Monday, 24 January 2011

2nd in the Kinder Trial - 22nd Jan

(Image - and route shown - Courtesy of Nic Barber)

Last Saturday I headed back home to run the Kinder Trial, a 12mile navigation event as much off the beaten track as possible! It took in all that Kinder has to offer, with controls spanning from Low End to The Knott via the Downfall.
Controls could be visited in any order and Andy had thrown in a nasty route choice at the bottom of Kinder river to make you think. I decided the minute I saw the map I was going anticlockwise so that I hit the tough heather running over to The Knott at the end, and essentially in the downhill direction (Route - 7, 11, 2, 5, 8, 10, 1, 6, 3, 4, 9, 12).
I set off at a comfortable pace, remembering last year when my legs gave up before the last 3 miles of running back to Hayfield. Soon I had caught the person who set off 1minute ahead of me and by low end had caught another couple of people. We formed a sort of group, with the two guys ahead of me running faster yet us all turning up at the controls at the same time, clearly I was hitting some good lines navigationally.
Just after the Downfall, Dave Ward came flying past and injected a bit of pace into the group, I took a bad route to the next control, however made up the deficit quickly, catching back up with everyone, back at a nicer pace, by Mill Hill. Half way to Mill Hill a Pennine runner came pelting past in much the same way as Dave....he then came pelting back past having missed the control by around 500m....

At Mill Hill I suddenly realised I only had 3 controls left and I was still feeling very good, I sped up a little bit through the heather, finding a good line to the Knott. After the last control I ran as hard as I could past the shooting cabin and down to Hayfield, proving in the process this is faster than the flat road running that the rest of the group took(minus Nick having recovered from his navigational blip).

I had left my watch at home by accident so it was nice to find I was back in under 2.5hrs, a feat not achieved since I was 17.....In fact it was nearly an hour faster than last year!

I finished in 25th overall, 2nd placed woman behind Kirsty Bryan Jones by 1min 11seconds (finally lost the label of eternal 4th place in that race!)..... and I could still walk afterwards which is a great improvement from last year :-) (although 3hours MTB on Sunday soon put an end to that...)

I think my winter long distance slow training is starting to pay off!

Monday, 17 January 2011

Roving Box and Team Beach Body

(The first time I visited the roving box - without the wind and rain but with snow!)

After success at the open5 last weekend, I couldn't wait to get out for a long day again this weekend. It was decided that me, Nick JC and Rach would head out from Edale at 10:30am on Saturday (as I needed a lie in) and do half of the Edale skyline/part of the HPM, then if there was time, head for the 'January Roving Box'. The box is an invention of two rather competitive DPFR runners who spent 2010 running to and from an ammo box on kinder in order to be the one who visited it most in a year. As this seemed repetitive they have planted a 'roving box' that will be at a new location each month, and the only way to find out where it will be next month is to go to this months location!

The weather was rather windy and, after heading round from hollins cross to brown knoll and grindslow, the rain set in.....the north edge was even more exciting, requiring some low crouch running to run away from the edge. The wind made me look like a very fast runner when it picked me up and pushed me (entirely in control of course) along the we made a quick retreat after reaching the roving box, covering a total of just over 16.5miles, at least 16 of which was into the wind (or it felt that way!). Excellent fun!

On Sunday we had biomechanics testing with Holywell health. Thanks to the new orthotics they have made me I am no longer wonky! My legs still need a bit of getting used to them (running over 2hrs leads to an achey ankle), I'm using muscles I've not used for years! JC also introduced us to 'Team Beach Body' extreme plyometric workout thingy - I can confirm eating a sandwich just before doing it is not the way forward - I made it through the warm up.....however made up for this with a nice run through rivelin in the dark later in the evening - a good end to a fun weekend :-)

Next weekend will be my first fell race of 2011 - the kinder trial. I've done plenty of distance in preparation this year, hopefully I will anticipate where Andy has hidden the controls and I won't spend too long searching under rocks for them....

Thursday, 13 January 2011

3rd at the Open 5 - Sutton Bank

I've been a bit quiet over the last month or so....and that's because I've basically done nothing (well apart from sit in a room, read papers and write a review with the very occasional run/bike). So I set myself a target - lit review to be finished an entire 5 days early so that I could do the open5 without thinking about bone metabolism every 2 minutes.

Friday at 7pm it was finished! On Saturday it was time for a leg stretch - I ran up fairbrook to find the first of DPFRs 'roving boxes' - a new challenge for 2011 involving running, navigation (of sorts) and a fair bit of looking under rocks! Oddly I felt like I'd never seen a hill before and my descending skills had completely disappeared! My balance and coordination had gone out the window - I think my brain capacity for the month had been used up!

A good nights sleep and my brain was back in gear, just in time!

It was a bit chilli up at Sutton Bank, with ice covering a fair bit of the ground. It was the first outing for my skins tri shorts, but I had to put some long tights on as well in the cold. I decided to run first as I'm more confident with distance judgement and route choice with running. There were two key climbs in the route (and a bonus one if I was feeling good), but for about the first hour I managed to run on the flat or downhill. I felt strong on the first big climb, so on the second added in another control before going for a bit of descent and the third climb.
I was out for just over 2hours, only missed 3 controls and covered just over 10miles. The route wasn't perfect, mainly because I thought a track was entirely out of bounds when it wasn't, so ran into and out of my first control the same way, adding on a fair bit of unnecessary distance....

After a brief stop to eat a sandwich and take a picture of another team, it was onto the bike. I had a much better route planned than the last Open5 I did, it was just a matter of which way round to go....I decided to head anticlockwise which, in some ways was a good choice as it meant I didn't reach the icey track unexpectedly at the end of my ride, but also meant I spent 45minutes getting to my first control. I heard somebody say 'I've seen glaciers with less ice on than that track'.....

After that bit of hike a bike, I picked up another icey control before deciding to go only for controls close to the road....the next control, although on a road, was also extremely icey and by this point I'd been out for over 3.5hrs out of the 5hrs.
The steep climb to the next control resulted in my legs almost giving up, but I decided to ignore them and hammered it round to my final two controls. Again I found myself pushed for time
and rode as fast as possible to the finish, ending up 2mins 25 over time - 6 points deducted but worth that last control! Just over 16miles covered...not my quickest pace ever but not bad given the ice...I found the riding very tough!
I'm undecided if my route choice was a good one or not on the bike, if I'd gone clockwise I would have got more of the high pointers at the end of my ride, but might have gone for number 18 anyway and found myself stuck on ice and extremely late back, who knows!

The choice of skins tri shorts was a good one as it removed some of the faff from transition, as well as being comfortable on both sections! I can see a new favourite garment being chosen.... It was also the first time I'd raced in new balance 749s which were great on the trails, just cushioned enough without being high enough for me to go over on my ankle in rougher sections (as I've found happens with some other shoes...).

My total was 404points putting me in 3rd position - more than I could have hoped for with the amount of time off recently! I mainly need to improve my route selection ( it has never been my strong point but is getting better) as fitness is coming back quite quickly! The best way to do that is do the rest of the open 5 series! :-)