Thursday, 15 September 2016

A Summer Round Up - Polo, PBs and a Poorly Toe

Rushup Edge and Mam Tor

Sorry, it's been ages!  I will try to give a summary and keep it as brief as I can, but bear with me as there is loads to tell you!

Following on from the Hathersage Hilly triathlon my recovery was good with no injuries and I had a quieter week training-wise afterwards.  I am really excited to do more tri's but I think it is going to be hard finding just my thing.  Ideally, I will be looking for a pool swim, road bike and trail/fell run but these types of triathlon are quite hard to find.  I think I may have to compromise with some open water swims if I want the trail style runs - and I am not interested in distance events - I am happy to stick with sprint distances for now, but watch this space! 

August was my sisters 40th birthday month and, for her birthday gift I booked us onto a Polo experience day with JF Polo Academy.  We had the best day!  We are both lifelong riders and have ponies of our own, but we both have children and only get to ride occasionally now especially as my horse Padraig is retired and we both share the riding of Ralph, my sisters horse when time allows. 

On  the day we were really excited travelling to Great Barrow (near Chester), not really knowing what to expect. We were introduced to our steeds for the day wearing full polo regalia.  My horse was called Renoir a chestnut gelding aged 19, and my sister was riding Lorna a beautiful bay mare, also aged 19.  We assumed they were kept for teaching people like us but James (Fielding, owner) informed us he would be riding them both later on that day in a real polo match.  We were just their warm-up!

This horse was a bit wooden
Looking good!
Riding polo style is very different to "normal" riding.  For a start you only hold the reins in your left hand (to leave your right hand free to hold the stick).  After we had got on board and been shown how to hold the reins polo-style, we set off with James on his beautiful grey horse around the perimeter of the field.  He explained how to stop the ponies by adopting a lean back style seat.  They were so responsive, no rein contact was really needed.  Riding the ponies without the stick was really fun, Renoir really knew his job and by the time we were let loose with the stick and balls he was an absolute saint, stopping at the ball automatically so I could pathetically try to hit it!  It is much harder than it looks!

I would recommend the polo experience to anyone - especially people who can already ride.  It was so much fun and James was fantastic, we had a lovely lunch at the Chester Fields Pub/Restaurant and enjoyed quizzing him about the polo players lifestyle!

Renoir standing patiently!
Back to reality and I find the summer holidays a real problem when trying to train.  Routine goes totally out of the window and runs, rides and swims become very sporadic.  I started to try to get some long run training in and it went quite well at first, starting with new 10k PB - ideally, I want a 45 min 10k and 1 hour 45 min half marathon by the end of this year, but at the time of writing this (September) this seems very unrealistic!

The first long run I did on tarmac/hard trails (20km) injured my toenail which is now coming off.  It started off very sore and bruised, then turned black and hard and now it has regrown underneath, forcing the top nail off - yuck! I do find running on tarmac and flat trails not only boring, but really hard going on my legs and knees.  I think the change from fell running to road running really makes a difference and it has made me realise that I have no desire for road racing or distances above 10 miles in future.  For this year, I will complete the races I have planned in for the GVS championship - the Tissington Half and  few road/trail races, but next year I will only contest fell races.  

The summer olympics were just awesome - Team GB produced so many inspiring athletes and the cycling was just fantastic.  It is brilliant to think that lots of the Team GB Cyclists use the Peak District as a training ground for their sport.  
William and "Cricket"

One day, William (my son, who's 7) told me his bike's name is Cricket - "because its green and does awesome jumps!" which I thought was clever and funny, I love that he is enjoying the sport - he even managed a red route on one of the trails at Lanhydrok during our summer holiday to Cornwall.

I managed a couple of races in August, before our main family holiday - first the Stoney Middleton fell race - where a stitch cost me the race,  but produced the best sprint off of the season with Julie! and Cracken Edge fell race, which was a steady 7 miles  - my longest fell race to date - which I really enjoyed as there was no pressure, and I just wanted to get round.

I was disappointed to miss Eccles Pike fell race due to illness, I just felt run down and decided rest would be the sensible option - it was a shame as it would have been my first race that I have done twice, and I was hoping for a much better time, but hey ho, I will always stick by a decision to listen to my body and rest, even if it is very frustrating and tempting to just get on with it!  

Nearly at Rushup
I did manage to run up Mam Tor one day in the hols, I went from Ford in Chapel-en-le-Frith and made my way up onto the Pennine Trail and over the ridge to Rushup Edge.  I was astounded at the views, having never been up there before!  It was a gorgeous day and the para-gliders were setting off from the top.  It was spectacular.  I continued and crossed the Edale road to make the final ascent up the stone flag steps to the trig at the top of Mam tor, it was a great day for it.  I touched the trig and then made my way back along the ridge the way I had come, it was brilliant - I will definitely be doing that run again.  

This last weekend was the fourth annual Grindleford Goat sportive in Derbyshire.  I didn't enter the event as I thought I would be too busy for it - but on Thursday night I got a message from Caz to say Tony, her husband, wasn't going to take part, meaning she had a spare place.  Chris and I discussed it and decided we would both like to do it, Grandparents came to the rescue agreeing to look after the kids and we both got entered!  

Our first ever Sportive, Anna, Caz and Chris - Chinley Churners!
We entered the "Nanny" a 51km hilly road ride around Grindleford taking in Monsal Head, Sheldon and Monyash.  It was the longest road bike ride Chris and I had ever done so we were a little nervous about our fitness levels!  We needn't of worried however as it was a brilliant day despite drizzly weather.  The food before, during and after was absolutely great and the people were all friendly and helpful.  The atmosphere was really laid back and I am so glad we bit the bullet and did it.  Next year I am aiming for the "Billy" a 108km ride with some more testing climbs!

This weekend is the Equinox24 event at Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire.  This event is a 24 hour race, consisting of a 10k lap where solos or teams must compete to complete as many laps as possible in the time allowed.  I am part of Team WB (Whaley Bridge) and hopefully we will be based on Team GB not only in name, but in our efforts too!  The eight nutters - I mean team members (!) are - Amanda Skeldon, Dane Stanley, Aidan Grant, Caz Whittle, Julie Rundall, Sally Kaill, Connor Lomax and Me.  We are not doing Equinox for charity but as it will probably be the hardest thing I have ever attempted I feel like it should be!  If you wake up in the middle of the night on Saturday, think of us, and if you can - please donate to the Histiocytosis charity (see below).  

I am anxious about injury as the furthest I have ever run is a half marathon, and I have never run more than one long run in a day before.  I entered as it was something different which sounded like fun!  It is sounding less fun as I think about the logistics of camping and running and camping and running!  It will literally be a case of eat, sleep, run, repeat!  Watch this space for my report in the very near future!

Please donate if you can!
Next week I am taking part in a really worthwhile event, the Histio JOGLE baton relay from John o' Groats to Lands End.  My new found friends Rocky and Sara have a little boy aged 2 called Isaac.  He was diagnosed with Hystiocytosis earlier this year and they have been such a positive role model for anyone with a poorly child. You can read about Isaac's story and donate here.  My team is taking the baton from Combs to Parsley Hay using road bikes and I have a growing team of 7 - including Me, Chris Aspinall, Amanda Skeldon, Caz Whittle, Helen Gilbert, Jac Grant and Glenn Harrison, with a support team of Alex Fox and Fred Salmon.   

If you would like to come and cheer us on we will be setting off from the Beehive Pub in Combs at 5.15pm on Wednesday 21st September!

Mr A and I in Sunny Cornwall
Finally, now the children are back at school and my youngest is nearly doing full days at school (1 more day!) I am getting back into more of a training routine.  I have added pilates to my regime and did my first class yesterday with Rachael of Consider Pilates.  I have to say, having done pilates in the past, I always found it more of a "nice thing to do" rather than a really beneficial workout but Rachaels classes are totally different, as a very experienced runner, she understands which muscles need to be strengthened for running and she is very diligent.  I can really feel my stomach muscles today so I am very pleased to have added core strength training to my plan, maybe I will be able to touch my toes one day! (I have very tight hamstrings and suffer from sciatica resulting from horse riding throughout my childhood).  
Well if you have read all of that please come and tell me and I will buy you a drink sometime!!! Until the next update (I promise it wont be as long next time),

Happy Running! 
TLF xx

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