Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Date in Winter.

I feel I've done enough training now for my Bob Graham round. 3 months of high miles, and big ascents, building on the rest of the years base miles.

So, the 6th/7th of January I shall be leaving the Moot Hall at 8pm.
Darkness for legs 1 + 2 and as far as Rossett Crag. From there the most technical ground will traversed in daylight, before dusk again falls at Honister Pass. Leg 5 back to Keswick again in the dark. All this based on a 23 hour schedule.

I'm feeling strong and confident.

Having written all that, I will be at the mercy of the weather and ground conditions. A much faster runner than me, Nick Clark is currently on his own winter round. Early expectations were of a sub 20 hour round. The most recent time check is that he's well down on the 24 hour time limit after leg 2. Rain, low visibility, and deep snow aren't helping. My fingers are crossed for him.

Let's hope the Lakeland Fells and weather play nice in January.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bob Graham Training 2011 for a Winter Round.

Just over a year ago I started training for the Bob Graham.

Unfortunately the training ended about a month later.

Too much too soon, seemed to be the cause of it. I'd read of building run mileages up slowly, but I guess I thought this didn't refer to me.

I did try a come back of sorts but my aspirations for 2010 as written elsewhere on here fizzled out. Looking back now, this has been a good thing.

I kept at the running, didn't fret about the mileage or ascent, and in so doing built a solid base from which to work from.

I trained hard as well for the Three Peaks Cyclo-Cross. With lots of time spent on the bike which seems to have transferred well to running up hills.

So after the Peaks I tentatively decided to keep training with half an eye on the BG again.

I've concentrated on my running technique, I'm now a fore/mid foot runner, and the knee problems that have plagued me in the past, are a distant memory.

I've worked on a week of hard work, followed by an easier one to allow recovery. Though throughout making sure I get as much hill work in, even if the mileage is low.

There have been some long runs, and some proper long rough ones.

I've been practicing eating on the move, and gorged myself in cafes on the way round, all good.

This last week has been my biggest so far, and a sort of tester to reassure myself that all is going to plan.

64 miles and 9000' on the fixie with lots of hard efforts.

60 miles and 19,200' run including a 9 1/2 hour day.

Felt pretty good throughout really, though a couple of little niggles started to appear towards the end of the week. Though these don't seem to be developing in to show stoppers. Anway, an easy week this one.

So I'm fit enough I reckon to give the Bob Graham round a good go.

Plans are afoot for a winter round if the weather plays nice.

More soon.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

School Run #1

 Putting ones proposed plans on the internet is good if you need a reminder, or a little nudge, but is not so good if you have a change of mind. Writing this a couple of days ago commited me to going for a long run yesterday. Basically drop kids at school, go for long run, pick kids up after school. Which would have been fine if I, a) woke up with more than fifteen minutes to get ready and be out of the door, and b) hadn't got a bit of a hangover. I could have so easily opted for a less stressful start to the day.

I rushed a gulp of tea, and a couple of rounds of toast down me whilst collecting together the stuff I'd fortunately organised the preceding evening. Less than ten minutes to get to school, means we'll be riding there and quickly. Kids delivered to school on time, bike dumped in the school bike shed, and I'm away.

I'd been rushing that much that I ran off on autopilot, not going the exact way I had planned. Soon to be rectified with a slight change of direction. The next part of the route I knew well, and it wasn't until past the Brown Knoll trig, that I covered some new to me ground. The sun was shining thankfully and the ground was dry, Brown Knoll has little attraction on any other day.

Brown Knoll from South Head.

After the desolation of Brown Knoll, it was back to a sort of civilisation and the kempt ridge path that takes me over Lord's Seat and onto Lose Hill. Lots of folk out walking this part of the route. I say good morning to them all.

Whilst descending Lose Hill, I check my watch and I'm down on my schedule by about ten minutes. I also can't decide what I'm going to have for lunch. I'd like a full English, but can envisage my stomach not being impressed once I start running again. Ten minutes later and I am in the Woodbine Cafe. A pint of coffee in front of me and beans on toast ordered. Map out to see if I can find a bit of time in better route choices, if I'm ten minutes down now, then that would mean maybe twenty minutes down overall, which wouldn't do. I find a solution. Nothing for it but to run the first two and a bit miles on the road, which should give me back a bit of time.

Another cup of coffee before I leave and I'm soon heading up Edale road. I'm making for the YHA en route for Ringing Roger and the Kinder Plateau.

Edale YHA.
After the YHA it is open ground, and the headwind I was expecting began to make itself apparent. Once on the plateau, whilst near the edge the wind near blew me over a couple of times. Thankfully when inland of the edge a bit, the wind's effect was not as intense.

I'm starting to clock watch more intensely now, doing Naismith type calculations in my head whilst trying to keep up my running speed. Unsurprisingly my legs are tiring a bit, so pushing on hurts. At Edale Cross, it's mostly downhill, the time is 15:02. I conclude that it's going to be a close thing getting back to school for 15:20, which I've since worked out would be 3 x 6 minute miles :)

The last thing I want to do at the end of a long run is to start running fast, but that is exactly what I had to do. I lengthened my stride and went for it.  Down the rocky uneven  ankle twisting Edale Road, then onto the unforgiving, no excuse not to really run fast tarmac back into the village and onto school.

I made it some ten minutes late, only to be told off by my kids for keeping them waiting.

25 miles, and 4400', 5 Hours 48 minutes moving.

A really enjoyable day out in the hills.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Plotted, A School Run.

I've quite often got free time during the week after taking the kids to school and before picking them again if I'm not working.

So I've come up with an occasional challenge, which shall be henceforth called the "School Run". The idea is to drop the kids at school at 8:50 and run somewhere, before returning to pick them up at  15:20.

6 1/2 hours should be good for a good few hilly miles. I've done it before on the bike, and it can be quite challenging getting back "just in time".

My first School Run is plotted for tomorrow at 25 miles.  From here over to the Woodbine Cafe for lunch and then back again. Weather is looking bang on.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I finished the 3 Peaks Cyclo Cross 2011

This year at the 3 Peaks Cyclo Cross was going to be my fastest, and by a long way. I've done the race three times before, and always been the wrong side of 4 hours 30 minutes.This time my plan was to be pretty close to, if not under 4 hours.

Pic- Ed Rollason.

I'd trained really hard, lots of fell running and lots of miles on my bike. My trusty bike had just one fixed gear, so in theory little could go wrong.

Off we go from Helwith Bridge. Steady away for me, it's hammering down with rain, and people are all over the place. Once we turned off the road at Gill Garth I started reeling people back in. That is until I passed the farm. My rear tubeless tyre decides after a week of being ridden hard over pointy stuff that now is the time to unseat itself from the rim. It is pissing it down with rain, and getting the valve out of the rim is a nightmare. Long before I finally get the tyre re-inflated, I am in last place. Last place in the three peaks at Gill Garth farm is cool if you are 70 something years of age, not when you are 45 and fit.

I dig in and before Simon Fell proper I've already got a few places back. By Ingleborough I'm  120 places up, but ~20 minutes behind my 4 hour timetable. The going down off Ingleborough is gloopy, I never touched the brakes until the very last bit to Cold Cotes. Frustratingly twice my chain falls off. The chain tension is OK, how does that happen? At Cold Cotes (another 20 places up) I stop and tighten the chain, and swear a lot (sorry kids), and loads of people who I've passed now pass me.

Away on to Whernside and I'm motoring I pass everyone who's passed me (twice) and by the top I've made another 15 places. No need for elaboration but before the viaduct at Ribblehead I first pass loads of people, puncture once, get passed by loads of people, pass loads of people, puncture again etc.

At Ribblehead (now 30 places down) my wife is puzzled why I want more tubes and Co2 cylinders (which she has left in the car). Ace. I bark " Run to the car, get to Horton before me."

I ride the road slowly chatting to someone I've not seen for years. No point getting to Pen Y Ghent lane without any extra tubes. Ann eventually catches me up with replacement tubes etc. Time to push on again.

I leave Mairi and though 4 hours is already nearly up, my other goal to beat the fixed gear record of just short of five hours is still a goer. I ride and run up Pen Y Ghent lane by the top (40 places up). All is needed now is to get back down in one piece.

I descend fast, and then the chain falls off. I wait until the bike comes to a natural stop, and then put it back on again. Shortly after the chain falls off again, but this time it gets caught between the frame and the cog, resulting in a locked rear wheel. No problem I think. I stop and unwind the chain from the wheel only to find that more than half of the chain is no longer there. Oh well, game over. Consoled though that I'm not broken like some others.

Scooting and rolling gets me back to the road.

My pal Chipps Chippendale and someone who I don't know assisted me back to the finish via Madison style slingshots and other towing techniques. Thanks.

So my slowest ever 3 Peaks Cyclo-Cross at 5:07 , but definitely the most eventful.

Lessons learned for next year.

3 Peaks Cyclo Cross 2011 Aftermath

Monday, September 5, 2011

Peris Horsehoe 2011

I've been running and cycling  lots recently. Recovering from races and training quickly. I thought that slotting in the Peris Horseshoe with its 17.5 miles and 8500ft of ups and downs into my calendar would be good as a last long hard  day befor the 3 peaks at the end of the month.

Saturday I wake with a good hour to fettle myself before I leave. No rushing, I eat plenty, but not too much, I feel a bit off. Not properly ill, but just a bit bleurgh.

As I drive on I graze, and my bleurgh feeling neither transitions to the vomit stage nor does it improve. Llanberis and I decide as it's not going to get worse, it'll probably get better. I register for the race.

The weather forecast for the race was pretty grim. Rain and winds gusting up to 50mph on the tops. In the valley the forecast seemed correct. Rain and lots of it. I dressed accordingly, a thermal long sleeved top with a spare plus the usual full body cover hat and gloves. It was quite warm though in the valley, and I was wondering if the thermal was going to be overkill, there were plenty of other runners in vests.

The first climb heads up through the quarries, then on grass to the summit of Elidir Fawr 2600' in 3 miles, and the most of it runnable. I was enjoying the climb, and reeled in a few over the long climb. Though I definitely wasn't feeling as strong as I should have been.  As we pulled out of the quarries the rain and wind became a lot more noticeable, not in a making progress awkward way, but in a chilly way. I was cold. I stopped put on my extra top, and hat and pushed on.

I kept running, and  I was still cold. Granted the sun wasn't shining, but other people were wearing much less, and I didn't see their teeth chattering. I'd been eating my trusty jelly babies since the off, so fuel shouldn't have been a problem, but by the time I got to the Glyder Fawr climb (under 2 hours out) I was fading fast. Moving just fast enough to not be too cold, but not running too fast and chancing the risk of blowing completely. A long time since I've felt like that.

Coming off Glyder Fawr I avoided my speculative short cut down to Pen Y Pass, and instead took the circuitous path down. No time to try to be clever. The occasional glimpse of the Youth Hostel below spurred me on. Which was as well, as I really was on empty. The option here was to jack, or continue the other half of the horseshoe.

A relatively pleasant 1/2 an hour at the PyP bus shelter spent shivering uncontrollably, before a bus ride back down to Llanberis. Thankyou to the lady who paid my £1 bus fare.

I get warm dry clothes on have some pea and ham soup and feel back in the game. So back in the car, and homeward bound. 1/2 an hour up the road now warmed by the car's heater, I feel the signs of sleepiness. I pull into the services set my alarm for an hours time and sleep. An early night, and even the day after I slept loads.

On Saturday I was disappointed how things had turned out. I've completed this race before when much less fit than now, so I know that it was easily doable. My bleurgh feeling was most likely due to my body saying "Hey I'm tired, lets have a day off" rather than some proper illness.
Though my kit exceeded the minimum FRA race requirements, on the day I was under equipped.
I was pleased how I did my thing once it was clear that a "situation" was a distinct possibility. Making stupid decisions when cold and wet is easy.
I should have taken something a little warmer, and some money for the bus just in case.

Richard Seipp 1 - Peris Horseshoe 1

Rematch next year methinks.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Plan Fail.......A Change of Focus.

Apologies for not letting folks knowing what has been occurring. My BGR aspirations for this year all went wrong, in part due to my dissapointment with my original plan, my increasing workload, and in part due to my wife's work commitments. A deficit, and a lack of time to make it up in time for a pre-determined date. Gutted really, to not be able to turn up and give it a realistic go.

I tend not to write when there's nothing positive to say, and even on twitter (@richpips) I left the building for a while.

I've been back for a while riding a bit, and running also. First socially, and I have to say without my friends I'd probaly not have bothered for a good while longer. Out with friends doing fun stuff in the hills is top.

Last minute decisions got me into a couple of 24 hour races in teams rather than solo, that has been my want previously, and unlike the solo thing, racing in a team is fun. One can race hard for a lap, and then relax for the next few. This sort of got me back to the idea of racing. We're not racing for the top spots, but who can do the fastest lap ;) .

July the 1st and the entries for the 3 peaks cyclo-cross open.

I am in and I am going to race.

Just for fun of course.

More soon.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mind Training.

I haven't been able to shake this bloody lurgy that's been with me for a couple of weeks now.

So after Sunday's handicap, I took Mon-Wed off from exercise. So you'd think by Thursday I'd be fit and raring to go again.

Er, no. Still I managed a couple of miles in the morning accompanied by my lungs trying to expode. In the evening I went out with the club, and ran 6 I guess, though slowly.

Friday another rest day.

Saturday after a shocking nights sleep. I dragged myself from my warm bed to run round the Kinder Trial. 12 miles and 2500' of rough Dark Peak loveliness. I felt shit most of the way round, and the temptation to jack and go home was never far away. Still I was pleased to have pushed on through to get to the finish, albeit in a leisurely style.

The guy in the pub afterwards commented that I'd looked like I'd done something exhausting. He must have been right. I slept for 2 hours when I got home, and after supper it was an early night.

Sunday and a 6:45 reveille. This time not for a run, but instead for a 100 mile audax. I can't say how easily I would have rolled over, switched the alarm off and gone back to sleep, if it wasn't for my having arrranged to take Gus and Lisa to the start.

Once at Cheadle we met up with Amy and albeit a few minutes after everyone else headed off down towards Delamere for our first cafe stop. We soon caught everyone else up and made Delamere in a couple of hours at a steady pace. The course was flat so it was just a matter of getting the bike up to speed and rolling along, taking a turn every now and then to keep the groups momentum up.

From there onto the next cafe at Audlem at 55 miles. Once inside in the warmth I felt proper tired. I poked at an apple crumble and ice cream. My stomach wasn't up for food. I drank much tea instead and soon we were off again in the cold.

I suppose 60 miles was about all I was good for on Sunday in comfort. The next 40 were a task, with the last hour being a big ask.

We just made Cheadle as dusk fell. My GPS had got me back to where I'd left the car. I had to rack my brain for a good minute to recall where we had signed on 8 hours earlier. Once that bit of info had been retrieved it was soup and rolls, and then back home.

So, a week where I've felt sub par. Run 20 miles and cycled 100. None of which has been easy. I must have dug deep yesterday, because after dropping the kids at school, I went back to bed for another 6 hours sleep.

Still there will no doubt times when I'm heading round the Bob Graham round, and things are not going well. When those times come it'll be good to have a resource of times to draw on when it also wasn't fun and easy, and importantly knowing that I kept on going.

Go lurgy I've had enough of you now.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Family Flu.

This was going to be a week of doing a good few miles, and has ended up with doing very few.

Basically I ended up spending the majority of my week looking after the rest of the families flu wants, until I too finally succumbed.

I'd planned on a couple of decent sessions for Tuesday and Wednesday. Nah, child care.

I got out on Thursday to the club run which was good. Friday and it was my turn to feel the beginnings of the plague. About 7 miles into a run, I bailed, freezing, shivering etc. I went on to spend the next 24 hours in bed.

Sunday and we had a club handicap. I didn't feel my best but thought I'd get round, and so I did.

Monday back to a high temperature and bleurgh. I write this on Tuesday afternoon and am just starting to feel a little better.

So last week yielded a low total of 25 miles, 5000'. Lots of high temperatures, coughing and snot.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I'm back running.

Well that injury was a right nuisance, and it seemed that the only way to get rid of it was to take some time off from the running. I've ridden the mountain bike a bit and this seems to have helped in maintaining some fitness.

Anyways this week after reading of others fitness New Year resolutions I got my running shoes on and got back out there.

A tentative and slow 50 minutes on Thursday afternoon suggested that my injury was gone, so later that evening I went out on our weekly club run for another couple of hours. All good.

Saturday, and Lisa and I walked over Kinder to Fairbrook, and thence to Edale. Proper icy up on the paths on the Northern Edges.

Pretty light as we headed over the plateau.

Sunday and a run over to the Downfall, which whilst thin for climbing has plenty of spray ice on it.

So 28 miles and 5800' this week. But most importantly no pain or niggles.

More next week.