A first ascent

We’ve been getting Hadrian used to running on a bungee lead so that he can accompany us on some of our adventures.

Because he’s still growing, we only do short distances and are slowly building up. We’re also careful that he doesn’t put too much stress on his joints by bounding downhill so we keep him on a short lead on the descents.

He’s doing really well and can be off the lead if there’s no sheep around, his recall is good and he sticks fairly close by.

We’ve started out with a few trial runs along fell wall in Spring-like weather.

I enjoyed a slow and steady couple of runs out this week as well, Arant Haw and the final Wilson qualifier in nice conditions.

Today was Hadrian’s first summit- Winder, in some really wintery weather. He was an absolute star

Ed has also been doing lots of training with the pup and I refer to them as my ‘fell wall assessors’ as they have a favourite route up and along the wall at the base of the fell and are always keen to report on the weather and ground conditions!

I’m just about on track for #run1000miles but have not been getting wrapped up in the numbers. It’s been a really busy few weeks and I’m generally feeling tired so I’m looking forward to a break!


A mountain to climb

I’ve been seriously lax and given myself a mountain of catching up to do!

So in an exercise of haste (and laziness!) here is the top pics from Jan-March.

#run1000miles is ticking away and I’m trying to balance my running with some decent rides for Flanders. Today Ed and I faced up some big(ish) hills and won- so I’m feeling ok right now!

Running is still ticking away, I’ve been rather busy and seem to have an unshakable fatigue at the moment that has impacted on my pace. Hopefully the answer is just a bit of a rest and I’m hoping that will be part of my Easter break (although I do have an ultra booked in!).

Well, looking through these pictures really does make me smile 😊. I also feel incredibly fortunate to be able to go on little adventures almost every day!


Maybe it’s this time of year, the days are shorter in a practical sense, challenges stack up, the post Christmas glow means that we feel that pull towards loved ones more acutely and so all other things seem to be a wall between us and them. It’s still dark. It’s still grey. It’s still wet. We’re all stretched.

And yet somehow, we find that motivation within us and get out for a run. The #run1000miles challenge gives us parameters, goals and targets- just the sort of thing that we start looking for in January. Now, how do we maintain motivation and also ensure that running is not a means to an end but an end in itself?

In 1991 one of the juggernauts of the Christmas lists (first released mid 70’s, we had it in the 90’s and making yet another comeback for 2018!) was Stretch Armstrong. My childhood friend had one and we’d devise ways of stretching this guy to infinity, the fascination of course being, would he return to his previous unstretched form? He always did.

It was reassuring that whatever torture we’d inflict on Mr Armstrong, he’d always have the resilience to bounce back.

When we stretch ourselves on the track, road or trail, we do it, safe in the knowledge that we will bounce back. We’ll be ready to hit the next rep, tomorrow’s training, this weekend’s race. We might even bounce back even better, stronger, more resilient than before.

One day, I finally got hold of my own Stretch Armstrong. I wanted to know how he always bounced back so I made a small incision, to find out. He was never the same again.

I guess we can all be stretched and it can be a really positive thing- inertia is boring right? You can’t fulfil your potential if you don’t stretch yourself. And I think that’s what #run1000miles is all about- keeping some spring in your stretch!

Brought in the New Year with 8 miles of renewal. 4 miles up, 4 miles down, simple as that. And man it hurt after a Christmas of good food and drink.

The Nine Standards is an old school fell race- I reviewed it last year so I won’t spend time reinventing it- I’ll leave the reinventing to people on my Facebook timeline.

So instead of reinventing brand new resolutions this year (because come on- if your resolutions are the same every year they’re not exactly new or realistic are they!?)

I’ve had a great 2017 in so many ways and I think that I’m doing ok- so let’s just focus on keeping standards in 2018, building on my 2017 achievements and learning from mistakes.

My Nine Standards to maintain for 2018!

(In no particular order!)

1. Stay injury free: in so far as it’s in my control. That means stretching. Not racing every week. Give myself time to recover.

2. Keep things exciting. Buy myself a road bike- I’m riding the 74km Tour of Flanders in April! Run and bike.

3. Maintain 20 miles a week (ish) to represent for Trail Running Magazine’s #run1000miles!

4. Consistently update the blog. Stay up to date and make the effort to review races in detail.

5. Continue to make healthy eating choices (most of the time!)

6. Build on results so far by challenging myself to commit to more structured training and building self confidence by running as part of a group.

7. Be honest with myself: I couldn’t come up with any more standards so there we go!

Happy trails everyone and enjoy the challenge!

A Christmas Eve win and 1000 miles done!

We headed to Lancaster on Christmas Eve to have a go at the Christmas Cracker 10K. After a few social drinks the night before with family (traffic cones at the ready) I wasn’t expecting much and was just looking forward to a run out before the festivities began.

It started at the George and the Dragon pub and it was a wonderfully warm welcome (although the sight of the bar was slightly less welcome!) We hunkered down and warmed up nicely before the start.

Soon enough we were off- totally flat route. Pretty much and out and back. I could see Ed tearing off ahead and tried to keep on top of my breathing as the air was so cold. The miles soon ticked by and as I reached for my gel at around 2.5 miles, I realised that my Garmin wasn’t switched on- D’oh!

So I started it from the halfway point and hoped I could gain an insight of pacing from then. I knew that I was in the lead but I didn’t know by how much or what pace I’d been going up to then. The ultra (Tour de Helvellyn) was still in my legs from the week before so I wasn’t expecting much.

Before I knew it, I was pulling into the finish as First Lady in a respectable 43.30.

Superb race full of friendly people, excellent organisers and marshals, welcoming pub- get stuck in!

My next concern was our traditional Christmas Day 10K and making dessert- done and done!

Now the big finish- we headed to Otley to spend some time with Ed’s family, we had a wonderful time- even getting out for a bike ride!

And it was on top of Otley Chevin that I reached my 1000 mile mark for 2017- and what a 2017! And I’m also super excited to be a #run1000miles ambassador for Trail Running Magazine in 2018- so keep an eye out online and in the magazine next year!

The best year of my life so far! Made possible by Ed, my family and his. Here’s to another year of progress!

Tour de Helvellyn

Pour yourself a mulled wine and hold onto your Santa hats, you’re about to embark on this year’s most festive adventure- Nav4’s Tour de Helvellyn.

39 miles, +2000m elevation, self-nav, winter conditions, ho ho ho!

Let’s just say that I ran the majority of this race in a ski jacket and was glad of it! Not to be underestimated.

Really interesting race this one. You can start from Askham from 7am, the proper CP (10 miles away at Side Fm) opened at 9.30am. We set off at around 7.45am and got there for around 9.45am. The early stretch was great, lovely dry conditions but incredibly icy underfoot meaning concentration was required.

I was concentrating so hard, I noticed that someone had dropped an *unopened* packet of shot blocs…and in the interest of preserving the environment, and myself..I picked them up and saved them for later.

We’d maintained a good pace and we were feeling good at Side Farm so didn’t stay long as the first major climb loomed ahead, Sticks Pass.

As we tramped up the road from Glenridding it became clear that this was going to be no mean feat. The snow was fairly deep and the train of brightly coloured jackets streamed up and up. It was a one step at a time job and, we emerged to total whiteout. It was like landing on the moon, except my legs were so heavy, I might as well have been 10000 leagues under the sea.

At this point, my spirits were low and I’d been working through my supplies but fancied something different. I remembered the shot blocs and shoved a couple into my gob. At this point I was transported back to my student days, dizzy with an aftertaste of tequila… am I dying?? Checked the packet- Margarita flavour. What kind of a fractured mind buys these for an ultra!! Ed loved them but not for me…maybe that’s why we found them on the ground. Maybe it serves me right for eating stuff off the floor. In any case, if you happen to be reading this and I ate your horrendous shot blocs- I will send you another pack, along with a leaflet for counselling, I certainly need it after that experience.

We picked our way through the snow, flinching from the glare, it was a long section that seemed never ending. Gradually through the low cloud, a view began to appear and we wound our way down the incredibly slippy descent towards Thirlmere.

As we negotiated the tricky path, the most beautiful view I’ve ever seen opened up across the valley. No photograph will ever do it it justice. The low-hanging cloud created a wonderful light and ethereal quality.

The next big climb came after a steady section of forest trails. The rocky, slippery climb up a gully made for challenging work but it was soon over and we were then on our way back to Side Fm.

It was a welcome break and we were greeted by a plethora of sweet and savoury goodies. A hot coffee did the job and we were soon up and running, well, walking up the last major climb of Boredale Hause and the homeward straight back to Askham.

Feeling good, we kept up a good pace, making it back to Askham just as darkness fell. Incredibly pleased to be finished in 8.38.

I’ll say it again, this is not a race to be underestimated. We were incredibly fortunate with the weather and not running too much in the dark was a bonus. It was a huge sense of achievement to finish this race feeling good.

Aside from being an incredibly well organised event by the best in the business, the marshals and volunteers were superb and the food at the finish? ….worth the entry just for the soup and cake alone. If you’re up to it, this is a race that is not to be missed.

Silver Linings

We were supposed to be racing today but we turned the car around and drove home. It was too icy to risk getting stuck and with pupster Hadrian relying on us to be back in good time, we couldn’t bear the thought of being late home. So with heavy hearts, Santa hats and glow sticks, we headed back.

It’s been a fairly busy week for me anyway, lots of varied running, plus I’d already banked an easy 4 miles this morning on the stunning, aptly named Frostrow fells:

This little guy has also had a good week:

Luckily, Ed salvaged a disappointing evening by suggesting a night run at home up to the top of Winder, so that’s what we did. Santa hats and all.

One benefit of not racing was being able to crack a beer on the summit-

It was foggy but eerily still, so we were able to sit and chat for a bit, the beer added an extra layer of course! Under a murky sky we meandered our way down for mulled wine and mince pies.

And here’s the rest of the week in pictures:

Monday-Long Quaker

Wednesday- Knott:


Hoad Hill 10k

An uphill fell race up Winder got the legs and lungs burning…excellent preparation for today’s flat road 10k!

I took it easy and enjoyed the lack of pressure. The Glaxo Hoad Hill Harriers 10K is a PB course, attracting some real talent. It was out and back, taking in the various sights of Ulverston with Hoad Hill looming over the town in the distance as the home leg neared the end.

I was happy with 7th place and even happier to feel comfortable and relaxed for 43.13, must be getting fitter!

Very well organised, super marshals, over 300 finishers and Christmas Pudding for finishers. What’s not to like!?

Now the only task left is to catch up on the week. Too much to blog about- I’m out five times a week these days.

So little a game- the week’s highlights in pictures. The question is, morning, noon or evening????