Breidden Hills Fell Race 21/10/12

AM 11k 690m. Just over the border from Shropshire into Wales. The race, on the Criggion estate, takes in three peaks: Middletown hill, Moel-y-Golfa and Breidden Hill. A mixture of terrains from boggy fields, fast grassy descents, forest trails, a few meters of road and a bit of rock thrown in.
I really enjoyed this race! Last did it in 2010, the day after running the Llangdale horse shoe, and didn't really give it all I had. This year I was able to put a lot more effort in.
 The weather was as forecast, with low lying fog, which made navigating interesting in the forest, and generally misty at low level, but fantastic views as we climbed through the cloud up each peak, where we could see the other peaks popping up through the cloud.  
After all the long runs I've done recently, where I've had to pace myself and conserve energy, it was nice to be able to push as hard as I could for the whole run. I finished the race in 1:17. A whole twelve minutes faster than 2010 and just about got into the top half of finishers(winner finished in :55). Pleased with the result.
Images with permission from Alastair of Fellrunningpictures

One proud moment

The soppiest thing you will ever hear my say. If you tell anyone I said it, I will not only deny saying it, but I will put a contract out on you to have you silenced, for good. Got it!!!?
 But,  My kids are heroes. They almost bought a tear to my eye Yesterday. We went for a family walk up the Wrekin. 1.5 miles to the top and 800ft of assent. Both Son(2 years) and Daughter(3.5 years) walked all the way to the top, with only the occasional hand to hold, but no carrying. No complaining, they just got on with it. We summited in under an hour. Incredible.
 They were knackered when we got to the top and we did feel slightly guilty dragging them up there. But, after mostly being carried back down to the halfway house, they were rewarded with a cake and a loli pop each. They couldn't believe their luck, two treats in one day. That's unheard of in our house. If only they knew how proud I was, they could have angled for a lot more. I would have let them have what ever they wanted.
 I know I am getting soft. This is the sort of soppy nonsense that would have made me cringe if I'd heard someone else saying it a couple of years ago. I haven't done any kickboxing or martial arts since the kids came and I think that may be taking it's tole on my usual tough exterior. I think I'll go and do some full contact sparing soon to try and MAN MYSELF THE F**K UP.

Next race, Breiddon Hills. Which I will run in in a vest regardless of how wet and cold it is. Just for my own self esteem.

Longmynd Hike 6/7th10/12

50 miles 8000 feet.
Longmynd hike home page
Traditionally, this age old event, was a long distance walking competition, where, the challenge is to complete the route within 24 hours. There are different prize categories so it seemed inevitable that at some point people would start running the event. Which they now do in droves.
I had no intention of doing this this year but had thought about doing it at some point in the future. However, I got caught up in the euphoria of people trying to get in and put my name down on the reserves list. To my surprise, I was offered a place.
It starts at 13:00, you then have to check in, in a particular order, to eighteen checkpoints scattered round Shropshire and Wales. There's a stringent kit list, which is checked, including med kit, survival sheet, spare jumper, map, compass, whistle, mug..........When it gets dark, you get grouped into minimums of three and have to stay with your group until the end, unless otherwise given permission to re group or you retire. Its quite important to get in the right group. You don't want to be held back and you definitely don't want to be the one holding your group back and desperately trying to hang on.
Check point tally and completion certificate.
 Photo after 15ish miles taken by Alistair of Fell Running Pictures
 I didn't really know how to run this as I'd never done anything this long before. I wanted to cover as much distance in daylight as I could to reduce the chance of getting lost at night, but I didn't want to be burnt out at the grouping stage and hold others back. Strategy? Urm, Start slowish and see how it goes? Try not to hang around too long at the check points and get plenty of food and water down on route. It seemed to be going ok. Initially running the downhill, jogging the flat and walking the uphill. A bit of a mental battle to go through, it's difficult to comprehend the distance of the race so I tried to break it down into smaller chunks to convince my brain I could do it. By the time it was getting dark I was finding it hard going. I got grouped with four others and we set off for the next check point. The pace for me and "Steve" at that stage was a little fast. At the next check there were two people, Mark and Tracy who had found the going too tough in their group so held back to try and re group. That suited Steve and I so we let the other three in our original group continue without us and we formed a group of four which seemed to work well for all concerned. Our pace then was "bimble" the down hills and speed walk the rest. It worked well for us and we plodded round the remainding15ish miles. 
It was a really well organised event with the friendliest of competitors and volunteers manning the checkpoints through the night. Hats off to them all. It was my first foray into "ultra" running and I'm not sure whether I really want to go down that route. I am pleased to have entered and supported this iconic local event though, and, when the swelling has gone down, I'll probably think I should do it again.

Hinstock 10k multi terrain 23/9/12

Race Site
My village charity run, organised by Newport Running Club, turned from a 5k to a 10k last year. It wanders round the lanes, fields and paths of our village. Would have been a nice plesant run had I not have tried to run flat out for the entire race. Came in 15th out of 130ish entrants. Pleased with the result even though I still didn't get first local (which went to a Newport runner not from round here) not bitter at all ;-)

Peris Horseshoe Mountain Race 15/9/12

AL. 28k 2590m. Set in Snowdonia, Wales, around the Llanberis pass.
I think, for some sadistic reason, this is my favourite race. The first half, a race in its self, has some pretty long, hard climbs with some nice, fast runnable sections in between. But, the second half hardly has any runnable bits at all and often requires hands and feet to get up some of the mountains. Added to that, the weather is, more than not, very unpleasant. I think of it as a "real mans" race, although, there're are some tough women that get round and usually a lot faster than me.
The first half of the race went really well for me. I knocked more than ten minutes of my 2010 time. The second half, although hard, was also going well until, that is, I decided confidently to take a short cut off Snowdon missing part of the Rangers path. A bad mistake considering the weather. I went way off track and found my self contouring a ridiculous scree slope miles away from where I should have been. I think it cost me about twenty odd minutes in the end, but, I still came in fifteen minutes faster than last time.
                                                 Photo from Alastairs site
Got to see Steve again, of Run Forest Run blog his account of the same race before the race, which is always a pleasure. Just glad I didn't see him afterwards, as he may not have been in such a friendly mood.
Sarah Ridgeway local mountain goat was also knocking around the mountains. Not racing, just out for a jog and taking some photos for her blog. Like Steve's photos, they are well worth a look as they show the terrain really well.