Sunday, 11 March 2012

Long Tour of Bradwell Reccie - A run of two halves

There's always one weekend a year where you think "yep that's it - winter's over now" and this weekend was definitely it.

This is despite yesterday morning having some of the worst conditions on the fells, I'd EVER experienced... I was about 6 miles into my training run on the Long Tour of Bradwell route when - heading up Ringing Roger - the winds got worse and worse.

It was bad running up to the first stile leaving the field out of Edale. Upon getting to the stile I was basically not moving - being pushed back by the wind heading from the N / NW. Heading up the zigzags got increasingly desperate. It seemed like every 10m of height gain was linked with a noticeable increase in wind speed. So much so, that by the time I was climbing up Ringing Roger, the wind was seemingly being funelled around the rocks making it nigh on impossible to get up the path. It actually entered my head (for a split second) that I would have to retreat.

That has never EVER entered my head on the fells before.

Thinking really quickly I realised what I needed to do - drop down the side that was sheltered from the wind. That solved the problem for a short while until I had to top out - upon summitting I was promptly nearly lifted off the mountain !

Being in the clouds, with no gloves, no hat and just a flapping hood I was quite glad to drop down to Edale YHA. Bit of a dodgy line but got there in the end. Running was best classed as 'relaxed' all the way to Win Hill then Ladybower and Yorkshire Bridge.

The Route for the Long Tour of Bradwell starts middle left - Bradwell

At this point, I knew I was halfway round and the legs just wanted to keep going faster. I knew that the main climb out of the 7 big climbs was just up ahead, so get the majority of that out the way then gradually wind it up ?

Well, in a nutshell let's just say I wish every run felt that good. In fact, I've never felt that good on a 30+ run even when I was running regularly 3+ years ago. Yeah, OK things are never that simple on an ultra and yes there were a couple of moments where I thought "Oh god, that's it now I've overcooked it" around Leadmill / bottom of Abney Clough, but a good dose of Jelly babies sorted me out.

The climb up Abney Clough was a pure pleasure. I was dreading this after the Xmas / NY mudfest but I needn't have worried. There was actually a path this time and my legs were just itching to go faster, so I wound it up little by little knowing that I still had the climb from Abney to the descent before Bradwell. I got faster all the way until the descent I'm pleased to say which is in stark contrast to the pre NY run !

If I never run this well again then I will still be happy as for an hour or two I had a feeling that I don't think I've ever felt before. I'd been running for ages, but yet my legs just felt solid and got faster and faster.

6h7m ish back in Bradwell and a dip in the stream was in order followed by Tea Shop then back home to meet up with Mum for a nice Mountaineering lecture on Tien Shan in the local village hall.

I've since checked my route with Saul who did the race last year and confirmed I stuck in a fair few wiggles around Ladybower that I didn't need to. That's pleasing considering my time and that I didn't race the first half. Knowing me though, I probably won't enter the race as it's in August !