Thursday, 28 July 2011

Tuesday Night - 26/07/2011

Mark, Tom and Roger run the final few steps to Yearlet
Another lovely evening in Church Stretton...

Tonight we ran up the hundred steps and the green path onto Yearlet (well walked mostly - it was pretty hot and humid too). We had a good natter at the top, and then set off at varying speeds down into Windy Batch and Ashes Hollow (pretty much the way the Valleys race comes up).

Regrouping and chatting on top of Yearlet
Much nattering on the Yearlet...
We trogged up Ashes fairly slowly with some walking towards the top, and then on to Pole Bank.

The descent was good tonight, via the Skyline ascent route into Lightspout Hollow, then using the traversing path onto the nose of Cow Ridge before plunging down into CMV for the run out through the Rectory Wood to the car park.

We had a good attendance at the pub too, and I managed to give Phil my money and an entry form for the Wistanstow Challenge "Walk" so I guess I'm committed on that one too...

Ragleth Inn Race Recce - 24/07/2011

Recce of Ragleth Inn race route (except I didn't find quite the normal descent line from the two trees on the path. Run gently but in around 40s less than my race time from last year. Some pain from achilles on climbs but not bad.

The Batch / Jonathan's Hollow - 23/07/2011

Very easy paced run at 9am from All Stretton, up to Jinlye via the Batch, then round the top of Jonathan's Hollow and the Batch to the Haddon Shoulder, Bodbury Ring and the golf course to Cwmdale and back to All Stretton. No achilles pain at all!

Tuesday Night Run - 19/07/2011

Stretton - Ragleth (near end) - road to Gaer Stone Farm - Hope Bowdler Hill - Cwms Cottage - Geocache on Old Cardington Lane - Cwms Cottage - Caradoc - Three Fingers - Stretton

Paul's 50th in Ragleth Inn after.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Stiperstones Race - 13/07/2011

Woah. Terrible.

Best not to race on almost zero sleep, a whole load of trauma, a hangover and an almost totally empty stomach.

I was ill on the first ascent, ill on the second ascent, way behind anyone I recognised at the top. I had a good descending sector on the steep rough bit and passed a few people, but then lost two places on the road run to the finish.

Not an experience I want to repeat in terms of performance, but at least there was a nice view and I suppose I enjoyed it nonetheless. The achilles wasn't too dreadful either.

Short Tuesday Run - 12/07/2011

With the Stiperstones race the following day, I opted for the "B" Group for this week.

We headed up Burway Hill and over the Devil's Mouth to the top of Townbrook Valley before splitting into two groups. Andy, Emily, John and I headed back via the tops of Yearlet and Ashlet. Andy showed us a good traversing line just on the Stretton side of the Ashlet ridge which could be used on the Callow race.

Just over 4 miles and about 1,200' of climbing.

Sunday Mynd Run - 10/07/2011

Went out from Little Stretton to Pole Bank via the path which traverses under Callow and round Grindle, then down to Coates Farm on the Hike Route.

I followed a guy who was also presumably doing a Hike Recce up to Medlicott Cottage, then picked up a good line towards Pole Cottage and nearly caught him by the top.

A steady run down Ashes Hollow finished a reasonably gentle run to try to ease myself back into a longer weekend run.

9.3 miles, 1,800', 2hrs 6mins.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Pub Run (on the bike) - 09/07/2011

There's a half and a pack of crisps on that table somewhere!
A nice fairly steady ride out to Church Eaton for a very good half pint of "Manana".

Lots of lovely lanes and not too many hills except the big one at the start.

Round the Wrekin - 08/07/2011

Spot on the target pace of 12:00!
I went to see Dianne for another massage session on Thursday - it must be doing the trick because I felt quite light legged on Friday, so I decided to go for a steady paced effort around the Wrekin (but not up - stay on the softer paths and don't butcher myself trying to do loads of ascent yet).

Fairly steady effort, which I'm pleased with. It's all about control.

I was going to run for an hour and a bit, but I was quite sore on the rollers coming along the north side of the hill, so I cut when I got back to Forest Glen. I've got to learn to listen to my bod a bit, I think...

Tuesday Night RUN!!! - 05/07/2011

I got all the way round! Yee-hah.

Major step forward in the rehab, even if I did feel like I had nothing in my legs at all. It's like being a newbie fellrunner all over again... I just have learnt a few tricks to keep going now.

We did a great route, out over Nover's Hill (very wet bracken, and so wet legs), down into the Batch (except I took the wrong path and had to descend a direct line though the world's biggest nettle patch - in shorts), and up to Jinlye.

From there it was new ground for me for a little while, running lovely soft single tracks around the lips of the batches to reach the shoulder of Haddon. We finished over Bodbury - why is there no path along the fence?? - and down the green gully to CMV.

I was sore and I kind of dragged myself around, but there weren't the after effects and it didn't hurt like last week did, so there's progress there. I might even restart the mile and climb-ometer; but I'm not going to. All the training effort now will be directed at the Longmynd Hike, so it's time out which counts. I can also total up beneficial time in the gym and on the bike this way.

Physio and Bike - 04/07/2011

Another trip to the physio. I think we're pleased with the recovery to date, and I have new stretches (which kill, but I'll do them anyway).

Afterwards I went out on the bike for an hour before sunset. Tried to keep the effort up, especially on the climbs (through Lilleshall, up Pitchcroft Lane, and then up to the National Sports Centre, which is a slog). Probably did about 12 miles in 50 minutes or so.

Callow Fell Race - 03/07/2011

Long string of runners heading up Ashlet
Oh how much did I want to do this! It's an absolute brute. There aren't many short races about with 2,500' of ascent in them! Most of that is at about 45 degrees too. Still it would have been stupid when the recovery's going well.

On a very hot morning Steve Cale won the mens and Mel Price the ladies. There were some great performances by some of our newer runners, and one of our longer served ones got a special "idiot" award for being the only runner to have completed all ten Callow Races... well done Noel!

I took photos at Ashes Hollow where the runners cross from Yearlet to climb Grindle, and then jogged round to the finish and up Callow, taking more as people finished. Steve was too fast to get a piccy at the end; most others did though. Here are a few of the best pics I took:

Steve, running hard up a 45 degree slope!

Andy - huge capacity to make himself suffer!

Paul - ditto

Noel, on his way to Ten Callows!

Ed, flying as usual. Will I be this fast in 10 years? Probably not.

Terry, on an absolute blinder...

Struggling out of the Valley of Death!

Jon, still going strong. Tuesdays are doing some good!

Emily - great effort and 3rd Lady!

Monday, 4 July 2011

Backpacking in the Arans - 03-04/07/2011

Cadair Idris from the plateau south of Aran Fawddwy (06:45)
After last weekend's little "adventure" at Rossett Gill, I thought I'd slip away for a night out in the Aran Mountains in mid-Wales.

I parked up in Cwm Cywarch where there's a new car park a few hundred yards beyond the end of the unfenced bit of road. The view as you enter the Cwm is amazing, especially the crags of Glasgwm on the left...

I hiked up the traversing path above Hengwm to the 568m col at Waun Goch, and then dropped the sack and headed south west to the top of Pen yr Allt Uchaf (this is a Hewitt - a peak over 2,000' with a drop of more than 30m all round).

Summit of Pen yr Allt Uchaf, looking north to Drysgol and the Aran
Picking the sack back up at the col, I headed up to Drysgol (731m) and then along the narrow ridge of Drws Bach to gain the main Aran ridge.

Cairn with memorial tablet to an RAF crewman killed by lightning near
the top of Drws Bach while on rescue duties
Dropping down 300m to the north west there's a good spring just below the start of the rocks on the south face of Aran Fawddwy. I found a level spot near the stream and set up camp.

Sign at a stile near the campsite with the Rhinogs behind (22:30!)
In contrast to last week I had a very calm night. I got up for a pee at one-ish and had the usual clear mountain night fabulous starry sky experience, but with the clear sky went a pretty cold night. I was up again around half five, had breakfast, took some pics in the morning light and then broke camp.

Gwaun y Llwyni at 06:00 while packing up camp
I dumped the sack up on the edge of the phenomonal crags that form the east face of the Aran, and headed off up to the summit. At 907m (about 2,980'), this, not Cadair Idris, is the highest point in mid-Wales. The view was spectacular with Snowdon clearly visible in the north, the Shropshire Hills to the east, Plynlimon to the south, and the Rhinogs prominent to the west.

Summit of Aran Fawddwy with Cadair Idris in the background
The Rhinogs from the summit of Aran Fawddwy
View over the north ridge of the Aran towards mist over Bala Lake
I reversed my steps to Drws Bach, picking up the sack on the way, and took a few photos of the cliffs. There was a temperature inversion over Bala Lake - sadly this isn't the best viewpoint, but it shows on a few of the pictures.

Crags on east face of the Aran and the tarn, Creiglyn Dyfi
I headed south, downhill at first on a lovely runnable grassy path, then up to the summit of Gwaun y Llwyni, another Hewitt. From here a line of old fenceposts leads across to the main path up the Aran. It's a pleasant descent from there down the rocky defile between Glasgwm and Gwaun y Llwyni back to the car park in Cwm Cywarch.

Foxglove above Cwm Cywarch
Y Gribin in the background, and bracken under the crags of Glasgwm
I was back at the car at 09:10, so headed off to see and photograph the Callow fell race (see next post).

Friday, 1 July 2011

Gym - 01/07/2011

Some recovery work - stretches, icing, etc. to the achilles on Wednesday and Thursday resulted in me being able to go down the stairs almost normally when I got up today!! There's still a bit of soreness, but mostly the pain has gone.

I took James to the gym this evening and had a light cardio session, all on the upright bike. I started with five minutes warm up (80 rpm) on a medium resistance, then followed this with an intervals session of six 90 second efforts (100 to 110 rpm at the same resistance) with 2 minute recoveries in between. This got my heart rate up to the low 150s (about 85% of MHR) at the end of each rep, dropping to about 135 after the recoveries. By the end I had buzzing legs, was dripping in sweat and very out of breath! Good.

I warmed down over five minutes gradually reducing the resistance and then stretched hamstrings (sitting stretches). I moved on to do the eccentric heel drops and raises exercise. All of these 5 reps each side for 15 seconds hold. The hamstring stretches can be really uncomfortable. Anyway at the end of that my ankles felt pretty much normal, so it may be working a bit... I'll keep at these two.

I'll probably head over to mid-Wales in the morning for a long walk on the hills, and then will have to hold myself down (unless miracle recoveries are in this weekend) and not run at Callow on Sunday. Physio is on Monday!