July 10, 2016 George Foster

Seasons: Spring….and a bit

Spring has come and gone (apparently) and here in the draughty corridors of Fellicionado Hall we’re having a clear out of some of the old memories from those halcyon days before the rains hit and brought with them, what we in the UK mockingly refer to as, ‘summer’.

Spring has comprised two key components; training and racing.

Training for me has taken the form of cycling……lots. So far this year (and I don’t mean to brag) I’ve spun my legs round in circles to the tune of 5,569km for over 168hrs up 33,791m of gradients that go….umm….up. Hopefully this has got them stronger. It would appear so at least as I’m finally starting to see some improvements in my running. At least half of those ‘hours’ have been sat on a WattBike, surely the most boring thing known to man. The sporting/exercise equivalent of discussing quantum theory with your hand……you’ll get something from it eventually but you could be there a very long time.

There’s been a few long runs thrown in there sure…..got a significant event to train for that involves running over hills for a fairly long time after all. This part of ‘training’ though has mainly come in the form of racing. I’ve raced almost every weekend since April. Allow me if you will to list them:

1. Anniversary Waltz – 20th anniversary no less! Congratulations! Have had a few do’s on this one before but surprised myself with a solid feeling run coming in at 1:44:08 and 8th place.

2. British Inter-counties Mountain Running Championships – start went well, middle went well, died on the long, lonely track on the way back in. Encouraging none-the-less with 29th place in 1:06:34. Got a nice Scotland vest out of it mind.

Ras Moel Eilio - 1000 - SPC_9109 - (14-04-29)

3. Ras y Gader – feels like you’re a rock star this one. Screaming crowds at the finish line baying for blood. Improved on my last performance with 3rd place (local knowledge helped on the descent….I’ll get him next time) in 1:28:46.

4. Richmond 5 Dales and Helvellyn and the Dodds – so the first one was a cycle sportive but I treated it like a race. Somewhere in the region of 223km (I cycled over from my house to the start and back after) and a hefty 4000m ascent certainly helped beef the legs up a bit before…….the fell race the next day. Did this on a whim to get my legs used to back-to-back big efforts. Surprised myself with 4th place in 2:25:18 on a bloody hot day.

5. Welsh 1000m – firstly…..what an awesome race! I’ll definitely be going back for this one, though Gareth Wyn Hughes’ new record from the day will take some beating. Perfect weather and stress-free racing (didn’t see anyone else from about mile 10) allowed me to look a little bit more at my nutrition and hydration strategy for the longer stuff. Came in at 4:13:14 and 2nd place.

6. Pedol Cwm Pennant – the first of two races that I’m very disappointed with. Got lost. Big time. What’s especially annoying is that it was the one bit of the course that I’d specifically looked at so as not to get lost. Doh! Lost a lot of places on the road run-in due to tired legs from chasing so much to correct my earlier mistake. Frustratingly 22nd place in 2:39:35.

7. Great Lakes Run – the second of the two where ‘nav’ was an issue. Really proves that adage ‘time spent in recce is seldom wasted’. Got cocky thinking “this is my old stomping ground”. Felt AMAZING going up to Scafell Pike then the wheels came off my ability to read a map and I headed for the most recent route off the top that I knew – the Old Counties race line, a full 90 degrees in the wrong direction. Spent a long old time traversing back round to Mickledore before taking the wrong line again coming off Scafell and having a turbo nightmare getting down off Blisco. Crumbs! Went from 2nd at Scafell Pike to 6th place in 2:59:28. Possibly my most annoying race to date. Ever.

9. Wasdale ‘Horseshoe’ – learnt from previous errors on this one by employing ‘harrier’ tactics and following the local lads before nipping round them once I knew where I was. I’m not ashamed of myself. It’s a race after all. The race was home to some of the worst racing conditions I’ve ever encountered. There’s simply no place for hail and 50/60mph winds in July. Took advantage of Scoffers generosity in leading the correct line down under Lingmell to dash in front 300m from the finish to get in 3rd place on the 4:34:19 button. Ticked off another of my ‘shake-his-hand-before-he-or-I-die(s)’ by getting to clamp the aged chubs of Joss Naylor MBE. Only Bill Bland to go to complete the set, though I’m running out of hands to ‘never wash again’.

Phew, bang up to date. Relieved? I should think so too. That last one is technically in ‘summer’ but if you don’t tell anyone about that I won’t tell anyone about you peeing in that guys pint pot when you were stood at the bar on New Years Eve. Deal?

What’s next? Got the Kentmere race on the weekend then a whole week off pretty much before the BGR Saturday next.

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