Saturday, 20 March 2010

Dry season

It's been amazingly dry for the last few weeks. Although there is still snow on the ground in places, the bits that have drained are as dry as they normally are in the summer months. One of the local farmers even took the chance to burn some gorse and bracken off his land (I assume that's why they do it - feel free to correct me if not).

Then today we finally had some rain. I took this opportunity to run to the summit of Axe Edge. This hill is long and pretty flat and is the source of about 5 rivers. So it's no surprise that it was very boggy. In fact many of the wetter patches had their own mallards! Here's the trig point at the summit.
The route was just under 11 miles, and will probably be a welcome addition to my set of routes once I work out the details a bit better. As it was it satisfied my need for longer slow runs, as it took me about 2 hours.

Tomorrow, I plan to cheer on the runners taking part in the Edale Skyline fell race. There are a few Fat Boys (the running club I am in) running it. I think the ascent of Lose Hill is probably the best place to watch it. Otherwise they go past too quickly. This way, I should have a chance to heckle and they'll be too tired to answer.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Wolf Spit

I have been counting down the weeks and days until my first fell race of the year. It was today, and I hoped I had got my training right in the final few days before the race. I went for a hard and hilly 8-miler on Thursday, followed by two gentle recovery runs on Friday and Saturday.

Wolf's Pit is 5.8 miles with 1600 feet of ascent (and descent), so is among the steeper of the Peak District fell races. It runs up the hill behind Mrs Noel in the photograph, which is, of course, steeper than it looks here. I had been looking at last year's results and thought I could do faster than 49 minutes. Mrs Noel was sagely pointing out that I haven't done that much training so should be taking it easy! Imagine - taking it easy in a fell race!

There was also the added spice that I knew my long-time training partner Dave would be trying to beat me up the first hill. While I tried to put such things out of my mind, it was quite tricky. Especially after his demolition of my hill climbing ability 4 weeks ago on a training run.

We set off quickly and I was feeling confident until we turned for the first climb. I heard a "Come on Noel!" from the spectators - thanks whoever it was. This shout was followed a few seconds later by "Come on Dave!" My fears were confirmed when Dave smoothly accelerated past me up the first climb. I was full of friendly advice befitting such a situation, "Take is easy" and "It's a marathon not a sprint", but these thinly veiled taunts were dismissed as they should have been. Luckily my hilly training seemed to have paid off and I managed to sneak a slender lead by the top of the first climb, which I managed to hold on to for the remainder of the race.

Surprisingly, my descending seems to have improved. I actually made up a few places on the downhill sections, which is not my normal form. I managed to finish in 48 minutes 40 seconds. So was very pleased to be ahead of my target time.

Mrs Noel was also pleased with her day. She was third lady, for which she got a prize. She was also first lady vet40, for which she got another prize. She was very pleased that one of the prizes was garden centre vouchers. It's as if the organisers knew her.

Once we'd had our free soup and roll (thanks to the organisers), we all huddled round the boards showing the results. Stuart Bond won it by a street. A mere 14 places and over 8 minutes (!!) ahead of me. I can only imagine how fast that must feel.