Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Disoriented on Winter Hill

Saturday night I had a post from Emma on Facebook asking if I fancied a run up Winter Hill on Sunday morning. I had planned to go up anyway so was happy to get an invite and some company.

5 of us (Emma, Al, George, Richard (I think) and me) met at 08:30 at the Top barn and headed off along with Dave (Emma's dog, complete with cow bell) along the Winter Hill race route. The morning was wet, the clouds were in and the rain wasn't too heavy. Young Al Fowler was along for the ride and I have to say that he seems to target puddles and mud, almost detouring to splash through them. It was near impossible for me to get muddy as by the time I got to all the puddles, young Al was already wearing most of the must they contained.

Past the pigeon tower and round the Pike then you head over the wet boggy top towards the shooting hut. By now the visibility had been reduced and whilst the other 4 runners ran ahead it wasn't so bad that I would lose sight of them. Even if I did I would still have been able to hear Dave with his cowbell ringing constantly for nearly 3 hours. We crossed the road to the mast and just after this we must have crossed the small path that I normally use that goes from the road near Two Lads to the mast. I don't like running in the mist unless I know the exact path I am following and today I didn't and not being able to get a visual bearing on anything threw me. I must have missed the path and we ended up climbing a stile I didn't expect to see but then I assumed that I had just never seen it before and still waited to cross the path. Running at the back it seemed as if we kept bearing right and after a few minutes I was convinced we had turned through 180 degrees and we were heading back for the fence we had just crossed. Emma had been leading and she was looking for a path but was unable to locate it and we all ended up clambering over the tussocks. I asked someone to get a compass out as I was completely disoriented by now when we never came up on the path or the fence I thought were nearby. Emma told me the mast was over to our left (north) and that threw me even more because where I thought we were I expected the mast to be more east of us. Anyway being as Emma seemed really confident in her general direction and I basically had no idea of where I was on a hill i am normally very happy running around I followed the crowd.

It got quite funny at one point, Emma would take a step and then fall and disappear in to the tussocks and then somebody else would. Eventually we reached a road which initially confused me even more as it was a road I didn't recognise and didn't understand where the hell it had come from. I had by now convinced myself that I should never run in the hills and mist EVER again. A sign on a post said private road and suddenly I knew where I was. I had run down this road once before about 4 months ago; if you follow the road to the right it takes you to a farm and then on towards the part of the two lads race route that passes the quarry near Matchmore lane. No I knew where we were my bearings had come back and I lead the way for a short distance back to the shooting hut.

When we got to the shooting hut somebody commented that it wasn't that impressive, I joked asking if they had expected a tea room or something. The path now continues back towards the mast but we only followed this for a short way before Emma took us off on a path to the right which takes us across wall from the mast and then on down to bottom of the 'ramp' (that's how I know it; it's the path to the kissing gate next to the woods and the road through Belmont). On this descent there isn't really a path all the way, one minute you are on what seems link a faint path and the next everyone was spread out.

After a Jelly baby stop at the bottom of the ramp we started the steady plod up the ramp. I don't mind this climb but can't keep up with the others on the ascents yet so just plodded on and met them all at the top where, when I arrived, they seemed to be taking photos for the Fell runners calendar 2010. The next section heads back down to the road from Belmont over Winter hill. I have only ever been this way once with my mate Chris (pretty much my first time up Winter Hill, he started me with a nice easy climb!!) and just remember it being very boggy. As we ran down I took a bad step and went right over on my ankle then about 30 secs later Emma did the same thing. We stopped for a minute and George and Richard decided they were going to head back now so only 3 for us remained. By now the ache in my ankle had started to ease and we continue down the hill towards the bracken. At one point not long after Emma ended up knee deep in a boggy area. Al and I being the gentlemen that we are just stopped and had a break whilst Emma tried to pull her leg out. Eventually though she managed it and we carried on, me personally glad of the brief rest.

Before we entered the bracken Emma tried to point out a path but I'm not sure if she found it as the bracken was so overgrown we couldn't really identify a path and seemed to be making our own. We reached the point that was identified as Checkpoint 5 in the race and then headed back up towards the trig point on top of Winter Hill. I didn't see Dave for about the next 5 mins, all I could do was hear his cowbell in the bracken somewhere around me, eventually though the bracken ended and the climb flattened out before the steep climb up to the trig point. Young fowler darted up this next climb so quick that by the time I reached the top he was saying he had started to cool down.

Next we headed down the scar towards the cobbled road and had decided that we would miss out Noon hill on wards and start to head back for the pigeon tower and the top barn. As we ran along the cobbled road in mid conversation we passed a few cows besides the road where the fence allowed them to get out. As Emma was in mid conversation she hadn't noticed them and all of a sudden she gave a shriek and darted off screaming about the cows, it was so funny (You had to be there I guess). It was about 100 meters further on before she stopped and turned around to check they hadn't stampeded both Al and I to get to her.

Were the race crosses the cobbled road to go towards Noon hill we turned off the cobbled road and made our way back through the farmers fields past car park and back to the barn. It was an enjoyable run with some good company on a route I have not done before. I could have done without the disorientation early on as that really threw me but I'll look forward to getting out in a group again when the chance arises.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Harrock Hill

Sorry but no epic tale of Woe for this one.

After the weekends antics I didn't run Monday but was going to try a gentle trot out on Tuesday to track but because of some work I needed to get done I ended up not doing anything at all on Tuesday evening either. Nevermind though, this would keep my legs fresh for Harrock Hill.

The Harrock Hill Race is a nice local race for me. I like Harrock Hill. It's a nice Race, nice Route and I especially like the fact that the prizes are boxes of veg, and if you're ignorant enough not to hang around for your prize, then it gets given to somebody else as it should do (although a lot of people would have to leave their prizes for me to get one)! It involves a run around the back of Parbold Hill, very similar in places to the Parbold Hill Race route, it's a nice mix of field, track and trail.

After race 2 at Harrock Hill I was aiming for a PB as during race 2 I need the loo pretty much from the off and was forced to take a pit stop 1/2 way round. Only after crossing the line did I realise I was only 4 secs off my PB and was a little gutted, so for race 3 I was hoping to get a better time and a PB.

Arriving a little later than normal, the car park was nearly full with plenty of the usual faces about. When you enter this race they always give you a £5 off voucher for Sweatshop but whilst I completed my form one entrant pointed out that the Valid till date had already expired, apparently about 90 had already been handed out and nobody had noticed, you see we all do it for the love of the sport not the freebies ;-)

The race starts about 3/4 mile away from registration at the foot of Hillside Ave where there is a bit of quick socialising before the off. Tonight's race was delayed a few minutes though to wait for one runner who had to head back to the car park for shoes apparently, then off we headed up the the track road. The first hill is a good one to spread out the field and I am normally with the people I finish with by the top of this. I keep noticing a nice house for sale on this track road that looks out towards the sea, must remember to go and see how much they want for it. Not that I'll ever be able to afford it, I'm just curious. (Maybe I'll buy it when I make my first million with www.comparethecomparesites.com)

Once at the top the path turns right for a short way before turning back (Where the Parbold race usually joins the road for a few meters) into the farmers field. I normally make up a couple of positions going down through this field but then you have to stop to cross the stile onto a narrow path on which there is really no chance of passing. Tonight I had managed to pass a couple of people in the field and caught up to a girl in a pink vest from Parbold Pink Panthers. With no chance of passing here I just plodded along behind her and then just near the end of the path she offered to let me pass however there was hardly any point now as I would need to stop to climb the stile in about 10 meters and I normally end up getting passed on the flat field we were approaching (flats are my weak area, along with uphills and downhills) so I told her to carry on.

As I thought, I didn't have the speed to catch her up across the next field however as we approached the stile she moved to the right to avoid the mud (It's a fell race love!!!) so I just ploughed right through and over the stile. After the next field you cross a small road were some unlucky resident is normally being held up whilst a stream of runners gander by. I heard two runners behind me now talking about the approaching field as last month the cows came running and bucking across our path with the runners and the cows not really knowing if they should run or stop. And yet again on running through the field the cows decided to play this game again. As the field starts to let you pick up speed the cows started to cross our path and I heard a shriek from the girl in pink behind me as she suddenly become worried about the cows.

Onward through the fields that followed you eventually come back out on the main road from Parbold hill and run past the school to the next left turn for a short run up the road and onto a cut through that brings you out near the speed camera on the road coming down from the top of Parbold hill. I don't like this section as I don't normally run well through here and get passed, and nothing new tonight as I was passed by two people including the pink panther who was asking now if it was 1/2 way yet. As we came out on the main road the race route turns back into the woods for a short way (The Parbold hill race heads up passed the Wiggin Tree here) and she kindly moved to the side and let me pass.

Once through the woods the race plods on round the edge of the field before crossing a couple of stiles and joining a track that leads you back to the road near the High Moor Restaurant. After this second stile I was caught up by the pink panther but she said she didn't want to pass and suggested I had a good pace for her. With her footsteps behind me I was trying to keep my pace steady so that she wouldn't get past me. Out and along the road past the High Moor and then you turn left on along the private road besides the restaurant. I took the opportunity to ask if this was the first time she had done this race and it turned out that this was her 'first race'. What a great race to pick as your first race.

Eventually the run along the road turns off and you start what I would class as the last climb. You don't really notice it much as a climb as it gradual and you're in the trees and bushes but I know the running is easier from the top of here (Nearly). Through three fields now and then over a stile and into a wooded area where you pass the old windmill (Emma has done the history lesson on this one). I love the run through here along the narrow paths but if you get caught behind anyone there isn't much chance of passing. Luckily the bracken wasn't as heavy as last month so just after the windmill was a slightly wider part that just allowed me to pass a slightly slower runner I had caught up to as I tried to start my burst for the finish. Just after this the path reaches a stile over a wall which leads to the final field, kindly the next runner I came up behind, who seemed less confident negotiating the few rocks that were on this path, moved over for me to pass and I climbed over the next stile and down the final field. I remember the foot of this field is normally just one big pile of mud but not this time and with nobody close enough to me I wasn't able to make up any positions coming down here either.

Over the final Stile and a track road leading to the final stretch. After a quick check of my watch I knew I would be close to my PB and as I started the final 100m climb to the finish I knew I wouldn't be able to beat my time. I tried to give it a little more pushing for the line but the PB just wasn't going to be had and I crossed the line 6 secs off my time in 49:26, gutted and annoyed with myself. I suppose the race at Kentmere could have left my legs a little tired but I felt like I had a good steady run and really thought I had done enough to improve my time but it wasn't to be.

Back at the pub I went into the bar to get a drink but as the results were ready before the barman actually got round to serving me I got the results and head for the car and home in a sulk. Of course the way home now went via the chip shop to make me feel better!

Next month had better be a good one as I want to end the Harrock Hill series on a high! A well done to Emma though who after having nothing but bad races over the past 2 months managed to knock 1 minute of her PB.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Kentmere Horseshoe


Did I say Wow? Wow!

After committing myself to doing Kentmere I had been a little apprehensive all week thinking I had bitten off a bit more than I could chew. With the downpours during the week I was worried the weather might not be too good at the weekend and on Friday and Saturday I'd had headaches. I think I was getting a little panicky.

Joanne hadn't been feeling to good on Saturday and was diagnosed with a bacterial infection in her ear and Vertigo. At 4Am on Sunday morning I was woken to find Joanne trying to negotiate the few meters from the bed to the en-suite. Being the gentleman I am I let her sleep on my side as it was closer to the bathroom. It was at that point I heard the rain hitting the conservatory roof, it sounded torrential. Being on the wrong side of the bed I woke up about 4-5 more times between then and 8AM and all I could hear EVERYTIME I woke was the rain pounding on the plastic roof outside the window.

None of my usual 20 pieces of toast for breakfast this morning, I was an athlete (quicker that quick, faster than fast, LIGHTNING! Ka-Chow). Weetabix and bananas, but without the bananas as they weren't in a good state, and some juice. Still raining I told Joanne that if the weather was bad when I got up there then I wouldn't be doing the race, what can I say I'm a fair weather runner!

I headed off and collected Gordon Stone, a fellow club member. Gordon and I have our own little race on now that started at the Henderson's End fell race, Leading me throughout the race I thought I had no chance of catching him however Gordon can't go downhill over rocky ground and suddenly I passed him just before the finish, crossing the line some 50 secs ahead of him, thanks to the cobbled road, and since then when re race together, Gordon is now my target. Gordon Hadn't pre-entered and we didn't know if entry on the day was possible but he would use it as a training run if not.

We arrived at Kentmere around 12PM and there looked to be a good turnout with still more arriving. The clouds in the sky had started to break and the day was getting quite warm. We headed up to registration and entry on the day was ok so Gordon would be running (Race on!). Back at the car I faffed a little about what to wear. I'm a bit of a girl really and don't like to be cold on hills, but a long sleeve top seemed over kill and I a vest alone might leave me a little chilly on the peaks, so I headed over to Pete Blands van and bought a short sleeve tee and wore my Horwich vest on top of it. I chose to put Vaseline on my feet, not something I normally do but because I got a blister last weekend in my new Mudrocks and was worried a little I might get more today.

We all (240 runners) gradually headed for the start line just besides the field and I took up my place at the rear of the pack, being as I expected to end up there anyway. After a brief talk from Pete Bland we headed off. It's always at about 1/2 mile into the race I wonder what they hell I am doing and why am I doing it. I never warm up and just try to take the start easy but end up out of breath quite quickly and 1/2 a mile into a 12 mile race that isn't a good sign.

I was sure Gordon started the race behind me but somewhere very soon after starting I caught sight of him ahead of me. The race follows a stony track for around 3/4 mile before heading uphill towards Buck Crag. It was here with the sun shinning bright, the heat coming off the bracken and steady incline that I was beginning to think wearing a tee was a bad idea. Onwards and upwards I plodded on passing Gordon who has stopped to put more Vaseline on his feet after feeling a little rubbing. Near the top of the crag I had to take a moment from staring at the Totley ladies feet in front of me. I'll use the excuse that the bright pink sock and lime green shoe laces were blinding me rather than saying I was a little knackered. Unfortunately Gordon took this opportunity to pass me again.

Finally at the top of the crag the ground levelled out a little. The ground here seemed much more like the ground I have seen on races like Shepherds Skyline and Paddy's pole. Of the few races I have done in the lakes I normally find it all very stony so I was a little surprised. Following the other runners here I climbed over a fence and passed one retiree heading back to the start. She commented to me that the worst was behind me now however I was going to comment that "No, the worst was behind her" which is where I was heading. From here you follow the side of the wall before joining the main path up towards Yoke however before you reach the summit the race route contours around Yoke to join the path on its way back down from Yoke towards Ill Bell on the other side. Feeling tired already I decided to take one of the energy gels I had brought along thinking that by the time it kicked in I'll probably need it. On the climb up to Ill Bell I could see Gordon who was by now engaged in conversation with the girl from Totely but I couldn't pick up the pace to catch them but that wouldn't matter. Eventually I reached Checkpoint 1 at the top of Ill Bell where the marshal was on the phone with a friend and mentioned Pete Bland was having a BBQ tonight (I don't remember getting an invite though).

Now I'd lost sight of the runners in front of me and wasn't sure where to head down from the top I knew the general direction and managed to pick out a stony path, upon which I quickly spotted Gordon and the Totely girl. As I said before, Gordon can't descend to well so now was my time to take a lead from him. I managed to pass him and found so grass at the side of the path and made a quicker descent, suddenly another runner appeared to my left who must have known of another route from the peak and he headed off with a little more confidence than I had. Carrying on as the downhill changed to a slight uphill I found my pace turned into more of a walk to catch my breath. I think it was here that the gel started to work as I when I started running across the screes below Frostwick I caught two other runners, one of which was a lady from Abbey runners who would later be a help to me. Before we joined the main path I think we took the wrong line but line we took was fine by me and probably didn't make much difference in the scheme of things.

The path now starts its steady climb towards Thornwaite Crag but then the path forks where you reach two metal posts and we take the right hand path away from Thornwaite Crags towards High Street. Just before this fork I was passed by a man who had, the day before, run the Ingleborough race. I had originally pencilled Ingleborough after not having the courage to do it last year, until I found out that Kentmere was listed as a Club Champs race, so maybe next year now. Anyway I am normally happy to just follow somebody else but rounding a corner near the stream (Noted on the race map as a source of water) I noticed a runner further ahead; however this man who had just passed me had headed for the stream. I was in two minds about which way to go and decided to take the faint path to the left towards the runner further ahead. A few seconds later I looked down and the man looked at me questioning if HE was going the right way but by that point I knew I was as I was on higher ground and could see a few more runners ahead.

Now the final plod up to High Street. The ground would probably have been quite runnable had this been my weekend run over Winter Hill but by this point I had done nearly 5-6 miles and possibly about 2500' - 2700' of climb and was tiring, I ran in spurts and tried to take on water and some salted nuts when I wasn't running. Finally I could see the marshals at checkpoint two. Just as I approached the marshal Gordon came chasing up behind me in an effort to beat me to the checkpoint and just passed me before we reached them. I wasn't too worried though as I knew I'd get him on the downhill again. We both turned and looked for the path away from the summit and Gordon took the one of the man who had gone by the stream. I wasn't convinced this was the right path but started to follow Gordon but then I looked back and the Abbey runners lady had taken a path slightly left. I hesitated and moved towards her path as I felt this was the right path to be on but as it turned out, both paths went to the same place anyway so I shouldn't have bothered worrying. By this point, due to my hesitation Gordon had started to buildup a lead on me as had the abbey lady. I then picked up the pace downhill as we headed for down towards Nan Bield Pass. The Group I was with (Abbey, Totely and Gordon) all at one point had started to follow the guy who had previously headed for the stream but again something told me the route was wrong and I saw a faint trod heading towards the left and what looked to be the craggy path up towards Harter Fell but this time I thought I'll just go with the crowd to where the ground seemed to head downwards and see if I still think he is wrong. However within about 15 secs or so the man in front turned and headed back towards us, realising he had headed wrong and all the other runners stopped and started to head back and left towards where the faint path had led. I knew I should have followed my instinct, it's all experience though! On passing Gordon he has started to get blisters on his feet and told me he would need to ask at the next checkpoint if they had any plasters. I hate blisters but have been really lucky with the mudrocks and so far they had been really comfortable.

Back on the main path down I managed to pull out a lead on the group but on starting the ascent, I didn't have much left. It was at this point I decided to break out my 2nd gel in the faint hope it would give me what I needed to get up to Kentmere Pike. The group (minus Gordon) now walked together on the steepish ascent towards Harter Fell. We all knew that we needed to head off on a path to the right but some went sure how far up we had to go and seemed cautious about missing it. I had been looking for this path on the way down the last descent and had seen runners heading across it. It didn't look like it would be hard to miss and then we reached a point in the climb where the path was visible and it was indeed obvious where to head. The Totley lady and the stream guy (Sorry don't know which club you ran for) started to jog off, I was still low on energy and waiting/hoping for the gel to kick in but it wasn't. I managed to jog, walk, jog, walk but I don't think the jogging made that much difference to my pace. I passed 4 people coming the opposite way along this path who seemed to be supporting the race and they offered me a drink of Lucozade which I gladly took along with few more words of encouragement from them before I headed on towards Kentmere Pike.

The ascent up to Kentmere Pike from here again isn't a big one and one I could have managed had I by now not done about 3000' of climbing and 8 miles. I was really running out of energy here, the gel hadn't seemed to have kicked in and the lady from Abbey runners caught up to me. At the time she passed me I was stood still with my hands on my knees catching my breath. Concerned she asked if I was alright. I told her I just had nothing left and was catching my breath. We started to walk together and she offered me a Nutrigrain bar that she said she could spare. I tried to keep up with her but couldn't, I thanked her again and slowed down to try and eat the Nutrigrain bar. Never have I struggled to eat a tiny cereal bar as much as I did then. Eating seemed like it was in slow motion. The chewing action seemed pointless, I didn't have the energy for it but slowly I managed to get the bar down and continued towards the two marshals I could see by now upon Kentmere Pike, Checkpoint 3. On reaching the marshals I had started to get "a little" bit of energy, maybe the gel was finally kicking in or the Nutrigrain bar was working quickly but I had something that made me feel better that I did at the base of that final climb. The marshals told me I wasn't last, which I knew anyway as Gordon was still behind me somewhere. When I looked I could see his red top a way back and I told the marshals that he may be asking for a first aid kit for plasters to aid his blisters. They said they had some blister plasters they would get out for him and I headed off for the final descent to Kentmere.

I'd read the map notes and knew I needed to take a "faint runners path" towards a style in the wall, however I had lost sight of the Abbey and wasn't sure if this mark in the grass here was the path I should follow. I did follow it and as the ground started to drop down I caught sight of the Abbey lady off to my left. I had come off to soon so I needed to make my way across to the path she was on and by now could see the stile I needed to head for. On the downhill I started to pick up speed and began catching her up. by the time I reached the stile she was now only about 100m in front of me. I climbed over the stile and took a look back to see a couple of runners heading down the hill behind me. The ground now had a few puddles and small streams which rather than avoiding I just waded through, letting the cold water refresh my feet. I could have stopped stood in the water for ages but I continued on through the wet ground not wanting the runners behind me to pass me and caught up with the lady from Leeds. I didn't want to try and pass her though as she had been my savior with a Nutrigrain bar. As we descended she advised me that we needed to be on a lower path and headed down a grassy path I probably wouldn't have noticed but I stuck with her as she had obviously done this race before. All I knew was that I needed to head for the white house which by now I could see. On the descent too I had seen the field with all of the cars, the finish line wasn't too far away. Yeah right!!!

On the final part of the descent I followed the lady through the bracken towards the white house. Again in the bracken the heat hit me and I just wanted to take off my tee but didn't. The tee had been fine all the way round apart from at one point on the climb to Ill Bell when I was shaded from the wind. There was so much bracken on this path I thought I would end up in Narnia or something but eventually we came out at the white house and the run in. This is where I started to get the warning twinges of cramp coming on. I probably needed more salt as I had been regularly taking water en-route but I was on the run in, it can't be far now, I'll wait until I get to the finish and rest!

The run in was the WORST part of the whole race, after the twinges in my calf I took a moment to walk and the lady headed off away from me. I didn't expect the run in to be so long. I followed the tape markers and tried to run but everytime I tried my calve would react with a twinge to warn me it was having NO MORE! Jog, WALK, Jog, WALK along this path that seemed never ending and I also realised that I hadn't seen a marker for a while (being as the run in was supposed to be marked). Now I was wondering if I had taken a wrong turn but continued on anyway on this neverending run in, I was also aware that the couple of runners I had seen behind me hadn't passed me yet and I had done enough walking for them to have passed me. Eventually, a marker, through the gap in the wall and over the bridge and back onto a track road. After a couple of minutes I caught sight of the finish line, it was nearly over. I had manged to trot down this track road keeping the paces short didn't seem to anger my disgruntled calve muscle. Finally I joined the main road downhill leading to the entrance to the field and the finish line, crossing the finish line in 2hrs 54mins (230th) for my longest ever fell run to date.

The abbey lady had already finished and was sat near the finish line with friends. I went over and thanked her for her help then headed back to the finish line for the water. I sat on the grass and rested, drank some water and waited for the next finishers to cross the line. After a few minutes the next two runners crossed the line and to my surprise it was the stream guy and the Totley lady. Eh? "How did you come in behind me, you were way ahead of me?" I asked. It appears they took the wrong line down from Kentmere and I think they were the two runners I saw behind me as I climbed the stile. Also I suspect the move to the lower path was also one they didn't take and they ended up on a slightly longer descent. Either way I had made up a couple of places by sticking with the Abbey lady, so if she does ever read this, then she knows who she is, THANK YOU! again.

Still waiting for Gordon to finish I headed back to sit in the boot of the car and eat an egg butty that had warmed itself up the car during my race. I saw young Al Fowler and Emma Gregory and discussed that god awful run in. Emma commented on how she had a terrible race, which seems to be how she finishes all her races. After speaking on the forums a few times I met her at Harrock hill a few months back and she said she had a bad race, then I met her again at Two Lads fell race and she complained again stating her legs only start working after 10 miles. At Skiddaw, she had an awful race and now Kentmere was a bad race. Some women are never happy!! Back at the car I took off my shoes and checked for blisters, none! Bargain. Eventually, some 12 minutes behind me Gordon crossed the line. When he got back to the car he took of his mudclaws to reveal a huge mathcing pair of heel blisters. I was glad he had those and not me. I would have still been on the hill if I had those.

We stayed for the prize giving having a quick chat with Colin, Suzanne and Rachel. Gordon agreed to do a write up for the Horwich RMI Blog so we noted the club runners finishing times and then headed home. I fancied fish for tea so called at the chippy for a nice and healthy Fish, chips and gravy and picked up a bottle of Magners to. When I got home I pulled on the drive and the kids came running over, not to greet me but I had McDonalds in the car for them. Isn't it awful when you can see that something about to happen and you can't do anything about it. I saw the way Oliver was holding the car door and as he started to push it closed, I shouted "WATCH YOUR FINGERS!!". There was a momentary silence, I hoped to see him start walking away from the car, but then he screamed. I jumped for the door and opened it again. The poor little man had trapped his thumb in the door, that was him in a mood for the rest of the night and my tea would now have to wait another 30 mins whilst I felt guilty and spent time trying to calm him down. Eventually though he calmed down and sat and ate his tea on Joanne's knee. There was going the be a nice bruise on that in a few days I'll bet.

Later on in the evening I was relaxing after watching Top Gear and had just started watching James Cracknell 'On Thin Ice' being stupid, ignoring the blisters on his feet whilst heading for the south pole (Some people do some stupid things) when my calve decided it was strong enough to teach me a lesson. BANG! cramp! AAAARRRRGGGHHHH!!!!! Josh looked at me scared as I rolled around the couch in agony. I had to tell him I was alright to calm him down. After about what seemed like about 2 mins eventually my calve relaxed, Josh had already lost interest in my pain and carried on watching On Thin Ice. Off to bed earlish, but the following morning I felt awful. I felt as if I had been hit by a train. As I sat down for work I hoped I wouldn't be like this all day and thankfully I wasn't. As the day went on my body recovered and I reflected on the achievement of the previous day.

Sorry for such a long tale, but it was a bit of an epic day for me.

Thanks to everyone for putting the race on, organisers and marshalls, the supporters on route and the runners I ran with. See you all next year!

Below are the now infamous Gordon (269), Totley Lady (210), Abbey Lady (17) and stream man (155)

Photos are taken from here: