22nd May - A very sad day today as we had to put Tyke down after a short illness which only started in February. A very special dog that we are all missing very much.
9th May - Well another three weeks of Lock Down done. Numbers od deaths are dropping but increasing in Care Homes. Wales and Scotland want to continue with the Lock Down for another three weeks. I'm hoping tomorrow that Boris says we can travel to exercise and I can get into the Peak District a bit. The weather has been dry and warm and all the cows with calves are out now. The grass isn't growing much though! I've been making curtains for Mark and will hopefully finish the three pairs for the Boiler Room today! The second Virtual Series is keeping me entertained and this week was Home Adventure Racing" which being a Team event I enlisted Dobbin, Rosie and Jim! Photos here - Adventure Racing To get the video to play - press the Download original file button in the bottom right hand corner. It starts playing and doesn't download to your computer.
30th April - As with everybody - there is very little news. At least the weather improved and we were able to get on farming. It has been hard looking across at Bleaklow and not being able to run there but I got into an early routine of running everyday and set up the Virtual Series which you can follow from those pages. I'm hoping that we won't need a Series 3 as I'm keen to get to Galloway and back running in more exciting places. Generally though life is ok on the farm - we don't need to sell any cattle until October and Blacker Hall Farm shop have been as busy as ever.
Yesterday was a Virtual race with a Horse theme and I really enjoyed it and took loads of photos so I've put them all in the gallery! Badminationals
28th March - Well I set off to Mark in Galloway on Monday 23rd March and was about 30 minutes away when Boris announced the new measures. So after continuing onto the property, I checked it over and drove all the way home again. I was gutted as I had a week of isolated work and running to do. I spent Tuesday being very grumpy and/or crying. Steve, the dogs and the cows all avoided me. This week has been spent in farming, coaching and sorting out a routine that works for me. I have a theory that we are only animals and all animals like a routine. My routine is now
1) Get up, do a bit of office work - I've lots of coaching still as I'm changing peoples plans on a weekly basis to adapt them to life now. I'm also doing Plyometric plans for people self-isolating. All my talks have been cancelled to August now.
2) Go for a run. I've never run everyday before but I am now as it helps make me feel I've achieved something everyday. Yesterday was a horrid 12 miler that I used to run a lot called Prison 12 (yep it goes through a prison). But I finished at 9am and felt happy all day. Quite a feat in these times.
3) More work - now I have a list of jobs and I have to do One Horrid Job a day. Then I can pick nice jobs for the rest of the day. Horrid jobs include Vat Returns, farm accounts, cleaning, mowing the lawn (I hate mowing the lawn!). Nice jobs include getting the Solwise internet stuff sorted, making jam/pies/bread, writing letters, coaching, FRA emails, looking at maps!
4) Everyday I'm putting more on Social Media - which for a lot of people takes seconds but for me it takes an hour I would say, to take photos, write things and then posting. But it's good - people seem to like it and as other people's posts are cheering me up, I hope mine are helpful too.
5) Today I'm running a Fantasy Fell race at 9am. Just me and Helen Elmore at the moment. We both have a route that is 4 miles long with 500ft climb. I devised mine back in 2001 when I wanted to know that I could get round the Trunce! I then used it for my Wedding race in 2009 and adapted it for the Hoppits races that I organise every year. We're starting at 9am and I have my Dark Peak vest and my Trunce Race number ready. I'll keep you posted as to who won and who got a cake or beer as a prize. I might expand the concept to be the new Summer Series for 2020 so get those 4 mile routes at the ready!
6) I'm also trying to buy something from the Retailers that I know must be struggling. Steve and I have a saying about "What Goes Round Comes Round" and I firmly believe in the MoneyGoRound so sometimes in farming we buy a bargain and sometimes we pay over the odds. But this is all money going round and one day we benefit and one day someone else benefits. I haven't a lot of money but at the moment I'm lucky as our farming business hasn't been affected yet and my coaching is still continuing although I'm adapting everything constantly to keep up with race cancellations and restrictions) but it's all work and all bringing in money. So I can spend some of that. I have bought some teeshirts and mugs from my sisters business Genki Gear and some Thermos flasks from Flasks online as they are a small business operating out of Mirfield and have already been hit by floods this year. I have now asked Steve if he needs any running stuff and my next purchase is going to be from Pete Bland Sports
7) I'm trying to give support to everyone/anyone. When I had cancer the support I got was incredible and I learnt about the power of it. Knowing that people are thinking about me and have taken the time to send a card or flowers or ring me up made so much difference when I was feeling low. So all those letters I've kept promising myself to write I am writing. All those telephone calls I am making. While out running I think everyone is so much nicer now and when we say "Morning" and give a nod - we really meaning "Morning and I hope you and your families are alright". And that is why we must all do our part and stay away from people to make sure all their families are alright.
17th March - Well a week today I was due to fly to Atlanta and take part in the Barkley Marathons again but obviously that became not possible with US restrictions on UK travellers. With many touching communications between runners and Laz, and many of the remaining runners voluntarily giving up their place in the interests of Laz's health, then the US State Parks have now closed - the Barkley Marathons 2020 have been cancelled. All UK fell races are being cancelled as well as all other sporting events. Although this is all hugely disappointing, to farmers it is reminiscent of Foot and Mouth and is the only way forward. I'm now looking to do a long day out in the mountains somewhere instead and much decorating at Mark Farm in Galloway!
25th February - This weekend I've done lots of running in the Peak District as due to the weather and cows calving (we've got 22 now!) it was more worthwhile running locally and being at home. This has though enabled me to do a Park run (my 21st I think) and the West Yorkshire Winter League race. These are great events and the Dewsbury event uses the Hoppits race course which is how I got involved. So a 5ish mile blast round Stainland Lions course on Sunday morning followed by 4 hours over Bleaklow on Sunday afternoon. The legs were pretty shattered at Winter Mondays last night!
15th February - I went to the Lakes on the Saturday with Andy Heading to try and recce Leg 1 of the BG. Storm Dennis was forecast and after 4 hours we decided enough was enough and retired to a cafe! That evening was the Ambleside Climbers Shop Charity event at 4pm however the worsening weather meant that attendance was lower than booked. I enjoyed watching the Barkley film and talking about 2019 and my plans for 2020! The audience were great and asked some really good questions. Afterwards Cathy said for me to get off as the roads were getting flooded. We made it out by going through some deep waters and were thankful to do so. Thanks ever so much to Inov-8 and the Climbers Shop/Joe Browns for organising the event. We raised £360 for Odyssey and Hugo has been in touch to say thanks!
On the Sunday I headed over to Saddleworth for the New Chew orienteering event. With a strong wind and showers forecast it looked very cold out there as I drove over Wessenden. Looking at the map there were a lot of stream junctions and having had lots of poor experiences of Stream Junction finding on this event - I wasn't keen! But it had to be done and so it was! Not very fast but reasonably accurately. I then headed off to Wessenden for a 40 pointer and halfway there realised that it might not have been the best decision as I only had two hours and was as far away from the Finish as I could possibly be - knowing that the route back was rather rough too!
I collected the 40 pointer and then just basically headed for home! making good progress I debated a 10 pointer but after floundering around in a stream/river bed in heather and rocks I aborted that silly idea and just ran in finishing with 10 minutes to spare and all my 225 points intact! 9th Overall in the end and 1st Lady. Chew 2020 Results.pdf This is one of the best races in the calendar and many thanks to Peter Cobley and Saddleworth Runners for a great event and the best pie and peas ever!
11th February - To get some more Barkley training in I went to Wales with Kirsty Hewitson despite the forecast and Storm Ciara coming in. Saturday wasn't a bad day until 3pm (although too cold for photos) and we managed a lot of the Rhinogs ridge from Barmouth bridge to Clip before aborting down to Trawsfynydd (finishing over another impressive bridge) just before dark. Thanks to Flora for collecting us from there. On reaching my van at Barmouth though I saw I had a total flat tire but between us we had changed the wheel in about 20 minutes! Off to the pub and pizza for tea. The forecast was very bad for Sunday and over breakfast we decided to abort and go home. That was such a good decision as even getting out of Wales meant driving through flooded roads and up onto pavements. We We were all home at 11am and tucked up inside in the warm! Photos
On a very windy day I completed in the Wadsworth Trog on 1st February. I set off wearing longs and warm thermal just wanting to enjoy it as we'd had a long tiring week on farm. I don't like some of the new course and tried to settle into a running rhythm on these flatter sections. I felt good though and the wind did help once by blowing me uphill but overall it was quite a battle even running downhill against it. I had looked at my previous times and thought I'd done 3.26 hours and 3.34 hours so said to Steve Sanders that I was hoping for 3.30 hours. I was glad to finish and get out of the wind and am very chuffed with my 3.24 hours! I was 4th Lady and 1st LV50 - beating the LV50 record - which I checked afterwards was actually my own! 2020 Wadsworth Results
28th January 2020 - Last weekend I attended the National Running Show in Birmingham as part of the Bad Boy Running Ultra Zone. I have done a podcast for Bad Boy running in January 2019 and kept in touch ever since. My slot was on Sunday morning but I arrived on Saturday lunchtime to take in the show. It was much bigger and busier than I ever imagined it would be! It was good to meet up with Keri Wallace from Girls on Hills and we had a great time at the show and also in Wetherspoons then the "Networking dinner" in the evening. I never plucked up courage to go and talk to Laz on Saturday and then couldn't find him before leaving on Sunday. Oh well - that will have to wait till later in the year!
25th January 2020 - Last week I have been attending the Fell Running Association Race Organisors meetings and found myself in the Lakes on Thursday so me and Wisp went for a long run over Helvellyn. I ended up running hard so that I could get back and make the Ambleside branch of Alpkit before closing. I actually ended up running through Ambleside in full fell running kit and throwing myself through the door at 5.27pm surprising them all. Thanks Alpkit for a lovely warm pair of Rhombic Waterproof Winter Gloves !
18th January 2020 - I had a great weekend running on the Welsh mountains with Kirsty, Flora & Wisp. For a change we went to Dolgellau and the weather was perfect. Saturday we found a great route ending up on Cadair Idris at sunset however on Sunday we weren't so fortunate and out descent eventually led us to a recently deforested forest! Thanks so much to Flora for collecting on both days and saving us from a long road run back! Photos of both days
12th January - Trigger in cold, wet conditions. As part of the organising team I sat at Registration until 15 minutes before the Start and didn't realise how cold and wet it had got outside. Hence I set off in 3/4's and a lighter waterproof than I would have really liked. I felt good though and as usual glad to be off and leave organising to someone else for 5 hours! The rain came down as we headed to Wessenden and I was soaked right through. Then as we climbed Black Hill the wind and the clag came in. Overall the conditions suited me perfectly and I warmed up running into Crowden where I was chased by Kev Saville. At least having Kev for company made the flat running pass quicker and I was glad to reach the bottom of Torside. I put more gloves and hats on here and ascended into the clag again. The water was just running in all the trods making it hard for me to tell whether I was in a stream or on a path heading towards Shelf Moor. I emerged pleased to see the Woodhead Mountain Rescue marshalls there. I dived off glad to be heading down again. As I approached the path near the waterfall I caught some runners and we headed to Snake Top CP. Straight across as it was too cold to stop. The clag was coming and going but I went too far along the flags and ended up in some rubbish ground down Withins. The Cp appeared quickly and I was surprised that runners ahead were going up the path. Never mind I thought as I headed direct. I bumped into more runners climbing towards the Fence CP and it was Conrad Rawlik and 4 other men. They disappeared off after the CP but I caught them again at the Woolpacks. It was good to be running with people to try and keep up with. I love the descent down from Grineslow Knoll to the Finish and especially as my hands warmed up! Running into Fieldhead Campsite I was happy to finish and very chuffed with my time (4.38.30 hours) and 2nd Lady position behind Megan Wilson. Results
Steve said he set off steadily and was initially disappointed with his 6.30 hours but now knows he can push a bit harder. We're both entered into the Manx Mountain Marathon at Easter!
8th January - Brief synopsis of my Christmas and New Year
Christmas Eve to Boxing Day - travelled to Devon and spent Christmas with my Aunt Maggie and family. Had a stinking cold / cough but festivities helped!
Home to the farm for a couple of days
Weekend - off to Galloway to Mark farm then on Saturday 28th I travelled to Ireland to race with Billy Reed over there which was tough being an 8 mile trail race. Also Sunday went for a very windy run in the Mournes - cough subsiding a bit.
Week - spent decorating at Mark Farm. Finished one room completely and ran out of paint! Steve's sister Sue and John visited to celebrate New Year! No running!
Home to Trigger preparations!