Saturday, 28 December 2013

Birthday run up Pen y Ghent

A cracking run up Pen y Ghent today to celebrate my wizened ancientness, with Harry, Wallace, Hester, Kelly and Lucas. A nice bracing contrast to the summer weather that Kelly and Lucas had just recently been experiencing in Oz, especially on the top of PyG where the wind was of the cutting you in half variety. 

A mug of tea in the Pen y Ghent cafe after (they sure need a heater in that place!) followed by egg and chips and more tea (and cake) at Elaine's in Feizor. Top birthdaying.

Hazzer and Kels 

Hester hacking into the wilderness (with Lucas and Harry also in view)

Kels, Hes and Lucas (Lucas is the one with the weird legs)

The team at PyG trig

Me not at all looking like Kenny from Southpark

A weirdo

Playing in the snow (with Wallace tunnelling)

Lucas airborne

Hester, Kels and Harry's backside

The views were stunning not stunning

K and H at full throttle

Lucas doing his zombie impression

Waldog and Hazzer

The team now getting a bit strung out

I'm not sure where Wallace was at this point

Ze route and run profile

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas run along the Wharf from Bolton Bridge

A fabulously Christmassy 10.5 mile run with Hester along the Wharf from Bolton Bridge, past Bolton Abbey, through Strid Woods, a loop up around Earl Seat then back via the Valley of Desolation and Bolton Abbey woods. And with the jolly fine 12 Days of Christmas inspired scenes to see and prat about with in Strid Woods all adding to the yuletide 'fun'. Some proper yuletide weather too, sunny but with a very cold wind and snow dusting on the higher tops of the Dales on the horizon. 

Egg on toast and tea in the Abbey Tea Rooms afterwards and then a pint of Saltaire White Christmas in the Crown in Addingham after that. 

Top Christmas Eve run then

Hester, a partridge in a pear arch thingy and a wooden reindeer. How Christmassy is that?

The Wharf

Hester on the tubular bells

Attempting to cartwheel over the Strid...... not!

A robin on a log

Christmas trees too

Looking down to Wharfdale with snowy tops beyond

No Hazzer in the team today

Barden Fell

The waterfall - Valley of Desolation

Ze route

Sunday, 22 December 2013

The Full Monty

On Saturday it was off to the North York Moors with Hazzer to run 'the Full Monty' with Gav and Hester. I have absolutely no idea why its called the Full Monty but it's a fabulous (and fabulously muddy) 18.5 mile run in a loop from Cold Kirkby (a small hamlet not far from the top of Sutton Bank), invented I think by Gav and his Thirsk & Sowerby Harriers running chums. 

Anyway as usual it was a completely brilliant run, although a run in which my running wheels fell off big style - my right hamstring has a slight pull (picked up some time in the past two weeks) and, after about 8 miles, I was struggling with that, I then turned my left ankle and struggled on with that and, just to put the icing on the cake, it had been our Christmas shindig at work on Friday and I was struggling with that too. Never-the-less I managed to struggle through, although Hester and Gavin left me for dead on the final 2 mile run back up to Cold Kirkby. A darn fine and much needed cup of tea and tea cake at Stewart's house after - just the job.

Ze route

North York Moors ahoy!

The team forging on

The boy Hazzer cooling off

A tad muddy then

Not much of hill perhaps but too much for my hamstring of doom!

This churned up field was a frigging nightmare

My brand new X-Talon 212's (they're actually bright blue)

Still muddy

Riveaux Abbey

Just before Hester and Gavin ran off and left me

A man in tights

Monday, 16 December 2013

Whernside from Ribblehead

A cracking little 7 miler with the H's on Saturday looping up Whernside, following the 3 Peaks walkers path going up and coming down what was the old walkers path. A 'bit of a stiff breeze' on the top but an absolutely fantastic trot up and a brilliant run down.

Hazzer in ascent mode

The wind blown top of Whernside

Hester in Bedouin style... despite a clear lack of sand dunes

The boy waiting for me to chuck a boulder to chase

Ribblehead viaduct ahead with Park Fell to the right of that

Ingleborough with a cloud on it

The intrepid team descend

Me and the boy Hazzer in descent mode

Ze route

Monday, 9 December 2013

The Frostbite 30

Okay I can say right here and now that this race was far, far too runnable! There weren't nearly enough impossible climbs that would force me to walk or treacherous descents that would force me to be captain sensible and take it steady. Nope, it was just 30 solid miles of very, very runnable tracks and trails and therefore, goddamit, I was left with no other option but to flipping well run it. 

And what a fantastic race it turned out to be.....

At the time of writing the results aren't yet out but I'm guessing that there was about 100 of us at the start from the scout hut in Pateley Bridge at 9 am on Saturday morning. Harry was running with me along with at least two other dogs present in the starting line up. Harry was buzzing (and gargling) with excitement waiting for the off and super keen to be first dog home.  Hester was also running and also aiming to do well, especially as one or two of her friends from Ripon Runners were also competing. 

Before us stretched a fabulous route that pretty much covers the whole of Nidderdale. Living on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park as I do, my standing joke (that never gets old) with Hester is that, although Nidderdale is a dale and is in Yorkshire, its not actually in The Yorkshire Dales. No its not, sorry - its close but no cigar (insert big winky smiley here). Its still not a half bad Yorkshire 'valley' though.


Our route round Nidderdale.... nearly but not quite in the Yorkshire Dales (coloured in green)

The race was superbly organised, with the route well marked out and with cheery folk dispensing drinks and snacks at the various checkpoints. And whilst I 've said that the route was 'too runnable' that's not to say it didn't have some hills in because it certainly did, with a particularly good solid climb after Bouthwaite some 4 miles in, and with a few more climbs to come after that too. My gps watch tends to over exaggerate the climbs but I suspect the whole route included at least 2,500 feet or more of ascent and descent. So it was hilly.... yet runnable. All the same from the off me and Harry managed to maintain a pretty good pace (for us) which only really dropped off a bit in the final 7 miles. To make it just 'a tad' tougher, we were running into a strong headwind for much of the outward leg and it was such a relief, at about the 17 mile point, to turn our backs on the wind and be able to run unimpeded. 

Anyway apart from the very last 4 mile run in from Bouthwaite ,which seemed to go on for ever, I felt pretty good all the way round all things considered. Which is a good thing really as I need to start upping my game a bit on the 'running' front as I'm 'doing' the London marathon next year... yep, I'll be getting road running shoes and everything! I've never actually done a road marathon before either so it will be interesting to see what my marathon time might be. On Saturday I clocked the 26.2 mile point in something like 4 hours 15 and, surely to god, I'll be able to knock a chunk of time off that in London?

We finally finished the Frostbite 30 in 4 hours 49 minutes and I was pleased to have comfortably broken the 5 hour barrier. Harry was of course first dog home and was absolutely starving in the scout hut afterwards, scrounging sandwiches and pork pies in his most lovely, doe eyed fashion from all and sundry. There was cracking soup and sandwiches for all the competitors at the end by the way. 

Hester too ran a brilliant race, finishing (a bit worse for wear if I'm honest) in 5 hours and 5 minutes, having run her socks off. What a super star. 

The route profile (orange line) and our pace (white line)

And we're off

Heading for the moors

High Ash Head Moor - we didn't see Jenny Twigg and her daughter Tib though

Oh yeah, Harry played sticks all the way round

Unfortunately we didn't catch any runners to scythe down before us

Me and the boy still running strong at about the 19 mile point 

Hester still smiling

Hester taking 30 minutes to put on her running shoes the morning after (hahahaha)