Thursday, 29 December 2011

almost in with the new

never wish time away, you cant get it back, but forward planning is ok / essential (delete depending on your level of OCD).

i took this pic yesterday on our trot out. its our nearest trig, the cloud,and probably my most frequent hill run

i wonder what was going through charlie's mind (as he looked west)?

mine is like a washing machine right now trying to plan 2012, mixing up old and new events. there are two definites right now... the lakeland 50..and OMG! the next 8 weeks of 'that' training plan, which now has 3!, yes 3!, fast weekly sessions in it (that surely warrants overuse of exclamation marks). the official plan still has no long runs in it but im afraid i just cant leave it until march to start doesn't leave much time, so I'll be gradually sneaking a few in ;-)

time to pull my socks up once again methinks

Friday, 9 December 2011

the last post, being kind of non-running in content, didn't seem to enthuse the world too much so I'll cut to the chase and give you my current xmas number one..that isn't a song as such

working in advertising there are from time to time ads that come out and for whatever reason you think to yourself 'i wish i'd done that'. right now there's one playing on the airwaves that is simply one of the most moving and inspired pieces of film ever. it's simplicity is boiled down to the naked human truth that 'giving is better than receiving' and delivers this truth in the most endearing and disarming way possible. hats off to john lewis and their agency adam and eve. it's a film that i simply want to watch time and time again.
so for those of you who haven't seen it (and those who have too), this is my present to you. i hope you enjoy it as much as i do

happy xmas guys from me and the ultra running collie x

Sunday, 4 December 2011

collies christmas countdown

seeing as the running plan is simply being worked through there isn't a great deal of running news to blog about..except that a number of regular bloggers seemed to have gone awol..running bear, emma, julie to name a few..come back your words and craic are missed

so with christmas just around a snowy corner i'll be posting my top 5 christmas hits over the next few weeks for all to enjoy a bit of a sing-a-long

and at number 5..a little number that takes me back to my teens at a time when i'd broken up with my then current girlfriend..i was no fan of this group or genre of music whatsoever but the timing of its release hit me between the..
and as an added bonus there a bit of a fellrunning feel to it (well at the start anyway)

Thursday, 24 November 2011

collies round up

1. the pooch has got his full winter coat on whilst there's been sightings of hair on the head of his follower. yes folks, after 5 years shaven, the locks are flowing once more. kind of.

2. earlier this month i legged it round lathkil, my first fell race since the waltz. this time there was no river dousing but a fine slurry yard was there to be negociated

3 whoever thinks running long distances is harder than short ones run hard is maybe not right. they're both hard but for totally different reasons. i get more anxious before a 5 x 4min solo track session these days than i do lining up for a 50 miler

4 training plans look easier on the paper than they actually are

5 my current plan has meant i've had to let go of the reins and my security blanket and trust in what has been laid out in front of me. it might be working. but its certainly shaking things up and that feels good

6 its the forth week of the plan and the prescribed eating regimen of no rice, bread, pasta etc. overall ive done ok apart from one reckless night and on a few occasions i've been seen sneaking in a few potatoes, beers and crisps when nobody's looking. mums the word ;-)

7 i am now officially asthmatic. i did wonder what might be holding me back from being a front of pack runner..well now i know why ;-)

8 next up is gravy pud fell race..because northern boys love gravy

9 and probably like you we're starting to get into the xmas spirit in the UC household..ding dong

Friday, 28 October 2011

on your marcs*

after a fantastic year of running in 2010, it has to be said that 2011 has fallen well short of the mark. a six month injury didnt help the cause, but it's a sad day when i look back and see only two major highlights - the whaley waltz and the lakeland 50. but dont confuse highlights with great performances guys. highlights = enjoyment. and even the lakeland 50 wasn't 100% enjoyable.

amidst all this, something's been eating away at me..and not for the first time i have to say. and that thing is ..speed..or total lack of it. i've gotten into the habit of running in ever decreasing speeds and i've just let it happen. there's no excuses, i am where i am and, without throwing out my philosophy of running for fun, i know im capable of much better.

so, feeling like it was time to drink some truth serum and with the aim of getting my physical side knocked into better shape I thought i'd pay a visit to see marc laithwaite, the endurance coach, lakeland 50/100 organiser and alround top banana

i wasn't at all sure what the results migh be or indeed what marc might prescribe for me going forwards as in life there are: the things you know; the things you dont know; and the things you dont know you dont know. i can safely say that my visit; confirmed a thing or two i suspected; illuminated stuff i didn't know; and importantly revealed stuff i didn't even know existed! so..a visit well worth making

the biggest surprise came in the form of a 16 week plan of aerobic conditioning with lots of easy, steady, tempo and interval sessions..all designed to focus on getting me to move faster and improve my running economy. i am allowed one longish run a month but that's it for this period. and my diet needs to change (ouch).

but...i've loaded up my garmin with all the different heart rate zones for these sessions and im ready to go. i feel a new lease of running life coming on and im really quite excited by it. it feels a bit like a case of back to the no stranger to this sort of training..its just been a long time since i did any!

so for now im trading long winter slogs for shorter sharper stuff and attempting to retrain my body's fuel choice

for me this feels like a personal running revolution..and with revolutions anything can happen!

and for charlie boy, he'd best watch out..i might start giving him a run for his dogbones in times to come..or maybe that's being a tad over-optimistic

*id make a great headline writer as a journo for the sun no??

Sunday, 2 October 2011

sweating cobs

by it's warm isn't it! unseasonably so. the other day i was running along, mouth wide open obviously, and in shot a fly! next minute i got one in the eye. not a good look, coughing and spluttering with a twitchy eye. but then neither is running along mouth and eyes shut tight. try it. you'll see what i mean!

anyway the reason im going on about our little heatwave is because it wasnt that long ago our little bloggtasticsphere was full of stories of snow, ice and running in 5 layers. 6 if you include base. it were a winter blogg wonderland (you know who you are). so its only right to bang on a bit about october heat. before you know it'll be humping down once again you watch. 'it needs it it does. ground needs it' everyone'll be saying. you cant win.

make most of it i say. im still in my (short) salomon shorts. the factor 15's seen a fair bit of sunlight too. though i have to say i haven't got round to getting the patio furniture back out.

whatever weather is it catches us all out. we're never ready for it. it snows and all schools close. it rains and that campsite at top of derwentwater floods. its get all hot and there's a shortage of ice cream cones. kid you not. it were on telly other day. about how the weather has thrown everyone. shops full of winter clothes in sales. asda back out with 3 for £5 on bbq range. restaurants cooking up hot pots no-one wants. and yes, the ice cream man panicking about his cone supply (there were no mention of sprinkles or monkeys blood mind..he must have bought a job lot of those at start of season)

not sure how long it'll last all this lovely weather but you can bet your house it won't be long before it'll all be back to normal. old folk forever banging on about how dark and freezing it is all the time. price war on tins of roses n quality street escalate as we head towards xmas. january sales starting in november. and cadburys easter eggs hitting shelves on boxing day. along with blanket coverage on telly of sofa ads.

and we'll all be banging on about snow and 5 layers. 6 if you count...

Monday, 26 September 2011

so do i still like to be beside the seaside?

im a big fan of blustery beaches and rugged coastlines. i have my favourites, that provide something more uplifting beyond the ordinary. the secret sun-drenched coves of the algarve. the expansive , tranquil shoreline of inchydonney island. and the dramatic coastal cliffs that hug our very own shores, battling rock against wild seas, protecting our land as best they can from continual ocean erosion. one favourite stretch for me being the east yorkshire coast. a place frequently visited as a boy for days trip to whitby, scarborough, runswick and robin hood bays.

memories wrapped in 99's (with sprinkles and monkeys blood of course), proper fish and chips eaten out of newspaper on the pier, rockpooling, and the odd go on the rides and amusements. happy days. it never rained. did it.

so the hardmoors 60, from saltburn all the way to filey (a bit more if you fancied it, i didn't so it was hardmoors 55 for me in reality) would always be calling me on its inaugrual outing.

a 0530 coach pick to take us to the start meant a stayover in filey the night before, and a chance to catch up with simon moorehouse over a couple of pre-race local ales at fileys finest hostelry 'bonhommes'. a late finish after the event saw us do it all again, back in 'bonhommes', until the early hours of sunday morning in the company of some fellow racers and the very blunt and entertaining mark dalton, a good friend of drunken euphoria (a fellow blogger for those not acquainted with him, not a state of alcolohic intoxication)

enough of the social side, what of the event? well, there's a clue in the name. in fact two clues. it's not called 'easymoors' and it's 60 miles, take or leave 4-5 miles either side of that.

the weather was perfectly warm with a gentle breeze. the sea glistened and all felt good in this little bubble i found myself in (runner number 13). ticking off mile by mile, it all seemed too runnable and too easy for the first 20 miles or so.

then along came whitby, its throngs of tourists brining me to a walk, dodging through them all as the licked their ice creams or gorged on their take out chips n scraps..each and every one lookng at me as though i was some alien space felt quite awkward but part of me felt great to be different and not just a day tripper filling my big greedy guts on a never-ending conveyer of junk food and retail tat. sometimes, most of the time, there's a better way to live.

maybe, retrospectively, part of my positive mojo was sucked out of me by the whitby massive, as once up the 199 steps to the abbey i never really got back into the 'swagger' that i'd so enjoyed during my first 20 miles (it probably didnt look like a swagger to the outside eye but it felt like it to me!). the going got tougher, mentally and physically. my food tolerence plummetted and i soon found myself mainly relying on liquid (coke, red bull and water..but never mix your drinks kids) for energy input. and my tolerence for a never ending series of steep steps or stones down to shore level and then back up the other side was becoming to be seriously tested.

a mile or two on and i caught up with first bit of company that day really. with my rantings about never doing an ultra ever again, i bet there were times when all he wanted to do was to put a bit of a shuffle on to lose my dulcit tones. a stop for pop (sprite) and crisps (seabrooks salted of course) at robin hoods bay quickly upped my mood (as well as losing us ten minutes queuing in the shop)

we did have a laugh too though.

we laughed when we got into the ravenscar checkpoint with just 30 seconds to go before the time-out cut off point.
we laughed at how much our feet hurt and how we struggled like a couple of old crocks down sharp steep stepped descents (try saying that quickly ten times).
and we laughed when as dusk fell, headtorches donned, and getting a bit lost in scarborough (well we got a bit lost, maybe we didnt laugh so much)

by the time we eventually found the elusive scarborough checkpoint at mile 44/45, we were well 'out of time' and i couldn't wait (i was actually excited at the thought) to be taxied back to filey for an 'early bath', some lovely fish and chips, and a few glasses of wollop! and that would be that. the end to my agony of running ultras..forever! and a fine, memorable way to end it all with a DNF!

cue the sliding doors moment as the lovely checkpoint girl says 'you've done really well, are you really sure you dont want to carry on to filey?'. maybe she just wanted to get off home and not having to bother to taxi us back? but without thought i said ' so how far is it?'. 'only about 8 miles came the reply, you'll be fine'. as fast as we'd talked ourselves out of the race a tad earlier, we talked ourselves back into it and avoided the 'taxi of shame' back to filey.

so off we went back into the dark, me charged up and high on another can of red bull (it gives you wings you know..reckon there's a good advertising line in that)

i really love running in the dark, though im sure residents of the two caravan parks we had to pass through must have viewed two headtorch-cladded blokes at 10pm with a slight degree of suspicion!

to pass time we debated whether the path mileage signs signed 'filey' were actually to filey itself or filey brigg. i was hoping for filey, simon 'filey brigg' moorehouse adamant they meant filey brigg. it could have ended in tears.

anyway, fast forward an hour or so. we're back in 'bonhommes' having a few sherberts and some great craic with a few others and mark dalton (already washed, changed and fed), exchanging war stories, how much harder it was than anticipated and how some might do the even harder and much longer hardmoors 110. its called the hardmoors 110 because....

what a strange day. highs. lows. mediums. more lows. then elation at finishing. is this the eternal emotional ultra pattern? a technical DNF by missing the silly loop at the end (running out the other side of filey for a bit then back) that's to be scrapped anyway in 2012. last (a lifetime ambition) into filey of those that made it there of the 52 starters..though i think a good number didnt make it that far.
and i'd gone another full circle yet again. from loving ultras to hating ultras to (maybe just maybe) loving ultras. or maybe not.

im just glad charlie wasn't there. i think he'd have disowned me!

but whatever, there's always a new day dawning

Sunday, 18 September 2011

collie's round up (and inane ramblings)

so..we pass from summer to autumn in the blink of a day. some might say 'what summer?'. to me it doesn't matter. there are things in life you can change , and other stuff you can't, so just go with the flow in some cases. besides i really love the seasons here and the differences we experience running through them
it wasn't that long ago that i felt the year just ticking slowly by. before we know it we're heading towards Halloween at brake neck speed.
hollie and will have both returned to school, both moving up a class and the stakes grow.
karen and the 'boys' just keep improving so it's great to see their rise as they head into the autumn eventing schedule, with the great elemski coming into his own at such a young age. go guys!
as for me and the pooch?
let's start with his nibs. he must be the best part of 10 years now or thereabouts, making him hitting on late 60's in dogs years. but you wouldn't know it. he is as he was two/three/four years ago..leading by the in tow. and i'd like it to stay that way for as long as i can. so, he's no longer going to be entered into real long distance stuff but will be my guide and pacemaker for all my training runs and any stuff under 30 miles. this way i'm sure we'll stil be running together for some time yet.
and as for me? well let's just say the jury's out for 2012. i still have the hardmoors 60 next week but what the future may bring is anyone's guess..any suggestions guys???

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

and JUMP!

i've been intrigued to give ghyll scrambling a go for a long time. for those not in the know, you walk up a mountain alongside the ghyll (mountain stream / river) and then so far up you get in it and come down..sliding on your backside, jumping into the plunge pools below the waterfalls, diving in, 'superman' slides, headfirst backward slides and many more. its cold, its great, it gets the blood pumping. it even features at number 14 in the the uk's top 100 things to do before you die and its the ghyll we scrambled, stoneycroft ghyll, that's the one to the picture below (that ive copied..its not mine)

it might not look that exhilirating but get in the thick of it and you know about it. i volunteered to be the first of the group to jump off into the infamous 'washing machine'. i bottled it. hollie then went over, no trouble. i came forward a little later. i bottled it again. once all the others had madly taken the challenge on, i found myself sat all alone, the last to go, on what now felt like the 'ledge of shame'...16 or so pairs of eyes staring up at me..'will he? wont he?' or maybe 'get on with it you big girls blouse'. i stepped forward, took a deep breath and off i went..SPLASH! not so bad after all..mind over matter. anyway if you're up that way and fancy something a little different, that's your fella!

by contrast the rest of the holiday was somewhat less hair raising but by no means less breath-taking for different reasons.

staying for the first time in grasmere, i was able to explore fells otherwise as yet untrood by me. and as we were directly under stone arthur, alcock tarn and the fairfield horseshoe that's where most of our walking / running took place..

mrs uc and his nibs ponder the meaning of life at alcock 'infinty' tarn

helm crag

helm herdies

stone(d) arthur

leaving the fairfield clag behind

coming off towards ambleside

colliewobbles for ultra collie

the best thing was that it was around a relentless 3000ft climb in 3 miles up to fairfield from our cottage. a lungbuster indeed. great views all the way until near the top when the clag came down and challenged my mapless/compassless was all in my head (luckily)

all in all great times

next up, the hardmoors 60 down the cleveland way from saltburn to filey :)

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

i can laugh about it now

'how are you doing?' came the question from a marshall as i was leaving the first checkpoint at Howtown. 'i'm feeling great. and i'm a minute up on last years time!'. words i was shortly going to ponder and regret.

some short time later there i was, barely into double figures, and on the verge of quitting. not jut quitting the lakeland 50 but quitting ultrarunning altogether. in my head i was penning my ultra running obituary for this blog. i think it was going to say something along the lines of 'been there, completed that, can't be arsed anymore'.
the sun was beating down (uncannily for the lakes), the air was stagnant, my heart was racing higher than it should have been and at a rate too fast to see my through a full 50 miles. a constant drip of beads of sweat falling from the rim of my hat were an ongoing reminder of the effort i was seemingly putting in. and sat on my backside, not for the first time either, a steady stream of other weary competitors climbed on past me. but they were still moving on, i wasn't.
there were no post mortems going on in my head, no self-blaming or accusations of undertraining or not being in the right physical shape to complete the big task i'd embarked upon. none of that. i had an eerie sense of calm defeatism and resignation that my ultra running days were soon to be over. in fact were over. a 2500ft climb over a few short miles had finally got the better of me and that was that. i'd done it many times before with ease but now the only thought was if i could get back down to the Howtown checkpoint for a lift back to Coniston..'taxi for Donaghue' i would hear them say!

with nothing more to prove what was so wrong with giving up?

. everything was wrong with giving up!

i had karen, hollie, and will monitoring my progress online at home via the event's brilliant progress board. they had been giving loads of support before i left and hidden away loads of tiny little good luck messages in my pack and kit. what message would i be sending my kids (and karen)..'sorry guys, dad couldn't be arsed'
then there were the post event celebrations that were planned in coniston with simon, will, col, nick and others, most of whom were doing the jaw-dropping 100 route (respect to anyone who lines up on the staring line for that one, completing it or otherwise). what was i going to tell them? how could i even consider sitting at the same table as them with my pityful effort and tale to tell!
and finally, 'well done donaghue you've rounded off a great year of non-running and a 3 year stint of ultrarunning with your greatest achievement yet! a DNF!'

with my spirit fighting back my body's call to quit, a guy, who i now know as Dave Coxon, struggles past me. He'd started the 100, got 38 miles into it but was timed out, so he decided to quickly switch his efforts to the 50 (amazing!). now i don't recall all the conversation we had but whatever was said about just getting to the next checkpoint or actually finishing was the ultimate tipping point for me. thank you dave! you were judge and jury.

what happened thereafter might not have been pretty, it might not have been quick, but once through the next checkpoint at mardale head, i was virtually euphoric the rest of the way.

coming off gatesgarth pass i was joined by a chap called adam who i was to complete the rest of the course with and once at troutbeck we were joined by paul (aka four winds). we ticked off each mile swapping tales, smalltalk, and bigtalk, and, as we entered the wee early hours of the morning, jokes that seemed hilarious at the time (you had to be there). paul got a right taste for coffee at each checkpoint to keep him going while i downed my secret weapon of redbull to keep my attentiveness for the route-finding ahead in the dark.

time quickly passed. i was having a ball.. interspersed with a few swear words from time to time when i hit a minor and short lived low.

though 2 hours off my 2010 time, i wouldn't have swapped this whole experience for anything. a tough, demanding but inspiring course. the magnificent checkpoints and people manning them (especially the log burner at chapel stile), the roars and cheers from the pub crowds as we trailed through ambleside. the highs, the lows,and the in-betweens. the friendships made and the passing acquaintances.
and three ordinary guys who started the race probably looking quite normal who after 50 miles grinned inanely at the finish line taking on what can only be described as alien-like appearances

and as the early hours morphed into day, we all met as planned to trade our war stories..celebrations, comiserations, each and every person a true winner.. til late into the night, starting with a pint of the stuff below in honour of absent friends. and as pints were downed the talk turned to coming back next year for seconds or thirds. and the more pints downed, the more the talk was of the 100 mile challenge. before anyone could talk me into such madness i sloped off and headed off to the sanctury of my bed.

(special thanks go out to mark, terry, lauren, and all the helpers who clearly go more than an extra mile to make this by far the uk's best ultrarunning event ever)

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

manning up

it never ceases to amaze me how kind and supportive fellow runners / bloggers are when you need a bit of a lift or a boot up the proverbial. or to put it another way, as was gratefully suggested, to 'man up'. so thank you for all the lifts, boots, pearls of wisdom and phrases now embedding themselves in the daily vernacular.

so...yesterday was good. run to work at 0445. run back at 1730. 34.81 miles. 4550ft of gritstone trail. no ill effects. should have eaten more than a couple of gels both ways but glad to land back in the evening at the knot inn in my village for full fat coke and salty snacks.
the psychology of running back in the evening is always harder than the morning run..but then i guess that's where the 'manning up' really happens.

along the way hares were aplenty. a randy bull made me divert a field*. and the jump of a deer over a fenceline would have put most horses at hickstead to shame. sheer effortless elegance, unlike my shuffling. and all too quick to catch on camera bar the bull. so here's nice pic of macc forest instead. cheers guys.

* i didn't 'man up' quite enough at this particular point in the proceedings

Thursday, 7 July 2011

no time for over analysis

osmotherley? pass. next please.
sometimes when stuff doesn't work out or go as you planned and imagined, for whatever number of reasons, you've just got to regroup, dig deep and move on.
the naked truth can be ugly
i need to rediscover the beautiful truth
with the truth of being unprepared for the upcoming lakeland 50, that's all i have to say right now. either a great experience awaits or one of titanic proportions. i've three weeks to mend things

Friday, 1 July 2011

i run for fun

so why the day before osmotherley phoenix (33m) and i am sat examining in detail my splits for my previous two attempts? will i be constantly checking my watch? will i enjoy it? will it all end in tears? i'll let you all know :)

Sunday, 26 June 2011


so yesterday i left the house in one state of mind, at sorts with myself, and came back in a totally transformed state, buzzing and elated. so what happened in between?

i set off in my car, minus the pooch whose company i didn't fancy!, with the idea of maybe going to the gym, maybe going and having a run somewhere to help clear my head. lots of maybe's, none of which were filling me with any degree of excitement. it was just one of those days. we all get them, thankfully for me they're few and far between.

so i thought i'd text my mate, jonny macc, just on the off chance to see if he'd fancy a nice gentle trot out to chew the cud and help raise a little cheer. the text I got back was a little unexpected.. 'off to do the whaley waltz*. fancy it?'.

OMG i thought, i haven't done a short race for at least 2, if not 3, years (teggs nose). whatsmore, i haven't done any speed work of any substance for ages too.and i'm not what i'd describe as race fit for a short blast like this one. and to top it all i'd had a few the night before!

what if i come last i thought to myself. bugger it! the whole idea had taken me so by surprise there was nothing to it other than to say 'on my way'. it would be a blast even if i do shame myself. so throwing caution/anxiety/nerves/panic to the wind i headed round to maccas, quietly excited and part bricking it, to pick him up en route. with zilch eaten he kindly fed me toast and jam, a favourite pre race fuel, washed down with a nice mug of tea. a quick change into some kit and off we headed on the short drive to whaley bridge.

(macca and his mate matt at registration)

looking round at the other runners at the start there weren't many, what i would call,fun runners kicking about. it was a small field but most looked fairly handy. oh well. too late now i thought..let's just go and enjoy it. the hooter went and off we went along the main street heavily lined with people clapping and cheering, most there for the afternoon fete not just the race.

it's essentially a race of two halves. all uphill for the first half then down for the second. it was mostly muddy and slippy throughout and only equipped with my north face rucky chuckys (not the ideal shoe for this sort of thing) i took the downhill with a little bit of caution in a few places.

a mile in realising i wasn't going to be last i settled into the run and loved every minute of it. i made decent progress (for me anyway!) up to the 'turning point', windgather rocks for the second half descent, during which i fell back just two places (listen to me becoming all competitive and bothered about placings!).

then just before the finish came the real treat..the jump into the river, which was flowing at 4ft. another friend, phil from buxton,told me the best strategy was just to literally leap as far as you can into it..otherwise you have to swim across! whatsmore there was a huge crowd of spectators on the other side expecting entertainment and comedy from each and every leap into the river. i think they got their money's worth. my landing was akin to peter kays infamous bombing in the john smiths ad..somewhat ungraceful and making one hell of a splash. all races should finish this way!! you can see it in all black around 3.07-3.17 into the video

i was buzzing having loved every minute of the whole thing. a sliding doors moment/text that just might see me now lining up to do a few more of these. i loved the intensity of it all, pushing myself and putting a bit of a shuffle on, something i haven't tried or done for a long time. and phew i didnt finish last

so cheers jonny macc for the off the cuff inspiration! it was truly a blast and a fantastic re-immersion (literally) back into fell running. i'll be coming back for more.

the white nancy ale afterwards back in the vale in bollington wasn't bad either!

*for those not in the uk, the whaley waltz is a 5.78m/792ft fell race in the peak district.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

lakeland 50 recce

now intent on making the start line i thought it wise to give us a little refresher of the bit we'll do in the dark..from ambleside to coniston. all that was very straightforward in retrospect, without needing to refer to the map once

to get a bit more climbing in i decided on a diversion at dungdeon ghyll, along the cumbrian way. hands up though i made a schoolboy navigation error and ended up, at angle tarn, a little way off from where i was planning on heading. PAY MORE ATTENTION NEXT TIME!

all the same it made for a good long climb and descent which served its purpose.

we got the most time on our feet we've had this year and so now i feel confident about osmotherley coming up in two weeks.

now then..the big debate.
his nibs flew yesterday and has shown no after will he make the team for the lakeland 50? i'm tempted even at his mature age..he's the canine equivalent of joss naylor i think! we'll perhaps check post osmotherley, but it would be fantastic to have him by my side for it..i mean somewhere up ahead. we'll see

Sunday, 12 June 2011

john ketley was a weatherman

john ketley. michael fish.jack scott. ian mccaskill. wincy willis. bill giles. barbara edwards. bert ford. you never got the weather forecast right and yesterday you totally omitted to make any mention of the weather going from glorious breezy tanning sunshine one minute to a brutal barrage of stinning, chilling hailstones the next. with the cycle repeating itself all over again!
yes indeed readers, such are the extremes of our unique climate as most of you will know
we started our edale skyline plus (24.5 miles/4000ft) outing at 0700 to get ahead of steam before the madding crowds was a lovely much so i totally caught the sun throwing caution to the wind not using any suncream.

what i love about what we do is that each run, even in the same area is totally unique. today as we contoured round to Winhill the air was full of the fragrance of freshly logged pine from the forest above the reservoir

by the time we got to the trig at Winhill we still hadn't seen a single soul..other than the best part of a thousand hill sheep

as we made our way over to rushup edge and beyond the paths were becoming a little more populated so it was time to leave folk behind and head over the peat bogs to kinder
this is where, in a split second and out of nowhere, came the first assault of hailstones from the sky at a vicious rate too. dressed in a tee and shorts it wasn't pleasant. not only did each direct hit on me really hurt, the sheer volume of them combined with the gusty wind sent me from being beautifully warm to bloody freezing in a matter of seconds. we stopped at the trig where i donned the only protection i had..a very lightweight montane windproof jacket (see mr weatherman we weren't expecting anything like this at all) did a job to cover my arms but my poor legs had to take the battering without protection. eventually it subsided as we reached the pennine way junction at kinder.
only minutes passed and once again the sun vanished and it started all over again..this time harder and for longer. so hard i started to get a frozen head so my flimsy hood was called into action this time.

but we wouldn't want it any other way. give us predictable and well, it all becomes a bit predictable. and i guess that's why being a weatherman in britain has always probably been one of the toughest jobs going..bless everyone of them and their totally inaccurate forecasts

Saturday, 4 June 2011

groundhog holidays

so what's wrong with going to the same place year after year if you really love the place? well nothing to my mind, so it was off to portugal again with the UC clan, minus of course, the real URC. his nibs left at home gave me the chance yet again to do some er er road running. can you believe it! there's a cracking 5m lollipop, undulating route from the villa to the town (carverio) and back. that was done daily with a PB of around 3 mins faster than my slowest day. but it would not have been right to miss out this little trail route, the seven hanging valleys. its all up and down along a sheer cliff drop which gave me the fear with my lack of head for heights with sheer drops..the pics take you from the start to the finish..hope you like them!
'the start'

'extreme fishing'


'smugglers sneaky exit'

'you can have a fishy..'

'don't look down'

and so back home i have about 8 weeks to get fit for the lakeland 50. i've got a weekend in the lakes for two training days soon then osmotherley 33 early july. i wouldn't say i'm papping it but i think i've got my work cut out in such a short space of time..head down then and go for it i say..what possibly could go wrong!

ps sorry i haven't commented on anyone's posts..i have a technical glitch that needs sorting. if anyone can help please shout! i can sign into my account but when i try to comment it asks me to sign in again but doesn't recognise me! urghhh!

Sunday, 15 May 2011


thanks to all our virtual buddies who sent in healing, tips and know what, im hoping, touch wood, fingers crossed that that barrage of positive vibes sent my knee firmly on its way to recovery. its seen 38 miles over the last few days without issue during or after and importantly no trouble at the very start of a run.
i must say people can be extremely kind and thoughtful and none moreso than in our running communities where despite competition people still really do look out for one another. so guys a big thank you to you all (and a big lick and tail wag from his nibs whose hoping to be getting out more for some proper stuff!) i hope by coming out and saying that im not jinxing myself.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

temporary derailment

the trains aren't running on time in the world of ultra collie. in fact im not sure they're running at all. i remember the old british rail slogan..'we're getting there'..i don't think i am sadly. my knee has taken a retrograde step backwards and i'm now starting to no longer see the funny side..what funny side!! i dont believe physio is on top of it so next port of call will probably be a scan to rule stuff out or in.
after a most brilliant 2010, 2011 has yet to get started really and there is a fear that it might not. there's only so much optimism one can have before realism gets the better of you.
i will try to crack on a bit but i do fear that any proper long stuff might just be ruled out for the time being.
drat drat and double drat. and bugger.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

white rabbit white rabbit

so there we were, minding our own business heading over to brown knoll,when suddenly out of nowhere a mountain hare that we'd clearly disturbed goes shooting off. i've heard about these guys (and gals) and seen the sign with them on but i suspected real sightings of them weren't that often..though im sure more regular visitors on here to edale/kinder will tell me differently. anyway it was a sight to behold but he was off like a shot before i could get my camera out. luckily charlie stayed with me resisting his natural urge to give chase. a real priveledge the whole thing.

anyway, i think i've found a new fairly local playground now around edale and kinder, i abolutely love it. unlike last weeks sorti in the clag, there wasn't a cloud in the sky as we set off at 0630 to largely follow the sklyine fell race route..what a belter it is too! the only downside of the day was raldiss having to retire, feeling unwell, little over 1/2mile into the adventure..better safe than sorry.

first up was the climb up to ringing roger (i so love this shot!)

then over the moors, staying high, before dropping onto the roman road and up to winhill

a sharpish decent (ouch) then a good climb up to lose hill/wards piece

passing curious onlookers keeping an eye on his nibs

a pit stop at lose hill looking over to hollins cross and mam tor

the bleak trig of brown knoll

from there we headed over to a very different kinder to the one we'd traversed only a week ago..this one had visible paths (everywhere!) much easier navving was. maybe i'm not as bad at it as i sometimes think. we kept largely to the escarpment edge with its amazing views before ascending grindslow knoll and descending steeply back (double ouch)into edale. just over 21 miles and 4000ft or so. ideal lakeland 50 training but more importantly, an amazing morning out.

Sunday, 17 April 2011


funnily enough we've never been over kinder so yesterday was the day. a 0630 start before the madding crowds arrived and also before the CLAG lifted. visibility up top was down to around 30ft so the treck up and across the kinder scout bog required that compass thingy. the aim to hit a nw line and arrive at kinder downfall. nearly hit it but not quite. to much amusement of my fellow runner 'raldiss' i apparently was heard saying 'that's the way!...well I think it's the way....actually i've got no idea'.
we did do one very small comedy lap round a fenced off enclosed area, arriving back where we started without realising, before getting our act together and heading back south on the pennine way into more familiar, and by then, sunny territory.
a great and inspiring way to spend a morning so i think we'll be back there lots more over easter hopefully when we can see a bit!
(ps is there an obvious path after grindsbook clough all the way to kinder downfall as indicated on the os map? if so, we missed it)

Sunday, 10 April 2011


what's been happening?
firstly, my knee has just about resolved itself. its a little bit sticky but not painful. that's good :)
secondly, charlie has just had his new look for the 2011 spring/summer season and looks as fit ultra collie of course :)

so with a better knee and a new look for charlie, we set back out on our adventures starting with two 20 mile ldwa events, the 3 shires and spring into old hutton

last weekend it was the 3 shires, our most local event, about 2 miles away. we bimbled round with nick ham (thanks for the company!)over very familiar territory (so much so i never referred to the map) and saw will meridith and simon moorehouse (also on the mend) along the way. they really do put on a good event for which everyone is exceptionally grateful.

so to this weekend in its blaze of spring sunshine, glory and the lad's new streamlined look. we were entered for the ldwa spring into old hutton, near kendal, but were equally tempted to go off and do our own thing over higher fells. we went for the former and had a mixed experience i guess. the effort etc jim the organiser and his helpers put into putting an event like this on cant be faulted and again we're really appreciative of it all. like the 3 shires the food was excellent!
i guess i struggled with the route, being largely over undulating fields, farmland and lanes and hundreds of differently styled styals. fiddly i'd call it. and for me not very inspiring.

it had its moments..heading up to lambrigg wind farm and docker fell.

..and perhaps the best dressed trig point i've yet come across, up on the helm

..and ending with a good chat with my friend john king and his dog sally (she chatted with charlie) over soup and sandwiches

so where am i going with all this?
2010 was perhaps my best ever running year with two massive highlights of the c2c and the lakeland 50. so it was always going to be a tall order to match the enjoyment in 2011. injury and two events in and i must say i haven't been inspired as yet.
i guess im now on a journey to rebuild my fitness and i have to be patient for it to return. charlie's boundless energy provides great inspiration in that regard.
but more importantly, ive realised, or maybe i knew all along, that if we're to continue long distance stuff the most important aspect for me is to be inspired by the places we traverse and by and large they mostly come in the form of bloody great hills or mountains