December 2011

Looking back at 2011...

2011 started and finished OK, but the big chunk in the middle was a bit crap. The highlight of the beginning of the year was taking nearly an hour off my 2010 Hardmoors 55 time (although much better weather should get most of the credit for that). Things went very pear shaped a few weeks later when I got injured, crossing the road on the way to the doctors to get my UTMB medical certificate signed... I managed to plod my way around Fellsman and the LDWA Housman 100. In the 100 not being able to eat in the last 40 miles slowed me down nearly as much as my trashed feet did in last years Heart of Scotland 100. Officially it was a 100 mile PB, but not really since the HoS was really nearly 105 miles.

I recovered from the 100 pretty quickly, but never really managed to get a solid block of training in. A stomach bug picked up in Burma on holiday followed by a tough training course on the UTMB route and I arrived at the big one seriously lacking in fitness and confidence. And bad weather and reduced cut-offs turned it into 'mission not a hope in hell'...

My running fitness started coming back in Autumn, just as term started leaving me exhausted and short of time. A couple more OK runs (squeezing inside 11 hours at Round Rotherham, nearly half an hour outside my PB, but a decent result in the circumstances) and that was that.

I'm not sure there are many lessons to be learned beyond: don't get injured and do more specific hill training.

Brecon 40

What I was expecting: a gentle cruise around the Breacon Beacons in the style of the High Peak 40.

What I got: the evil bastard son of a December Round Rotherham and a wet Fellsman.

Low-lights: getting actively ‘swept’ through the first few miles, falling over 4 times, attempting to run into a head-wind through boggy ground which stretched as far as the eye could see. In fact pretty much the entire first 30 miles.

High-lights: the last 10 miles, navigating and running well on my own in the dark, making serious inroads into the back end of the field (in terms of time if not placings...)

And it was the first proper outing for my Salamon S-Lab 12. I’m still getting to grips with how best to use the (numerous) pockets and fastenings. It’s the most expensive piece of running kit I’ve ever bought, but this might well become my  new favourite running rucksack.

An aside: I never used to understand why people described running as a cheap sport. I used to spend a hundred plus pounds a year on running shoes! And then I took up triathlon... And acquired 3 bikes and a set of wheels, each of which were individually worth more than my car at that time (although that says as much about how old and crap my car was as it does about my fall into the ‘triathlon bling buying’ trap).