Saturday, 25 May 2013

The Tourist

I was staying up in Nottingham for the weekend and the friend I was staying with suggested Parkrun.... it was their 100th anniversary run and also 100 days until her baby is due. With a big weekend of drinking ahead at a hen do it seemed like a really positive way to kick things off!

We arrived at Colwick Parkrun  nice and early with time to walk to the start and see part of the route. As this was an anniversary run there were loads of first timers and lots of announcements to make when they asked if they had any Parkrun tourists I raised my hand. I was the only one, they asked where I was from... in my panic I shouted 'London' and a big cheer went out! Apparently this is not the norm for the big cheer but the sun was shining, there were cakes to be eaten and everyone was in good spirits!

The route was a sort of loop and a half around a lake on woodland paths, very different to Bromley and requires Marshalls as there are hidden bends and turns but a really lovely route on such a beautiful day was a good opportunity for me to stretch my legs and try and put some power into this. I knew a PB wouldn't be forthcoming but the physio on my back is helping and I was able to push out a decent 5km in under 26 minutes.

Delighted with our healthy and positive start to the day we smugly went back and had a lovely brekkie before heading the first activity of the weekend, the Adrenalin Jungle assault course!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Showboating on Win Hill

Staying with some of our oldest family firends in Bamford, at the Heart of the Peak District I awoke early despite the exertions on the hills yesterday,

I recruited one member of the family, David, to join me on my venture up Win Hill. He was keen to get out for a walk and explained there were several route options to the top some of which he had never tackled.
The options (1) drive to the car and take the easy walk, (2) the steep but not steepest route and (3) you guessed it the steep route. Option 1 was immediately ruled out and we ended up at the start point for option 2 first and upwards we went through the woods as the sun dappled the path. We powered up the path and before long the peak was in sight with the reminder of the route on an open windy moorland. As we approached I saw two fell runner heading towards me, I foud myself a little jealous wanting also to be running.

We reached the trig point at the same time and as the two runners quickly opened their packs and started to power through energy bars I asked them if they were in training. They said they were getting ready to tackle the Bob Graham Round but over two days as they were not completely bonkers!

I told them about Mont Blanc and also the 24hour Thunder Run so as to establish my status as a serious runner not just some chatty rambler. We bid each ther good luck in our endeavors and they were on their way again. By this time David had joined me on the top of Win Hill.

We descended on Option 3, and oh my was that tough, a very sheer rocky path back down the hill had the potential to punish the knees so I was glad not to try and run down as I am not a mountain goat by any stretch of the imagination. When we arrived back at the house both myself and David were ready for a cuppa and some rest.

I opted to hit the road for the drive home before tiredness struck, although less than an hour later it did. I stopped for a snack and a short nap as an elderly couple ate their sarnies in the car next to me. I woke and set off again but less than another hour and I was struggling. I caught a glimpse of my eyes in the rear view mirror and the motorway signs 'Don't Drive Tired' so heeded the warning, stopped, hopped in the back seat and 1 hour later I was awake again and a little confused!

Clearly it was needed and the remainder of the journey was much better and nap free.




Saturday, 11 May 2013

Walking the Peaks... Will, Will, Willl, It's him I swear!

Some time ago I decided as part of the my training plan for the Mont Blanc Marathon I would head up to the Peak District and and get in some hill training. This plan has been slightly scuppered by my injury but walking would certainly be an option and still beneficial.

Day One would be a longer adventure with the ultimate fell walking guide, my Dad! who I am pretty sure you could drop anywhere in the hills of the Peaks or Lakes and he could give you a grid reference in seconds and without a map!

Along the journey we stopped at the Grindleford Cafe for a cuppa although not one of their fabled 'Pints of Tea'. Then later we passed a couple who had just got married having their photos taken, we wished them congratulations as we passed by.

We also passed a fellow walker with his dog, nodded our hello's then I realised I knew this man, it was Mr Legon, my old maths teacher and founder of Will4Adventure a fantasic company offering guided walks and treks amongst other outdoors activity. I shouted after him in the style of Alan Partidge calling out for Dan but alas he had headphones and did not hear. My Dad was dubious but I later confirmed it was indeed him... what are the chances!

What began as a 9 miler soon got extended to just over 12 miles and covering so many areas from my childhood it was fantastic. We even went to areas I don't recall ever visiting like the mule trail, a fantastic little path leading out from Padley Gorge.

Some hours later we finished up with a cuppa from the flask and headed home for some well dserved feet up time. My Lightweight Trail shoes held up really well and much better than hiking boots.

Monday, 6 May 2013

May Day May Day... resist the Hog Roast!

What great weather for the bank holiday and what a great way we had chosen to spend it, a lovely bike ride along the Forest Way starting in East Grinstead. The route was not determined when we left as such in terms of distance just the place.

My mum and I set off immediately tackling a tough uphill - I was immediately concerned when I saw a sign for Woodbury as any Walking Dead fans will know this is not a good thing!

We arrived soon after at the start of the Forest Way where we to meet the third member of our cycling party and we were soon on our way.

Before long we have arrived at the point where a decision needed to be made, we have spotted a sign for a May Day Fair in Groombridge, we we to continue on for a slightly longer ride or not. After spotting cream teas, hog roasts and Maypole dancing on the poster the decision was made and off we went. 
The May Fair was an old school traditional style fair with crockery smashing, splat the rat & cream teas. It was really lovely and provided a welcome break to our wearly legs. We stayed around for a good hour and whilst the others enjoyed some cake I stuck to my diet plans (targeting getting to race weight) and just had a cuppa before the return journey.

About halfway back as we passed a group my mum loudly exclaimed 'wow it really sticks of garlic round here' perhaps not perfect timing as we have just past a man waiting for his family! But the statement was soon qualified to tell us about the wild garlic that grew along the route. It was decided we would add this to our dinner so I quickly took a snap shot incase a hospital was later required to identify by what I had been poisoned!

The journey back was tough as there is an ever so slight incline for the entire journey except the last 1/4 mile. A fantatastic day out in the sunshine and with the exception of my comedy sun burnt knees I will definately be out on the bike more this summer as part of my cross-training return to fitness.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Bewls are there to be broken

Snazzy new minimalist trail shoes
Bewl Water Half Marathon 2013

Throughout the week I had been umming and ahhing about going to the Bewl Water races this weekend, the plus sides being they were on Saturday, the downside of course being my back injury. I avoided mentioning to anyone in case I changed my mind for most of the week until Friday arrived and everyone was asking... so what are your plans for the weekend.
Oh no, before I could stop myself I declared I was running a half marathon, doh! Now there was no way out, I had to go and do it. Arriving early in the hope of late drop outs freeing up a space for me to run I was in luck and got a number pretty early so I could relax. My race prep had been out of character and haphazard, while I managed to eat porridge 3 hours beforehand  I wore new trains and new socks, had a cuppa before we started and have certainly not been doing enough or indeed much run training. This was going to be interesting.
Eleanor at less than a mile in

As I waited I saw Eleanor and Peter from the club, Eleanor was running the Full Marathon and Peter like me had turned up with the hope of securing a place on the half. We chatted for a while then went to see off Eleanor as her race began an hour before us. 
The course is really lovely, a near prefect location for a half marathon as the route is already clearly marked and around a lake. It is however, mostly trail and pretty hilly - this I had considered a perfect bit of training for me for my summer events and hence why I had convinced myself it would be a good idea. 

Lining up at the start it was chilly but a good day for running and I soon warmed up as we started on our way. Settling in after a few miles to a comfortable pace I found myself behind a man who had such strange arm motion that he looked like to was on the decks, this couple with his shirt led to my naming iof him DJ Red Stripe. The connotations of the lowly lager could not be escaped so I imaged him to do his gigs in seedy back street working mens clubs.

Next on my travels and for much of the way I was a little way behind a group of 3 men running together, staying behind them but gradually gaining I kept my sights on them and at some point to try and overtake, this finally happened on the very severe downhill stretch where I descend in free-fall picking off one runner after the next. But as we all know, what goes down must go up and eventually they crept past me again. I was however quite pleased with my uphill performance which seemed to be stronger than usual. 

The last 3 miles were a bit stop/start for me as I was concerned for the well-being of my back and didn't want to push too hard so I took regular walk breaks as the end came closer. The rain began, at first just spotting but threatening to get heavier at any moment. I was spurred on by the impending downpour and mustered what I had to cross that line and finish. Success, I had done it, at a significantly slower pace then my norm and my back was feeling okay... for now

On my arrival home, I got out my 110% compression trousers and squeezed on into them, then filled the pouches with the ice packs to help my legs begin their recovery. Lets hope it works!