Friday, 28 February 2014

London Marathon training - session 1

So, to get used to running at a fastish pace on flat even ground over longish distances, I've decided to run from Shipley to Leeds on the canal towpath a few times between now and 13th April, the day of the Virgin London Marathon. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal handily meanders almost exactly 13 miles, half marathon distance, from Shipley to Leeds and, given that I work in Leeds, is also a useful way of training while getting to work at the same time. And yesterday at 6:56am I hopped off the train from Skipton at Shipley and cracked off with my inaugural VLM training session. I was cheerily looking forward to it too - I mean running on the flat compared to the hills and mountains should be a doddle, right?

That said I was surprised just how tough going the towpath was, especially for the first mile which was made up almost entirely of slick sloppy mud - I'd chosen to run in my super duper road running shoes which made that first mile all the more tricky as they are completely gripless. Even after the first mile it wasn't all plain sailing as it had rained heavily on Wednesday night leaving much of the towpath covered in huge puddles, which I had little choice other than to plough on through the middle of.

Anyway I made it to work with a running time of 1 hour, 39 minutes and 39 seconds. Average running speed of 7.8 miles per hour. Thats a nice marker to try and beat next time then.

And it sure made my 3 mile head torch run in the hills with Harry on Thursday evening 'fun' - my right hip and left knee both felt a bit battered by the canal path experience, giving me a semi Quasimodo running gait!

Ze route

My average speed - note the erratic first mile

The 'grip' on my super duper road running shoes

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Five Waterfalls from Settle

I worked out this route yonks ago but, until today, I've never actually got round to running it. The idea is to visit the 5 nearby(ish) waterfalls to Settle, all in one 21 mile long loop. So from home first off the bat was Scaleber Force, then a scoot over to Malham via Rye Loaf Hill to visit Janet's Foss and then a climb up the waterfall at Goredale Scar. The climb up Goredale with Harry is always a bit awkward (shoving Hazzer by the bum above me most of the time) and was made that much more tricky today by a strong wind blowing straight through what is a very narrow gorge - at the top of the climb it felt like the waterfall was all being blown back over us and we got fairly drenched.... but we loved it. We then paid a passing visit to Malham Cove (alas no longer a waterfall since about 10,000 BC) before hacking all the way over to Catrigg Force above Stainforth, followed by Stainforth Force on the Ribble and an extremely muddy trot back from there beside the river to Settle. 

All in all a cracking 21 mile route with 3,000 plus of climb and definitely one to do again on a hot summers day TO (thats top off or, as fell runners might better say, tits out).

Ze route

Scaleber Force

Harry having a sniff in the wilderness

Rye Loaf Hill ahoy!

Stockdale from Rye Loaf


Malhamdale is very barny

Looking back towards Kirkby Fell and Pikedaw Hill

Moss with colour saturation set to max!

Janet's Foss with Harry doing a few lengths

Janet's Foss and Harry again

Goredale Scar

Goredale Scar waterfall, which me and Haz were just about to climb

Goredale Scar from above

Looking towards Pendle Hill on the horizon

Malham Cove

Ingleborough on the horizon and Whernside far right

Catrigg Force

Heading for Stainforth

Stainforth's 17th century packhorse bridge over the Ribble

Stainforth Force plus rope swing and cliff jump point (not in use today)

Harry having a swim at his usual dipping pool

Me looking a bit serious

This bit is a bit muddy

Ordinance survey view of the route

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Great Shunner Fell

And following Saturday's 3 Peaks epic, a truly glorious 11 mile run up Great Shunner Fell from Hawes on Sunday with H and H. The weather was 'ever so slightly' better too!

No not a lake but a field (on the flood plain) in Hawes

Hester 'hammering' up the first part of the climb

Harold snow ball catching

Great Shunner Fell ahoy!

Harry cuddles time

The boy

Hester and Harry skipping along

Shorts weather

Hester losing a leg in a drift

Nearing the summit

Herdy Gerdy hat parade (Hester was standing on a rock making her 'look' taller)

Not a bad view then

Returning to sunny Hawes

Harry having a post run dip

Ze route (same way up and down)

The 3 Peaks

Me and Gav decided to 'blitz' the 3 Peaks (of Yorkshire) on Saturday and, together with Harry met up at Horton at 9:30 in the morning raring to go... with the rain absolutely lashing down and the promise of strong winds waiting for us on the tops! That didn't phase us at all - we had good gear and just 'love' battling against the elements. And battle against the elements we did; strong wind and rain on Pen y Ghent, a fair deluge of rain for the 9 miles between the top of Pen y Ghent and Whernside, the rain turning to snow on Whernside, with lots of deep, wet and toe freezingly cold snow to wade through getting up there, followed by a blizzard and massive winds fighting our way up the north face of Ingleborough.

22 miles after starting we rocked back into Horton completely plastered in mud but feeling cocky about facing all that weather and beating it good and proper. Then it was a pint of tea and a slab of fruit cake in the Pen y Ghent Cafe, job done!

Fricking brilliant!

My rain splattered pictures of the outing:

Haz approaching the top of peak one, Pen y Ghent

Hull Pot in full flow

Heading into the murk, going up Whernside

Gav on all fours going up a snow bank, not far from the top

No room in the wind shelter at the top of Whernside, peak two

Looking towards Ingleborough through flakes of snow

Ingleborough ahoy!

It was getting seriously windy now

Gav and Haz battling up the north face of Ingleborough, peak three

Nearing the finish now, with Pen y Ghent in view (I'd say 'again' but we couldn't see it first time)
Ze route