Monday, 31 December 2012

let's hear it

lets hear it.. lets hear it for the ultra-runner, the fell runner, the never say neverer
the burning lungs, the red faces, the killer races
the whippets, mid-packers and the see you at the backers

raise your glass to the agony and the ecstasy
the mountain to behold
the tales to be told

stand proud on that hill
you made it yours
through the wind, the rain, thinking never again

we swore, we stumbled, we gritted teeth
up high, down low
but we never said no

so lets hear it..
lets hear it for the trier, the first timer
and the never say dier

we line up as one
an enduring human race
a very special place

so let's hear it
lets hear it for each and every one, and our four legged friends
where did it all go right?

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

just chillin'

what's not to like about winter? cold crisp runs followed by warm glowing fires. perfect.

Monday, 19 November 2012


27.5+ miles (and around 3500ft) around grizedale MUT forest then down to windermere and back...technically then thats an ultra though perhaps not in the true spirit of things

suffice to say we had a great day. best described as a trail of two halves. the first loop (12m) round the forest was relatively easy and quick running on forest trails. the second by contrast totally different..more technical rock strewn trails (some very slippy and muddy), muddy fields and a bit of road t'boot..and so decidedly harder (and slower)

a great event organised and run by a truly great bunch of smiley people. and to top it all the best chicken and peanut soup in the world at the end

his nibs on uncontrollable form..i think he needs an equally lengthy warm up to knock the edge of him! and he had his admirers...'that's a proper dog that is'..i think charlie could lipread the guy ;-)

take a look...

..what's there not to like!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

collies round up

so after hobbling through the first half of 2012 with multiple injuries to my left foot and ankle, the second half has seen us get back into some sort of groove, during which I / we've done a number of races, albeit shorter stuff, that we've not tried before

first up was the inaugural 12.12 trail race at the bigrunningweekend in the peaks. i can only think that ,although numbers for this and the accompanying ultra were very low, this event will grow and grow. excellent routes, organisation and a great bunch of folk

and you cant knock some of the great little fell races in our area too. for lantern pike we had excellent weather from the Hayfield showground. basically an up and down with a whole load of country fayre entertainment when you've finshed

then it was over to haworth for my first running of the yorkshireman. still building up from injury i wisely chose the half marathon and strangely found it really hard going. ok it was warm but really was i that unfit??! once finished, with a rather sluggish time, i started to feel a little queer..soon that crept into nausea and alternating hot and cold sweats. driving back was a nightmare with necessary stops every few minutes. at one point i considered heading for the nearest a & e. then once into hebden bridge i abruptly pulled over and the inevitable multiple projectile chunder happened. an hour later and i was right as rain

next up the one i'd be building up to. the very first running of the glencoe marathon. an excellent event. only 150 runners with support , organisation and checkpoints befitting of the best races around

 the route was boggy in parts, tough in places, but always with a stunning vista

being the first time out at this distance since january it was no walk in the park, but a final (downhill) two miles at 8 min/ml made sure i finished feeling confident with a big scottish grin on my face

so next up this coming sunday is the first running of the grizedale marathon, organised by mark laithwaite and co from the lakeland 50/100 event. it's sure to be as tough as the scenery is beautiful

finally on the running front we'll be completing a cracking series of races with gravy pud fell race in december. another simple 5 mile up down no-nonsense event

and to round up the round up charlie has acquired six new little friends..the spice girls..6,6 month old gimmer hoggs who we hope will start to multiply in 2014..aren't they just gorgeous :)

Saturday, 13 October 2012


just read ian charter's moving tribute to darren h. i didnt know darren but that doesnt stop you from feeling sadness or taking time to think about stuff, life.

ian wrote something at the end, which is nothing but inspired

'don't be sad that its over, be glad that it happened'

(thanks ian)

Monday, 27 August 2012

on track far it's all going to plan. injuries overcome and about 6 weeks of good training completed. this time im building up slowly and it seems to be working. im now at about 40 miles pw.
a week in the lakes was a tonic..lots of walking (with mrs uc and his nibs) and running (with his nibs). sadly my i phone passed away up on park fell head..torrential rain got the better of no pics from me..thankfully mrs uc took some

yesterday i did the inagural 12.12 trail race over burbage moor and the surrounding area. organised by the bigrunningweekend im sure the event will take off like the lakeland 50/100 eventually did. i used it as a good training run finishing strongly and feeling fresh enough the day after ie today to face another hard week of training.
another thing im doing differently this time is a lot of running specific gym work. ive never been a great fan of gyms but this time im trying to rebuild properly (a bit like the six million dollar man... 'david donaghue a man barely able to run...gentlemen we can rebuild him') and im actually enjoying it as i can see and feel the benefits, unlike before when i just fannied around on machines doing anything i fancied but doing nothing of any real benefit
in two weeks im doing the yorkshireman half thats not a half, and hoping to get to that in better shape still.
then its the inaugural glencoe marathon which im really looking forward to.
all this with an eye to my big 2013 goal
slowly slowly catch the monkey as they say

Friday, 13 July 2012

where have all the bloggers gone

does blogging have a natural life cycle..especially for something quite narrowband like running? is there only so much you can say before you start to feel like a doddery old dear, with rotten fruit in a bowl, constantly banging on about roughly the same things. this blog goes back to 2008 and for me at least it records some of the great stuff my and the ultrarunningcollie have been up to as well as the occasional random post on something non-running. but i feel less enthusiatic about blogging these days and so it appears are a lot of other fellow bloggers whose posts i really enjoyed but who also appear to have dried up..its not the same

heres a roll call of some of the blogged out bloggers (where are you?)

will meridith
loneliness of a part time runner
running bear
donning studs in may
run like a girl
julies running blog
calva or bust
andrew and jasper
desert running

then theres a few who like me seem to be just hanging in there, blogging much less frequently and with less umph than before

run forest run
4 winds
ultra stu
then stop
smiley runner

theres others too

its a shame. a moment , albeit a long one, where we shared stories. the triumphs. the disasters. the in-betweenees. the highs. the lows. the injuries. the funny side. but most of all the craic, the commaraderie and the was a pleasure, a joy and we met some of you too..i wish we'd met more. maybe we will. one day

there's a little bit more left in our blogging days..if only charlie could type you'd probably get a daily post!

Monday, 2 July 2012

the whaley waltz

the whaley waltz fell from whaley bridge up to windgather rocks, turn around and run all the way back down. then jump into the river goyt to amuse the baying  masses, hungry for entertainment. so i did my best peter kay bombing entry impersonation. its that simple. its bloody marvellous. and one of my favourite races ever
i bomb at 1 minute into the film.. marks out of ten??

Saturday, 16 June 2012

as giddy as a giddy thing

the recovery's coming on well (touchwood) so i was trying to decide where to go next this have that little goal we all like to have
casually reading the events listings in trail running whilst on the loo (is that level of detail really necessary? - ed) i spotted the inaugural glencoe marathon. ten minutes later i'm in. i can't wait. it looks awesome

im a huge fan of running in scotland. there's something a little distant and spiritual about the place. and the people i've met (ali, debs, murdo etc etc) are so welcoming
16 weeks to go from this coming monday..perfect
only no ultrarunningcollie on this one..he's taking it quite well though
will i see any faniliar faces there?

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

mixing it up

as you might know for the past few months i have struggled with my left foot, to the extent of enforced walking for 8 miles during the L50 recce at the beginning of april
i had hope that the trouble would pass and that i could crack on with the L50 training plan. no such luck. 8 weeks ago i hobbled round the edale skyline and called time at 12 miles. since then i lay off running totally for 5 weeks and was scanned in 3 places on my foot/ankle. no break (phew) , PF and degeneration at 80%, and tendon inflammation over my 5th metertarsal and all manageable (fingers crossed). and over the whole process i've learned a lot about what works for me and my body and what doesn't
anyway, there's always an up side. with the prospect of less, if any, running, i started a contingency plan consisting of swimming, cycling, spinning and gyming...basically anything active that ends in 'ing'

so far so good..i'm actually enjoying it starting to get fitter all round and, wait for it, have just re-introduced my running....15..22...25 mins...a little way off any ultra goals
anyway im going to build it back up, but slowly, and try to build a better, fitter me..a bit like the bionic man without the luxury of the six million dollars
it does mean no L50 this year and a host of other events, but im quietly excited with having to replan and rethink hoping for a few short fell races then maybe something slightly longer in sept/oct time
and charlie is relieved that im slowly back running so he doesnt have to constantly peg it when im out on my bike

Wednesday, 2 May 2012


i smile to myself. discombobulated?!  karen uses that word a lot. and i used to think it was one of her made up ones (we all have them) until i heard someone on the telly use it. a quick apology for all my mickey taking was offered up.

and so here i am and that mad word currently describes quite nicely my running state.

with just 13 weeks to go before the lakeland 50 i have arrived at a crossroads, quite unexpectedly, and ground to a halt, not quite knowing which sign to take, which route to follow.

i arrived at this same junction twice in succession, at the end of a couple of long-ish runs. normally there'd be no stopping, in fact no other choices to ponder but quite clearly something is changing for me. it might be a passing phase, it may be something a little more permanent (for the time being anyway).

one way points to 'run long* and race', another 'run long for fun'. but two new signs have been put up..'short** and race' and 'short for fun'.

this i think is my 5th year of ultras and i've truly loved the whole journey..sitting here thinking about and you wonder 'whats the bloody problem then..just get on and enjoy it some more!'..the lakeland 50's, the Highland Flings, the C2C and so many others..all great memories and times.

but..and there's always a but..or several buts
- i've got those t - shirts
- i've enjoyed running faster in training since november (and not enjoyed the walking bits of long stuff)
- shorter means more time for other stuff in life
- i also have a foot injury (that ive kept quiet about until now) that hurts at times
- i think i just feel ready for a change

 all that said though, theres a lot to leave behind if i walk away from ultras.

hence why im rooted to the spot at this crossroads, feeling a little..well..discombobulated i suppose.

*ultra distances
** non-ultra distances

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

skool report

Quietly i've been plugging away at my 'faster' schedule, mostly locally and so no big reason to blog. there's only so many blogs you could take about a lakeside tempo session.
 So with a good number of weeks of the new regime done it was back to the 'lab' yesterday to see what improvements, if any, it was having. Would I get a 'See me'?, a 'Poor work'?. It felt like the time when your parents saw your school report before you did and the look on their faces said it all :0.

 But this time things were slightly better and my anxiety that not much had changed was soon relieved. in fact i was rather chuffed to see the difference it had made with all the values (techy science stuff that marc has to explain really slowly to me) jumping significantly in the right direction. importantly for ultras it appears that i've retrained my body to use much more fat as fuel than previously.*

 So today i should receive my next 16 week 'mission' and the theme will be very much the same..lots of high intensity but this time with some slightly longer runs thrown in too. I really love this approach to training. you run a lot (as opposed to walking a lot) . its time efficient (so i have lots of time to do the other things in life). and the rebel in me loves the fact that training this way for longer stuff flies in the face of the must-do mega mileage traditional camp. doing big miles i simply got slower but doing less im getting quicker with no detriment to endurance. that's not to say this is some miracle solution to ultras as there's so many other things to factor in.

 (Charlie, you'd better watch out. well maybe that's pushing it a bit.)

 All this though is giving my wee pea brain a bit of a dilemma. do i aim to do the lakeland 100 in 2013, my ultimate ultra goal and dream, or do i change direction to shorter fell/trail races? decisions decisions. i know where my heart lies. And on that note next up is the lakeland 50 recce this sunday :) from pooley bridge to ambleside, with a few obstacles in the way!

*the small print. it wasn't all A*'s. my ongoing love for salty snacks, sausages and lakeland ales meant little movement in weight despite all that running :0. must try harder :-/

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

oh deer

talking of dogs...

Sunday, 12 February 2012

spike envy

looks like everyone's (kate ;)) going on about them so here's my humble set..they're doing a grand job keeping me upright

so grip taken care of..pity i didn't remember to sort myself out in other areas

painful schoolboy error :0

Sunday, 5 February 2012

snow patrol

saw them friday night..awesome awesome awesome

then today we did our own...

and here's the hypnotic title track from fallen empires..enjoy :)

Monday, 30 January 2012

those days when..'re just glad you can do what you do. its right on your doorstep. and you don't need much to do it.

Monday, 23 January 2012

about an' interesting experiment' and the art of persuasion

'hi marc [recce/race director] i really dont think i should do the recce given i haven't run more than nine miles in one go since september'

'are you sure? it could be an interesting experiment'

interesting? daft more like

fast forward three days and there i am sat in the dog and gun in keswick with simon moorehouse, enjoying the biggest bowl of goulash known to man, washed down with keswick ales of equal calibre, and having some top craic about running, mountains, mountain running, and running in the mountains

(simon and charlie heading over to wasdale)

so what of the 'interesting experiment'? well lets just say that the day contained every reason why we do what we do. never ending climbs. tricky descents. bogs galore. and a star filled sky shining down us to the finish. 27 miles/7000ft of sheer joy..and a reminder that for me there no better place in the world than the lakes

(looking back to wasdale as we ascend black sail pass)

post recce stiffness aside..this little outing might just have stirred me into thinking about a serious assault on the full 100 in 2013. now that would be a 'very interesting experiment' i reckon ;)

Friday, 13 January 2012

ready steady...

so here it is, our provisional line up leading to the lakeland 50 in july..hope to see lots of familiar faces along the way

jan..coniston to buttermere recce 27m with charlie
jan..inskip derby arms half (pardon me?)
feb..a day out somewhere with raldiss and charlie nine 9m (clues in the name) tbc
mar..wuthering hike 33m (derby tups fault)with charlie
mar..dalemain to ambleside recce 25m with charlie
apr..grasmere fells and tarns and gingerbread 21m with charlie
may..sandstone trail 33m with charlie
may goyts moss 7m tbc
june..wincle trout 6m tbc
june..baslow boot bash 26m tbc with charlie
june..whalley waltz (get in!!)
july..osmotherley phoenix 33m with charlie
july lakeland 50 (praise the lord!)..charlie tbc

im still on my diet of around 26 weekly miles of the 'faster stuff' and no long runs. i guess the plan for the year will be more about intensity and less about'll be interesting to see how it goes. im really quite giddy about it all

first experiment is the recce this sunday..27m/7000ft (the forecast is amazing)..and i haven't run more than 9miles in one go since september :-0

wish me luck (though i have a feeling his nibs will burn it up)

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

decisions decisions

as the 2012 plan gathers shape what should it be in march....??

a. wuthering hike aka haworth hobble 33m (the longer one and the one on which to get lost a third time in a row)
b. edale skyline 21.5m (the faster medium one with a real threat of being timed out :-0 )
c. derwent dambuster 10m (the easy option but all in the name of charideee)
d. cheeky trip to the lakes and some proper mountain running