Tuesday, 21 June 2016

A Tinkle in Winkle...

I'm not sure why I'm smiling as the thought running through my head here was "OMG this dust is bloody awful", nice photo though!
Not wishing to jinx myself or anything but I seem to have hit a bit of form lately, which is interesting as my current training schedule is very varied with most of my weekly runs being races!  In fact, some weeks I am only running once, but the run is often a race which is extremely good training.  The mantra "train to race, race to train" is so true. Caz's voice often rings through my head with this advice, as I remember saying to her that everyone who is in training for running events - particularly half or full marathons, seem to run almost every day - some people twice a day!  The idea that using races as a method of training is a good one as it makes races seem less stressful somehow.

I think that I may have hit a good balance of cross-training.  My weekly routine is currently involving one run training session (consisting of hill reps, intervals, sprints or tempo runs), a swimming session which is either breaststroke at race pace or a TI (Total Immersion) lesson with my friend Suzie, and either a MTB or road bike ride involving hills. On top of this I am racing in the summer fell series which are usually midweek races.

Going forward to the Hathersage Hilly I will try to do some bike to run brick sessions (straight onto running after a bike session) and possibly cycle to the pool and back a few times too, in order to improve muscle memory for the triathlon.

Since running Snowdon, I have competed in two races - first, the Winkle Trout Fell Race near Macclesfield, organised by Macclesfield Harriers.  This race is part of the Winkle fete which is a family event and even has an onsite brewery!  The day of the race was extremely hot and Mr A and the kids came along to support and enjoy the fair.  As a result I felt more rushed than usual and by the time I had collected my number I had no time left to go to the loo or to get my cap which I had left in the car!  

Fortunately, I carried a drink (water with electrolytes and magnesium) with me which was a real saviour, usually for a race of this distance (5 miles) I wouldn't bother with a drink, but the heat made it really hard and they actually changed the route last minute to incorporate more shade.  


The man behind me was throwing water over his head, why didn't I think of that!?
I got another good start, I'm getting better at positioning myself, and the 282 runners thundered down a dusty track to a snarly section where there were lots of stiles/gateways so I was glad of my fast start.  We wound our way through paths and trails and eventually crossed a shallow but wide river where I picked up lots of grit in my shoes.  I was however glad of the cooling water!

After another uphill woody section with some sheer drops to the left, we came out onto a moorland track.  It was so hot I could feel my body trying to super-cool itself, I felt horrible and lots of people passed me as I slowed down and contemplated walking.  I was feeling goosebumps and chilly even though the heat was intense, it wasn't a great section!


Just before my unscheduled stop!
Over a stile and onto a downhill section I started to feel better as the wind was blowing across the moor.  I had been ignoring the fact I hadn't been to the toilet before the start but it was becoming my main train of thought and it got to the point where hearing my drink sloshing around in the bottle was not helping at all!  

After a while I decided I was going to have to stop, this was not good, I have never had to stop in a race before, ever! But it was slowing me down, especially on the downhills so just before a stile I made a swift left and hid behind a bush, I let 6 men past but felt so much better it was worth it! 


With Helen at the end! 
I hadn't realised how near the end I was when I stopped, but after about another kilometre we dropped down a woody section and back onto the road which was lined with well wishers.  It was a lovely feeling running down the home straight - up until Fred threw a pint of water right in my face! I was glad of the cooling effect though and after I finished I jumped straight into the river to cool down! 

I finished in a time of 54:22 and I was 21st lady out of a field of 98.  Overall I came 118th out of 282 runners.  A great race which I mostly enjoyed, and hearing my family cheering me on was brilliant. Randomly, every finisher receives a trout from the trout farm, unfortunately ours ended up on the road after W decided to swing it around, it is now in the freezer after a thorough wash!

By extreme contrast, last weeks race was the Grindleford fell race - a BS grade race over 4.8 miles.  It was absolutely pouring down, but what a fabulous race - I loved it!  I made a good decision at the start and managed to get myself at the front, after a very quick lap of the cricket field we headed onto the road and up a lane which led to a real bottle neck of an ascent.  

As I had pushed it at the start I was knackered when we started to head up hill and I remember thinking I had overdone it and wouldn't be able to sustain my pace.  However, the nature of the path was that it was a bit of a Formula 1 scenario - no overtaking, which effectively made everyone have an enforced rest!  As we walked up the woody section I felt slightly frustrated at the pace, but realised everyone was the same (except the leaders!) and to just keep going.

We headed out onto some peaty bogs which nearly dragged my shoes off (I was praying I didn't pick up any ticks from the long reeds) then left onto a track which brought us to the Padley Gorge gritstone section.  The gritstone boulders into Padley Gorge were fab!  They are really grippy so it was possible to spring like a mountain goat all the way down into the gorge, it was really exciting and I was happy with my pace, I really pushed it.  

After the rocky section we came out near the station and had to head through some fields before the river crossing.  As another contrast to Winkle, the river was raging!  I don't think there was a rope either (there may have been but I didn't see one), I soon gave up trying to run/high step through as there were a few spectators and I didn't fancy going T over A in front of them all!

After the river there was a long field where I caught up with fellow strider Lucas who is normally really fast, he informed me he had been sick which was a shame but he did well and still got a finish.   I had a good tussle with another strider Trevor, who managed to pass me near the end, and I managed to come home first lady strider again.  I was pleased with my result of 13th lady in a field of 108, and I managed a time of 45:53.  Overall, I was 133rd out of 321 runners, a really pleasing effort!

I must mention Ben Brindley's Seven in 7, Ben is the chairman of Tideswell Running Club and has recently completed an immense challenge of running seven marathons in 7 days. As part of his routes he incorporated the Grindleford fell race and the Ladybower Trail Marathon.  I saw him at the race and felt really inspired by his efforts!  He has so far raised over £1500 for Buxton Mountain Rescue, a brilliant cause!  If you wish to donate to Ben's cause click here.

That's it for now, keep running!

TLF :-)