Monday, 28 February 2011

"Was that it?"

Have you ever had one of those runs where you think, as you're going along, "I'm doing all right here" only for these thoughts to change to "Was that it?" when you get back and take a look at the figures? It happened to me yesterday.
I set off , in a very cold NW wind and bright sunshine, to do about an hour or so, and headed out on a new road route. This took me from home up into the hills with wonderful views across to the Howgills. The dominant sounds were the wind and, particularly, the gushing of water. The river Sprint bounded and foamed far beneath me. Torrents of water spouted from the base of stone walls and disappeared gurgling under the road. I splashed through puddles and ran through rivulets streaming downhill, washing gravel and debris into furrows in the middle of the lanes. It felt good.
Mind you the numbers weren't great. I did 6.7miles, with 529ft of ascent, in 1:02:40, at an average moving pace of only 09:20min miles. I must admit I was hoping for better. I've got a long way to go!
Still, it was just great to be out, among the snowdrops and clear sunshine.
Smileyrating 7/10

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Captain Statto...

Just uploaded my 99th run to Garmin!
4.91 miles in 46.31. Average moving pace of 09:23 min/mile. Best pace of 06:05.
391 ft of ascent, 392ft of descent, which means my house sunk by a foot this morning.
Max HR 169; Average HR 141, so bang on my long slow steady pace, which is a pity as it wasn't really long enough for a long run. Still, I have family obligations this weekend so to get out in the sleet before breakfast was a bonus.
Saw 5 soggy sheep, one soggy old english sheepdog and 3 pigeons the whole way round. Felt fantastic at the end, particularly because the uphill bits felt a little easier.
Smileyrating 8/10

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Interval Animal

The sun is shining today so it was a pleasure to get out. Even if it was for an evil interval session. 8 x 200m over undulating sheep-cropped grassland. I know it's nothing in terms of serious athletic training, but it was enough for me to grind to a halt on the last one!
My excuse is that I had a weekend in the high hills near Helvellyn, where I was bodying for the Search and Rescue dogs (I spent Sunday peering out of a bivvy bag in the pouring rain and mist waiting for an excited collie or labrador to charge up and bark at me. It was brilliant.) so I reckon my legs are still a bit tired.
My best pace was 4.45 min mi for the 200m. It would be nice to be able to do it for a whole mile but, let's be honest, it's not going to happen. All I hope for is that it helps to make my  long runs go a little quicker and/or easier.

It's a busy time in rural Lakeland. At one farm they are building what looks to be a new barn - though I wouldn't be surprised if it isn't a new lambing shed later in the Spring. A tractor buzzed up the lane, the smoke from its exhaust showing the effort it was putting in to tow the full muck spreader up the hill. Another one bounced across the far field, empty trailer clattering behind.
Interestingly, there's not an animal to be seen. The Kendal Rough Fell sheep are out on the tops, but lower down the fields are eerily quiet. There's a sense that the land is pausing for breath before the full activity of Spring gets going.

Smileyrating 9/10 for getting out and doing. 3/10 for what was done!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Of mists and cake

I had a feeling today's run would be special. As I was undertaking the essential pre-run faffage (donning shoes, waiting for the Garmin to find some satellites, wondering if I should have a final wee before setting out) a swan flew over, its wings making that mellifluous whistling sound that they do. I could only just pick out it's white body against the morning mist. Moments later, a second one flew over, but it must have been higher as I never spotted it.
 I set off up the lane in the mist...
I was planning to run up to Potter Fell along to Staveley and back along the River Kent. The 'up to Potter Fell' part meant about 35 minutes of constant uphill work. It was mostly at a perfectly runnable gradient, if by 'runnable' you mean a sort of shuffling trot with wheezing to disturb the morning air. A lot of it was along a stony track, running with water; so refreshing for the feet.

As I climbed, I climbed above the mist... Looking back, the cloud filled the valleys

Near the top lies this beautiful little lake with the strange name of Gurnal Dubbs. There's a well built stone fisherman's hut at the far end, just out of shot to the left. It's a wonderful spot. Wild yet tranquil.

 My route lay right round the lake and then on, back down into the mist. The path goes across here, somewhere...

Then it was down into Staveley, through the village, and then back along the River Kent. I liked the way the sun lit the trees...

The river was wild and high today because we've had such a lot of rain.

And then, after 10.06 miles with 979ft of elevation gain, after having been out for 1.56.44, at an average moving pace of 10.55 min/mile, with an average heart rate of 154, I was plodding back up the lane towards home.
It was still misty.

A great run. And wondrous ginger cake (made by the lovely Mrs HF from a Nigel Slater recipe ('Double Ginger Cake' in the Kitchen Diaries, cake fans)) to finish.
Smileyrating 9/10 for the run. 10/10 for the cake.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Ouch, wheeze, b*****ks, f***. Repeat x 6

Yep, it's been hill reps again.
Only 35 seconds long, but oh so steep. It's never fun. But it's done.
The sun was shining. The air was crisp and cool. The birdsong is getting louder as they develop their vocal skills for Spring. All in all, a good session. The only blot on the horizon is that it'll have to be longer next time.
Smileyrating  7/10

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Just a quick blog...

The wonderful Mrs HF is just fixing lunch so I must be quick: After a really busy week, which included business trips to Copenhagen (lovely) and Basingstoke (er... Basingstoke), all I've managed to squeeze in this week is a little River Loop (2.7 very sploshy miles) on Tuesday, a gym session on Thursday and a gentle 6.4 miles this morning towards Staveley.

This morning's trip out, on lanes littered with debris from the thrashing winds and rain we've had this past 48 hours, reminded me of the one thing I like about road running. You don't have to worry so much about where your foot lands. You can just bimble along, nice and rhythmically, letting your gaze wander where it will. Mine found only sogginess. The fields were sodden, with huge great puddles in the slightest depression. The hedges were sodden. Sodden furrows of brown leaves lined the road. The sheep were sodden. The road ran with water. Everything dripped. Everything that wasn't dripping trickled, ran or splashed. But it was GREAT. Great to be out and great to be able to be out. I mentally said hello to the many thousands of runners that must have been out at the same time and felt one of the soggy brotherhood.

Gym tomorrow. I'm already dreading the plank exercises. Hey ho.

Smileyrating  9/10