Thursday, 24 July 2008

France etc

Have been off running for a couple of days with a bad cough but desperate to get going again soon. Posted entries off this morning for A Coventry Way (Sep), Longmynd Hike (Oct), RR50 (December, and The Fling (April). Good to get that admin stuff out of the way.

Off top France today for 2 weeks camping with the family. Can't wait. Staying in very rural areas of France so hopefully I'll be able to get out onto some trails. As I'll have no laptop ( :) ) I'll have to do the old fashioned thing of writing up my reports. Will try to get some good photos too.

Entries for the WHWR are set to be in mid August so hopefully I'll be back in time.

See you in two weeks!

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Tragedy in German Zugspitze run

From German newspaper Der Spiegel:

Summer Snowstorm Kills 2 on Bavarian Mountaintop
A fast-moving snowstorm took hundreds of "extreme" runners by surprise during a race in the Bavarian Alps Sunday, killing two and sending six more people to the hospital with severe hypothermia.

The avoidance of such tragedies is the reason why (most) race directors take our safety as runners in their events very seriously and insist we carry environment-appropriate gear. It sounds like this event should have been postponed although I don't know all the details and it's all easy with hindsight.

Sorry to those affected.

Chris Carver

Fellow Otley AC ultra-runner Chris Carver recently won the East Hull 24 hour Track Race with a distance of 137.72 miles - impressive stuff. For me, the thought of running round a track seems a difficult concept to understand when there are some many stunningly beautiful ultra trail races around, so I asked Chris some questions to try and understand things a bit better:

Firstly, congratulations on winning in East Hull and your PB for a 24 hour race. Does this rank as your greatest running achievement to date?Yes I think it does. I won the East Hull 24 hr last year with 205k and it was hard work indeed for the last few hours. This year I ran 221k and I was easing down for the last 3 or 4 hours.

What came first for you, the multi-terrain ultra or the track ultra?
For me the track ultra came first.

What was your first ultra race?
Barry 40 mile track race – March 2006. I managed about 32 miles before the paramedic pulled me out because of a badly blistered foot. I still have the scar.

To those of us who enjoy the changing terrain and scenery of ultra trails, completing a track race is difficult to comprehend. Do you consider track races more of a mental challenge than a long trail race?I know this is strange but I find track ultras much easier. For example, it’s impossible to get lost, even at night. Because of that I can let my mind wander and thus I don’t have to concentrate on things such as navigating, slipping on mud, falling over rocks, etc.

I’m not confident enough on uneven terrain to race trail ultras properly so I use them as very long runs and simply enjoy the experience and the specific fitness they bring.

What do you think about to get you through these track races?Most of the time I’m thinking about hitting my targets. I have hourly targets that I break down into lap times so I know almost instantly how I’m doing. I also spend a fair amount of time talking to other runners and crew members. In the second half of these races I also tend to take note of how fast the other runners are going and how long their walking breaks are, etc

Do you have any plans to have a go at the longer 48 hr+ track events?I have no definite plans for a longer race yet. I would like to have a go though in a few years time.

What sort of distances do you cover during a typical peak training week?Normally my maximum mileage would be approx. 80 per week. Before the recent Hull race though I experimented with ‘crash training’. It has been found that a runner can substantially boost their fitness by doubling their mileage for 2 to 7 days providing they spend the same number of days afterwards doing half the mileage. I normally have a three week taper, so the week before that I covered over 120 miles.

You are certainly getting noticed as a name to look out for at track events. Does this add extra pressure?At the moment I don’t feel any extra pressure but if I have a bad run in my next race the pressure may be on.

Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer my questions and I wish you continued success in your running.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Tentative 08-09 Season Plan

Been thinking about which races I could reasonably go for in 2008/2009. This is the list I have come up with so far, subject of course to training, injuries and race acceptance:

September: A Coventry Way (40m)
October: Long Mynd Hike (50m)
December: Round Rotherham (50m)
February: Draycote Water (35m)
March: Wuthering Hike (33m)
March: Manx Mountain Marathon (31m)
April: Highland Fling (54m)
June: West Highland Way race (95m)
August: Ultra Tour de Mont Blanc (103m)

A feast of ultra races! It will be interesting to see how many of them I can achieve. It would be good run as many of these as possible but not necessarily race them all.

Also this year I'm going to make more use of the Three Peaks in my training, aiming to run the route a few times before the long summer races. I also aim to use the local hills for walking practice, aiming to do a quick ascent of the Chevin once a day during the week.

All great ideas, but will I be able to stick to them??!


Just found out that the West Highland Way race carries the maximum points for qualification to the Ultra Tour de Mont Blanc, a race I am considering entering in 2009, a few months after the WHWR itself. With that race and the Round Rotherham 50 I have more then the necessary points for qualification. Qualifying is still a lottery, but at least now I have as much chance as anyone else.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Hilly 6

Route: 8m, road and trail, hilly
Weather: 17C

As tomorrow is Indiana Jones day at school and we all needed to get an idea of the costumes we could wear, we had rented Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark yesterday. I was never a big fan and hadn't ever seen it all the way through. I still haven't as I fell asleep part way through yesterday. Can't believe how violent the bit I did see was though. Am I getting old?!

ANYWAY, ran up to Yeadon to return it tonight. Nice hilly run over the Chevin via East Chevin Road and the Quarry and down through the fields to Yeadon, returning the same way. Kept a good pace despite an annoying cough. Never sure whether to run or not with a cough... Good run nonetheless!

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Gentle 5m

Route: 5m, hilly, road and trail
Weather: light rain, 17C

Took Briony on a cycle tonight (she cycled, I ran) up Leeds Road, up the steps at Pool and along through Danefield. Really nice to have some company and good to see Briony begin her own particular journey.

Friday, 18 July 2008


Route: 6m, road, flat with one hill
Weather: light rain, 15C

After one of the most stressful weeks of my life, I enjoyed a truly fantastic run tonight. Not a particluarly special route - just along to Pool, up Pool Bank and down Leeds road - but it was so enjoyable to be out nonetheless.

Fairly steady first 2m, a slow run up Pool Bank followed by a very fast run down Leeds road. I must try and sort out my GPS again as it would have been interesting to know the speed of this run. Felt fast and was lots of fun!


Since last Friday I have been through the mill a bit - this isn't really the place to discuss it, suffice to say that my perspective about the things that really matter in life has been somewhat realigned. It has been a hard few days and I have been forced to stop running.

I am happy to say that everything is now back to normal and I can get back into enjoying life and enjoying my running :)

Monday, 14 July 2008

'Soul' Music on the Lancashire Moors!

Tonight I had the great pleasure of meeting up with my friend John and meeting his two friends Richard and Anne. Although this has nothing to do with running (although Richard is an ultra runner in the making I think!) it is so refreshing to spend time with people who are passionate about the things they do. Richard, Anne and John play various instruments between them (hurdy gurdy, flute, whistle, bodhran, concertina, accordian ...) and they invited me over to try and tag along with my instrument of choice the guitar. Although I am by no means as proficient as these three, they were kind about my abilities and I really enjoyed playing along.

Today had been a difficult day and this evening was just what I needed. Thanks to all!

Saturday, 12 July 2008

5m run

Route: 5m, road and trail
Weather: cloudy

5m run down to Pool and back along the railway line. Nice to get out and lose myself for a while.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008


Route: 10m, hilly, road
Weather: dry for once and windy

Decided aginst running tonight as the muscle I tweaked yesterday has been a bit tender today, although it feels fine tonight. I figure that after giving my body such a pounding recently I need to listen to it and not push it for a while.

That said, I enjoyed a vigorous 10m cycle round the Otley 10 route tonight. Not far, but hilly and my heart rate was certainly up high for much of it.

I think one of these intense cycles per week could really help my cardio fitness.

Monday, 7 July 2008


Route: 4m, road, hilly
Weather: torrential rain

Ran 4m tonight but this was acutally a curtailed 9m route. Think I might be pushing things a bit hard at the moment. Decided to listen to my body at the top of West Chevin Road after developing a bit of a pull in my left glute. Doesn't feel too serious, just a reaction I think to the race followed by a period of relative inactivity. I think next time I run a really long race, I will definitely try to mix in a bit more 'active recovery'.

May rest again tomorrow depending on how the muscles feel. Maybe a cycle will be more beneficial. It's nice to have the flexibility to decide!

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Runner of the Month!

I am honoured to have won this month's 'Runner of the Month' from my running club, Otley AC! Thanks to Helen who just brought the bottle of wine round this evening. It has been immediately donated to Briony as I don't touch the stuff! She probably deserves it as much as me anyway this month!


First run since the WHW

I was busting to get out running by tonight! Ran with the club an undulating 7m over trail and cross country. I wasn't sure how the legs would react after enjoying a 10 day running-break since the big weekend. For the first 4m or so they responded well and I was really enjoying it. In terms of cardiovascular fitness I felt great too. then at around 4m, my legs seemed to become two giant knots as lactic acid and other nasties caused my muscles to cramp and my knees to tighten.

I slowed the pace and ended up walking the last half mile. Wasn't too worried or concerned really and enjoyed the run nonetheless. I will give my self another couple of days off and then build things back up slowly.

After a particularly stressful week at work, this run was just what I needed mentally. It's amazing how running (even a semi-dodgy one like this) can put everything into perspective and help you to focus on the things that are actually important.

I was reading John Kynaston's blog tonight and was interested in his "things I have learned" post. I will work on a similar post when I get some time. Also I need to decide how to reshape this blog as it's served a purpose for this year's WHW and my fundraising, but I would like to keep it going for general training.