Thursday 14 March 2013

Fellsman 28th April 2012

Overview of 2012 running events ( a bit late)

Very late to write this up, as I never wrote any entries on my Blog for 2012. So as a catch up I am writing, in brief the runs I entered in 2012. The aim is to get back on track and keep up to date with this years running. With one race already run (write up to follow), the list includes; the Fellsman, Montane 50, and the UTMB. So some good races for 2013.

Back to 2012.

The training continued throughout winter until I went to Australia for a month, which did include some nice runs in the warmth on the suburbs or Melbourne and some runs along the coastal paths near Sorrento, Port Phillip Bay.

Once back in the UK I only had 2 weeks to get myself back ready for this years Fellsman (2012).

The big mistake I made was having a massage the day before the race, this was going to come evident on race day!

Race day

Once at Ingleton community centre there was a mass of runners gathering and sheltering from the very cold, raw wind. Once the race started, me and Dave stayed near the front to miss the bottle neck out on to Ingleton High street and up past the old Police station on to the start of Fell lane to Ingleborough and the first of many checkpoints.
Everything seemed to be OK and we were soon in Chapel-le-Dale and on to climb up on to Whernside when I started to have engine failure and the muscles were hurting form the massage. Then after the Whernside checkpoint I tripped descending the ridge and my calf muscle completely tightened up and I was left on the floor in a heap unable to straighten my leg. Game over I thought!
I hobbled off and re joined Dave at the style and managed to descend OK to Kingsdale, but my legs felt crap. Once up on to Gragareth and on our way to Great Coum.
At this point I told Dave to go and run his own race, it was obvious I was slowing him down,  I was going to call it a day at Dent. Once there, I was surprised to pass a few runners on my way to the Dent checkpoint. The food was good here (sausage and beans), it just the lift I needed!
Descending to Redshaw
Plodding on, which I seemed to be able to do. I carried on and started knocking off the checkpoints one by one. Stonehouse another good feed of Pasta and tomato sauce, and the best to come was the Hot dogs at Redshaw.
Onwards and moving in a slow trot,  I just made Fleet moss before 19:00 and was allowed to continue with out been grouped up. I ended up leading a small group across to Middle Tongue and on to Hells Gap at this point the weather really did take a turn for the worse. Very cold wind chill with snow, sleet, and rain. It was really cold and I had put all my layers on. A gentle jog down to the Cray checkpoint and now we were an official group of 4. Cathy, Hester and Paul. The climb on to the summit was windy and cold, and we had to wait near the summit for Paul to catch up and it was really cold. Unfortunately we made too a slow progress due to walking and not running, only Cathy was up for running. We just had to keep pushing on,  to get off the foul top and down to Top mere and to Park Rash. Just one last ascent, Great Whernside, which was slow work and even more so the path to Capplestone gate where we were informed by the Marshall's that the race had be cancelled due to the weather conditions. Onwards and unsure if we would count as finishers we past Yarnbury and at last managed a trot down to the Finish at Threshfield school. Not the finish I was expecting of 18:17 but after all I was going to bin the race at Dent and still managed it with knackard muscles, so I must not grumble and the good news was that I was classed as a finisher as we had past the last road side checkpoint well before the race was cancelled. There were a few cases of wind blindness and hypothermia. One competitor ended up in hospital. Even my Mountain Rescue team (UWFRA) were called out in the early hours to assist a competitor off the hill from Capplestone Gate. I lost the feeling in my toes for about 4 weeks before I got the full feeling back and also minus 4 toe nails..
Me & Dave at the start

Bring on Fellsman 2013 where I will be better prepared and certainly wont be having my legs massaged the day before the race. How we learn by our mistakes.

Moving on through the summer of 2012 the training runs went well with no leg problems. The damaged calf muscle was fixed and a good summer was had. Round the corner was the next race and my first race abroad. After not making the lottery for the UTMB,  knowing that I had 7 points for 2013  I was guaranteed registration for the UTMB 2013. So I entered the Mountainman in Switzerland a 81km race with 5000 meters of ascent. you could say half a UTMB and a good start to trail running in the mountains or Europe.

Mountainman  - 18th August 2012 - Titlis - Hasliberg - Pilatus

I carried on the training in the lakes etc much like my Bob Graham training, plenty of hill work some distance work and I used some of the bridleways like Mastiles lane to use my trail shoes and get used to more hard packed type tracks.

In Switzerland I arrived 3 days before the race start, after much planning and thanks to Rachel's friend Kerry who put us up in Zurich,  I got a look at the area and to see if I could drive up to any of the course where it passed some road stops. I did manage to find one of the checkpoints after a drive up into the mountains to about 1500 meters. The weather was OK about 18 degrees and low cloud which I thought would be great running conditions. Unfortunately the temperature started to rise steeply on the Thursday and Friday before the start.
We stayed in a hotel in Engelberg the night before the race. It is where the race started from, well via a cable car ride.
The Start line Mountainman 2012

Race day

An early start, but only a 5 minute walk to the cable car station in the cool darkness to get a lift with the rest of the competitors up to the start line at Trubsee at about 1800 meters. The start was at 06:30 and it was now light and slowly the mountain air was warming. We were treated to some sounds and the start was sounded by huge firework that shot into the sky. I did here that it came back down and hit a competitor on the shoulder!
The pace soon settled down on the wide track before the first ascent was met up a single track to the first checkpoint (Jochpass) the highest point of the race at around 2400 meters. The next few checkpoints were passed with no problems up reasonable climbs and descents until we landed at the Kaserstatt checkpoint just under 2000 meters before the great descent down to Brunig, about 9km of downhill running, dropping down to the lowest part of the race at just under 1000 meters. In this race what goes down goes back up.
A fine view while running on one of many fine trails

Here I had a race bag with spare supplies in and extra drink powder. The start of this section was the big climb of just short of 10km back up to 2100 meters. The temperatures were ridiculous, up to 37 degrees with no cool air blowing in the mountains at all. The race was very well organised; the full trail was marked all the way and there was food and energy drinks at the checkpoints along with cold water showers to cool off underneath. I hit a bad patch in the middle section,  slowing down due to the intense heat and when I was at the Horweli checkpoint (14km from the finish), I had only 30 minutes to make the next checkpoint and the cut off time. About 7km of my fastest pace of the day saw me make the cut off with 5 minutes spare, this was a great time to get a much needed injection of adrenaline. The last 6km of the race did have 900m of climbing, I kept digging deep and to my surprise passed about 8 to 12 runners on my way to the finish to complete in 15 hours 20 Min's.

The race was very well organised with good distance between food and water stops. I didn't like the taste of Sponser energy drink, but their fuel bars were very tasty, just glad i had some of my own energy tablets to put in the water.
Thanks for Rachel and Kerry supporting me at some of the stages where there was car access for them to park. It was avery good lift to see them and hear them cheer me on. Quite hard running a race when you have no one to run with and chat, well anyone who speaks English.

After Switzerland I decided to enter this years High Peak 40 ultra, which was only 4 weeks after the Mountainman. i decided to do this to see how well my legs had recovered or not!
Not much time to get much running in especially has my legs were still recovering after Switzerland.

High Peak 40 Race Buxton 15th September 2012

Race day
The hardest thing about this race for me is the amount of tarmac bashing, about 35% tarmac and tracks. But still I did enjoy it the year before and It was a test to see how my body had recovered.
Me at the Start

After registration its a short walk to the start of the race and there is only a field of about 250 - 300 runners in this race. It was good to see Cathy Bradley in this race, she had a good result at the end.

The start was good and I managed to be at the front. After crossing a few main roads the race turns down a lane before it climbs its first path for a good off road section to the first checkpoint. After this the tracks were good but I started to have knee pain in my left leg. Some pain killers at the next checkpoint and onwards. My legs started to feel tired now and the after effects of Switzerland were evident. I kept plodding along the course knocking off the checkpoints which have a good selection of cakes etc and plenty to drink. I made a good pace but could feel my tired legs. The day was good weather, not too hot but clear with patchy blue skies. The last long road section was harder this year and my legs felt heavy. Once I had my first view of Buxton, I knew the finish was near. Once nearer I managed to up the pace to the finish to complete the race 1 minute slower than 2011 in 8:22. The selection of warm pies and plenty of brews afterwards and the use of the schools showers make this a very friendly race and well organised. I don't think i'll be entering 2013 due to it been only 2 weeks after the UTMB, and I think my legs will be still a little tired.
Coming into the Finish

Omm 2012 - October- The Howgills

Just a quick mention of this event.
Unfortunately Rachel had to pull out with her knee issue. So Paul Aitken stepped in and we decided to take part in the Medium Score.
The weather on the day was glorious but the wind chill was very very cold.
After our start we made quick progress of knocking off the checkpoints that we had decided to go for in the 6 hours time limit on day 1. The scree was solid on the downhills due to the cold, which made it heavy work on the legs.
Me and Paul at the first road crossing Day 1

We decided to go for one of the further checkpoints that was worth 40 points which turned out to be fairly easy to get to. The day was spent climbing, descending, climbing descending, etc etc. We were both full of cold and I could feel it on my chest making it really hard work. Down to a road crossing, we past Rachel and Tom on their marshaling post. On to the next part of the course we managed another checkpoint, but we missed one and had to make it to the Day 1 finish without incurring a penalty.We did, just, with only 8 seconds spare.
After most teams were in we found out we were in 12th Place. We managed to find a good camping spot and got in the tent to get out of the savage wind. The camp site filled up as this year all classes were using just the one camp site, with about 1500 tents. Some good food was eaten and as it got darker it got colder and the tent was the best place to be.
Day 2 Weather

Day 2

 We woke to typical OMM weather; rain, wind and low cloud. We were up early as were in the chasing start, off at 07:25 we made our way on to the course with only 5 hours to get our points, game on. The first part of the course was hard going with bogs and long tussocks which made hard work running. The weather didn't help either! Back down to a road crossing and we briefly saw Tom and Rachel at another road crossing marshal post. Back on to better running ground, the time was ticking away and we made good progress bagging some more controls with a fine fast descent to the finish with about 8 minutes spare. Once the times and competitors were in we managed 11th Place overall.
Me and Paul, 2nd Road crossing Day 2

It was hard work been full of cold but was an enjoyable event and was great to be out with Paul who is an exceptional navigator, a top job Mr Aitken.

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