Thursday 30 May 2013

Scafell Pike Trail Marathon - High Terrain Events

19th May 2013. Scafell Pike Trail Marathon.
That would be a marathon (44km on the Garmin) involving 1800m of climb in total.
Starting at Portinscale and coinciding with the Keswick Mountain Festival. The world famous Liz and Alan from 9bar were there to look after us and keep us fueled up, also fellow 9bar runners Vicci and Shaun were already there getting set up. Big thanks to Ian and Emily from High Terrain Events for organizing a brilliant event I am sure will grow even more in popularity next time!

We set off at 8 or 8.30 I can't remember. After having a night in Grasmere at Thorney How (and a nice run around there the evening before) I was only a short drive away on the morning so even had a lie in until 5.30am!
 The route took runners on good trail down the western edge of Derwent Water for a few miles and eventually into Seatoller in Borrowdale. 

From there a short road section to Seathwaite and a water station where Liz and Ian were waiting. A quick gulp of water and I was off.

Now started the climbing heading up to Styhead Tarn where Stuart of Adventure in Mind was awaiting with our SI timing box. By now it we were in the low cloud and the ground was a little wet and slippery. A quick hello and swipe and off I went to find the Corridor route up Scafell Pike, in the cloud. It seemed to go on longer than I expected so grabbed the map out just to check and then within about 20m hit the path upwards.  

 A fairly long ascent, well one of the biggest in England I suppose? to reach Joe Faulkner of Nav4 at the summit of Scafell Pike. I didn't really stop to admire the view (pretty dense cloud) and made my way down to pick a route to Esk Hause (CP 3) It's a bit rough and rocky for a while after SCFP but then onto a nice descent to Esk Hause stone shelter which I found pretty straightforward before dibbing in my timing card and making a left towards Sprinkling tarn and back to Stuart at Styhead. As I was nearing the bottom a couple of runners were heading up towards me (had taken a wrong turn) who promptly spun around and went the way they were supposed to.

 Getting back to Styhead and swiping in before descending fairly quickly down to the water station and picking up the route along the eastern side of the lake heading to Watendlath (spelling?)  fairly quick going apart from the narrower sections where the runners doing the 13km and half marathon options were. Trying to swerve past them on single track required some shouting 'passing to the left' etc but most were fine. The odd one trying their best not to let me pass even though I was in a different race.

A bit of a climb (described as Kilimanjaro by my client Gilly - who did absolutely amazing in the 13km race! ;) ) followed by more nice undulating trail. I had run some of this part of the course before although not exactly and a quick glance at the Garmin suggesting about 3km to go which I immediately thought oh no long course! There was a final checkpoint somewhere in this section too.

Before I knew it I had hit the road leading to the finish which I had ran in the morning and settled at a good pace for the last 800m or so coming in 4.31 in the top 5! The field housing the finish area was possibly the muddiest slipperiest part of the day and finally got my shoes dirty after the finish line!

A brilliant run, not your ideal pb course if that's what you're into but had a wicked day!
On a clear day the scenery would be unbeatable like the organisation!

Thanks to 9bar, Stuart @ Adventure in Mind for a couple of the piccies and of course Ian and Emily at High Terrain Events!

Below... out in March on the Corridor route, not really ideal recce conditions as I didn't really recognize anything but great fun!

Tuesday 14 May 2013

Chester Half Marathon March 2013

Something a little different for me this weekend! Having never been in a half marathon race on the road (did Rivington Trail Half a couple of years ago) I was interested to have a go whilst it was quite local. I had done no specific training for this (Ran a 4 mile road race a couple of days before if that counts?)
 Also lots of good friends and a couple of clients had entered along with lots of local runners I know. 
Great to see you all and well done!

The route is pretty much flat with the odd bridge and a slight gradient towards the end. Starting at the racecourse which was well organised and everything was efficient and easy.
I finished up 38th in 1 hour 20 min averaging 3.47 per km.
The plan was to take it steady from the start with around a 4min km and then build up the pace after that. First km 4.01... 

I felt fine ok initially but at about 5-6 km it felt incredibly hard to maintain the pace so I stuck behind a pack of runners that had formed. I was pretty much just clinging on here although the speed was still the same around the 3.50's per km it wasn't getting easier.

I gradually got a bit more comfortable and just nudged forwards in the pack and just set about reeling in one runner at a time until a little U turn where we could see the leaders a couple of mins ahead and after the turn it distracted me looking out for friends a couple of minutes behind. 

The route diverted off just before the half way point and then as we reached approximately the 7 mile mark where I was about 58th I seemed to get a bit more life into myself and made some real progress leaving the pack and grinding past a few more runners. There was a large gap ahead which I took care of and knocked some quick 3.30 odd kms which felt good. It was as if it was a different day. Breathing settled down and I closed down the runners in front one by one. 

There were a large number of spectators and every now and again seeing someone I knew cheering was a big boost. I had settled in with 3 other runners an we were pretty much running together into the end from about 9 miles. 

I managed to pull ahead by about 2 minutes from a friend I ran close by at half way. 
towards the end I didn't feel dead, I could have carried on at a similar pace although getting the legs to turn over quicker didn't seem to happen. To be expected really considering recent training. 

I had jogged around a little before the start but I think having a more intense bit of running after the warm up may have helped me settle down quicker during the race. My final 10k was only 10 seconds away from my '10k pb' in which I had done a 5k warm up with a few strides but 40km ran the day before. 

The plan is to practice some short <10k midweek summer races and include a weekly session to help develop pace and get used to the higher intensity and also I'll experiment with some different warm up sessions to see what impact that has on my ultra performance. I feel I'm better in terms of stamina than speed so will put a bit of effort into bringing the speed up. 

Next week I've got Scafell Pike Trail Marathon!

I planned to set off steady which worked well. About 400m into the race.