Category: Training


Nav? I’ll just follow the person in front…

… that was my strategy for the MdS, and it worked. I didnt die, or even get mildly lost, despite my ‘drip under the tree’ incident. However, I had a thought that the Spine Challenger would be a different story, particularly as there’s no mention of support from helicopters, or gimassive green lasers to guide the way, or indeed another 1000 runners on the course to follow.

Nav refresher it is then…

Thankfully we’ve recently got to know Charlie Sproson from Mountain Run really well (he’s also doing the full Spine coincidentally), and he agreed to help us out with the skills we’d need to prevent deathbybadnav in Yorkshire come January

So that’s how we ended up at Mountain Run’s nerve centre in Watermillock, drinking brews and eating over-priced chocolate hob-nobs (they saw Glyn coming, again). We had a great couple of hours chatting about kitting choices, and nutrition and hydration, getting some good tips in the process, and also reinforcing some of the decision we’d made. Glyn’s face made me chuckle a number of times as he went from glee to ‘oh crap i’m going to die’.

We then got our kit together, and piled into Chadderseses van for the trip to Dufton near Appleby in Cumbria, and the Pennine Way. Took us a bit longer to get there than expected, but I’ll not go into that, and we were out of the van and sorting ourselves out. It was like a Montane catalogue shoot with all the kit that we’ve got, and Charlie is another who’s getting support from them – not sure any of us will ever get a modelling contract though. Then we were off up the road chuntering away to each other.  We rounded a corner and Charlie kicked in to gear – right where are we, how long do we expect to be on this path for, when will we be turning a corner.  Glyn and Chads confidently answered the questions, I disagreed with them. Show me where you are Wayne…. Ah, that’s the problem, I’m going down the wrong path, starting in the wrong place.  I was off to a bad start as I’d got lost within half a mile of the van!

We got some experience in recognising our surroundings as we made our way slowly uphill, checking out where we were in the daylight to a pretty accurate degree.  And then hit the snowline!  And boy, was there a lot of it, which surprised me. This was pretty exciting, it was soon going to be dark, and finding landmarks was becoming more difficult in the snow, and then we looked around and saw the clouds moving in too. AWESOME!!

We hit a cairn on Green Fell and the wind hit us.  Flipping heck it was cold!  We were fairly well kitted out between us, and had been gradually pulling on buffs, gloves and hats on as we ascended the fellside, but the wind went through me.  The other guys started putting waterproof trousers on to get some wind protection to their legs, but I thought I’d be ok as I had Skins and walking trousers on – Lesson Number 1!!

Charlie asked me to verify where we were by finding a sheep fold that should have been around 50 metres or so away.  I put my head torch on and trotted over.  Nope, no sheep pen. Some massive boulders, but they’re too big.  Charlie used this as an excercise for us.  Use the compass, measure the distance, pace it out.  Nope, no sheep pen still.  Phew, it’s not just me then (I’ll be back when the snow’s gone to find that bloody sheep pen).

Darkness was now well and truly upon us, and we were into the bubbles of light on our headtorches and not much else.  Talking through buffs muffling our voices.  My finger tips were getting proper cold despite my gloves, so Charlie had us doing actions to get circulation going. Brilliant, they were warm again and Lesson 2.  Now it was my toes, and snow was up inside my trousers and down into my goretex boots – wet cold feet – need gaiters – Lesson 3!  These lessons were coming thick and fast now.

Back to the cairn.  Measure the distance to the next cairn. Take a bearing – bloody hell I got it right!  Then it’s ‘two hundred metres, two hundred paces, off we go…. how’s everyone feeling’ says Charlie, ‘Bricking myself’said I.  Good was the response, and off we went, off the edge of the earth (or so it felt).  Two hundred and two paces later, and a cairn emerged from the darkness and I was bloody delighted.  I couldnt get over the fact that I’d managed not to lose myself on the fell, although the other three had taken the same bearing and were walking alongside me counting too.  At the cairn, we did the same again, with a longer count, but did the same again! Awesome!  I was feeling comfortable and confident now as we took another bearing from cairn to cairn.  On the downside, I could feel the cold leaching warmth from my legs and arms now, and I was getting really cold.  I had a spare down jacket in my pack, which I was contemplating putting on, but then we made it to the final cairn and then agreed to get off the fell down a road and back home.  We took a bearing to the road end, where it met the path, and off we trogged through the snow.

We had a great wander back to Dufton by the road, which had some incredibly drifting snow across, which seems a bit surreal now.  Chadders and I were chuntering away for most of the trip, with Glyn and Charlie chatting away further back as we wandered through Knock, then Dufton back to the van and the rest of the chocolate hob nobs

As always, we had a great day on the fells, and it was good to introduce Charlie to some of our ‘banter’, which was at least 50% down due to the absence of Andy.  All in all the day was fantastic, and I feel much happier about being in the darkness somewhere on the Pennine Way come Yorkshire.  However, I’ll feel less confident in Chadwick, after the needle on his compass decided to reverse direction with North facing South, but that’s another story.

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Doing big and scary…..

This week i spent 2.5 packed hours with Andy Mouncey discussing feet, fuel, hills and general ‘am I doing the right stuff?’

The session was filled with questions – and half of which a was hands-on practical skills session on the hill that with practice will be close to transformational.

Hugely enjoyable and I’m already thinking and doing some things differently: In ultras the small stuff really makes a big difference.

For further information and full details on Andys coaching and training services and check out http://bigandscaryrunning.com/

Its a bit of an odd one this week.

We’ve got a man down with a damaged ankle and three of us did arguably the biggest weekend of our training so far this year. So how is it the guy not training is the only one not to gain weight this week???

Well it may seem odd but actually it makes perfect sense. Wayne, Chris and I trashed ourselves this weekend with over 28 miles from Pooley Bridge to Ambleside on Saturday and Chris and I did another 15 miles from Ambleside to Consiton on Sunday.

The ascent was over 3,000m, nearly 10,000ft, which means lots of descending too meaning smashed quads as well as other muscles.

Up, down, over she goes!

Up, down, over she goes!

With all that activity comes DOMS, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, and your body/muscles swells with excess fluid and blood from those muscles being worked and in some cases damaged.

Our muscles use glycogen (a water/glucose concoction in our muscles) for energy and when we work hard we deplete the glucose leaving behind just the water, which is very heavy.  Some of this water is reused in the body and some is removed via sweat or urine.

So the body needs more energy, produces more glycogen and even more water making us heavier! We also take on lots of water for hydration, likely before, certainly during and more so after the event.

Water, whilst good for you, is also very heavy. 1ltr = 1kg!!!

Now I’m sure I’ve not got this info 100% correct but it gives the general idea of why you’re generally heavier after exercise. Oh and that’s not mention all the goodies on offer at the Lakeland 50 recce checkpoints such as flap jack, jaffa cakes and Swiss bloody roll!!!!

So with all that in mind here’s how this weeks weigh in is looking:

Wahey in, June 25th

Wahey in, June 25th

Chadders still leads the way and by doing nothing Glyns closed the gap on us all!!

Stay tuned peeps, still a chance to catch him.

 

Well the team have been luck enough to be invited to take part in the inaugural Grand Tour of Skiddaw that takes place on the August Bank Holiday weekend covering 44 miles and has over 7,000ft of ascent.

Skiddaw logo

With the event being only 4 weeks after the Lakeland 50 it’ll certainly be a challenge to keep the training up in between the two and great practice for The Spine Challenger in 2014.

Take a look here for further details on The Grand Tour of Skiddaw and to enter follow the links.

I’m sure this event will go on to become one of the iconic tours in the Lake District and its be great to take part on the 1st running and visit seldom visited parts of the region.

Thanks to Pure Outdoors Events

 

 

How’s it gonna go in the Howgills????

1st proper long run out in the Howgills tomorrow since my disaster in the dales!!

Looking at the map route and profile pic it’s gonna be a great test.

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Stay tuned to see how Chris and I get on.

OK, it was to be a simple recce this one. Of course we’d be tracking the Pennine Way out of Gargrave where the route quickly picks up and follows the River Aire to its head. Its then onto up and over Malham Cove, around the Eastern shores of Malham Tarn, around Fountains Fell, up onto the summit of Pen-y-Ghent before finally descending into Horton in Ribblesdale.

This time were attempting the 19 mile leg, packs fully laden with the required kit such as a tent, sleeping bag, clothing suitable for the inevitably challenging elements come January, food, 1st aid kits etc etc.

We set of at a reasonable pace, of course come the Challenge we’d have already covered some 70-75 miles or so at this stage so it’s unlikely we’d be moving at not much more that 3-4 mph.

Navigation was pretty straight forward taking us out of the town and onto open fields with indistinguishable paths so it’s worth paying attention on these bits. If were here in the dark or if the weathers closed in then we may need to rely on some hand railing the walls/fences that bordered the fields.

Once down to the river we followed this pretty much all the way to Malham Cove crisscrossing it a couple of times but it was pretty straightforward. Upon reaching the cove we climbed the 400 irregular stone steps that was our route and once we’d ascended these it dropped us on the limestone pavement.

These steps are unlikely to be welcomed on the event proper and will bring back memories of the ‘Tilberthwaite steps’ just after the final checkpoint on the Ultra Tour of the Lake District, although on the Spine Challenge we’ll still have a few over 20 miles to go at this point.

We should have been awarded with amazing views back down the valley at this point but sadly not today! The weather was atrocious and further down the valley a couple of the guys had put on their waterproof trousers.

I donned mine at the top of the cove just out of the wind; much to Wayne annoyance as he’d blasted straight to the top and was now waiting in the wind! I didn’t have my waterproof socks on this section but I was trying my Inov8 268 GTX boots. The last thing I wanted was a repeat of the previous issues id had on the last recce and I knew that now we were on top of the cove the route was to become more and more exposed the further we went.

We headed toward Malham Tarn and right enough the wind was blowing and the rain was coming down hard.

We followed the map closely, there were a few paths crisscrossing our route, and made our way to the Tarn. Just before we arrived we came across a sign post suggesting we’d come the wrong way!

After studying the map since I can see we should have headed right and over the Limestone pavement following Ings Scar toward the tarn, instead we veered of to the left and followed Raven Scar which does bring you out at the same place but isn’t the correct route. Need to make a mental note to be sure we follow this proper!!

It was at this point huddled behind a wall that I put another full waterproof Goretex jacket on so I in total I now had waterproof boots, full length leggings, shorts, waterproof trousers, 2 x base layers, waterproof smock, a jacket and a cap. It was at this point I put my waterproof gloves on too! 

So of we went around the tranquil waters of Malham Tarn, er no sadly not! For all we knew we could have been on the shores of the growling Atlantic Ocean on the North West coast of Scotland as the waves were rolling in and we were virtually unable to see the opposite shore less than 700m across from us!

At around only 7 miles in my day started to take a turn.

The guys were trotting on quite well and quite frankly I was hanging, I then started to drop off the back a little. We passed around the back of Malham Tarn Field Centre along the track through the woods that gave us some respite from the weather but then it was back onto open land headed to Fountains Fell.

We pushed on and crossed the road that takes you down to Arncliffe and some more clothing was required from some of the boys. Sam, our honorary Spiner, had long since got his waterproof cover out for his pack but was now layering up with gloves etc. Soaked gloves were exchanged and additional jackets were added by the other boys.

The wind was now fierce and often gusting and causing us problems to stay upright. I was keeping very quiet by my standards and was wrapped up in my gear and thoughts of wanting this to end.

My feet were dry, legs were a touch cold but only because wed stopped temporarily, body was warm because of the layering I’ve finally worked out and my head was nice and warm wrapped up in a couple of hoods! However the issue was my hands, my waterproof gloves had appeared get wet as they were totally saturated, water had penetrated the membrane inside & my hands were already starting to get very cold.

We cracked on and started the ascent with the wind and rain at our side coming across from the West it was awful and the slog seemed never ending. Soon I was lagging and I could see the boys drifting in and out of the clag that had now come down. I knew that some point we would top out but I also knew that we would then be turning directly into the path of the weather, this I wasn’t looking forward to. I’d been guilty of just following the guys at this point, trusting their nav which was pretty flawless. I’d hope that as we traversed the fell we might get some cover from the weather but there was nothing and it was to be unrelenting.

Fair play to Wayne, he dropped back and walked with me encouraging me to look up,” life’s better when you’re looking at it” he said he was right but it wasn’t pretty! He could see I was really struggling and suggested to use my poles. I said I didn’t need them but he kept on and got them out for me. They helped for sure but in all honesty I was losing a lot of energy and taking my pack off seemed too much effort v’s reward to get the poles.

Once at the top we turned and headed straight into the wind and rain and it was terrible. We started descending above the valley called ‘In Sleets’ (very apt) and made our way to the Stainforth road where we would continue along for about a mile before picking the track up and onto Pen-y-Ghent.

I’d already voiced gentle concerns to Wayne and my capability of making Pen-y-Ghent and also the suitability given the wind. My ascent down to the road was slow and clumsy and as such was making my thoughts even stronger as to tackling the last and biggest climb of the day!

Glyn had a few comedy falls in front of us, I hadn’t witnessed them as they’d got a trot on. Sam and I were a fair distance behind but caught up when we joined the road.

Sam had got to the guys before me and suggested we didn’t do the last climb; I’d caught up a few seconds later and categorically confirmed that I would not be attempting it finding a shorter safer route down to Horton. They knew something wasn’t right as id not even commented on the fact Glyn was covered in mud.

We pushed on along the road, still into the weather, by now my fingers tips were frozen, my back was hurting from the pack weight I wasn’t used to and I just wanted to be lower down that the 400m we were at and out of the weather and I didn’t care how.

I saw a camper van coming towards us and it looked like Sarah’s Mum and Dad, I just wanted it to be them so they could stop, let me in, make me a brew and take me home safe and sound. It so looked like them, same van and everything but sadly they drove on. Madness had set in! A range rover came screaming towards us driving far too fast. I swing my poles at the car gesturing to slow down! He waved back, well I think it was a wave, but it might possibly have been some other gesture at this idiot who’d been franticly waving poles in the air and shouting!!!

We came to the point where I was now becoming stupid(er). We met the path that took us off the road for about 3 miles or so which descended into Horton. I was dead against leaving the road professing it’ll be reet, I can walk down here, likely I’ll get a lift of someone and make my way to meet you guys thinking id be sat waiting for them when they arrived.

It was pointed out that the road didn’t actually go to Horton but Malham, I said I didn’t care and just wanted to stay on the road and make my way that way! The boys made a good case and talked me round. Sam offering to carry my pack for me but I stupidly refused, Wayne suggested we stop for 5 minutes at the farm house and get warm, change gloves etc, again I refused. Truth be told all I wanted to happen was to be able to curl up all foetal in a ditch, keep warm and wait for the wind and rain to stop. It had to at some point, right?

This didn’t happen but by now I was slow, very slow and it was a good track. We made out last turn and finally we descended below the weather and could see Horton.

I could see the boys in the distance, maybe half a mile or so, and once again Wayne had hung back to escort me in! Glyn bless him had gone for the car as it was a mile or so into the village and was going to pick me up and save me the last stretch! Turns out we’d missed him and when he finally came into the café and there we were all safe and sound.

Id popped some warm gloves on out of my pack and my insulated jacket but I was shaking uncontrollably like the proverbial crapping dog. Id downed a bottle of coke, had a large slice of fudge cake, a pint of tea full of sugar, a bowl of soup and some bread. Finally the shaking slowed and then stopped; I started to feel normal again!

We finished up, made our way back to Gargrave courtesy of Glyn who dropped us there for the and Chadders then dropped me home safe and sound in Harrogate on his way back to Hull.

It was here the real fun started, nausea, uncontrollable shaking started again, sweats, headaches and it was all I could do to lie down.

My temperature was up slightly at 38.5 but nothing too serious. I slept a bit, woke, slept, woke and this went on all night seeing most hours!

I rose in the morning and got ready for work feeling the worst I’ve felt in a long time and made an appointment to see the Drs that afternoon.

I made sure I drank a lot of liquid throughout the day laced with electrolytes to make sure I wasn’t suffering from dehydration although id eaten and drank steadily throughout the recce, well much better than I usually do for sure.

My blood pressure was a little low, she’d expected that, resting heart rate was healthily in the mid 50’s (Athlete status for my age) and in pretty good shape all-round although I was showing signs of a virus which I think had fully shown itself at about midday mid recce and simply sapped me of everything!

That coupled with 19 miles, a full pack, horrendous weather and some tough climbs to boot it was hardly surprising I ‘performed’ the way I did!

So I’m slowly recovering and getting back to normal, if you call registering the ballot for the London Marathon in 2014 and entering the Ultimate Trail 100km Ultra in September!

Stay tuned and be sure to follow as I think were gonna have some interesting tales to tell as our training progresses….

Training – it’s all about the lessons Part 2!

Wow. It’s probably fair to say that we’ve had an adventure on today’s Spine recce.  I wrote a while ago about how training isn’t just about getting mileage in the legs, or time on feet, and I think that lesson stands for today’s experience.  I’ll start with last night’s packing for today’s excursion….

The ultramadness team had decided we’d all carry ‘race weight’ in our packs for the jaunt today, which meant carrying a load of the mandatory kit.  It was only when we started weighing the packs that we realised what this actually meant.  When I got to 6.5 kg and realised I had still to put water in (which would be around another 1.5kgs), I decided to take the tent out.  Weather conditions in the South Lakes yesterday (Saturday 27th April) were pretty warm on the whole which very nearly prompted me not to pack some of the essential kit i had planned on.  In the end I put the following in my Aarn 30 litre (and 3 Litres in chest pouches):

Pogu ice spikes – crucial after our last outing and some of the pics from facebook

Montane Alpine stretch jacket

First Aid kit with loads of goodies

Dry sack with Montane fleece, Montane Ice Grip gloves

Dry sack with food – pork pies, babybel, peperami, salt & vinegar crisps

Leki walking poles

Montane Punk balaclava (first outing as it only arrived on Friday)

Montane Atomic DT waterproof trousers – in front pouch for easy access

Clif bars, Peperami, Shot Bloks in front pouch for ‘grazing’

MdS buff

Windstopper head wear

Seal Skins Merino wool gloves and windproof overgloves

Sol emergency shelter

Mountain Equipment Xero sleeping bag

Two raidlight 750ml water bottles secured in front pouches

I very nearly didn’t include all of the clothing, but after our last outing on the Pennine Way, I thought it safer to carry it and not need it.

This morning was stunning just south of Kendal in the South of Cumbria.  I was up at half 6 doing final prep before Glyn arrived to pick me up at 7:10am.  I couldn’t decide whether to put on the new INov8 Roclite Gortex boots that the Endurance Store had sorted for us, or the trusty Inov8 295’s, so i took both with me.  Legwear consisted of Injinji liner socks, Skins, Montane Terra shorts, with a Helly base layer, Adidas t-shirt and Berghaus jacket on top.  Messing around putting the recycling out, it felt chilly outside but not too bad.

Glyn arrived to pick me up and off we went to Horton-in-Ribblesdale, where we met the honorary Ultramadness team member – Sammy B, dropped Glyn’s car off, and drove to Gargrave to meet Holohan and Chadders.

Forty minutes or so later and we were all getting our kit (including gloves, hats and buffs) on and off we ambled from Gargrave to Malham.

At a fairly low level, it still felt very chilly, which was to be a good indicator of things to come.  We were having all of the usual banter, most of which is unrepeatable due to bad language or horrendous taste (mostly from Holohan!).  Coming up to Malham, it started to drizzle and Glyn and I put our waterproof trousers on (coats already on for wind protection).  It had been beautiful scenery so far, but as we got closer to Malham Cove, we could see that there was a grey haze obscuring a lot of the view at a higher level.  We got to Malham Cove, and ascended the steps up to the top, and into a slightly different day.  At the top, the wind was fairly howling, and the drizzle got a bit more persistent.  Holohan stopped behind a wall to put his waterproof trousers on, leaving me, Chadders and Sam on top in the wind, prompting some abuse from yours truly.  Once Holohan had sorted himself out, we got moving towards Malham Tarn.  The rain carried on, and my merino gloves started getting very wet and i was slowly getting cold.  Holohan stopped to put another jacket on over the top of his Montane Minimus smock, and then we could see Malham Tarn.  As we circled the tarn on the Pennine Way route, it was getting wetter, windier and colder and the banter was starting to get subdued.  As we saw the waves of rain being blown across the tarn, I was imagining coming along the road in January, with the rain being snow or hail, which was a pretty unpleasant thought.  I think it was at this stage that each of us started getting cold, and we moved into the woods alongside the tarn, grateful of the respite from the wind that this offered.

Having a load of peperami and some of Chadderses awesome granola bar we emerged from the trees and back into the ‘weather’.  Still windy, still raining, and starting to get exposed now as we moved out onto a hillside and out from behind a wall.  With a bit of nav from Chadders, we started moving uphill and into the murk.  Trying desperately to move a bit quicker, with some hefty weights on our back, was becoming an issue.  As we carried on, our hands, amongst other things, were getting colder.  I’d finally decided on wearing my Inov8 295’s and was starting to regret the decision as my feet were now cold and wet, as well as my hands.  As my hands started shaking, I realised I needed to stop and sort out my windproof outers and put them on.  I had to take my merino gloves off, or so I thought, to get in my pack, which proved a mistake, as I couldn’t then get them back on again, and into the windproof ones.  I also put my Montane jacket over the top of my Berghaus one, to try and retain some heat, or at the very least warmth. Glyn had got his Punk balaclava out of his pack as he’d been suffering with the wind on his face, and I think the other guys had sorted a few things out too.  Andy had been struggling for a while with the pack causing his back some grief, and a hot spot on his foot where he had a rub.  We all carried on, uphill, with the wind speed increasing, and the temperature dropping, as well as the rain continuing to hammer down.

I’d noticed Andy was lagging a bit, and remembering how crap it is being miserable at the back, I waited to keep him company, and spent most of the climb together, with Andy being uncharacteristically quiet.  He was grumbling about his hands being cold, his pack being  too heavy, and wondering whether his training was correct.  In fairness, my hands were freezing too, but my pack wasn’t too bad – probably something to do with me removing the tent before i left home!  Andy’s phrase of the day was ‘overloaded and under prepared’. On the training front, it’s still early days in our training plan for the Spine Challenger, and we were expecting to do 20 miles today, give or take.  I offered to get Andy’s poles out of his pack, and then bullied him into agreeing.  I thought it might help take the weight off his back, and give a mental boost.  I think he did start moving faster and before long we were on the top.

We started down the other side, hoping for some respite from the conditions, which wasn’t to happen, and we soon passed large patches of snow, which thankfully weren’t  a sign of  things to come.  Still freezing, Glyn, Chadders and myself started to trot down the hill, which was a bit boggy and subsequently slippery.  Today’s moment of hilarity soon followed as Glyn slipped, sidestepped, slipped, sidestepped, slipped and sidestepped, then did a pirouette of the path and into the marsh grass.  Creased up with laughter I was almost too breathless to shout and ask if he was ok.  Chuckling back, he said he was and trotted off.  Four steps later and he was slipping and ended on his backside.  Cue some more light-hearted banter and more chuckling.  Up Glyn gets and another six steps and there was a thud and off Glyn slid, with some bog surfing action off down the hillside.  No banter or chuckling this time, and Glyn had a serious look on his face but he got up and we carried on.  We were coming down towards a road, before turning left down the road, then after half a mile it was off over Pen-Y-Ghent, which wasn’t a good proposition in these conditions.

We caught up with a guy walking who had a monstrous pack on his back and it turned out he was walking the Pennine Way.  Glyn, Chadders and I had a quick chat about skipping the top at Pen-Y-Ghent and taking an alternative route which was far less exposed.  Sam caught up and shouted ‘ three words “No, Pen-Y-Ghent”.  It wasn’t the time to question whether this was two, or four, words rather than three, so we waited until Andy arrived and explained the plan.

Without labouring the point, we skipped the top, and took a slightly lower level route to get back to Horton-in-Ribblesdale.  All very cold, and very very wet.  It’s amazing how soon you forget how bad you felt things were, and once we were sat in a cafe with a pint of tea, and a bowl of hot soup, the world was a better place.

The realisation for me kicked in once we’d finished our soup.  I imagined how we would feel if we were on the Spine Challenger event in January with 108 miles to complete so I said to Andy, come on then, only another 90 miles to go.  That thought is a tough one.

A recce of two halves…..

Sunday 14th April saw a very early start to meet the rest of the crew at Hawes which we only just made. After a near head on collision with a VW Golf coming toward us  very much on the wrong side of the road was maybe just a sign of things to come……well read on.

We met the boys and ditched the motor at Hawes and made our way to Horton-In-Ribblesdale. The Cumbrian collective at this point were amazed at the value for money car parking charges being only £3.50 for the day.  Half the price than in the Lakes!!! #yorkshire #yorkshire #yorkshire

Upon our arrival at Horton the weather was overcast with a breeze and all was looking good. More astonishment at the car park charges, this time £4.00, but more still more than agreeable for a good day out and a bit like a buy one get one free but across the border.

So which way, amazingly the 1st place we went was to the pub, well the car park of the Crown to where we picked up the Pennine Way. These were to be out first tentative footsteps of what will be our 108 mile epic in January 2014.

We made or way along the Pennine Way and the route which is well signposted and good underfoot all the way to Birkwith Moor and the edge of the forests. We crossed a stream or two and despite having waterproof socks on I was ridiculed for leaping these to ensure I kept my feet dry.

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We’d been doing some good map reading tests along the way following our navigation session with Charlie Sproson, Director of The Outdoor Warehouse, to ensure we knew where we were and paying much needed attention of our surroundings, height and picking up locations across the valley to make sure we worked our timing out from point to point.

We could see the snow capped iconic Yorkshire 3 Peaks, Ingleborough, Pen-y-Ghent and Whernside. We were also able to see the weather that was chasing us along our route, it didn’t look good.

Our pace was good and Crossing Sike Moor to join with the Dales Way we made great progress up Oughtershaw Side and on toward Dodd Fell. It was here the Cumbrians made good decisions and donned full waterproofs.

THE SECOND HALF

I was sporting a couple of base layers and my new Montane Minimus Smock (review to follow), full length A400 Skins, waterproof socks with Injini liners and my Inov8 295’s. Despite the fact that the wind had whipped up to what felt like gale force and the rain had started I was still toasty warm and didn’t feel I needed my waterproof trousers which were in my pack.

As we followed the track under the summit of Dodd Fell we had to negotiate to snow drifts that were covering the track. In places we were knee deep and underneath was either ice trying to bring us down or deep freezing puddles.

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I had my Kahtoola spikes in my pack but these wouldn’t have been much use as they would have clogged up with the snow being very wet as now the rain which was near horizontal was turning to hail and was making things pretty miserable.

A couple of slips on the ice jarred a few muscles trying to stay upright, much to the amusement of the rest of the boys, and battling our way through the drifts was using all our muscles. This went on for around 2/3 miles!

Working our way along the track towards Ten End seemed to take and age only to be made much much worse by my lace loops snapping causing my shoe to start working loose. I had spare laces in my 1st aid kit and also as a lanyard for my compass (just in case) but on this occasion this wasn’t the issue and the only thing that would have worked was duct taping my shoe to my foot had it got any worse. Note to self wrap some around my bottle just in case!!!

So the rain, which had now got even harder and colder had run down my jacket sleeves and soaked my gloves, it was also so loud on my hood despite my hat that we were unable to hear one another over the noise.

As we topped out at Ten End and crossed Sleddale Pasture I stopped to put on my Berghaus Vapour Storm jacket. For once id acted before I needed to, more as prevention on this occasion, as I was still quite warm but there was zero let up in the rain and I wanted to make sure I didn’t start to get cold. Wayne reminded me to eat here and I popped another chunk of Chris’s amazing Granola! 

What id noticed was that despite my waterproof socks my feet felt very wet. What I hadn’t noticed is that the fierce rain/hail had saturated my skins and was running down my legs, into my socks and in turn was filling them up! Even worse tho was I had bloody cankles!

Now this is an ongoing discussion amongst the Ultramadness team and I was happy to be proved wrong in saying that the waterproof socks/shoes are great, until you get water in them! Water can get in from crossing a river and going over the top of the socks and it being unable to escape, this can cause all sorts of issues if this is for a period of time.

So now I was running in a loose shoe and  waterproof socks with a pint of water in each that had run down my saturated skins! BRILLIANT!!!

Now had I put my waterproof trousers on there would have been no issue at all but as I wasn’t anywhere near cold I simply didn’t feel the need. Even when I stopped to put my GORE-TEX jacket on putting on my over trousers hadn’t even crossed my mind!

Never would I have thought my socks were going to fill with water in such a fashion so less an error more something to think on for next time!

So on we went descending into Hawes. The pasture was very wet and extremely slippery. Normally a fun trot down but my loose shoe was causing my foot to move in my wet sock and cause an issue. I knew we had maybe 3km to go at this point so we cracked on but any longer would be an issue for sure.

Chris had hit the deck 3 times coming down the descent. Fortunately he was able to control these and not aggravate his dislocated shoulder from a trot in the Lakes earlier in the year where he’d slipped on the ice coming down Red Pike above Buttermere in January!

We hit the road and the slipping in the shoe was starting to takes its toll and I felt some blisters forming. Having run down the hill with less coordination than usual had also started to worsen a lower back issue, thankfully only a dull ache was to be the issue! A trip to my Chiropractor to line me back up before our training starts proper is likely required to make sure this doesn’t get any worse, especially as we’ll be carrying so much more weight on the Spine!

We made it back to the car and changed into some warm clothes. My socks were emptied and a ridiculous amount of water was in them. Jury’s still out on this one boys but ill be giving them another go but im really not sure!

This recce had been really valuable for a number of reasons. My base layers, a Rab AEON  ls t-shirt, Montane Bionic t-shirt and Montane Minimus Smock had worked brilliantly with gloves and hat. I’ve been happy with my Skins and shorts for a while now but I’ve still to sort my socks out yet!

I made a sensible decision in putting on my GORE-TEX jacket before I’d needed too and the rain running into my socks was something id never ad even thought about so this had been a valuable lesson! Would anyone else have expected this?

I also had a spare thermal base layer in my pack had I needed it and my RAB Generator insulated smock so things are looking good as to finalising my kit for the Spine Challenge proper! Spare gloves, waterproof, and a spare hat and im pretty good to go in the clothes department.

We’ve a recce from Edale – Wessenden Head planned for the end of April so more fine tuning im sure but all in all a very eventful but invaluable first recce.

Next time we’re on this leg we hope to be finishing the Spine Challenge. It will be very dark, likely we’ll be ridiculously tired, and I suspect very emotional and willing our bodies the last 14 miles to Hawes!

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/297840807

 

Be sure to subscribe for future instalments and updates on our goings on……

 

 

Ultra Fueling

Having now had the experience of a few ultras and heading into some longer event its about time I got my act together so far as eating on the hoof.
With all the effort been put into health eating and weight loss, (which I appear to be doing rather well in !!!!) I need to make sure that I’m getting enough to eat on route but without killing all the hard work.
With the upcoming Spine route recci it was the perfect time to see what worked.

Im not a fan of really sweet sugary jelly sweets that give you a quick boost but for me just don’t sustain any prolonger energy, savoury foods work well for me but can be a burden to carry and keep in a good condition, so I decided on having a go at making my own Granola.
A trip to the supermarket and an hour in the kitchen resulted in a tray of Low Fat Granola been removed from the oven.
After cooling It was tested by the whole family with lots of Hmmmm’s all round even from the kids.

Armed with four bags each containing two pieces it was an early morning start to meet the Ultramadness gang out at Hawes, another short drive allowing for car logistics and we were at Horton-in-Ribblesdale with a vehicle back in Hawes for our return journey.

Granola handed out and off we set, a couple miles in and consciously trying to remember to eat a little but often it wasn’t long before we were trudging up hill and the perfect opportunity for tucking into my first piece, WOW sweet enough for that instant hit, chewy but easy to swallow even when breathing a little harder from the uphill effort, tasty and filling enough to feel like I’d eaten something of substance without that overly full feeling.

The noises been made all round seemed to indicate I wasn’t the only one happy with the Granola !!

Todays test was very positive for me, I wasn’t flagging or energy sapped by the end and most importantly my stomach agreed with the contents consumed .

Next I need to have a think and see if there’s health savoury option to be made and tested!!

Low Fat Granola Ingrediants
1 Cup Bran Flakes
1 Cup Multigrain Cherrio’s
1 Cup Rice Crispies
1 Cup Oats
1/2 Cup Sugar Free Maple Syrup
1/4 Cup Low Fat Peanut Butter

Additional ingredient optional, add to your own taste, I included
Peacan Nuts
Sunflower Seeds
Cranberrys

Place cereals and oats into a large zip lock freezer bag and crush with a rolling pin
Remove from bag and place in a large mixing bowel
Add additional ingrediant and mix thoroughly
Soften peanut butter in the microwave for 30 seconds and add to to the bowel along with maple syrup, again mix thoroughly

Pre heat oven to 200 C

Spread mixture evenly in a shallow tin and place in centre of oven for 20 min

After 20min remove from oven and cut into bite size or bar size pieces as you require, return to oven for a further 15 min.

If you like your Granola slightly soft and chewy remove it from the oven after 15min and allow to cool naturally, if you like it harder / crunchy switch the oven off after 15min and allow the granola to cool inside the oven.

Tune in for next weeks weigh -in to see the effects of Low Fat Granola !!!!!!!

This is what its all about..!!!

The focus behind all our training is to compete in the Dragon Back Race taking place in 2015, and the pre-registration opened on Monday 1st April.

For those who haven’t heard of it before, its a 5 days of Welsh mountain running. Check out there website for further information http://www.dragonsbackrace.com or see it through the eyes of last years competitors and purchase the DVD, featuring a local lad Charlie Sproson, a keen runner & owner of the http://www.outdoorwarehouse.co.uk A one stop shop for all your outdoor mountain, running gear and much more. Check out his website and his great gear reviews.

Anyway, to enter the event, competitors have to express an interest through a web site called sientries. This event uses a pre-selection lists to allocate entries. To get a pre-selection list entry i just entered as normal. No payment is required at this stage as there is no guarantee of being offered a place. If the Event Organiser is able to offer me a place they will send an email inviting me to enter. I would then be asked to come back to this site and make a payment £750.00 to confirm my entry. I think this is a bargain compaired to some other 5 day multiday events that are out there.

This is what sientries have to day about it The legendary Dragon’s Back Race follows the mountainous spine of Wales from Conwy Castle to Carreg Cennen Castle. This incredible 5-day journey is approximately 300 kilometres long with 17,000 metres of ascent across wild, trackless, remote and mountainous terrain. It is not a trail race”.
So on Monday, with a little voice in the back of my mind saying “you must be mad” and a crap internet connection, i log on, then got kicked off, this happened several times, but eventually i was able to express my interest by completing a pre selection list form. This involved naming three Ultra race that i have competed in, three Multiday Races and/ or three Mountain Running Experience races. Also i had to confirm that i am confident travelling through the mountains using a map and compass to navigate. The Dragon’s Back is like the OMM Mountian Marathon (not in distance) in that its not a marked course and it is my responsibility to visit each checkpoint in the correct order. Between now and the 8th September 2014 i can update my race experiences at any point. There is no limit to the number of times i can do this, but after the 8th September 2014 my application will be frozen and it will not be possible to amend it further. Although ive got experience of competing in ultra running races my aim is to compete in more multiday/ mountain running races like The Saunder http://www.slmm.org.uk OMM http://www.theomm.com LAMM http://www.lamm.co.uk & the GL3D http://www.greatlakeland3day.com all fantastic events and worth checking out.
Being as some of these are held in my own backyard it would be rude not to do them. Ill aim to do some of these event between now and Sep 2014, giving updates of my progress as and when.

I would also like to hear your suggestions of other races, whether Ultra, or MM that are taking place around the county that i could check out and maybe put on my list/ enter.

Cheers for now.
Glyn

Ps why not register for regular updates

What a difference a day made…….

Saturday saw me take on the Lakeland Trail 18k at Cartmel followed on Sunday with some navigation training in the snow and claggy conditions above Kendal on Ashstead Fell

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A weekend of mixed fortunes…..

Well last weekend was one of mixed fortunes which started Saturday morning at Parkrun Harrogate, only my 4th in total.

Id set my PB back in September last year and was struggling to beat it. Normally we have pacers to latch onto and push for a a better time but this weekend none were available.

So of i set off and pushed on hoping to make good time. Conditions were good, cold and clear with a light breeze so i shouldn’t have been too surprised when i knocked almost a minute off my PB setting the bar at 25:38. Well i was very surprised and also VERY pleased, Sunday however was to be a different matter.

So id agreed to meet Deborah at Osmotherley to take part in the Osmotherley Trail Series entering the half marathon event. It came in around 15 miles and id dropped down from the Marathon event as Chris wasn’t available.

Good job he wasn’t able to attend as my car wouldn’t start at 7am on Sunday morning and despite many attempts to get it going it was to no avail.

So an apologetic call to Deborah only to find out that although already at Osmotherley Deborah needed to about turn and return her fellas car keys from the passenger door pocket as he needed to drive to Glasgow! All in all a bit of a shambles.

So instead i managed a lovely but cold 6 mile trot round Harrogate exploring a couple of trails id not ran before, so all was not lost!

What with this Wayne & Glyn having to abort their run, Sundays non event for me and Chris on Football duty we’re really going to have to step up our training regime!

Lets see what this weekend brings!

Training – sometimes it’s about the lesson

Wayne – how far have we done?

Glyn – three and a half miles mate, why, what you thinking?
Wayne – I’m thinking I can’t manage another mile of this before we get to Gatescarth Pass. Can we go back?
Glyn – yes mate, lets do it
This was the conversation that we had stood looking down into Mosedale last Saturday.  We’d started off from Wet Sleddale near Shap, with the intention of running to the car we’d dumped on Friday night near Dubbs Reservoir, above Troutbeck which would be around 16 miles.  It’s name gives away what the ground is like in Wet Sleddale, and it never fails to disappoint. It’s pretty high up and there was still plenty of snow around, particularly as we climbed up onto the tops.  The wind was howling down and we were pretty wrapped up in Buff, hat, gloves and jackets on top, but that wasn’t to be where the trouble lay.
As we got higher, the amount of snow increased which proved difficult underfoot.  At times for about three footfalls, we were flying along on fairly solid snow, then it gave way and we were shin deep.  It was to be one of these instances that led to us turning round.  I was shifting along when suddenly my foot went through the snow, cracked a layer of ice and plunged mid-shin in water that was so cold it made be gasp.  I was frustrated that I’d done it as well as being instantly freezing.  My foot was numb and I tried to move along a bit quicker to warm up.  The problem was that there were two alternatives – carry on running on snow with the same problem of going through it, or move on marshy ground with freezing water coming into my shoes with every footstep.  I think I managed to grit my teeth for about half a mile of this before the conversation above with Glyn.
As with all training runs, the outing is never worthless despite us not doing the mileage we’d hoped.  As you’ll see from Glyn’s post, we had a major discussion about footwear and sock choice for the Spine.  I couldnt manage another mile in my Inov-8 295’s and Injinji socks – and the temperature wasnt too bad and it was daylight.  If I’d been using the same footwear in the night on the Spine I would have been in all sorts of trouble pretty quickly.  I’ve already got a pair of Inov8 Roclite boots so think they might be my first choice come race day, maybe matched up with some SealSkinz waterproof socks

Training

Training didn’t go quiet as planned this weekend. Wayne and I planned to run a 16 miler from Wet Sleddale reservoir to the bottom of the Garburn trail, near Troutbeck. After running 7/ 8 miles it soon became obvious that we would be running the best part of those miles with frozen feet.
There was still some snow lurking around from earlier in the week, when it put down several inches, and this covered most of the trail. So running on it became interesting, as we didn’t know how solid it was and what was underneath it. We soon found out, Ice cold water and lots of it.
So do we continue with frozen feet – mmm not a good move. So, after some deliberation it was agreed that we would turn around and trot back to the car.

Solutions: Buy inov8 gortex boots, or thin mid calve sealskin socks with Injinji performance liner sock underneath it. Worth ago and a much cheaper option than inov8 boots.

Training Worries

So after some marvelous work from Andy the ultra madness blog is up an running and ready for my first blog !!
I should at this stage point out I’m completely new to this blogging lark so here goes.

Training worries!!!

How much should I try to do, how often should I be out, am I doing enough or too much? Non of this really matters as right now I’m legged out on the sofa feeling completely shot after 10 straight completely manic days at work, yes I’m self employed and will be the first to admit that there’s loads of advantages in been so but it also means I don’t work your average 9 to 5 with weekends off.

I’m often away from home and doing ridiculously long hour, leaving me no time for running or cross training…. So how on earth am I going to cope with running 108 miles across the Pennines in January next year ???

It’s not going to be easy but ill be getting out and doing as much as home and work life allows which should give me a good grounding to start from, personally i believe Ultra running is 30% physical and 60% mental…. Weather you think that’s mentally strong or mentally stupid I don’t think it matters, if you can control your head and convince yourself that you can continue when your body is screaming to stop your able to complete any challenge.

That’s only 90% I hear you say well that final 10% comes from your surroundings and fellow competitors, when all else fail stop and have s look around at where you are, who you’re with and take a min to think of those not able to be in your position.

So am I worried about my training …. Hell Yes, am I worried about the challenge … Hell Yes but will I make it… So long as I don’t injure myself in training or on the day I WILL

Right time for a nap… No no I mean a run !!

Training; First blog Glyn

Sunday 10th Feb;
Ok people this is my first attempt at writing a “blog”. All i can say is I hope WordPress has an edit button somewhere.
Having a partner and and two small children, one 5 and the newest addition only being 9wks old, i’ve had to switch my training slightly to running in the mornings. Not 100% but if i’m going to get the mileage in it has to happen. So with this in mind, i set my alarm for some ridiculas time and went for it. Over the past week i’ve managed to get up early for the past 4 morning, clocking up around 13 miles. Which for me is amazing, not the distance but getting up. You see I was born on a king size bed, wrapped in a 13.5 tog duvets some 44 yrs ago, so trying to get out of one at 6 am is a bit of a struggle. That said i’ve been up and out, pounding the streets in all weather and strangely i have really enjoyed it. Ok i have to have a power bar at 10 am to keep me awake for the rest of the day, but hey a small price to pay.

Yesterdays plan was to ditch the car and run 18/19 mile back to the front door. A cracking route which i’ve done plenty of times before. At the last minute, Simon, a friend of mine who’s 10 years younger and 3 stone lighter and runs like a greyhound decided to come along. His plan was to run 6 miles out then return for my car and drive it home for me. A good plan that worked a treat. We left home not long after 7 am and with in 5 miles we were driving in snow with the dashboard shouting its -2 you fool.

My first thought was “good move to put on your HH Charger base layer”, quickly followed by “-2 that’s warm compared to a potential -10 it could be when completing the Spine Challenge, followed by “Simons going to be cold in those shorts”. Everything went as planned and after running through 4″ of snow for 6 miles Simon departed and i plodded on, through farmyards, down tracks across fields and every now and again past a house, totally in awe of the screnary, mother nature and the stillness of everything at that time.
There is something really satisfying knowing you’ve run 10 plus before most people have even woken. Anyway things were going great, but I start to feel peckish, so i munched on a power bar that’s i’ve not tried before, which at the time tasted great but minutes later I new something was up. I went from 10 minute miles to what seemed like 7 minute miles in a matters of seconds, with the aim of try and get home as quick as possible, but to no avail. For the first time ever I had to “phone a friend” to come get me. I guess that’s what training runs are all about. Trying out new things, finding what does or doesn’t work. On arriving home i was questioning if It was a weakness to make the call – I don’t think so, whilst most people were still sleeping i got 13 miles in and i know what power bars not to buy and what “special” piece of kit i need to put in my rucksack for that just in case moment. Not a bad mornings run and learning curve after all – Result.

Ill “blog” some more soon.

Ta
Glyn.

The Waheyin…..

 

Between us we could do with losing a few lbs here n there. Ok so some a few more than others so what better way to encourage, ok bully and embarrass, one another than with a bit of healthy competition between 4 ‘friends’

 

So the challenge is that between 29th Jan and 25th June every Tuesday morning we’ll be weighing in (gives an extra last chance to shift those weekend excesses) and recording the % loss against our individual starting weights.

 

He he loses less shall be deemed the ‘loser’, the one with the greatest % loss will be crowned the ‘ultra’madness biggest loser and scoop the prize fund which no doubt will go on kit when in fact it should probably go to our suffering families!!!

 

So the game has commenced and amazingly I’ve taken an early lead. How long will it last, well be sure to subscribe to the blog and get weekly updates on who’s currently ‘the biggest loser’

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Harrogate Parkrun

Parkrun #3 at Harrogate tomorrow! It might only be 5k but its great for speed work, weight loss and general fitness!!!

http://www.parkrun.org.uk/harrogate/

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