Running for the pies

Running for the pies

Monday, 18 May 2015

26th April: Skyrunner Practice

Over the Easter break, for a few days we managed to get away to LSS’s parent’s house up on the edge of the Lancashire moors.

Whilst I was there I was able to take the opportunity to revisit one of my favourite running spots once more: Winter Hill.

Whilst sitting down with them recovering after the Pendine race, I received a thorough ribbing from the ‘Leek-y Ladies’ over my plans for running the Peak Skyrace. They took great pleasure in pointing out how in being a soft southerner I live in the relatively ‘flat’ land of Hampshire, whereas they live next to the ‘mountains’ and are able to get out and run on them every day and know every inch like the back of their hands before the start of the race… Thanks ladies, you inspire great confidence!

As much as a light-hearted jest it may have been, the lack of hardcore hill training has been playing on my mind, so at least getting here afforded me the chance to get some proper practice in… Another thing that has been grating me was my abject performance at the Rivington Trail Marathon back in October (yes, the one with the ‘dogging’ incident that appeared in Outdoor Fitness magazine) through being under the weather with the flu… But now I was here I was determined to get out and give a good account of myself on the slopes of the hill.

Looking at the GPS data from my previous visits to Rivington Pike and what is available for the Peak Skyrace, to run from Rivington Park up the Pike, across the moor to Winter Hill, down the other side and then back is 10 miles and a total ascent & descent of 1,800ft - which is about 1/3 of the Skyrunner in distance and ascent/ descent.

The elevation data of the route along its distance.
With the distance being only 10 miles, I made myself run it as hard as I could, getting there and back in 2 hours - and a very enjoyable time it was too! I decided to wear my Montane waterproof top as I was sure there would be a chill wind on the top and it looked like there might be rain at some point… Within minutes of starting, with there being a bit of sunshine and the effort of starting the climbing almost immediately, I found myself sweating like Michael Jackson on Sesame Street. With my arms pumping and swinging with the effort of getting up the slope, hands pointing upwards, I could even feel my elbows sweating profusely, or so I thought. I temporarily put my arms by my sides as I ran and a torrent of sweat poured out of the sleeves in a stream - lovely!

The route out and back.
Whilst I may have been roasting inside the waterproof and windproof jacket, once up above the Pike and on to the exposed areas of Winter Hill I was grateful to have it on as the wind was whipping around with nothing to stop it and the temperature was certainly lower. Light grey clouds had now moved in and were settled overhead giving an ominous sense of some impending rain, so I was certainly happy with my choice, besides sweating is always good!

Looking down on Bolton and the Macron Stadium.
On the way out I passed a couple of other runners on paths that criss-cross the hill, and there were a few cyclists out on the road to the summit using it as some good hill training so I was certainly not the only one taking advantage of here for some training… On the way back I even ran past what must have been the local fell-running club out on the slopes as there was about a dozen of them strung-out in a line going the way I had just come.

Looking across to the top of Winter Hill from Rivington Pike.
By the time I had returned to the van it was approaching 6 o’clock, so there was now an influx of those who had finished work making their way out for some evening running and MTB’ing in the area - if anything I was about to miss the rush-hour that was about to start!

Heading down the other side of the hill.
Whilst on this jaunt I was accompanied on the jaunt by a very apt podcast: The latest episode of the ‘British Trail Running Podcast’ where they were discussing amongst other things the recent Spine Race, and proprioception & diet in a comprehensive interview with the ‘Sock Doc’.

Having survived the run (albeit with stiffness in my troublesome right calf) and achieving with the training what I was hoping to, I certainly feel more confident about the pending Skyrunner… I’ve just got to make sure that between now and then that I find more time to go out and do just pure hill-work.

Eat pies.
Drink beer.
Run far.

No comments:

Post a Comment