Taking on Bob

70 miles, 42 peaks, 28,000ft of ascent (and descent) – on June 4th 2011 I'm taking on the Bob Graham (for the second time!)

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Decided that today I would stretch myself out a bit by doing a short run down the valley, up Loughrigg and then back again via a couple of landmarks.

I met a couple of walkers as I was passing through a gate asking me where I was heading.  When I said up Loughrigg, they had all sorts of suggestions as to the most scenic routes. Having down Steel Fell yesterday I wasn’t keen on any of these.  I pointed up the fell. “This way looks the hardest” and off I went.  Yep, definitely the hardest route I have found up Loughrigg yet and one that I will use when I only have a short time to fit in a run.

Great views today.

Anyway there and back about 10k in 1hr 5 mins. Happy with that!

Steel Fell

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Okay, an update on the Steel Fell dream.  I did Steel Fell today after 10 miles or so and without a break before hitting it.

Needless to say, it wasn’t quite the “Five strides, ta da!”

arghhh! If you look at Steel Fell from the Dunmail Road it does look bad. It does look steep and if you look at it from the side it looks pretty grim.

Before approaching Steel Fell I did a run I last did in the snow, Heron Pike, Great Rigg Man, Fairfield and then Seat Sandal (all in cloud). As I descended the wrong way down Seat Sandal (that’s why we practice these things!)  the cloud lifted and I got a good view of what was ahead of me.  That didn’t prepare me for hitting it straight on without a break. I thought that physically it would be a challenge.  I hadn’t appreciated mentally the challenge that it is.

First mistake was taking the grassy route.  Or maybe it wasn’t. Either way it didn’t feel like a great idea once three quarters up, when I found myself hanging on to the grass with my hands to stop myself falling backwards and down the fell.  It did make me wonder whether going up the more rocky cutting would be a better idea.  Yes it would be looser under foot, but if you started to fall, as long as you fell to one side or other you wouldn’t go very far.

I hadn’t realised that the fear of falling backwards would be a problem. Chris, from F2K, on hearing me say this asked why I was looking backwards.  Good point.  I won’t do it again!

The good thing was once you got to the top the slope became instantly more manageable which meant I could break straight back into a run.  Useful to know this.  Means that I can go hard up here and recover on the trot.

Oh, looking back this is what you see of Seat Sandal. Notice the pathway to the left of the picture coming around the end. That’s not how I came down. I came down to the right of the picture where you can clearly see there is no path!  Good that the cloud lifted so I could see this!

Nothing like being able to see what you are meant to do before you have to do it!

A quiet day?

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So yesterday acupuncture with orders to have a quiet day today.  Could I do it?

I went to my first ever spinning class this evening.  In terms of sessions something I will definitely repeat. There was a lot of variation to the session, but it was great to be doing a “bike” session where you can’t stop peddling. And to do an hour long session where by the end I felt like I had been actually doing something was great!

The downside was, of course, that recovering from acupuncture the day before, my legs really weren’t up playing full out.  However much my head and body knew I could deal with it, there was a fatigue to my legs that Jo had been warned me about.

Oh well, three days of rest await me!

I headed out today slightly worried about what route I should run.  The rain was heavy and the cloud cover low.  But as I was heading out the door my brother-in-law said, “It might be raining on the day and chances are you won’t be able to see a thing” and with that in mind I decided to do an 8 mile loop including Helm Crag.

I am still really conscious that I am nursing injuries and so I have been trying to keep the distance to around 10 miles max but to be out for two hours or less.  Also I have been aiming to go up and down as much as possible.  Flat runs are most definitely out. And with that in mind Helm Crag made complete sense.

First thing, the dog refused.  I guess after five days of heading out for the fells she decided she really, really didn’t fancy it.  She sat down, dug her paws in and gave me the puppy dog eyes.  I turned back and let her off (this time!)

The approach to Helm Crag is really pretty flat after which you rapidly climb to the peak before dropping down the other side, equally rapidly.  What I could see was very little.  The rain was lashing down and the cloud cover low. On a nice Autumn day I might have seen this.

Image taken from StridingEdge.net

Okay this is an Autumn pic, but you get the idea

I didn’t take this pic, it was taken by one of the owners of www.lovethelakes.net.

The ascent was interesting as, due to the rain, the path up had been turned into a stream.  A stream with a bed of slippery stones; my favourite!

I had really hoped to post some great pictures of the view up and down the valley as I approached the top. Here’s the best I could manage. I only stopped because Sharon, one of my fellow directors of my business, called me.  Sharon, this is where I was when you called!

And up the valley…

I had to cut the call short with Sharon as I realised that clouds descended was potentially an issue.

Thirty seconds later, it was!

Where is it?!

Helm Crag lost in the clouds

I wasn’t going to turn around and minutes later I was greeted with Helm Crag.

The edge really is the edge in this instance.

Anyways, heading down the rain made its presence felt.  It’s not that it got heavier, it’s just that I discovered what happens when rain streams through a 60 degree grass field.  Standing really was an issue. Sliding on the other hand was not!

So today I managed to cover the ground quicker than any other day this trip.  Interestingly, I have got progressively faster.

But the major breakthrough is that my left leg/knee feels great and my right, only slightly sore.  A week ago, running was a challenge. In fact I was feeling a lot worried about being fit to run in June.  Today I feel back on track!

Best intentions….

I honestly set out with dog with the aim of doing a reasonably small run. 5 miles or so would have been nice.

I started off with the idea of just running up Silver How.  Not done that one recently (I think about 8 years!)

Loughrigg Terrace gave me views like this of Silver How.

Stormy weather

Once I got to Silver How I had a decision to make. Down to Grasmere or on to …

I felt really comfortable so onwards it was.  I ran onwards spotting some walkers ascending the peak in the distance.  I thought to myself, “I could get them before they get to the top.” I did. Yay.

They were pretty impressed too.  Always makes me feel good when someone comments on the fact that I am covering ground quickly.  Nothing like it for inspiring you to carry on further. So I did.

And at the top…

Snow!

And then on to Easedale Tarn.  Descending down to the Tarn I picked up some good speed.  I barely noticed the rain.  Apparently it was pretty heavy to start with and then slipped back into a comfortable downpour!

Now in order to protect the pathways from erosion, the powers that be have ordered the pebbling of the pathways.  Okay, pebbling doesn’t quite capture it.  Big stones, pebbledash pathways.  Nice for walkers, ridiculous for runners flying downhill.  A small slip…..

I gave myself 5 seconds to collect my thoughts before I attempted getting up again.  Pain, yes, blood, yes, carry on, no option.  As I did carry on, I became aware that the main pain was coming from the knee that has been giving me the most pain recently. Typical that I would land on that!

Anyway back in only leaving a few pieces of me on the fell.

By the time I got back in my arms was swollen in several spots, not to mention my knee.  Iced it. Tomorrow I will find out how much my first Lakeland fall has effected me!

You turn your back for one week and then…

My disused railway nature walk

This used to be the most beautiful disused railway.  Tree lined with a nice track running down the middle, ideal for running, cycling, dog walking, a short cut to the local supermarket, secondary school.  You get the idea.  Anyway some one has decided that we need a Metrolink (tram) line to our suburb.  Step one, destroy the nature trail.

Helvellyn

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Made it! According to the weather reports its about -12c up here at the moment.  Not going to stand around too long in my running gear!

Looking East from Helvellyn, just catch Striding Edge in the left of the shot and Ullswater in the distance.

Looking West you can see the Langdales and Scafell Pike in the distance, what a great day! How amazing is this weather!

Crikey, I have to run across those after thirty miles of running!

Where I just came from.

Fairfield again

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From Dollywaggon Pike.

Fairfield!

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And the view out West, looking over to the Langdales and Scafell Pike in the distance.the Langdales

And this is where I am heading next, Helvellyn!

Dollywaggon Pike, Nethermost Pike and Helvellyn

Still running

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an hour in now, this is the view up to Great Rigg as you round Heron Pike.  You can just see Fairfield in the distance.