Showing posts from 2020

Hadrian's Wall Path - Video Log

For anyone interested in seeing the suffering endured whilst completing the Hadrian's Wall Path my wife has put together a compilation of the journey.

Hadrian's Wall Path

Although it has been a month since I did the Coast to Coast I am still recovering from the exerts.  Superficially, my feet are more or less back to normal, except I'm still shedding dead skin!  Deep down though I know that I'm still recovering; my resting HR is about 10-15 bpm higher than normal and just jogging on the treadmill has been much harder than it should be.  I haven't even been able to think about some harder sessions at the moment. As competitive racing appears to be as far away as its ever been, there has been the itch to undertake another long distance path whilst the weather and daylight is still on my side.  This time I selected the somewhat shorter Hadrian's Wall Path at 84 miles long, but the nub of this challenge was to complete it within 36 hours.  Whilst on paper this is nowhere near as hard as the Coast to Coast both in terms of length and elevation, I didn't want to do anything much harder as my body just isn't ready yet. Hadrian's Wal

Coast to Coast 2020 - Postscript

So how did I feel upon finishing?  A sense of accomplishment? Happy?  My initial thought was that I was just glad that it was now all over.  I think the sense of accomplishment will come in time. I failed in my initial goal of 3 days, but adjusted the target and to do it in 3 days 15 hours and 50 minutes is not too shabby. The big high for me was how the first day went - clearing 62 miles in the Lake District over that terrain showed I have the fitness, but it came at a cost that I felt for the remainder of the trip.  If I had set out with the intent to do it over four days at the outset then maybe the wheels might have come off much later on and would have made it a much more enjoyable trip.  On the other hand my accomplishment on Day 1 shows that I probably have the fitness, just not the feet to match. Do I regret doing it the way I did it?  Short answer: no.  It was always going to be a voyage of discovery. Could have I gone faster?  Without doubt.  If my feet had held together I am

Coast to Coast 2020 - Day 4 (Ingleby Cross to Robin Hood's Bay, 49 miles(ish), 182 total)

I woke up at 4am - this was it, the final day which ever way you cut it.  Three possible outcomes: 1) Finish, 2) Drop out and 3) Run out of time.  I knew I felt better in myself; not exactly containing bundles of energy, but at least enough to be motivated to finish the day strongly.  I started at about 4.55am where I immediately entered the Yorkshire Dales and straight into an incline where I would then follow the Cleveland Way for most of the morning.  I felt like a man on a mission and just powered my way up the hill. Review at Ingleby Cross The first section to Clay Bank Top (144 miles) was 11 miles in length and involved lots of up and down sections and well as some flatter bits.  I was doing really well, no heroics mind, but by 8am I only had 4km to go.  At this point it got much slower around Cringle Moor / Wain Stones that involved substantial amounts of scrambling and uneven surfaces that requires careful negotiation.  Nonetheless I safety got to Clay Bank Top at 9am in relati

Coast to Coast 2020 - Day 3 (Gunnerside to Ingleby Cross, 38 miles, 133 total)

I set the alarm for 5.00am and this time I was determined to stick to it.  I knew a four day finish was touch and go and a couple of hours would make all the difference.  The initial plan was for me to start at 5.45am and walk to Reeth which was about 6 miles away, come back for breakfast and then set off again fully fuelled up.  As I headed outside it was raining yet again, but it improved bit by bit and then stopped completely as I arrived at 7.20am.  I was feeling reasonable and if anything my legs had improved but my feet remained the same.  I had done some thinking in those first couple of hours and felt that Ingleby Cross was the absolute minimum goal (with no guarantee of a final day finish), but if I could even get a few miles beyond it would make all the difference.  I therefore decided to have breakfast in the car and press on after a 10 minute stop.  This was the make or break day. Start of Day 3 Review at Gunnerside Gunnerside - Reeth The next leg was a relatively short 10

Coast to Coast 2020 - Day 2 (Shap - Gunnerside - 33 miles, 95 total)

I set my alarm for 5am which was quickly dispatched.  Things were not looking good already.  At 8am I rolled out of bed with much discomfort still present and whilst I was still incredibly stiff I felt I could probably at least get to Kirkby Stephen (79 miles) and reassess.  However, the late start just added to the impossibility of a three day crossing.  I then had a full on breakfast comprising of 3 Weetabix, mixed fresh fruit and a Full English (all of which was delicious).  I started off at 9am in the rain, but to be honest it was better than yesterday where I had caught the sun. Start of Day 2 To begin with I flicked between three modes: walk, run and run/shuffle.  I was making good, but not great progress and although it looks like I did a short cut, this again was just down to following the more modern route.  The only exception was near to Brownber where I devised a change off the hoof for no apparent reason as it certainly wasn't a shortcut.  I was again now struggling and

Coast to Coast 2020 - Day 1 (St Bees to Shap - 62 miles)

After very little sleep I rolled out of bed at 4am and got to St Bees at about 4.35am.  This gave enough time for the tracker to pick up a signal, sort out final bits and pieces and a quick interview by my wife.  Although the tracker thinks I started a few minutes earlier I left the Coast to Coast memorial at exactly 5am.  The first few km involved skirting the coastline and I felt really relaxed and kept things nice and easy; running where I could and just walking anything a bit too steep.  By 5.35am I had left the coastal path and I was already heading inland.  Other than a tiny navigational error I had already reached Cleator (7 miles) at 6.15am and quickly stopped to see my wife who was patiently waiting for me.  I didn't want to stop for more than a few seconds, so other than taking on some more liquid I pressed on. Start at St Bees Leaving Cleator, I hit Dent Hill which is a small hill by all accounts at 350m, but is the first little test before heading into the Lake District

Coast to Coast 2020 - Preamble

Alfred Wainwright's Coast to Coast from St Bees to Robin Hood's Bay at 190 miles holds an almost mythical status.  Today it remains one of the most popular long distance trails and is considered to be one of the world's great walks.  Whilst unlike many other routes such as the Pennine Way etc. have an official status and are properly way-marked, the C2C is a little less obvious and various guides will offer different route options.  If done according to plan, it would normally be completed in 12 days as part of an overall 14 day trip. The Route I have done the Coast to Coast once before, back in 2008 with a friend from work.  We were carrying full camping kit and we completed it in just over 5 days.  That is probably considered by some to be pretty fast, but the record is actually a crazy 39 hours that was set in 1991! For whatever reason, from time to time I've contemplated another go at it now i'm much fitter but the project has never really got off the ground.  N

July 2020 Update

Every time I come close to putting together a new blog post things have moved on so quickly that it becomes out of date before I've even published it.  At the same time, training continues and is just a case of knocking out the mileage week after week, hoping, rather than expecting things to change for the better any time soon. I'm starting to come to the conclusion that almost all racing will be off for the remainder of the year at the very least, other than perhaps the odd local race.  Whilst at the time of writing the rescheduled London Marathon is still on for early October, I think it is only a matter time before it is cancelled.  Most other big races have already gone - Berlin, Chicago, Boston, Great North etc. that I simply cannot see it happening.  I'm even starting to think that it is not an impossibility that most bigger spring races may no go ahead either, depending on whether the much talked about 'second wave' of Covid-19 actually happens. In an ear

Marathon Analysis in 10 Charts

In both my work and private life I'm a real stats geek and can happily bury my head in an Excel spreadsheet for most of the day.  So much so that when planning a holiday I'll crack open a spreadsheet for some reason or another; my wife often complains that I then manage to turn something that should be really exciting into something exceptionally boring! When it comes to running, the opportunities for analysing performance are almost endless, more so now that we can readily access GPS watches that hold all sorts of data.  Nonetheless I often find the analysis on Strava really interesting, but at the same time I'm always craving more.  In my work life I often tell others that the easy bit is to provide data, but how can you convert that data into intelligence? I therefore set out to look back at the five marathons I've run and see whether there is a way to determine something a bit more meaningful.  This is quite a long read and you may get bored by the end of it