22nd April - my birthday! Yesterday I travelled to the Lakes with Majka and Pez and did the Teenager with Altitude. It was busy with 300 runners then 700 in the Waltz and very warm so I decided to set off steady. I felt good all the way up the Causey Pike which is unusal for me. Then kept drinking and getting the gels down and climbing Robinson had a spirt of energy. From there to the finish I was passing the Waltz runners which always feels strange and is hard to pace. But I ran hard and finished in 3.36 hours, 3rd Lady and 1st Vet. It was a poignant race as Steve Cliff was a good friend of mine and died over Christmas so I kept thinking of him and how sad it was. I hope somewhere he appreciated the huge turnout and the weather for his classic races.
Last weekend I went to Scotland to do some long hills with Majka. There was still a lot of snow but it was perfect running snow !! I was dreading the floundering type but it was solid but with a melted surface so we got grip in Mudclaws and used the ice axes a lot. We were able to get two long days in covering 36 miles and 5950m climb. On the Saturday we met up with Helen Rennard and scrambled over Carn Mor Dearg arete after her! Poor Wisp was tired by this time and I had to help her over some rocks. I was very impressed at her. We finished off the day by meeting Nancy Kennedy and Keri for a pint and well earned tea. Photos
10th April: Steve wanted a long run on Sunday so I dropped him at Marsden and he ran the Trigger route to Edale. I drove to Edale and did a 20 mile run - a sort of Mini HPM getting to Abbey Brook and finishing with a hot ascent of Crookstone Knoll. It was warm and poor Wisp was overheating with her thick winter coat. Steve had a good run getting to Edale at 4pm and then we went to the Strines pub for tea!
On the farming front the rain is putting paid to land work and with no prospect of turning any cows out it's pretty miserable for us and the cows. But the sold cows & calves are being collected on Wednesday so that will ease the straw situation as we will spread the other 50 cows and calves out between two sheds. Where has the sun gone?!
2nd April. Quite a gap in updating my diary because a lot going on and the weather has been depressing so farming has been hard. But I think we're lucky as we don't have any stock outside and have nearly finished calving. Only 5 to go! So at this time of year we should be harrowing, rolling, putting fertilizer on and fencing in readiness for turning out. We haven't done any of that because a) the land is too wet and b) the grass isn't growing because it's too cold. And then today we've got more chuffing snow which just gets into the cattle sheds and makes them even wetter. Straw is at a premium - we bought it at £12 per bale in August and did have enough. The wet weather has meant we have used more and now only just have enough. To buy now it's £25 per bale which when we're using 3 to 4 per day is scary. Anyhow I'm sure spring will be here shortly.
Another farming event that has happened is that as part of Steve's retirement and my job change (to doing more coaching !!) we are downsizing to a herd of 45 cows. Last weekend we advertised 33 cows and calves on www.sellmylivestock.co.uk and on Good Friday we sold them. Still to finalise but really good news.
Friday 30th March. With farming taking up much of my time I was keen to do another race over Easter. I'd heard of the Howgills race a few weeks ago and had entered. With 14 miles and 2000m of climb it was going to be hard. I drove up with Wisp as I planned on a day in the Lakes for Saturday. This is the first time I'd taken Wisp to a race as I don't like leaving her by Charmian and Steve Wathall promised to look after her. It was a low key registration and the weather was undecided in being sunny or overcast. I had hoped to run in a vest but it proved too cold so I wore a windproof as well all the way round. There were 73 runners and we quickly spread out so navigation was key to get from CP to CP especially as the route criss crossed a lot of paths and hills. There seemed to be little proper running and lots of big steep climbs and descents but I felt ok most of the way round. I enjoyed the grassy descent to a sheepfold then the climb to the last CP before hurtling down to the finish. I finished 27th in 3.25 hours, 4th lady and 1st LV40/LV50. No official results out yet but some cracking photos here - Grand Day out Photography
24th March - After quite a tired week I wanted to do something nice and the Doctor's Gate Race fitted the bill being local and a new AL race. The weather was glorious and it was vest and shorts! With the clocks changing and cows needing feeding I felt a little tired to start and so took it steady up the long Doctors Gate path. The course had been changed slightly but was flagged in parts so navigation wasn't really necessary. I really enjoyed the runable climbs then the hairy descents and then a steep walking climb before a long gradual downhill to the finish. A great course and really enjoyable all round with the Queens providing good beer and buffet afterwards. Results
17th March - The weekend after the Skyline I went down to Devon to visit my aunt (in between more snow) and also take part in the Grizzly. My aunt was well and we enjoyed a nice Saturday together. The Grizzly had already been shortened when I arrived due to the weather forecast to 10 miles instead of 20 which was dissappointing. However on Sunday morning this was a wise decision as it's not a fell race and no kit is required! I quite enjoyed it and will go back to do the full route hopefully next year! It snowed heavily during the race and with no gritters in Devon the roads were gridlocked with crashed cars. Luckily Rob in his 4x4 got us back home and to the pub! Results
12th March - Yesterday I raced the Edale Skyline. Not being one of my favourites now that there is little route choice and a lot of it is paved in stone flags - but a Fell Championship AL race, local and very good training I nearly always do it. And this year it was being run anticlockwise so that added a different dimension to it. A huge field of 420 runners set off on a warmer than forecast day - I wore just a vest and was toasty! The first climb was crowded but along the tops I enjoyed the rocky path. Getting to Brown Knoll the paving flags started and went on forever. I didn't think I could go any faster but loads of people passed me. Then over Mam Tor, Lose Hill and again loads of people seeming to pass me. I was loking forward to the steep climb to Winhill then the gradual climb to the last CP - at least on grass and muddy footpaths too! I gave myself a talking too and with approx an hour to go just upped the pace to get the race over quicker! I ran all the uphills and the muddy path to Ringing Roger before trying to fly down to Edale as I knew there was a young lady behind me that could really descend!
I finished 12th and 1st V50 in a time of 3.31 hours which is the same time as two years ago! Sportident Results
6th March - Wow - two weeks has passed very quickly and there was I thinking nothing had happened because of the snow! Well firstly there was Hoppits Hill Races http://www.hoppits.co.uk/ where I was missing three key people; Keith, Brent and Charmian but Andy Plummer, Bernice Nixon and Ian Charlesworth stepped in. However 56 Juniors registered for the Junior races which is nearly double the usual 30 runners I get ....so although I'm very pleased it was a shock on the day! Next year I'll be prepared so I hope to see them all again then! And we got great weather for the race - sunny, cold and dry. The courses were actually quite dry too! The Juniors went well and then onto the Seniors where again I got more runners than last year. A big thankyou to Penistone Footpath Runners and AC who make the race a championship race and that doubles numbers. 74 runners ran and apart from a couple of wanderings everyone followed the tapes etc correctly. Everyone made it back to the Cricket club to enjoy Fay's bacon sandwhiches and cakes; that's the main thing! Dave & Eileen Woodhead came and took hundreds of great photos and helped me out organising as well. Junior race and prize giving photos & Seniors Album 1 & Seniors -Album 2
So two days later the snow came! We're busy calving and the snow's getting in the sheds, the water pipes are freezing and everything takes so much longer to do. On top of that I was supposed to be doing the High Peak Marathon then driving to Scotland to talk at Braemar Adventure Festival. However first the HPM was cancelled then Braemar - both of which although I wanted to do - the weather/travel was not inviting. I am glad that I got an entry to Edale Skyline this coming Sunday, then the week after I'm heading to Devon to see my aunt but also I have got an entry into the The Grizzly which will be interesting!!
The cows have been calving thick and fast and we have 60 calves now. The snow got in the sheds and they are rather damp but the cattle don't mind the cold weather so are looking healthy. We have 25 cows left to calve and just want them to get on with it now!
21st February - I've been a bit busy for updating - sorry! I was on a 1st Aid course for the whole weekend of February 10th/11th. This was very good but obviously took up the whole weekend. Will was a very good teacher and I'm glad that we didn't have to try and learn lots of medical stuff but he concentrated on getting us to assess, clear the airways and put into Safe Airway Position asap as that is the most important aspect of lifesaving in a lot of cases. The weather was truely awful but we did our rescue scenarios out in the sleet showers making us realise how important those shelters and emergency bags are.
During the week Shane Benzie from https://www.runningreborn.co.uk/ Damian Hall recommended Shane to me. We spent an enjoyable morning running and analysing my form which surprisingly is very good uphill and downhill but fairly heavy on the flat. Shane gave me some advice about trying to run tall and light which I'm trying to put into practice!
Then the following weekend I ran one of my own course Ultra Race & Round Course which went very well with six people coming along. On the Sunday it was the New Chew in really nice conditions. I set off looking for satream junctions and was doing ok but then came across a dead missing man Bernard Gaunt. He was face down but looked like he had just gone to sleep as he was on a bed of cut heather and comfortable. There was another runner with me Paul Taylor who distantly knew the man as he was local from Saddleworth and also the organisors so he said he would call it in. Neither of us had signal so I said I would also ring. We ran off in opposite directions; me on course for the next CP. When I got signal I looked down my phone and didn't have any organisors numbers. I decided that rather than ringing the police and confusing things I would carry on as Paul insisted and finish. It was rather odd though. I couldn't really concentrate. But I enjoyed running and appreciated the fact that I was able to. I finished and got an update from Paul. MRT were at the scene now and dealing with it all. I was first Lady which was a surprise. New Chew 2018 results
And then - in between all that ....... we've had 23 calves born! Mainly ok - one set of twins and one breach but we sorted and the calves were born alive!
4th February - things have improved greatly this weekend. My dad came down from Lewis for the week which was lovely. I managed my speed session on Thursday after another massage with Jeff Cole at http://www.injuryscene.co.uk/ then on Saturday I ran the Wadsworth Trog race in cold, snowy conditions. It was very wet underfoot and with my back still feeling sore I started off steady. There was very little grip through the soft snow and small steps were needed to get anywhere. Knowing the course is more runnable now helps as I know what to expect and plough out the crosscountry sections without too much grumbling! I was trying to run all the way as I've been frustrated with my lack of training runs and so thought I would try and make up for it. I ate well and with the snow the flagged sections were actually slower than usual which actually helped me as less people passed me than normal.
I was about 4th or 5th most of the way round but I passed a couple of ladies in the later half. Then came the only navigational bit and I set off on the way I know rather than following runners heading off in another direction. I didn't know whether I had made a good decision as I was now on my own with only the runners behind (probably following me) for company. I ran on to the last CP and headed down the valley knowing that there is a long steep climb to finish. It was a bit randomly marked so I had to back track a bit but made the footbridge and started the uphill fields. The fields were so muddy it felt like being on a treadmill not moving! But with no-one in front and no-one behind I plodded upwards. Finishing was really nice not having anyone to sprint against. I found out later that I was 2nd behind Sharon Jebb and about 5 minutes slower than last year. Wadsworth-trog-results-2018/
Then today Steve wanted a walk so I went for a 10 mile run around Derwent Edge to meet him. So I'm really happy with how my training seems to be back on track now.
I've also written up the Trigger 2018 report - rather briefly but it's hard once the race has passed to remember everything. I was so happy the weather and the day went very well. Trigger 2018
23rd January - After a great race on the Trigger I was snow bound for most of the week with the roads being too grid locked for travel being worthwhile. Then on Thursday I was shoved over by some cattle which resulted in a very bad back. I've had back twinges before but nothing like this. So after a massage and lots of stretches I was able to run again very carefully on Monday night. It was so frustrating to be going steady but worth it as my back felt better afterwards. Socks are still a challenge but I feel like I'm improving daily now.
16th January - The Trigger Fell race was last weekend - held on the 14th January. Once again we had a full race early on but lots of injuries and colds meant that on the day we had 170 runners registered on a relatively calm and benign day. This was a relief after last year. In fact that became the most said phrase "It's so much better than last year". With clear (ish) visibility, temperatures of around 4C and freezing on the tops it was a very pleasant race for me. As usual it takes me to around Bleaklow to run off the stresses of organising and also to get onto ground that I prefer - instead of tracks and slabs. I really enjoyed the race and seeing all the Woodhead Mountain Rescue marshalls on route. What a great day! Thank you all. http://www.marsdentoedale.co.uk/
6th January - With a few people reccying the Ramsay Round it was a good excuse to visit and run in the Highlands again. I travelled up with Majka, Pez and Wisp to meet up with Jim Paxman and Tim Rippon. There was more snow than I have ever seen before but we made good use of our winter gear and the good weather and got three good days in. Not much distance was covered but we managed three Munros a day! Wisp was named the "Wisp the Wonder dog" by the end as she developed amazing snow running techniques. Photos
2017 Christmas and New Year - in March 2017 we bought a property in Galloway in Pinwherry. It's very rural and needs quite a lot of work doing to it but we were keen to spend Christmas there and so travelled up on Christmas Eve and were there until New Years Day. It was lovely to relax and work but also explore the surrounding area. Friends that came to stay got stuck in the snow but luckily it came and went quickily. I had hoped to run round the Ring of Fire in the Galloway Forest Park but the snow on the hills and ice on the roads put paid to that so I made do with typical forest tracks, rides but also some lovely snowy runnable hills! Happy New Year everyone. I hope 2018 is a good one.