly no real replacement for getting out and running! I was despite the weather and being slow enjoying myself in that weird way that we do. I did contemplate switching to the shorter route at the marker post but knew that I would regret it later. My gloves were soaked but I wasn't really that cold and my smart wool base layer really seemed to be keeping my core warm. I got a good line across the last moor before the Entwistle CP and reached this with Abi, Wendy Doods and others. The CP had been relocated when their cars could not negotiate the lane early that morning but they were ready with food and even cups of tea. I grabbed some cake and plodded on. I lost sight of Abi when I stopped for a toilet break and spent most of the run through to Cadshaw and then up onto Darwen Moor on my own.
Lancashire's rocket in summer
The path was wetter than I had ever seen it (which is saying something as it is very rarely dry) and the deep puddles had broken ice on the top but also slimey slush on the bottom. I was back on home turf now and enjoyed heading to Darwen Tower.

I knew I was slower than usual but was feeling happier. There was no self clip at the Tower again (because it is a LDWA challenge event and not a race they don't see it as important but I do wonder how many take a short cut across the moor). Before I knew it I was heading down to Slipper Lowe and more food. A cup of tea and a quick chat with Jane and I was off. Standing still was too chilly and I felt for Alan who was waiting for Mick. One last major climb now - Great Hill.
The West Pennine Moors- wild but beautiful
Again, it was a bog fest but a lovely run down to White Coppice.
No puddles, mud or ice on that day
This must be one of the prettiest cricket grounds in the UK and the CP was well stocked. Friends marshalling here had asked what runners wanted and I had replied savoury! I left with cheese, potatoes and tomatoes. Fuelled up for the last 4 miles. This was mostly lower and sheltered although it was into the wind along the Anglezarke area. I was now actually overtaking a few people, including Abi who had jarred her knee.
Nearly back (and running the wrong way for this race)
I spotted Nick up ahead but never quite reeled him in. He finished less than a minute ahead of me. It was a PW but I was happy to be out, to have run the long route and not bailed to the short and to have taken care of myself staying warm and mostly dry. Clean dry clothes were some sorted and then the serious business of post race food which here is hot pot with all the trimmings, bread, gallons of tea and cake. As always there were loads of friends to chat to. Wendy appeared muttering about the cold and wet, she was recovering from the cold/flu bugs we have all had.
2017 had more snow
She thought it was as bad as the famous Hardmoors 55 whereas I really hadn't thought it so bad at all - just Lancashire in February on a wet day. By the time I left to return to the car it wasn't even raining so much. It was far too wet to risk my camera- I have ruined two in the last 3 years so the photos are what it can be like!

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