Lemon and Lyme

First virus of the winter forced a few days rest and blitzed it with essential oils, honey, lemon, hot toddy’s, steam inhalations and lots of citrus fruit.  Seemed to do the trick and after helping out at Windy Hill Fell Race on Sunday, was raring to go again.

Key aim this week was to up the distance a bit with at least one 10k run, and managed a 6.2k on Tuesday, a 10.5k on Thursday including a 800m hard effort and an easy 3.3k on Friday.  Foot was definitely feeling the effects of faster element, confirming that slow and steady is still the way to go for sometime.

Saturday was another inaugural parkrun, and a hotly anticipated one at that being based at the National Trust’s Lyme Park near Hazel Grove.  Failed to set off on time and gambled on it being straightforward enough not to need sat nav, just about managed it despite a couple of unsigned junctions.

After entering the estate, it is a long driveway to the large parking area and it looked busy, with exciting glimpses of the course off to the side.  There was a real buzz around the car park and the turnout easily exceeded my guess of around 300, with 374 finishers.

The plan was to take it steady and comfortable but with a challenging uphill first km and 1.3km uphill finish on a single lap course, it was going to be a tricky one to pace correctly with something between 27 and 27:30 being the target.

After a 17 second squeeze through the start gate, it opened up and I opted for the grass/ tree option to the side of the hard path having plumped for the advised trail shoes.  Felt good and got dragged up the hill by a couple of overtakers before settling in line by the woods at the top.

Not sure ilyme park parkrun trace picf it was the nature of the course but was really enjoying the run but couldn’t help but think I was going a little quicker than target – a check showed 4:42 for the 2nd km and despite trying to ease off 4:36 for the 3rd – slowing down wasn’t an option, as I see-sawed places with a few runners around, enjoying the thrill of battle.  Had opted not to wear HR strap so unsure of effort level but certainly not pushing hard.

After a short climb up to the high point of The Cage, I relaxed and enjoyed the views. I knew legs were starting to tire, so decided to expend remaining energy quickly and blasted down the hill.  A tricky hairpin bend was the end of my overtaking and I then settled for an easy jog back up to the finish slipping back through the field to finish a neat 100th place in 26:31.

Given that on reflection the course is probably worth a couple of mins on a flat course, I was way too fast, but very satisfying.  A shame it is a little far from home to be too regular but definitely will be back when fitter.  Amazingly given the uneven terrain, foot felt great afterwards – random!

Added a further 9.5km run on Sunday for a total of 34km this week… but no walks.

Lyme Park parkrun



After last week’s exertions, an easier week off exercising before a challenging storm hit on Wednesday.  Can’t resist a bit of good weather!

Managed to get down to Formby Beach before it peaked, but checking the Met Office later showed sustained southerly wind of 25mph, gusting to 45mph.  The spaghetti shaped trace is more down to following water channels/ sand banks and dodging flying debris.

formby beach trace pic Almost glimpsed a red squirrel on the return through the pinewoods but it scrambled away before I got a good look.

Returned in the afternoon to attempt a walk when the winds were upto a sustained 45mph and gusting to 75mph.  The wind had shifted to the south west meaning water and sand were being blasted inland and into every gap in clothing!  Definitely an invigorating experience and near impossible to negotiate the sand dunes windtunnelling to get onto the beach.

So much water was getting blown inland it had the effect of making the tide seem quite close in, but actually was a good 200m further out than it looked.

Formby Beach

Wet and Windy Lakes

My rehab plan involves keeping my heart rate below about 150 bpm but as my old HR watch went screwy last year,  I finally joined the GPS tracking world with a shiny new Garmin 220 watch and HR strap.

As a result it’s been a busy week of testing with easy runs on Monday 3.3k, Wednesday 7.5k and Thursday 5.6k, after which I’m pretty pleased with the watch, could do with a couple of minor tweaks but will pretty much suit what I want.  Footwise, it’s been a bit random, hurting before but fine whilst running; or fine before but painful when running.  Back continuing to ease but still restrictive and stiffening up afterwards.

A planned weekend camping in the lakes was looking increasingly wet and windy as the week went on and eventually settled for a day trip on the Saturday with blizzards  and 70-80 mph winds forecast on high ground with rain and gales lower down.

The best of the weather was due for Saturday morning, coinciding with the inaugaral Penrith parkrun.  An early start for the drive up was nearly foiled, as a couple of miles before leaving the M6, there suddenly appeared an inch of icy slush on the road making for lethal conditions – a car was parked sideways in lanes 2 and 3 on the opposite carraigeway which finally seemed to make the drivers on our side ease down.

Arrived at parkrun with plenty of time for a quick preview of the course, which confirmed it was as flat as expected and likely to be a little muddy – very cross country like.   The two lap course around the sport field was livened up with a rough short cut through the trees and a funny out and back loopy section that made cornering interesting!

It’s always nice when a new parkrun has more first timers than tourists, and they were definitely a healthy number of newbies joining the family.

I hpenrith parkrun trace picad a vague plan of running around 29 mins but a combination of the flatness and the temptation to overtake those that slowed for the conditions dragged me well under 28Eden Runners kindly supplied a shoe bag for all finishers which came in handy for very muddy shoes.

Not sure what happened with HR, suspect contact dried out but leap did coincide with upping effort.  Completely failed to keep it below 150, but felt pretty comfortable most of the way so surprised it was so high.  Average showed up 149, but these excludes dodgy first few mins.

A quick change and it was off to part two of the day’s activities at Haweswater – via obligatory photo stop!

This is MY town

This is MY town

Haweswater walk GPSWith no winter gear, the tempting snow covered peaks were obviously out of bounds, so settled for a low level walk in the relative shelter of Haweswater. Although not raining much when we set off, the discovery that my waterproof jacket was still hanging on the door handle at home wasn’t ideal but at least it was going to be a comprehensive test of the waterproof qualities of my down jacket!

Even low down the winds made standing still nearly impossible in the more exposed places and the rain got increasingly worse with occasional sleet and hail. Plenty of layers including a couple of merino meant I was snug and warm all day, although after turning back into the worse of the weather I could detect a slight bit of moisture getting through my jacket by the time we got back – not bad for 3 hours of downpour.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Returning to parklife

After a planned return to parkrun at last week’s Warrington inaugaral event was foiled by the lack of a car, it was good to be back on the start line of Oldham parkrun this week, well skulking a few yards behind it.

Watergrove routeI’d tried the distance out with a 5km run around Watergrove reservoir on Tuesday, following up with an easy 3.3km on Thursday.  Neither of which was particularly pain free footwise and back stiffness and pain whilst easing, is still a noticeable restriction.

Aside from volunteering a couple of weeks ago I’ve been having a bit of a parkrun break since November, and the increasing numbers at Oldham make it a different proposition from 3 years ago when 20-30 runners were turning up.

Looking around the noisy bustling crowded startline it was hard to pick out some familiar faces at the right pace to use as guides to the planned 30 minutes target.

After a steady first km, when it seemed about 100 overtook me, I started to progress in the the 2nd km but a little too quickly. Doubtful of my fitness I eased back and found a trio of chatting runners at about the right pace to stick behind.  No overtaking, unless they stopped.

By 4km I was tiring but still ended up pushing too hard through the woods to maintain position resulting in an increase in pain.  I eased off for the run in eventually crossing the line around 29 mins.

An inconclusive run on reflection, pleased that my predicted pace had been roughly correct for my current unfitness level, disappointed I had exceeded it and suffered for it.

Stoodley PikeFollowed up on Sunday with an 11km windy wet walk around Stoodley Pike to continue pushing distance upwards – achy foot after but good progress achieved this week.