2010: a year of two halves

2010 started in style, with a crossing of the Cho La pass. At least I think it did. I was definitely somewhere in the midst of a fantastic 3 week trekking holiday in Nepal: up the Gokyo valley to Gokyo Ri, over the Cho La pass and on to Kala Pattar and Everest base camp. Arrived home to a snowy Britain with bags of energy, and a niggling achilles injury miraculously fixed. (Curing injury with inappropriate activities-a story for another day...)

Can’t remember much about this month. Lots of work and getting myself into shape ready for:

My 3rd go at the 32 mile Wuthering Hike (aka the Haworth Hobble), taking half an hour off my previous best time. Followed a week later by the Hardmoors 55. Miserable weather. A third of the field dropped out. I was on my own from 20-50 miles, but I loved it. Even (especially?) when the clouds lifted and Roseberry Topping appeared in the distance.

Back to the 36 miles Calderdale Hike for the 2nd time, and a 45 minute PB (thanks to knowing the route and a bit less chatting on the way round).

A 2nd go at Fellsman.  The peat bogs were remarkably dry, leading to another big (1.5 hour) PB. And on to my main goal for the year: the Heart of Scotland 105, my first hundred. I never felt great. My feet were hurting by 20 miles. And (unusually for me) they were badly blistered by the breakfast stop at 60. I was plodding along OK though, and on course to hit my 32-33 hour target, until the blistersacross balls of both my feet burst at 75 miles. The final 30 miles took nearly 15 miles, and I hobbled to the finish in 35.5 hours.

The blisters (and assorted induced niggles) took a couple of weeks to heal. Time for a couple of runs, in preparation for:

My 2nd go at the Osmotherley Phoenix. Last year (despite a sprint finish) I finished in 8 hours dead. This year with the 100 still in my legs, I plodded round without a thought of the time. Until at the top of the last big hill the bloke I was running with made a (joking?) comment about breaking 8 hours.  Spurred into action, I ran ‘flat out’ (i.e. about 9 minute miles...) for the last few miles. And made it with a couple of minutes to spare, for my final PB of the year.

Not the best month. A painful altercation with a sea urchin,
an ironman with no training, a sore knee and my first ultra DNF. The highlight of the month was appearing in Fellrunner placed third in the early season UK Ultra Running championship rankings. One place behind Sarah Rowell, former British marathon record holder and Olympian.
This was a bit like some crap newly promoted team being third in the first premiership league table thanks to having played 2 more games than everyone else...

The knee recovered enough for a slow plod around the High Peak 40.

Followed by a slow plod around the
Round Rotherham 50.

Lots of work and not much time or energy for running. On the plus side this allowed my knee to recover properly.

Snow!  Long slow runs through snowy fields and forests brought a temporary return of my running mojo. Followed by a stinking cold which ruined my “get back into shape with long runs in the Peak District over Christmas” plans.