Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Map Hosting

Work's pretty crazy busy at the moment so week-to-week training volumes are quite erratic what with little time after work and time beforehand reserved for sleeping. The bulk of my hours are coming from weekend warrioring. Thankfully I can squeeze a fair whack of climb out of the edge of the Northern edge of the NYMs if I really want to (930m in 15.5km last Friday!). Last Sunday was a rather scratty orienteering area where I (and many others) went walk-about several times.
Anyway, I need somewhere to host my maps so I can link them into my training log for when (surely if?!) I look back on them. That's why that's there.

The next 2 weekends are filled with Orienteering (North Yorks this, then Lakes for the British Champs the one after). The NYM Evening Fell Races kick off next week and I'm looking forward to them, although maybe not so much racing after a full day at work. Next 'target' race is Mount Famine and a trip home. For once I'll be running this without having run the May Queen race the night previous, so am hoping to enjoy it for a bit longer (onto the Dragon's Back at least) than I normally do (half way up Elle Bank).

Scottish Relays (helped an injured competitor)

WOC Selection Middle, Inchmarnoc

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Trading Fell for Tarmac, and why this time I'm happy to.

At the start of this year, as I made mental notes of fell races I really wanted to do this year (mainly big chunky classics) there was one that stood out as not to be missed, one that I'd forgo anything to make - Jura. 2012 would be the year, free from deadlines, travel and financial constraints, I was hoping to make my first pilgrimage to this race I've heard a lot about.

So why, you may ask, is my name not on the Jura shortlist, instead turning up on the startlist for the Sheffield Half Marathon on the day after Jura?

Last year a friend of mine and housemate of one of my best Sheffield friends, Ed Mainwaring, died after an from Burkitt's syndrome. He was just short of his 22nd birthday. On the day Ed died his sister completed the Sheffield Half to raise money for the organisations which helped him. Inspired by this a group of Ed's friends will this year be running the Sheffield Half Marathon in memory of Ed, to raise money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

As someone who runs regularly I find it difficult to ask people to sponsor me for something I do all the time, but in this instance I'd ask people to donate for the entire group, some of whom are not runners. The Just Giving page is here. Please donate.

I've set myself a target of sub-80mins. I feel a bit uncomfortable using this occasion to set a time, but I feel I want to push myself as hard as I can in memory of Ed.

Also, my fellow club-mates at ShUOC are also running the Sheffield half, in joint-aid of Leukaemia & Lymphoma research and Unicef. Several members are trying to break the world record for a 2-person pantomime costume in a half-marathon which currently stands at 129mins or so. Their Just Giving Page can be found here.

I feel a bit embarrassed to ask people to donate money to charity, as I'm sure many people do already, but a little help towards the targets of both groups would be fantastic.


Saturday, 21 April 2012

Coledale Horseshow

I was most disappointed that there was no Donkey Derby, dressage or any of this:
going on when I arrived in Braithwaite last Saturday.

Then I realised I'd misread the FRA Calendar and the 1st British Champs/2nd English Champs race of the year was actually the Coledale HorseSHOE.
The race was expertly organised by the Robinsons, the best Fell Race set-up I've seen after last year's FRA Relays (only just pipping Lad's Leap!). As much as I enjoy the low-fi nature of the majority of Fell and Orienteering events, it's great to show up to the big events like champs races for them to be a little bit special. And free stuff (like the natty Buff we were given) is always welcome - as I said to Wil (Spain, DPFR), the only thing better than Free Stuff is Free Beer.

Anyway, the race. My plan was to conserve energy up the Monster climb of Grisedale Pike, then put the hammer down for the remaining 5 miles or so back home on the running that suited me more. There was a good group of us together on the ascent and I hung on in there manfully. Off the top I lit the afterburners and was soon sending people out the back door. I passed people on the scrabble up Eel Crag, but not as many as I was hoping, and the final ramp to summit Crag Hill was quite tortuous - it would appear that a lack of regular training in hills may not have a massive impact on my ability to ascend, but does have an impact on your ability to recover quickly for the next ascent. However, there was no problem with running on the flat and downs, so after 20secs cruising to get out of Oxygen Debt I pinned my ears back and went for the final descent to Braithwaite.
not looking too good on the descent. At least I had my grippy shoes this time!
It was really useful to be running through the women's race at this point as I had people to catch (the next man ahead was a way away). Alas someone had put the normally-insignificant Sail and Barrow in the way. I normally motor through shallow ramps like these, but today, legs still suffering from the first ascent, I slowed to a stagger and lost ground, if not places. However once back on the negative gradient I let fly, and by now I'd caught up the group in front (who were seemingly too far ahead as the path bellow sail splits for Causey Pike) to finish 75th in 81:16. Pleased with this in a pretty loaded field. More to come though and I'm looking forward to Summer Racing! I'd like to know what position I was in at the top of Grisedale - I reckon I may have gained 50 places from then on? Although I could just be puffing up my descending ability.

Big respect to fellow SPOOKer Sarah O'Neill who shocked all our cohort at the end as we asked her where she'd finished - 2nd isn't much of a surprise based on MM results and the way she left me up the back of Grey Friars in 2010.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

JK2012 - Scotland

Gone are the days of Easter meaning, for me at least, 4 days in church serving the Altar. Nowadays over the long bank holiday I worship the Orienteering Gods at The Jan Kjellstrom - aka the JK, British Orienteering's most prestigious event outside of the British Championships in the 4 separate foot-O disciplines of Sprint, Middle, Long and Relay. The JK contains all 4 of these, with the middle and classic times cmbined in an overall competition. There's little recovery time between the 4 hard races and at time crucifixion seems the easy way out.

This year we were treated to typical tough Scottish terrain and almost-typical Scottish weather in northern Perthshire. Thankfully the typical Scottish Midgies weren't on hand.

Anyway, the reason for this post - somewhere to host my quickrouted maps:

Friday's Sprint Race - Livingstone.
 An enjoyable race around a fairly trick albeit NED-ish area. an OK result in 42ndish (50th last year) but there were some mistakes in there. I did 17:40, the course was taken out by Murray Strain in 14:37. Blimey.

Saturday's Middle Distance Race - Dunalastair.
I like the idea of middle distance courses but you don't get many of them about, and when I run them I'm generally crap. As this was a World Ranking Event GPS watches were not allowed, so not even I know what happened when it took me 14,5mins to find control #1, an entire 200m away from the start kite. After that some bits were OK but a lot was bad. Mainly because I was mad.

Sunday's Classic - Craig a Barns (Dunkeld).
This was meaty. 2hr 16min for 11.6km (600m climb) tells the story - I was out for a long time and flagged from about 70 minutes in (as expected due to lack of rougher training of late), losing a lot of concentration and impetus, and thus time. However, similar courses in the past have seen me out for over 150mins, so I'm moving in the right direction. I also managed to head up a group of 4 guys who clocked times within 9 seconds of each other - ridiculous over this amount of time. The Course was won by Douglas Tullie (OMM Elite 3rd place) just shy of 87mins. A class run.

Monday's Relays - Newtyle (Dunkeld).
My first relay run for my new Klub, CLOK, I ran the last leg on the big boy's course. I was out on my own for all of it as we were well adrift by the time I went out, so I didn't get the head-to-head experience I enjoy, but was just glad of the run. My cleanest of the weekend as well, although my 42ish mins was still 10mins shy of Oli Johnson on my specific course (although he was fighting for the medals so had something to run for).

The O tech is improving but still more practise needed, and I should get it over the next few months. Next up - Coledale Horseshoe, then the British Orienteering Champs, also in the lakes.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Back in the Swing

First up, a bit of a plug for Team Accelerate's Shelf and his Big Alps Run. Take a look at his blog and twitter, and donate!

The cracking weather has coincided with a return to running on a regular basis. I've had a good 8 days solid running. OK, most of the runs were short and road-based, but I've started venturing out into the moors, what with having daylight after work. The good news is that my knee is being a lot more cooperative with the residual twinges becoming more and more dispirit. Many thanks to Tim's words of wisdom for getting me back on track - just need to remember to keep doing strength exercises on a regular basis now!
Needless to say I was disappointed to miss the Edale Skyline, but next year.

Instead I took in the British Sprint Orienteering Championships. Unfortunately I got a bit excited about being able to run fast again and made some shoddy shoddy nav errors.
JOSH BEEEECH! (Putting the 'Testes' in Test Runner)
I was no way expecting to pull a run worthy of A-final qualification out of the bag, but I was some way down on where I wanted to be - and the B final was, somehow, even worse! However, it was great to catch up with ShUOC and other orienteers you seldom see due to geographical constraints. My performances have given me some focus ahead of the rest of the season. It was also great to see SPOOKer Shminty pull a stormer out of the bag and win the men's race. I'm sure his performance has given lots of encouragement (and food for thought?) to a lot of the guys out there. Maps and routes are available here (17th on H1A) and here (a distant 50-something on FB1).

'Ector Anus, Shmint Doggy Dogg and OJ 
I took a lot of photos of the finals. Some of them were even OK!

Looking forward to the JK in Scotland over the Easter Weekend. I'll be testing against the best (terrain and runners), needless to say I'll be getting my moneys worth and I'm really looking forward to it. Hope the weather stays nice (but not too nice).

Bit of O today on Hamsterley Common:
Good heathery fun under Bluebird skies, a few mistakes but getting better. Was still 10mins down on Duncan Archer (who'd supported Leg 3 on DFR's Andy Blackett's 23:30ish BG the previous day - well done Andy!). It was all very civilized, especially as I had Bach's Mass in B Minor going round my head after last night's performance with Cleveland Philharmonic Choir.
I didn't see any Hamsters though.