Saturday 29 March 2014

Pre Coast to Coast

27th March 2014 Pre Coast to Coast 

My first post this year, but that doesn't mean I haven't been out running. As soon as Xmas 2013 was out of the way I was on it and getting out at least 5 runs a week, mixing it up with short fast runs, and the usual Wednesday night sessions and longer runs at the weekend. The wednesday night runs above and around Grassington have turned into good useful speed sessions. Has most people will know the start to 2014 as had some awful weather, high winds and rain. This didn't stop me getting out and running in it. All my long weekend runs have been solo and in some miserable weather, in fact at times bloody awful conditions. Psychologically  this as been good for me, out on my own, down to me to get the navigation right and  to self motivate myself in these testing conditions. I seemed to spend a lot of my time getting thrown off my feet on to the floor at times and some of these were a bit un-nerving especially crossing from High Street to Mardale Ill bell, full on white out and wind knocking me to my feet a couple of times.

On the Summit of High Street, hellish wind

Some good distances have been run and a few in the lakes including a Bob Graham recce of Leg 3 with Carmine Sharon and Jill again in conditions which worsened as the day went on. It was still a good outing we just cut it short by descending Stake Gill and Mickleden.
Carmine, Jill and Sharon on Route to Calf Crag

I managed a couple of runs in the Howgills which is always a good alternative when the Lakeland mountains  are effected by any snow. On one occasion I decided to run the Montane Howgills 26 mile route.
The outward journey over Winder, the Calf and Calder then descending into Bowderdale round to Ravenstonedale was quite pleasant.
 Then the inevitable happened! a strengthening head wind for the last 12 miles complete with heavy rain. But it was a good day out and tested the waterproofs, again.
fun in the Howgills, after a bit of a snow shower on route to Calders

I took advantage of the good, err I mean bad weather with some good runs around home in the dales. Mixed weather, but I usually found if the weather started nice it changed for the worse. I did have some nice runs though from Grassington up over Great Whernside, Buckden and back. Some nice circulars from home via Sharphaw, Hetton. Back over Rylstone and Crookrise to Embsey then home via tarmac. I have done quite a  bit of running on tarmac just to get myself for the many road sections on the coast to coast.
 I should of kept a record of all these runs, as some call this training. I just like to call it going out for a run and enjoying the surroundings. A fair few miles have been clocked up thats for sure and plenty of climbing, fortunately no injuries have been picked up.
Looking up to Bull Scar near Conistone (Wharfedale)

Looking towards Skipton from Crookrise

My last longish day out was in the Western Lakes running from Nether Wasdale up Greendale Gill up on to Seatallan, sending the rest of the day in thick cloud. Another good day for map and compass and just myself for company. After Haycock and over on to Scoat Fell I returned back via Middle fell to drop part way down and watch the Fell race.
First few runners ascending Middle Fell

Ian Corless in action

Well all my big days are behind me now, at the time of writing this I am just one week from my Coast to Coast run.

After last years run completing the Dalesway from Ilkley to Bowness another classic walk. I had wanted to run the Coast to Coast, it wasn't going to happen in 2013 with the UTMB my main focas. My Coast to Coast challenge is to stay as close as I can to Wainwrights route of about 185 miles from St Bees Head to Robin Hoods bay. I am going to to try and complete this in three days, weather and my body permitting. I have also turned this personal challenge into a fundraising run for UWFRA (Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association) my local rescue team that I have been a member for nearly 22 years.

 So hows it going? (only one week and counting). I feel ready for it, I have lots of support from other runners and friends doing road support. Rachel will be doing a grew job as usual been the main point of contact and the main organiser of food, clothing, inspiration and photographer. I will try and do another write up next week with updates on my kit, helpers, schedule and any other useful information.

New kit up date.

The buffalo mitts have definitely been a good purchase for winter running, they stay warm when wet and the pertex outer keeps the savage cold winds out, stopping any wind chill from effecting my hands. Also I got a pair of the new Montane Prism Gloves, super light (58 grams) again pertex and primaloft a great combination and super warm too, if its really bad out there then the Prism gloves and Buffalo mitts will team up to be a great severe winter weather busting protection for the hands. To cut down on carrying lots of fluid I have purchased a light weight Sawyer water filter. Only weighing about 68grams which includes a 1.5 litre pouch to fill from streams etc. I have yet to try it, but should save me from  getting any bugs from water sources on route and cut down on weight carrying lots of liquid. I was given a Silva Trail runner 2, a good bright light weight lamp that at 140 lumens can keep going for about 30 hours on a set of good quality AAA batteries. I have used this and with my bad eye sight on darkened tracks it is about at the limit for my eyes but I was able to still run comfortable down technical descents.

I have also got a pair of Compressport UR2 calf guards. I have run in them a couple of times and they feel better on my legs than my skins, with the added bonus that the don't have stirrups that could rub under the feet. I am not giving up on my Skins as they have worked well for me. This is just another addition to my kit that works well. Just gives me the flexibility on the Coast to Coast to change them if they get too wet etc.
Montane Prism Gloves, Sawyer water filter system, Silva Trail Runner 2
The last bit of new kit are the amazing Drymax socks. Geoff Cox put me onto these. They aren't water proof but are very fast wicking taken away any moisture whether its water of sweat away from the inner fibres and out of the outer fibres. They do work, yes you get wet feet but they feel warm and dry in no time and have been great on cold wet winter runs.

The fund raising is doing well this donations can be made

Also James Thurlow of open tracking is supplying a GPS tracker that anyone interested can follow my progress a link to this will be in my next post

More information about my run etc in my next write up.