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!