Sunday, 25 July 2010

stick or twist?

right guys..prior to doing the lakeland 50 yesterday (though finishing today) i started banging on about doing the fully monty ie the utld100 next year. having just done the 50 im now not so sure. put it this way..if , as i entered the finish area somebody said 'right off you it all again' would i have been willing? no. able? no. so why should i think that with another 12 months training things could change so dramatically? and i'd be running it only partly with my sidekick which wont be the same. the jury's out. watch this space.

so to this years 50.

firstly, to folk i know..great to see britnick, claire, danny (from a distance), will, kate (hope the ankle is on the mend), and my good mate part time runner (purveyor of fine tentside teas and ale). and to all the new friends we met alomg the way. and to'll be back i know it.

secondly, to the organisers marc, terry and all the plethora of support crew..thanks a million. what a top event. really. it must require a masters in logistics. that said, i think the initial four mile loop could be better spent on the fells round high raise/street area than round the estate..for what its worth.

thirdly, to all the randomly located supporters and all the people of support and a great reception for which we're mega grateful

fourthly, i had a decent outing..finishing in the top half..would you believe it! but more importantly had a good back end over the last 17 or so miles largely in the dark from ambleside to consiston..leading a pack of runners that didnt know the route..i have my uses i guess

and finally, but most the first dog* home...what an absolute superstar, inspiration and utter joy to run with. terry, the race director, gave the lad his moment of glory announcing his finish (and win) to all! as always, he made friends with lots of folk during the run..a true 4-legged legend if ever there was one

*(what he ate along the way..1.5 cornish pasties, 10 sticks of flapjack, 2 slices buttered soreen, 2.5 bowls beef stew, a dog treat from kate and gerraint, and x litres of water fresh from the fells)

Sunday, 18 July 2010

running high interrupted

yesterday we had a great run, our first outing of any real distance since the coast to coast. i was on a high, a bloody massive high. but today is a different story.

ahead of next weeks lakeland 50 i thought it would be good to recce the last 17 miles, some of which im guessing we'll be running in the dark on the day.

having been in a bit of a post c2c 'what next? if anything' dip, it was great to feel the thrill and excitement of being out there amongst it all again. just me, the pooch and a little adventure to be immersed in once again.
i was a little worried beforehand that it might feel like a chore. it turned out to be totally the opposite.

it lashed it down, i got drenched. the trails were flooded, my feet soaked very early on but it was brilliant! i took a very quick and very unexpected tumble onto my backside and laughed..i think charlie laughed too.

the whole place, shrouded in low menacing dark cloud and moody vistas of falling rain, provided an atmosphere so unique to the lake district

i feel i've finally got the real adventure bug..i finally feel i have the fitness and the confidence to go out there and have a proper blast. it feels so liberating and energising.

once in coniston, having started in ambleside, we bussed back and eat raldiss's infamous lamb and mint pies to refuel. the bus driver deserves an he managed to get that huge beast round the tight lanes whilst negociating with less than cooperative tourist cars is beyond me

i bought charlie a little thank you present too..though i reckon the ham sandwich he had once back in ambleside was more welcome!
homewardbound we popped by for a cup of tea at hayfella's and mrs hayfella. it was lovely to see them in their new lovely abode..hopefully he'll be back in his innov8's in the not too distant future

and so to today.
at 1am last night we were knocked up with banging at the door. it was our neighbours, yelling frantically. one of our barns was ablaze. fortunately they heard / seen it in time before it spread to the other barn with the horses in.
the fire engines pitched up and battled with the inferno for a couple of hours. no lives lost thank god, but my 46 year old tractor and loyal servant, little blue, perished along with 150 bales of hay and 12 large bales of haylage. karen's horse trailer was rescued having partially melted in places. the firemen were superb. but thanks goes out to our neighbours, the shribmans, who in effect saved the lives of our two lovely irish boys. its a sorry sight down there today. the clearup will probably start tomorrow. but to borrow a cliche..we count our lucky stars

Sunday, 4 July 2010

day 7 - this is it

day 7 - glaisdale to robin hoods bay, 20 miles 1600ft

after the previous nights shennanigans, the final day was upon us accompanied with great anticipation and rising spirits. the 20 miles would come and go with the great dark and menancing north sea getting ever closer

no trains to robin hoods bay

the route was no less dramatic, no less beautiful than any of the previous six days but im not sure we paid as much attention to it. we were waiting to see the sea and moreso, the cobbled tight streets of the stuning robin hoods bay.

midge hall

richard ditches the salad cream sandwich for..

very relaxed we ran some and we walked some. some of us still hoping for lots of stick throwing capers

nearly there

there it is!

having been brought up further up the coast from here, i felt quietly emotional for the north sea to be our final destination point, like coming home in a strange kind of way

the 3 mile cliff top route from moor wyke hole seemed to go on and on, but each turn brought yet another stunning and different view of the coastline and the huge vertigo-inducing cliffs

then round from ness point there it was..our finish line!

striding down through the steep, narrow street that leads to the beach there was no welcoming reception, no cheers or handclaps. we were just two guys and a dog quietly ,and with our own probably very different thoughts, about to complete an adventure of a lifetime

we ran past the bay hotel and the finish plaque and went for a last minute sprint finish to the shoreline...though i guess it looked nothing like a sprint to any other eyes

some woops of delight, some high fives, we'd done it! 194 miles done and dusted!

id love to know what went through charlie's mind though i'm pretty sure he was too preoccupied messing around in the sea to really notice or care

after lots of photos, texts and calls loved ones and friends, celebratory beers were in order and the signing of 'the book' in the bay

once the euphoria had died down a little, and the realisation that all that fun and the huge challenge was over, an eerie silence began to descend upon me. its funny now to think that such an immense high can without notice start to dip so incredibly
quickly. there was a real 'what now?' in the air.

there was nothing blase about it. richard had achieved what was previously in his mind the unachievable..a completely loony idea i had suggested just six months previously that he never thought possible.
i always felt, or should i say made myself believe it was doable. but i was just so bloody relieved that i got us across and that my navving duties were finally over!..for now anyway.

our final watering hole

and charlie? i think he had the week of his life too. always leading the line, always wagging his tail full of fun, abounding energy and spirit..he was a great inspiration to us both. without him, i wouldn't have ever thought of tackling this.
and along the way, i gradually learned to become more patient with him. our bond has strengthened and im really grateful that this trip could have such an unexpected positive effect

sweet dreaming

this was our adventure. our adventure of a lifetime. 7 days of pure exhilorating fun where time seemed to stand still. a moment away from the maddening world. a time never to be repeated, never to be compared with. it was what it was. and it was bloody bloody brilliant!

Friday, 2 July 2010

day 6 - we can see the sea

day 6 - osmotherley to glaisdale, 28 miles 4000ft

another long day ahead of us with a lot of ups and downs and a fair bit that would be runnable. navigation would be straightforward too, especially having covered the first 12 miles or so running the osmotherley phoenix ultra previously.

an earlier breakfast meant we were away in better time today, 0900.

i love the cleveland way. it presents its challenges but then rewards you, once up high, with spectacular views and a lot of runnable sections.

carlton bank trig

having made an earlier start, we took our first pit stop at the cafe below carlton bank. a bit of an odd place with all sorts of birds imported in and making one hell of a racket. but the break was welcome all the same

another climb, up to cringle moor, and we got our first spotting of the north sea. still a long way away it lifted spirits even higher..i could start to feel the 'homecoming'

the sea! (from cringle moor)

it was another hot day and we made the best progress we could. as with previous days, time seemed to fly chatting about everything under the sun.

our pacing was pretty smooth and everything felt good. then with about 3-4miles before the lion at blakely, i felt pretty tired for the first time on the trip. we were only some 16-17 miles into todays run so it was a bit puzzling as to why now.

then it kinda dawned on us. whilst the previous nights pot noodle was pretty awesome (at the time) it was hardly enough to replenish what we'd used up over the 35 miles. maybe six of them would have done the trick but not one on its own, charged with refuelling depleted bodies. lets call it a rudimentary nutritional oversight cock up.
we have around a 2hr window of opportunity to replenish lost energy and protein after high and extended periods of exertion, so in effect we were simply running on very low tanks.


that's better

arriving at the lion at blakely there was no hesitation in our order..lashings of ice cold coke (again!) and a huge bowl of salty chips..just the job!
we lazed around for an hour or so, chatting to some more coast to coasters.

at around 1500 we bid our farewells and with some 10 miles to go headed off on our final bit of the day towards glaisdale.

on route, quite soon after leaving the lion, came the groundhog moment supplied everyday by richard. sometime between 2-3pm without fail he would pipe up...'where is everyone?!'. quite who he was expecting to see i'm still not sure. on day one i'd offered up what i thought was the answer, and on day two, three, four...
i can see why he asked it once..but everyday! maybe it was his afternoon joke.
for the first 1-3 hours of each day we'd meet and pass quite a few fellow coast to coasters. come the afternoon..none, zilch..just the three of us on our solitary way. the answer was simple..covering twice, sometimes three times the distance than the walkers each day meant come the early afternoon most of them had finished, like the girls at the lion, whereas we still had a bit to do. i quite liked the idea of our extended daily crusades.

heading towards glaisdale

we got going for a bit after the lion, probably desperate to reach our destination, the arncliffe arms, as quickly as possible. and bouyed by coke and salty chips we were making time quite nicely round rosedale and across the very empty (of people) glaisdale moor.

but with just 4 miles or so to go, we hit a long and arduous stoney track and our progress slowed dramatically. silenced ensued, barring the occasional tourettes-like outpouring, as we both felt the aches and pains with every uneven footfall,a culmination of 170 miles of daily battering. i popped some more ibuprofen. this section was just dragging on and on. the 'just ten miles to go' ended up taking the best part of 3 hours!

nearing the bottom of the track richard came up with what seemed a cracking idea..getting a couple of beers in straight away upon our arrival at the idea that seemed to perk me up a bit!
pulling out of the low, i started singing as we jogged through glaisdale. one of amy macdonalds numbers, 'run' (she didnt record one called 'jog', otherwise i'd have sung that instead). i thought i was on key too!
then a text came in. i guessed it would be from will with another world cup update.
wrong! it was from richard, 25 metres behind simply said..'shut the f#@k up!'

upon arrival at the rather bedraggled looking arncliffe arms, we sat outside with our beers. the intention to have one, shower, then down for supper and a few more. it was a belting night and the beer was having a good effect, so we continued with a couple more, chatting again to other c2c'ers (who'd finished hours ago ;-) ), before cleaning ourselves up.

being creatures of habit we sat on the same outside bench for supper and what a belter it was (the supper not the bench). the food , proper gastropub stuff , totally defied the look of the place. my third consecutive plate of fish and chips and by far the best. dont judge a book by its cover as the saying goes. we washed it down with a couple more sherberts then time for bed (my bedroom a rather spacious affair, richards the size of a shoebox at best)

what happened thereafter that night/next early morning will remain a mystery to you. the reason why i was standing with charlie in the pub car park, locked out of my room, at 3am in the morning, lobbing stones at richards window to let us in, will as they say ' stay on tour'.