Lord’s Seat and #committedinov8

I spent the latter half of Wednesday’s work day running about in a forest in Newcastleton. We did a couple of laps of The Hanging Tree trail. A beautiful route, eerily quiet (and supposedly haunted) historic drovers trail. Often targeted by my ancestors- the Border Reivers. 5 slow miles of pure joy.

Then it was off to Whinlatter for the Lord’s Seat fell race. Billed as an ‘introductory’ fell race, it is easy nav and ‘easy’ trails (in the sense of not technical, it’s a long old climb and a long old descent). After my sleepy forest miles, a massive sandwich (cheese, salami-the works) and the warming comfort of the car heater, I was feeling soporific and slept until the start.

The race itself wasn’t groundbreaking for me in terms of performance (when is it ever!?) but it was an exercise in managing a busy day and getting the most out of things. I felt good, enjoyed the views and overtook a few people on the descent, really enjoyed the whole thing.

I got home and had battered sausage and chips to round off the day.

My other news is that I’ve been chosen as one of the four people to be part of Trail Running Magazine and Inov-8’s #committedinov8 campaign!! 

I’m so excited and am waiting to find out more, it is linked to blogging so I will be sharing details soon- stay tuned!

Blackpool Half

I arrived back from Prague on Saturday night, boarded a train and set off to Blackpool. At the time I was rueing my bright idea of rounding off the week with a night away with Ed and half marathon in the morning. I felt exhausted by the time I met with Ed (….which happened to be in Preston as I got the wrong train- not a new thing for me, I have form with that- luckily the conductor was understanding)
My first road marathon was the Blackpool one and I really found it difficult, I remember walking long stretches into a headwind and generally making a meal out of the whole thing.

I’ve been getting a little bit faster generally so the plan was to see how much progress I’ve made in terms of speed by doing a flat half. As I ate my room service burger, I reflected on what a silly idea this was after a busy break in Prague.

The race started outside our hotel so that made things really easy in the morning, in fact we were so relaxed, we almost missed the start. As I was trying to get through the crowd to start somewhere sensible (i.e. nowhere near the front) it soon became apparent that I was going to be at the front because the race was about to start.

I resolved not to go off too fast- this is a big issue for me, I go off far too quickly and end up bonking at the 10 mile mark- it’s always been the same. In an attempt to battle the bonk, I took two gels- one for 5 miles in and the next for 10.

I was going pretty well and making sure that I wasn’t pushing too hard. I want to start using my Garmin to help me pace but I have this thing about not looking at my watch…it’s so silly but I’m scared of getting disheartened or putting myself under too much pressure. So I just went by feel.

This clearly didn’t work because I overheard a conversation between two guys discussing pace and I was running way faster than I had intended. This was confirmed when at mile 4, a marshal shouted- ‘you’re in the top 5 ladies, well done!!’ ….oops.

So fast forward, I’m at 10 miles and just boarded the bonk train…. mile 11, I start asking people around me if they had any sweets- they thought I was being funny and laughed. It was rough. 

With the end in sight I pulled it together (admittedly walking up a slight rise) and made it to the finish for a PB.

Now people who read my blog will know I’m not about the finish times, it’s more about progress. This was a flat race so if you’re after a PB, it’s a good un.

For me, I was heartened by my position- out of 332 women, I was 12th and in my category (out of 103) I was 3rd. So I’m really pleased, especially after such a busy week. There’s more progress to be made!

Running Tours Prague 

I’d never done running tour but have always fancied it. This time I had a willing friend to do it with and a new city to explore, so I decided to take the plunge.

We’d arrived in Prague the day before and we’re staying in an apartment that was pretty central. I have to include this picture of the tasting menu from Portfolio that we visited as it was simply outstanding:

I’d tried to book the tour for 9.30am as I thought we’d want a slight lie in after an evening of good food and wine but was contacted to recommend an earlier start due to how busy the city gets….so 7.30am it was (and I was so glad that I did go with their recommendation as we went out again later to see the astronomical clock chime and it was super, super busy)

I chose the 11k Compact Prague Tour. It was really easy to book and there was lots of communication about how things would work, we were met just outside our apartment by our guide.

The run was an easy pace, I was wondering what it would shape up like- was the guide going to lead us to places then stop and talk? Was it going to be too hard/easy? I needn’t have worried- the guide was mindful of pace, responded to questions and talked the whole time. He was extremely knowledgeable and funny, I learned so much more than I would have from a guide book. We did take a couple of stops at key places and we got to see some ‘hidden’ parts of the city that we’d not thought of visiting.

It was expertly timed and lasted around 1 hr 30 mins, pretty much bang on for 11k

After the tour we were sent some pictures that the guide took (I brought my GoPro as well) and a Strava map of the route.

I would definitely recommend Running Tours, I guess a lot depends on the guide but ours was brilliant and I will definitely be using them for other city breaks.

This was the map from my Garmin (it starts at the Astronomical Clock as it couldn’t pick up satellites initially)

The Perfect Murder Weapon

Where do I start with this one?

How about a selfie, as today is the last day of pink hair:

Now that’s out of the way, I’m going to rush through this post as I’m packing for my trip to Prague! Watch this space because I’ve booked a running tour of the city on Friday, first time that I’ve done anything like that so I’m excited to see how it goes.

On to the post, well we had planned to do a take on the Kentmere Horseshoe, starting at Haweswater (different from the actual route). We set off in glorious weather (…and technicolor) up Nan Bield Pass.

We were chatting away and Ed commented on how it was supposed to have been frosty last night and it didn’t materialise, it was, as I said a beautiful sunny day. We carried on, taking in the stunning views. As we headed towards Harter Fell, I spotted some icicles on a peat verge. These were mega icicles, like murder weapon icicles…impressed, I snapped one off and shouted at Ed ‘Look my perfect murder weapon!’ (You know that whole silly thing about it melting, no evidence blah blah)…

Well from here it went a bit wrong, I don’t want to come off as psycho here, I don’t make a habit of inflicting pain on Ed but I have to admit, I like to playfully poke him with stuff… so ok, I don’t know what possessed me but I poked him in the leg (not with force!!) with this icicle.. well, it was a hell of a lot sharper than I thought and it hit a vein…. it wasn’t pretty, soon ‘my perfect murder weapon’ was looking a little too perfect.

The bleeding stopped, I’m Outdoor First Aid qualified people, don’t worry. It was just the size of a pinprick, Ed laughed it off….I felt absolutely terrible and vowed never to poke him with anything again. Don’t judge me.

We dropped down into Kentmere…me, rather sheepishly I must say. We decided to cut the route short (Not because of the icicle incident, we were just hungry and tired) and looped back up to Nan Bield Pass and home….only slightly traumatised.

Sorry Ed!!

A big weekend

I’ve got catching up to do. 

Friday was a 12 mile jaunt starting and finishing at Askham. We crossed the fell down to Aughterstone Wood and looped back towards Waterside House Farm (where we warmed up with a coffee and a sausage sarnie….excellent fuelling strategy as always) we passed through Pooley Bridge, Barton and Celleron before making our way back to Askham Fell.

Sunday was our traditional Easter 10K. Along the river on the Cumbria Way to Serbergham and back. It’s the best preparation for the big Sunday dinner and we got back ready for some serious scrannage. The run itself was just bliss, wild garlic and flowers, we talked about going back to Nepal next year.

Today we went to the quarry for a little jog- big plans tomorrow- a day out in the fells!

I drew this alongside the tagline ‘When Spring training starts to pay off’:

Erm, well I’m still waiting for the ‘pay off’ anyway…

Three Village 10 

A late write up.

Last Sunday was the Three Village 10. A new 10 mile race taking in the villages of Wetheral, Scotby and Cumwhinton…twice! It was a 5 mile, two lap course along quiet country roads.

After the Grisedale Grind, I thought I’d got away without too much stiffness…how wrong I was. The dreaded DOMS set in on Friday and I was waddling to to start line on the Sunday.  I just accepted it and thought of it more like a training run.

The weather was gorgeous, beautiful sunny day.

My legs felt like lead the whole time and from about 7 miles in, my countdown had begun and I was looking forward to finishing. I had The Pixies ‘Monkey’s Gone to Heaven’ in my head from about mile 5. 

As a race, it was really well organised. Plenty helpful marshals, lots of water stations and I think the cutest medal ever:

Grisedale Grind

Next level stuff today…did you know that there are mid week races? Up mountains? After work? 

Over 100 everyday heroes turned up to run up (and down) Grisedale Pike on hump day at 7pm. I was one of them.

I’d been warned about this one, it’s just up and down, I knew it was going to be a tough one. Can you tell by my face?:

Let’s face it, I struggled. But once I came to terms with the fact that it was painful and exhausting and accepted that…I really enjoyed it.

By 10 minutes in, all you are is an oscillating mass of bone and flesh and snot and sweat trying to articulate your disgusting mass in some sort of forward direction…. I speak for myself obviously but eventually this disgusting mass made it to the summit and then bounded back down feeling a little more human!