Archive for the ‘Running’ Category

Lite Weekend of Running

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

 We had a fun Bank Holiday weekend in South Wales competing in the OMM Lite. Christine and I were entered on the Long Score with her Mum having offered to mind the children at the event centre in Cwm-du, nestled in the Black Mountains. The Lite is significant as the event is quite different from the OMM itself. Firstly, as with the Capricorn, you return to the event centre on Saturday so there is no need to carry camping equipment or food. Secondly, the weather at this time of year was considerably better than your average OMM. Lastly, the event was restricted to using rights of way only. This latter point makes a major difference: the navigation was simple, the course was much more runnable, and lastly, it meant that the route choice options were much more limited.

In the seven hours on Saturday, we ended up running 53km – considerably more than either of us had been expecting. This included an ascent of Waun Fach. Unfortunately, with Pen Cerig-calch effectively out-of-bounds it also meant that, with two hours to go, there was nothing for it but a long run back round the lanes and connecting footpaths, picking up a few checkpoints on the way. We finished the first day in second place. The winners were miles ahead of us (rumour has it that they ran a further 10km) but there was another mixed pair just behind us who we knew had been running faster than us.

The map had all of the available checkpoints for the weekend marked on it and, although it was only at the start of each day that you discovered the controls that were open and how much they were worth, there was still plenty of opportunity for route planning on Saturday night. In the end, we only made one small tweak to the route I had chosen, taking in Mynydd Troed at the beginning and returning to Mynydd Llangorse, where Christine’s Dad was stationed, towards the finish. With blisters from her new Inov-8s, Christine chose to wear road shoes on Sunday and wasn’t significantly disadvantaged. In contrast, my new Inov-8 Talon 212s didn’t give me any trouble despite only having worn them for half an hour before the event.

Rather embarrassingly, our attempt to avoid the Brecons over Easter backfired completely as there was a control within 50 metres of where we had parked the car at Llangorse Lake! It didn’t give us any advantage though with no option for canoeing across the lake! Christine’s knee started to give her some trouble with 1.5 of the 5 hours still to go but she soldiered on and, as we had time, was even persuaded to take in an extra control at the end. This brought our distance for the second day to nearly 35km, gave us a win for day 2 and confirmed our place as second overall and first mixed-pair.

Overall, a fun weekend although, as I say, quite different from the OMM. It was certainly family friendly with the children enjoying the organised walks and the mountain bike skills course laid on at the event centre. The Lite format has another couple of events in the south with the Chilterns and Surrey Hills but, even with the requirement to stick to the paths, I don’t think they can compete with being out on the open fells.

 

Running Weekend

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

Christine XCIt’s been a weekend for running. On Saturday Christine ran at the first of this year’s Hampshire Cross-Country races at Farley Mount. I didn’t feel 100% when I woke up so decided to save myself for Sunday. Although I felt much better by the time the races came round it was probably still a wise decision (not least to reserve some energy for a barn dance in the evening!).

StringerOn Sunday it was Totton RC’s Stinger which meant a return to Ocknell. It had been raining heavily during the night and it was still going as we drove to the event. The sun had come out by the start so, although wet underfoot, it was actually quite warm.

Ocknell MudI was slightly alarmed to be in the lead for the first couple of miles but around the three mile mark, three runners made a move (although I’m puzzled because the results that were posted suggest four). Most of the next four miles were spent racing around the gravel tracks in the Inclosure. The first two runners started to pull away and I had to work hard to stay in contact with the third placed runner (or was it fourth?!). I started to make some ground as we left the tracks and worked our way back along the edge of the Inclosure but didn’t have the energy left to haul him in on the final climb up towards the finish (the sting).

Christine, meanwhile, had take the children for a walk through a marsh which meant they were covered in almost as much mud as me!

Elevation Profile
Speed Profile
20161016 Stinger

Summer Holidays: Act Two

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

Dyrham ParkWe returned to pick the children up from Monmouth the following weekend, stopping off at Dyrham Park on the way back. Quite apart from it being a convenient place just off the M4 to stop for lunch, the children had last been there when the roof was in the process of being replaced following a fire and were keen to see how it now looked. The scaffolding that they had previously ascended to look down on the roof was all gone and, at least externally, the property was once again looking in fine form.

Emma runningChristine and Duncan runningOn the Sunday Christine took Emma along to the Junior parkrun in Southampton. Emma must have enjoyed it as she was persuaded out their again the following weekend where, despite getting a lower place, she managed to beat her previous time. Duncan also decided that he would go round this time with Christine. Thankfully he managed to maintain a respectful distance behind is older sister! All of this now means that I’m the only one in the family never to have run a parkrun despite being the first to register for a barcode! Duncan climbingI ran home whilst Christine and the children went to investigate what turned out to be an open day at Woodmill Outdoor Activities Centre. This gave them a chance to test out their climbing skills yet again.

Spinnaker TowerChristine and I took it in turns to mind the children the following week. I took them down to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on the train for one day. We went up the Spinnaker Tower first which, to be honest, was a bit of a let down. Other than a view out over the Solent to the Isle of Wight there really just isn’t much to see. There was quite some queue to get in to the dockyard itself but we can return on our ticket at any point during the next year and won’t have to suffer the queue again. After a stop for lunch we headed over to see the Mary Rose in her new dry state. Mary RoseIt’s very well done with the skeletal remains of the one half of the ship on one side and the retrieved contents was laid out on the other in decks as it would have been found on the ship. Unfortunately I think the sheer age of the ship and the remarkableness of the fact that any of it actually remains today was lost on the children.

HMS WarriorEmma had been to see HMS Victory before with school and Duncan will go this year so we then took a look around HMS Warrior. Despite the fact that pretty much only the shell is original, the children still got much more out of out this. Later in the week we took a trip out to Mottisfont to check out the Beatrix Potter trail. On what was a sunny day, it was absolutely heaving and I think the children may finally be starting to outgrow some of the activities (although not the ice cream at the end!).

Howzat!Excitement for the following weekend consisted of a trip to the Ageas Bowl, this time to watch women’s Twenty20 cricket. It was every bit as exciting as the men’s game and the home side of the brightly clad Southern Vipers played a convincing victory over Loughborough Lightning. It was then back to work for Christine and I with the children attending summer camp at their school for the next week.

British Birthday

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Christine @ Brown Clee British ChampsFor the Bank Holiday weekend we headed to the British Orienteering Champs at Brown Clee in Shropshire. We arrived in glorious sunshine on Saturday morning but this soon turned to hail as we climbed up the hill to the assembly area. We were very grateful that a club mate had already erected the club tent as the hail came and went for most of the afternoon.

I had an early start and it has to be said that I had a pretty poor run in my first year at M40. Although 7th place in the results doesn’t sound too bad, I was over half an hour behind Georgie Best with ten minutes of that loss being attributable to just two controls. (With 27 controls in 9.2k there was plenty of opportunity for losing time!) Christine failed to repeat her W16 win at Brown Clee, faring marginally better than me but still ending up ten minutes down on her course winner. Emma had the best result of the day, coming third on the white course in a time that would have netted her a win on W10B if she had the confidence to go out on her own.

With rain forecast for most of Sunday, Christine and I returned for the relays without the children. I’m glad to say that we both had better runs. Christine returned first on the Women’s Short just as I set out on first leg on the Men’s Short. I ran alone for much of the course being caught just at the end and finishing just a few seconds down in second place. The commentary team had been primed to wish me a Happy Birthday as I came down the run-in! My team finished in fifth place whilst Christine, sadly, did not have a complete team.

On the Monday Emma ran again, completing the hilly 2km at Devauden XC races in 11:16. Christine and I were happy to sit the 10k out this year and watch her Mum run instead!

Active Weekend

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

Emma RunningDuncan RunningIt’s been an active weekend in the Currie household. On Saturday morning we made the trek over to Staunton Country Park for the second in SOC’s Solent Summer Series. Buoyed by just receiving the SOC Junior Women’s trophy for 2015 (although she was quick to point out that she didn’t have much competition, Emma was happy to go out on the yellow with Christine and a grumpy Duncan in tow. I went out on the light green which was more than a little muddy in places. Rob Finch managed to turn the tables from Fleming Park pipping me to first place by 14 seconds.

Christine after half marathonFrom there we headed in to Southampton for the ABP Southampton Fun Run. Christine set off on the 1 mile course with both children but Duncan got a stitch and Emma ran off and left them towards the end. The field was smaller than I had expected given the potential catchment area for the race. Christine then ran again in the half marathon on Sunday finishing in a chip time of 1:40:54. Not bad given the lack of training she’s done due to injury.

Back to the Brecons

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016

Pen y FanFor the first week of the Easter holidays we returned to the same cottage that we stayed at two years ago for the JK (having decided not to go up to the JK in Yorkshire this year). It was an action packed week with walking, running, cycling, swimming, canoeing and climbing, with a fair amount of dodging showers thrown in for good measure!

Here’s a quick run down of the week:
Friday: Arrived early evening having spent rather too much of a beautifully sunny day sat on the M4!
Saturday: Managed a quick walk down to the canal before the rain arrived. Headed to Brecon to stock up on supplies.
Sunday:pen-y-fan-2016-2.jpg Made the most of all the rain by going to visit the waterfalls above the Talybont Reservoir. Made it back from our walk just as the hail descended. I managed to time my run in the evening for the return of the sunshine.
Monday: We returned to the scene of the JK relays (Pwll Du) for the Rogue Runs ‘Gilwern Grunt’ race. The children were marshalling with their grandparents which meant both Christine and I could run. The hail ceased just in time for the start. Running through the mine workings was fun although my progress on the ascents/descents was pretty poor. Christine bagged a prize for third lady. We headed to Big Pit afterwards although sadly they weren’t running underground tours that day.
Tuesday: Gerry and Sue took the children climbing at Llangorse and Christine and I headed out on our bikes. We took the Taff Trail up to the top of Talybont Forest and then had a quick walk up Craif y Fan Ddu before heading for the tea shop. It began to snow heavily whilst we were sat there which wasn’t so much of a problem as the freezing cold rain it became as dropped altitude on our way back to the cottage.
Wednesday:pen-y-fan-2016-7.jpg The weather finally took a turn for the better and we spent a fun few hours paddling along the canal from Brecon (trying to catch the electric hire boats!).
Thursday: With a clear day forecast we finally took to the hills, climbing Pen y Fan and Cribyn via the Corn Du ridge. The snow on the way up certainly added to the excitement for the children. Most memorable for the adults was the orderly queue to take your photo at the summit of Pen y Fan!
Friday: Time to pack our bags and make our way back to Southampton via a night in Monmouth.

Last minute half

Monday, October 5th, 2015

Clarendon 2015Christine had entered the Clarendon Half Marathon this year but, as the day approached, her achilles was still playing up and, with a week to go, she transferred her entry to me. Stood on the start line I was in something of a quandry as how to tackle the race: I had done no preparation this time but last time I had run I had won! On top of this, the first 1km is the flattest of the course so you can’t waste it easing yourself in. As it was, I set off somewhere near the back of the top 10 and at a pace which didn’t feel excessively fast.

I had been undecided over footwear too as my off-road shoes are disintegrating. I’d eventually gone with road shoes which was the right choice as the conditions under foot were the best I’ve known them. Indeed, it was a glorious day with lots of blue sky and a nice cool breeze.

When we reached the climb up to Farley Mount at 7 miles I can’t claim to have been feeling particularly strong but there was the incentive of a steady stream of marathon runners to pick off. Although you’re only just over half way when you reach the top, mentally it feels like you’ve broken the back of the race. I overtook a couple of my fellow half-marathon runners as I descended to where my fan-club was waiting to cheer me on and this gave me sufficient impetus to continue pushing to the end, despite the nasty undulations in the last 5k.

I eventually finished in just over 1:28 which was only half a minute slower than my previous winning time. Even that wouldn’t have been nearly good enough this year with the winner taking an impressive 1:20. I was more than satisfied with my 5th place though and I’ve only been hobbling slightly today!

10K Time

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

Hursley 10KIt’s been a busy weekend with Duncan off at a party yesterday and then setting out our stall at the school car boot sale (a profitable couple of hours but we still came back with far more stuff than I’d hope to have!). Today it was the Hursley 10K and it was my turn to run this year. As an added incentive, this year I was running with #8 which, I was told, was based on the estimated time that I had submitted. What I also knew was that #1 had beaten me by some 4 minutes two years ago so I wasn’t trying to keep up from the start!

Things went well for the first half when I was in a pack of five behind the leading two runners. Unfortunately I started to fade after that (blood doning last Wednesday?) and also started to wretch around the 7km marker (something that’s affected me before in 10k races so there’s probably something wrong with my pre-race prep). I was therefore glad to hit the open at the end with no-one on my tail and could coast to finish in 7th place. Depending on how you look at things, either I was either 4 seconds slower that two years ago (gun time of 38:49) or one second faster (chip time of 38:45).

Duncan - Hursley Fun RunEmma - Hursley Fun RunBoth Emma and Duncan were entered in the children’s races. Duncan was off first in the KS1 race and declared that he wanted to run on his own. This was probably a mistake as he got his first stitch on the way round which was obviously paining him as he came in to the finish. Emma had a longer loop in the KS2 race and, although she claimed not to have enjoyed herself very much, put on a respectable show. She seems to have become very materialistic of late and was very put out at ‘just’ getting a buff, bag, banana and water bottle!

Emma and PonyWe then had to race off as Emma was meant to be singing with the Brownies at the local fun day (she’d already missed singing with the school). We arrived just in time for her to enter the arena having no idea what she was meant to be singing! She needn’t have worried though as it was virtually impossible to hear them over the band playing at the other end of the rec. Thankfully there were long queues at most of the attractions to disuade Emma but she eventually decided that she would like to have a go on the pony rides. By this time I needed to get home to have a cup of tea and a sit down!