make a cuppa and relax.
once upon a time
Link (roll over me to see where I go) (for Mrs. Shanks and another)
So , the whw goes well. A comfortable race if not to fast but considering only 9 weeks of training and I’m well happy. I’ve said it before. Picking up that class crystal goblet was one of the things that will stay with me for life. I can’t really explain why the whw is so special. It’s not just the course, it’s the people around it, friends i have only known a few years but i know they will be there forever. Memories of deep snow training runs and drunken nights .....so many things made picking that goblet up so special . I will be back next year to slash that time.
If my foot was going to break again you’d have thought it would go during the whw but it held. I followed the whw with some good local races and looked forward to getting some form of fitness. The last time i was starting to feel fit was November 09 . I had knocked 4.5 mins off my PB at the thirsk 10M Road raced 10 mile pb and my weight was steadily coming down. After the race i was limping and finally admitted something was wrong. Heck that’s not far off a year ago now!
After whw I did our club race, the court inn clamber, the angel view run , the run for bob and cronkley fell race i ran ( i won’t say raced as i was so unfit) all with no foot problems
I’m meant to be doing the Northumberland coastal run. This is the most beautiful run in the England but I’ve done it a few times and it clashed with one of our fetch Scottish hill running weekends that includes a run from the bridge of ochy I’ve had in mind for a while .
Link (roll over me to see where I go)
So tough decision but i go to Scotland. As usual i pick sandy up in Edinburgh but i drop her in Glasgow for the Clyde stride. Something else i was going to do but the lure off the hills was too much. Meet up with the usual suspects and a few new to me and jog /walk up to Nevis forest laughing and joking. When we hit the top i start my usual lash down i love so much. 5 minutes in i stand on a small rock and boom!!! , the foot has broken again. bugger!
All thoughts of getting really running fit for the Hardmoors gone in a second. The ochills 2000 , the ridgeway, Lakeland 100, Burnsal classic fell and 10 mile road races , the new coastal marathon and the Esk summer fell series among other stuff gone. Bugger indeed.
Supporting Roles yet again .
You help out when you can. Park runs , Lead bike a few time and just marshal. Still it’s nice to see some local running faces. Various marshalling duties at fells and loads of other races.
I go swimming. Swimming is ok but pools are just boring but I persevere. Its two months before i can kick my legs as it hurts my foot. Then i have a run in with a triad. He’s called Jules. You have to be careful with these tattooed people. They race with numbers tattooed on them and deal in tri like an inner city crack dealer. He sends me a link to the Edinburgh swim festival. A 400 metre and 2K swim in the sea. I like the look of that but i justify the cost of a wetsuit just now.
Lakeland 100/50 support.
First big race i miss is the Lakeland 100. Bomb does the 50. Her first big trail race. What an excellently organised race. I love the Hardmoors but that’s done on a shoestring and all volunteers. This seems to have everything including of course a great route. The 100’ers start of 5 pm on the Friday eve and the 50 ers join them on the last 50 at midday on the Saturday. No support is allowed but family and friends can go to certain out of the way places but are told not to cause any traffic problem or the race could be in trouble. I see flinky, andy cole, firemannotsam and anna fin among other off in the 100 jealous as hell . I wave them by and shout go on enjoy it you gits. Then the next day bomb , Nx , giggles , clairster, lizogical , 2ff onto the busses for the 50.
Another fetchie was doing the BGR so i was off to show support but first i go the ferry across Ulswater to cheer the runners. . Found a nice little track and sat back with feet in the clouds.(again ). It was warm and sunny with a slight cooling breeze... Watched them all go past and was just leaving when two guys came along, one looking a bit sorry for himself. It was a father and son team and the son had done his back and were pulling out. Looking at long wait to get back to the car and looking utterly dejected , they jump on the ferry with me and i took them back to their car at the start. I’ve never seem people so grateful in my life having to decline beer and pub food with them as now i’ve missed the BGR fetchie i want to get off to Ambleside to see the runners again. . After i saw bomb through (with 2FF) i headed to the finish . Got a text from activeight saying they were in the pub with fllnky and FNS (who both plagued with injuries had to pull out.) and it was almost last orders. I made it :-)
Watched everyone come in at various stages. got a text saying bomb was past the last checkpoint with a big group including 2ff
Bomb duly finished but well after the big group. The last 3.5 miles took 2.22 hours as she and a couple of other got split from the big group & a bit lost. It happens. Very proud of her. She ran staying with others most of the way at a much slower pace that she is capable off the majority of the time. Understandable on her first big Ultra on a difficult course with most of the running at night. She’s much much faster than that and will blow the times to bits next year. Great runs from all clairster, 2ff, Lizogical, Nx, giggles (how fast is he ! ) and Anna fin among other
I love this race and i would have had the triple crown of fling , whw and devil if i could have run . Grrrr. Still it’s nice to be there for my friends . I’m officially supporting one runner on this but a late reserve list re-opening and I’m suddenly looking after another Four! All went very well with everyone fed and watered on (as is per usual in Scotland a blazing hot day) . A few times i luckily found myself in right place at he right time to help some other including happyG (support ,IanS took a fall on the devil and loon who was fairly happy i had cold beer in my car when he had to pull out with severe cramp.
After seeing all mine though at Kinlochleven i headed to the finish. Now it was really boiling hot. Ian Beatie asked me to hand out Perth ultra forms to the finishers which i was happy to do. Of course they all got a Hardmoors one as well :-)
Then the Triad Jules comes along with a wetsuit for me. In fact he has three!.This is how they get you theses triad dealer. Lure you in with freebies and watch as you cry out for more. Being the shy retiring type, I strip off and try one on. It fits quite well. Runners come in are bemused by me standing in the boiling hot heat with a full wetsuit on. I just say ‘i know but do i have any midge bites, i think not’. Those covered in them are nodding their heads thinking this is a good idea. Everyone finished and got a Hardmoors and Perth flyer form me (and sandy who said she would do the boys ...) Bomb ran really well and we can all look forward to it next year. Great night after as always. I chatted to Sharon law (ladies winner)..sigh.
A week or so later i head to the beach at Tynemouth to try the wetsuit on again. Melar who had done parkrun Marshalling with me that morning joins me with my finbob. I put the suit on and just as I’m pulling it up i think , hang on the zip is meant to be on the back !. Doh ! Melar dies laughing. We take Finbob for his first walk on the beach and have an amazing time (it’s warm and sunny with a slight cooling breeze) before coffee on the beach and i finally head off into the water. It’s fantastic. Sea swimming is so much better than the boring old pool.
Durham Marathon Recce. (A grand day out –it’s been a while)
I won’t pretend i didn’t miss Lirsun when he went mad but so glad he is better now and we can have more of our famous Grand days out. We have been working on a Durham marathon route for the 100 club so we headed to the lovely little village of Rockhope to recce what looked on paper like a decent route. Obviously i can’t run so we mountain biked. The first mile is a rocky path up hill. It took us 25 minutes. Oh dear. The full route takes us 4.5 hours on the bikes. We are both knackered and my foot is sore. dam . !We agree that the route is a tad tough for the Marathon and its back to the drawing board lol but hey it’s another grand day out and i’m itching to see how long it would take me to run it.........soon , very soon
Rentboy’s Melrose hill race (handicap)
I can’t say enough about how fantastic on all fronts this race was. Renty and his good lady C put this together from near there house in the beautiful countryside around the beautiful border town of Melrose. I rode round on my mountain bike to support wishing i could run but still enjoying the stunning location and the company of some of my favourite people. .Food and cold beer after in their garden . A perfect day. Thank you so much C & Rentboy .
100 marathon club , Northumberland Coastal marathon.
And we see them again a few weeks later. The Northumberland coastal run is the most beautiful run in the England. So the 100 Marathon club put on an out and back on the same course but starting at the Alnmouth instead of Beadnel. Another red hot day so I’m on the bike with drinks for the runners. Madbag and kevhoop, Renty, Lisrun and bomb are some of our fetchies running and I’m jealous as hell! Still a nice ride 11 mile ride out for me and a good workout having to throw the bike over every kissing gate. I got collared by some heritage trust guy who demands this is a foot path and not for cycles. I Immediately reprimamd him for his abrupt manner andthiss prestigious charity event had full permission for a bike support . He apologises and i ‘m off. I didn’t say it was mum who gave the permission ...After a while i decide its to hot and the location on the beach under the ruins of Dunstable castle to nice, so i stop , strip and head out to sea . Lovely forty minute swim up and down the beach and out to the rocks. Magic ! Renty and Lisrun are a bit alarmed to have some one shouting out at them from way out in the water and Renty waves back but later says he is not sure if I’m drowning or not . Mind he doesn’t stop. A time is a time after all. ;-). On the way back my water and sports drinks are appreciated and so is the cold bitburger beer in the pub after. Who’d have thought one of the best German beers on draught in little old Alnmouth .
Turning leaves series.
Lovely little series of races put together by out very own fetchie Mic. I go down to the moors to marshal and watch as everyone takes a different route! still bomb wins the ladies and my Club mate Will wins the men’s and everyone has a smile on there face and nobody seems to mind about the course. It will be better marked next time . Great races . thank you Mic.
Birthday weekend , perth Ultra and Swim race.
Excellent night out @ Durham beer festival for my birthday so I’m late heading up to Perth the next day to see Rentboy ,Ultracat and of course sandy compete in the 24hr, 50 and 100K . Loads of other folk i know are there as well and its a great Scottish Ultra scene fest . Vicky , Lintie , loon Richie and other in support . I get a call from loon saying sandy says if your passing a shop .....i’ll let you guess lol. I turn up and she got medals and trophies galore! 2nd lady vet. So proud of her. And since I’m carrying not one but two bottle of chilled bubbly I’m an instant hit! Hang around while sandy has well deserved drink and bats her eye lashes (not as good as mine pet ;-) at the timing guy we generally support the runners and have fun. Everyone does very well. These events are such a test of mental as well as physical ability. I’m in awe. Everyone gets a Hardmoors flyer and i sneakily put them up in the three portoloo’s as well so there is no escape
Stop over at Sandy’s and have to watch the drink as I’m racing in the morning. Sandy’s not a hint of bother at me getting her up and out dead early on her day off . I want a good parking place and also I’m not sure what happens a these events. Also I’m excited. I miss racing. Miss giving my all. I miss running. This as close as I’m going to get for a while . When we get there is hardly anything happening. The buoys are still being blown up and well nothing. It’s obviously the right place but they look a tad behind schedule. Sandy takes this well and does not go on and on and on and on and on about us having hours extra in bed or being able to turn back for her camera she forgot and does not have a face like a dog chewing a wasp !
As I’m racing in Scotland it’s bloody boiling hot of course. Zu and her very very nice friend turn up and soon the place is buzzing. I look at the start list. Swim club, swim club, swim club, tri club tri club, swim club ....and so on . Feck, going to be slaughtered here. Still the real reason I’m doing this apart from my masochistic tendencies is to get experience for some stuff i fancy next year. A couple of days before i had gone to my local tri club open water swim and told them what was doing at the weekend . After a fair few questions it’s apparent i have no experience, hardly trained and not done any open water, the coach (2nd in the world championships in her age group) soon lashed into my swimming and had me doing stuff that really knocked me out. She then called half a dozen big guys over, told us all to swim around some buoys and rough me up like in a race. Game on. First lap i took what they had to give. Interesting , swimming over me ,pulling me back my the legs (and foot – he won’t do that again) elbows in my face etc etc . Asked how it went i say good but can we have another go. Second lap’s my turn. I drown and try break bones of the fuckers, pull them back and swim right over them. There not that fast over short distance. They said i did good and will be OK .
After was a another new experience after was a 10 mile bike TT . Loved it. Used my mountain bike but still mid pack. Be doing that again.
So the buoys are in place. Well all over the place to be honest. They have the wrong anchors so seem to have made the 400m course up as the bigger buoys are just drifting. Decide to just go for it and run in with the rest not holding back. Lovely argie bagie elbows all over the place but I’m happy and holding my own. Mind it s hard. I round the buoy and head for the next and I’m fucked. I’ve been swimming 3 fucking minutes! I drag myself out in 6 mins dead . Dead being the operative word.. Heck that was fucking tough. Only 6 fucking minutes and I’m totally knackered. Mid pack tho , so did ok .
Soon on the bussed to the 2K start. Sandy runs it .When we get there she says that was 1.5 miles in a more or less straight line. We have to swim out to sea around 3 buoys and back in so its now got to be further than 2K !. I start well but by half way I’m flagging. I get cramp bad. Something i never get running. The i get a stitch. WTF ? I grind the stokes out but i know I’m not doing well. I look over to my left and no-ones there. Oh dear. Look to the right and its clear I’m off course. Not a lot but enough to lose a lot of places. I swim to the next buoy . I’m fucked, really fucked. 2 k is so easy in the pool. The waters choppy and my throat is starting to get raw for some reason. I’ll pull out at the next marshal point........er not an option lol, its finish or die in this stuff.
Second wind and as i turn for shore is easier now and i manage a bit of a surge. Drag myself out and die. Wow. That’s fucking good. I want more. 45 mins dead. Again dead is the word . I’m absolutely fucked . After, my neck looks like some one has tried to strangle me! And im sure thare was not an ex girlfriend it the water! Doh ! I should have re-applied the body glide after the first swim. Lesson learned. Also my throat is red raw i assume from the salt. . Not sure what can be done about that. Maybe just get use to it.
Shower and change at sandy’s and lovely meal to see me off and head up north with my mountain bike for some R&R. Great weekend.
The demise of the Rendezvous cafe we run form occasionally was thankfully a mistake and this wee gem of a cafe is still the same as it was in the 1930’s. Tea and trifle are served and all for a ha’penny. I pick my mountain bike on a whim i sling it. I’m going to run .
I run 5 miles. Foot a bit sore and i’m knackered but I’m so chuffed . A few days later i run 4 very slow miles with the slow ladies group our XC training. So that’s 9 miles in nearly three months. Surely enough training for the south down way race. lol.
Banana split for ha’penny :-)
I was going to let this race go. I was worried i would take someones place when i knew i probably would not finish . I had mailed Jen but she said she had closed the entries and to take my time and i can decide up to the day. Thank’s Jen. So i knew my foot was not right and i’m woefully unfit but after the TT on my mountain bike I told my bro I’m looking for a bike to winter train on as part of my take it easy and cross train approach to getting fit again. He has just bought a Bianchi. Its lovely but i mention i would like something i can still use on the old railway as well. I had a go on Hann’s cross bike at Christmas and that was fabulous. As it happens his boss is selling his training bike which is a cross bike. He wants £500-00 for it. He’s another Triad and builds his own very expensive bikes. When hears i want it (he’s been following my running and we are both going to raise money for RAFFA next year) like a true Triad dealer he says i can have it for £225-00! However it’s down in Wiltshire. In my book that’s right next door to the start of the SDW in Eastbourne.:-) So that and Jen generosity makes my mind up & I decide to run and see how it goes.
Just in case the worst happens i have my bro on standby to come and pick me up. I don't want to put the organisers out when i know i'm not right . The idea is to take a B& B across from the start ( i found a nice one for £30-00 ) and wonder over. Run the race. If i don’t finish (very likely ) i get back or get bro to pick me up or if i do finish Bro meets me in Winchester for beers with the bike and the next day ride back to Eastbourne along the country roads. In reality, work get in the way and i end up driving down on the morning. I leave at 3am . A bit of rain and accidents all over the shop and I’m late. Ogee thinks i can make it with a clear road but then i get really slow traffic. He tells Tpod I’m not far and Tpod says its ok and i can start late. I need to be there by 10:30am. I get parked at 10:27 and sprint with my bags to the start. I start at 10:31. (thanks for hanging on guys)
What a lovely start it is. I enjoy the beautiful rolling hills along the coast and it’s a very runnable course. In fact I’m just happy to be running again . I have a smile a mile wide but alas after 12 or so mile i start to feel my foot. I see Hendo at a road junction, have a quick chat and head up the hill. He says I’ve made up 15 minutes on the last place and the ones in front of him aren’t far in front. I don’t want the Marshals out longer than they have to so keep up a steady pace. I meet up with CB and early bird on there mountain bikes. Great to see them again. They are looking at a long night. Cb says he can see me compensating for my right foot and he is right. The camber of the hills haven’t done it any favours. I’m now 8minutes behind the last runner. A marshal tweets she wishes i would hurry up as she is cold. Friends bite their tongues and shake their heads, particularly at the ones at Glasgow –Edinburgh and its so not this spirit of this great race.. I laugh, never mind.
I get into CP1, 8 minutes behind the last person but my foot is sore and i decide to pull out. How amazingly sensible of me. I’m not unhappy. 20 miles after no training is fine in my book and I’m ecstatic to have a bit of a blow out on such a beautiful course. I make my way by train with the other two marshals who weren’t cold and head off for a lovely weekend with my brother and get the bike. Since mum passed away i see less and less of my bro so we are trying to put that . We plan some races down that way. I hope his knee is ok for November race as he is looking forward to it.
So glad everything went so smoothly and Jen’s race was such a blinding success. Putting on a race for no other reason than the love of running and wanting to show off and share an area of outstanding natural beauty to other can only be applauded . Well done Jen. Christ she’s so dam gorgeous as well. He’s to next year.
I love this race. It means many things to me. It’s not just a race :-/
So the next weekend we head for the Hardmoors course. I had wanted to photo the entire course before now but the foot had stopped me. However the bit between Osmotherly and Guisborough has a few turns you can go wrong if you are not careful and i wanted get some photos out there on tintenet. Also of course a week down the line after SDW it’s another foot test. I haven’t run that week and it’s tough going for me. I can’t lash down the hills although I’m still much quicker than bomb on them but any flat stuff and uphill’s and she’s away. She’s fit and I’m clearly far far from it. We had planned to make the cafe at kildale but we just missed it. We managed to beg some water but not enough. We climbed up to captain cooks monument and back down again but decided to call it a day. We jogged into Great Ayton for some food. 26 miles and i was fucked. Hmmm not good for England’s toughest race.
So clearly i should not do Hardmoors but was in two minds. I’m clearly woefully unfit and the bones in my foot not quite fixed. I could not start and marshal. Or start and see how far I get. Start and just hope to get to the coast and then help out. My team are great and say do as i want. Well that’s not true. Bomb does not really want me to start. Then a race entry appears in the post. Jon’s giving me free entry after all my work on the race. Very Kind. Then Northern runner shop rings and says Sportiva have agreed to replace my ripped sportiva’s if i want to come in and get a pair. The a friend rings and say he is going up to Northern runner if i fancy popping through! Talk about fate. So I have decided to start really knowing i won’t get that far yet again. If the foot hurts i will pull out. .I won’t lash down any hills and try and be steady away. Any tweaks and I’m out . If i only get to the coast i won’t be upset but happy i got nearly 60 miles of the moors in, go help out in the race i love and start working on winning it next year. I meet up with ogee and miss sunshine along with some crew and head for a bite to eat. Then it’s to the start to see loads of old Ultra friends. A mate gives me something that may be morphine..Just in case. I kid you not.
I enjoy my run even if I’m slow and having to be careful. It’s just great to be running again. At about 25 miles i step on a root and the foot tweaks. Shortly before 30 I’m chatting away with my old friend John venon and catch a rock on the side of my foot . Another big tweak. John agrees i should pull out. Not worth another 3 months out. I’ve only run for 14 week of the year as it is. Still from Zero to 30 miles in two weeks isn’t to bad and i head home to ice the foot. So glad Ogee and Miss sunshine have great runs and enjoy may favourite race. With more promo and great reports this will be a classic. I’ll win it next year. :-)
After i rest it and now the slow slog back to fitness can start. . A few slow 5 mile runs and stuff , swimming and cycling . apart from a few booked things that may or may not run (not sure i should run Abingdon and is more likely going to be fetch-pointed now )
Harewood house 10 Mile Race. (back to basics)
This sort of great local race I’ve missed. Loads of fetchies there and a big turnout of famous Yorkshire clubs all looking they mean business, I have a feeling its on a few club championship lists .Truly appalling weather . Weather that makes a race. :-) Thecourse is all bogs,puddles and trails that turn into rivers. I push my woefully unfit body as hard as i can through the rain It’s great to be trying again. I love every minute of it. Tough little course with some good sting in the tail hills . Its now my favourite 10 mile race.
Soon after I finish , Anthony from Quakers comes in. I’m a bit surprised to beat him and he tell me its a PB for him. Well maybe I’m not to unfit then. However by far the best thing is Melar finishing her first 10 mile trail race. Brilliant!. After a lovely pub Sunday dinner with melar and swittle .
It’s good to be back .
Wake up !