Sunday, 5 January 2020

Review of 2019

Prompted by John Kyntson's review I thought it might be worth having a look. It seems it was a satisfying but mixed year with more and more injuries as I get older.
First off was a race in NZ - St James southern Alps miler (100 miles) which was my first ever ultra DNF with a medical issue at 52 miles. It was the correct decision to bale but it took 48 hours of tears and a week before I was over it.
Back in the UK I was asked to make up a scratch team for the High Peak marathon- another adventure into the unknown. It was brilliant and our team were fairly evenly matched so it was good fun .. well except perhaps for a few stretches on Bleaklow.
At Lakes Mountain 42 I had a reasonably good run considering how little I had run over our winter in NZ when we were busy with big walks and kayaking. There was only one small return of the 'not a hernia' pain under my ribs and 4th F was OK.
Calderdale Hike would follow the same route as the previous year and so I knew the way. Sabrina was there and it was good to see a younger female challenging for the Runfurther award. She would have been much more then 30 mins ahead of me if she had known the way. As it was the day was glorious and I finished inside 7 hours.
Next up was the Fellsman- my 7th at the race. I always enjoy this event even if at times it makes me suffer. I managed 3rd F and we got the old people's team prize! Unfortuntaley it left me with a very fat ankle by the next day.

A fortnight later and all seemed good as we rocked up for our first attempt at The Spire Ultra. I ran some of it with Daryl and I am sure this was in part responsible for my good time.It was an interesting and varied route and at just under 6 hours for 32 miles was probably a PB of sorts.
A fortnight later was the LDWA Hadrian 100. Another first for me although I will be looking at future LDWA 100s too. Despite the pretty awful weather over night where we went over Cross Fell and then High Cup Nick I survived. It was good to have Matt N for comapny and to help with the nav. The biggest issue for me was macerated feet that were well on the way to trench foot. Only a 3hr plus break to dry them would help and I wasn't prepared to sit around that long. It was painful  but I managed 2nd F and 5th overall with 24hrs 43 mins for the 100 miles.
June was busy with the SMM/LAMM replacement where Rowena and I had a good run and we only narrowly missed being 1st vets M and F by 11 seconds over the two days.
Collecting in the controls after a low key orienteering event on Beacon Fell somehow did some serious damage to the outer side of my ankle and then up the front of my foot into the shin. I have no idea how and do not remember any fall/slip/ or jarring. I still managed the Lakeland 5 Passes but it was sore and not my best run even if I did manage 4th F and 1st FV50. Again great to see Hayley winning and getting points for Runfurther. A week later was Pennine 39 and I was secretly pleased that many who I sometimes try to run with or keep up with were not there. I went into the race with a very relaxed attitude and it seemed to pay off. A PB of spot on 7 hours. My foot was fine until the next day. Sometime i the next days I tried to recee the 3 Towers Ultra and caused a serious issue with my foot/shin. It ended in tears and I truely thought I might have to call mountain rescue.  I did have to get Bob to come and get me.
I was very anxious about the SLMM this year as the Klets had been axed and I had entered the Scafell along with all the elite men, plus my foot was not totally repaired. It was a very tough weekend with 10 hours and 9 hours of big climbs and long distances. Luckily I had Richard for company for almost all of Day 2. By the end I had a sore ankle tendon again but luckily also a sizeable gap before the next race.
The Beacons 100 in early August should have been wonderful. I did several recee run/walks in the week before it and the weather was fantastic. As we stood on the start line on Friday at 8pm the rain started. A night of steady rain, clag and gales followed. Nav was difficult in such conditions and by the time I got to CP 3 I was exhausted and scared. I carried on but once up near Cribyn the wind was even worse and I was struggling to crawl on all fours. I made the decision to bail and head off to soft ground with no rocks. It meant hitting the road a few miles south of the Storey Arms but I did not care. At that point I was in a good position and 2nd lady. I arrived at CP4 to find 1st F had also bailed and an hour later mountain rescue pulled the plug on the race anyway. Such a shame for the runners and the RO. So now 2 DNFs in one year.
I escaped to Europe and sunshine. After 4 weeks of climbing and via feratta it was time for the longest race I have ever attempted- the Tor des Geants. With almost 340km and close on 28000m of climb I knew it would be hard and more of a challenge than a race. I had wanted to enter something that I was not 100% sure that I could finish. I was stressed about how little I had run in recent weeks but perhaps it was a good taper. It was tough  and in the worst of the weather I was also struggling with food and sick but after that things improved again and I loved the race. Running sections with Andy H and Matt N was good fun and the views were amazing. . The last morning was glorious and I loved every minute. A finish in 121 hrs 21 mins was only a bit outside my gold target so I was very happy.
After another fortnight of sun, climbing and VF we returned to the UK. Just in time for the 3 Towers Ultra. Another new race for me. The first miles were dark and a complete mystery to me but luckily I had company and made few errors. I was glad I had receed the sections over near Bury and was pleased with my run. Fiona appeared after Pilgrims Cross (she had got lost) and although she initially sped off I was pleased to only finish about 4 minutes behind her.
The last race on the Runfurther calendar was Round Rotherham again. Sabrina was racing because if she didn't and I won it could mean she would not win the Runfurther lady's trophy after all. She didn't enjoy it which is a shame. It is not scenic like the Lakes but only a few bits are truly grim and the rest is pleasant enough and with great CPs and marshalls. Ellie beat me this year (although only by about a minute; if only I had known) so I was 3rd F and 1st FV50.
Late October saw the Street O league start plus a journey to Scotland for the OMM. The terrain was dreadful but Rowena and I still enjoyed our weekend away and managed 2nd F place on the podium and also 1st V. Another first saw me do 2 OMMs in a fortnight. I travelled to japan with Richard and we had a blast. Lots of sight seeing but a very successful OMM too. We made a judgement call to move from Elite to A. After learning what worked on the terrain on Day 1 where were finished 3rd we had a fantastic Day 2 coming 1st overall. We ended in 2nd place, just and came away with masses of Yen to spend on OMM products.
This left 3 big events for the remainder of the year. I had picked the Kong mini MM to be the event preceding the Runfurther AGM and I had a wonderful morning out on the Saddleworth Moors.  My nav was pretty good, I hooked up with Mark who pulled me faster than I would otherwise have gone and I got masses of points. Very satisfying.
The year had a theme.. find challenges outside your comfort zone. Next up was The Hill. Mark C has a reputation for events where almost nobody finishes and this was to be no different.  44 laps of around 4 miles to complete 160 miles in 48 hours. It seemed so possible on paper even with food stops. It was a new venue as the Cat and Fiddle is shut and last years attempt in the 3 Peaks had iced up. A wet quad bike track was our route for over half the laps. It was wet when we arrived. After 20 odd runners had been up and down it all night it became a bog fest. Over half the field bailed over night (we started on Fri eve) and by Saturday lunch time we were very few. The weather except for 2 hours of wet sleet on Friday night was pretty good. Not super cold and dry. It was windy though. The whole field are DNF! I don't feel I failed though. The line was not runnable so I made the decision to concentrate on a half Hill of 22 laps in 24 hours. When I stopped I was 3rd man standing and the other two bailed not many hours later.

 By morning my right foot was huge and several bits on the outer side of it were incredibly painful. Oops. It went down but the sore bits were still sore. Local runs on flat tarmac showed I could still run after a fashion. Last race was Tour de Helvellyn which I love. I had no idea how far I would get but set off to see. I was ridiculously cautious on the descents and rough ground but pacing myself seemed to work well. I never felt totally shot and despite a tumble on the return loop to Askham Common I managed a PB of 7.55. I have never been under 8 hours before and the conditions were probably the best yet.My joy was short lived and completing the race has not helped my foot/ankle at all. Doing RED in Dec was not the best idea either.
Strava shows 551 hrs and 3313km of running with 183 personal records. The graphs shows a very unbalanced year but I guess months in NZ, climbing etc most of the summer mean it was not just running that got my time.

 I have started 2020 injured and reduced to easy climbing and cycle rides in the hope that it will improve enough for me to make the most of my plans for the year.

Feb 1st Pendle Way in a Day (new race)
March 7th 10 Reservoirs (new race)
March 14th Haworth Hobble?
3 weeks of ski and sunny climbing
April 4th Calderdale Hike
April 18th Northern Traverse
April 25th Fellsman- probably marshalling!
May 9th The Spire
May 24th LDWA 100
June SMM?
June 27th Lakeland 5 Passes
July 11th Pennine 39
july 25th Lakeland 100 a new one for me
August 7th Beacons 100? a score to settle
Aug GRP? Monte Rosa??
Sept White Horse??
Oct 3rd £Towers Ultra
Oct 10th Round Rotherham (would be my 10th)
have not really thought about Nov and Dec yet.
Happy running and don't forget to up the challenge.