TV and some Snow Running

As the new year is fading into a distant memory, it’s been relatively quiet in All Hail The Trail world. Other than a random TV appearance of course! OK it was only for a few seconds and was Freeview Channel 7 but it’s a start! It was “Photo of the Day” on the news which happened to be a rather nice view from my work desk. I put it on Twitter with a #Manchester and the channel contacted me to ask if they could use it.  Shows the power of a mere hash tag!

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The first @allhailthetrail TV appearance

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The original picture.  It was a nice view!

On to running news, the reality has now truly kicked in that I won’t be at all ready for the Oldham Way Ultra in March as I’ve had to take it really easy due to tightness in the hip.  18 miles a week an ultrarunner does not make.  I’m progressing though and trying to remain sensible and planning a gradual build up to make sure I’m ready for races later in the year…. next stop Liverpool to Manchester in April, I hope.

I’ve also ticked off my first “proper” trail run since moving to Glossop it was tough, not due to distance, but weather.  The observant amongst us will notice it’s been snowing….. and in the Peak District it was snowing a lot!  I started gently due to my hip but it seemed to ease off as I ascended towards the summit of Cock Hill (mainly walking to be honest).

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The weather got more and more extreme and as I ran over towards Clough Edge and I began to go blind in my right eye as the snow and wind battered the muscles around my right eye socket and eye lid.  I started to have one of those strange moments of euphoria as nature was showing me who was boss.

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I continued down into the relative calmness of the Longdendale Trail and along the road back into Glossop.

Talking of Glossop a final picture of the view from my spare bedroom window.  What a change from City Centre Living!

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Lots more planned for this site and a great carb loading recipe coming up soon for all the marathon runners – chicken, lemon and rice stew.  White pasta gorgers move along, there’s nothing for you here!

Alternative Run Types

Most runners are well aware of the different training run types; threshold, intervals, long-slow run and the like, but during training I’ve noticed some alternatives that I, and others, are guilty of….
Friday pub avoidance run

A really sensible one to start with. Work colleagues have been jostling around all afternoon mentioning there might be a sneaky few after work.  You want to and you’re probably going to.  But then in a bizarre twist, miraculously you decline the kind offer and end up going a run.  It doesn’t matter that you’ll be hitting the booze later on anyway – because you’ve earnt it!  Note:  This is a lesser-spotted run usually beaten by “popping in for one” after work, arriving home around 11pm armed with chips and an apologetic look on your face.

This had better sort out the hangover run

Usually undertaken when you failed to complete the “Friday Pub avoidance run”.  It all went wrong and you’re mad with yourself, but these things happen so you drag yourself out of bed, don the trainers and hit the streets like a greased cougar.  That was the plan anyway but you find yourself running at a slight angle with one eye half closed as every last drop of moisture is sweated out of your battered body, but you plough on and by the time you get back and whip up an avocado and poached egg on toast (this can sometimes happen) all seems right with the world and you can crack on with the weekend.

This type of run is also sometimes referred to as “Parkrun”.

I’m injured but I’m going running anyway run

Definitely one to avoid, but with all your buddies out marathon training and hitting intervals like crazy you feel like a school kid in detention with his nose pressed up against the window watching the others play football outside.  You’ve had a niggle that’s recurring, but your  love of all things running means you go out anyway.  Just tentatively you tell yourself, but after a while things seems ok and you crank up the pace and the pain is back…..  We should all remember that its better to wait until you’re fully recovered rather than leap back in too soon and prolong getting back on track.  Easier said than done, but you know it makes sense.

Every one is pissing me off at work run

The boss has been all over your case, and you’ve put in enough hours to have the rest of the month off.  You get home and stomp around trying to find all your running gear which seems to have been strewn around the house.  Finally you’re all tooled up, and get out to pound the streets. No one can stop you now, especially not with “90’s anthems” pumping down your eager ears. You’re guaranteed to get a good pace on this one as you work the stress out of your body.  You’ll come back calm and relaxed and ready for another day of work tomorrow…. I think.

Getting out of the house to avoid the housework run

The wife is pointing out every uncompleted chore in the house.  You’ve had a shelf waiting to go up for months and the washing up is piled high like some slithering sea monster.  Little clumps of running clothes lurk around various corners of the house. But you shrug your shoulders and knowingly glance over to your race training plan sellotaped to the fridge. It’s written down and if you don’t do it, your entire race strategy will fall apart.  

It’s all worth it though, because on race day when you heroically cross the line in 2,754th the missus will be so proud and all of this will be forgotten.  Probably….

Recipe: Sweet Potato, Beef and Lentil Stew

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Here’s a nice winter warmer, really easy, packed with plenty of veg and sweet potato, served with kale on the side.

Ingredients

120g red lentils (soaked)
250g lean minced beef
1 Sweet Potato cut into cubes
2 Cloves Garlic
2 carrots
1 stick celery
2 large mushrooms
Salt/Pepper
Chopped parsley
400g tin tomatoes
Red wine
Water
Stock Cube
Kale

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Some of the ingredients ready for cooking

Method

Parboil the potatoes for around 10 min whilst frying the onion, beef, carrots and garlic till the mince is browned.

Add all other ingredients (other than the kale) and mix well.  Add water and a splash of red wine to just about cover the ingredients.

Bring to the boil and then simmer for 40-50 mins until the sauce has thickened.

Steam/boil the kale for a few mins and serve.

Easing into the New Year

Its been a tough start to the New Year in a “1st world problems” type of way because I haven’t been able to get into the training that I wanted.

At the end of November I completed my longest ever race, the Wendover Woods 50.  It went better than planned.  I kept a reasonably consistent pace throughout the whole very hilly 50 miles, finished without any blisters, or “serious” pain other than the fully anticipated tired/aching muscles.  Stairs were a problem for two days, but after that I did a small bit of tentative running on a treadmill and all seemed ok.

Within two weeks, a friend was coming back to visit and before I knew it I was on a hilly two hour trail run in the Peaks.  It was great.  Apart from my hip.  And my feet.  Since Wendover I seemed to have developed various problems – significant tightness in the hip, pain in the top of both feet, dodgy shoulder and sore coccyx. Perhaps I’m not as “ultra-ready” as I though I was!

Anyway, this site isn’t about moaning, so I’ve been on “active” recovery i.e. a few very slow runs, some HIIT work, lots of stretching and foam rolling, basically anything which doesn’t bring back any recurring problems.

It’s a odd time of the year to be doing it though as everyone has suddenly gone fitness crazy.  I feel like a school kid in detention, nose pressed against the window, watching all the other kids play football outside.  Marathon plans have started, gyms are bulging at the seams, and parkrun attendance figures have shot up.  My running friends are building up the mileage for spring races and banging out interval training like its gone out of fashion, but I’m worried to accelerate above anything that might break a sweat!  But actually, I’m kind of easing back into it now, I’ve had a (very painful) phsyio session recently which has helped and kept the runs sensible and am feeling ready to start ramping things up which is great!

So in summary I need to (wo)man up and get back into being an……

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Final couple of updates, knowing that I’m moving to Glossop shorty, I’ve planned my run-commute! A mere 25km from Manchester City, through Ashton-under-Lyne, Stalybridge, Hadfield and into Glossop.  Its got a “lighter-nights” feel about it though, but i’m looking forward to doing it!  Click the pic for the Strava route!

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I’ve also updated my Race Results page, just into a more easily readable table format.  Definitely looking forward to developing this site further with a few new recipes and routes!

Until next time…

What next….. ?

Now that Project Trail is over, I thought I’d write a short piece on the overall experience and what I have planned next.  Project Trail has been well documented – I’ve written several blog pieces on the Men’s Running site (see HERE) and a report on the Wendover Woods 50 itself HERE.  There’s also been monthly interviews in Men’s Running during the build-up and then a final interview after the race (pictured).  I do feel somewhat sad it’s over as it was really great to be involved in something that was included in national magazine.

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Getting free gear was, of course, fantastic and the Columbia Montrail clothes/trainers really suit me, so when they do eventually wear out I’ll certainly be hunting out some more.  The training from Robbie Britton was great, especially during the last couple of months – I picked up some great tips and having a coach really drives you to not skip any sessions.  The final build-up had five days a week running, which I probably wouldn’t have done left to my own devices.  Probably the greatest lesson I’ve learnt is eating/drinking – with an ultra-race you just need to fuel, fuel, fuel.  I think this is what enabled me to finish the last lap not much slower than the first. 

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So now Project Trail is miles-under-the-bridge, what next?

My last post was about preparing for The Drop, a race with no map, compass, route, GPS where you just have to find your way back (Team OA).  I’ve written a race report which will be published in Men’s Running March edition (out end-Jan), so I’m really pleased that I’ve been able to get a couple of articles published outside of Project Trail (Man vs. Mountain HERE).  I’ll certainly be exploring how/if I can get more writing published with Men’s Running or elsewhere.

I couldn’t have a site entitled All Hail The Trail and continue to live in Manchester City Centre so at the start of February I’m moving to Glossop in Derbyshire on the edge of the Peak District.  I’m really looking forward to it and have already joined the Glossopdale Harriers so will begin training with them in earnest shortly.  I also hope to become a regular at the Glossop parkrun with an aim to get my 50 parkrun t-shirt by the end of the year (I’ve done 27 to-date).

Along with that I also have a few races booked, Oldham Way Ultra 40 miles in March, Liverpool to Manchester 50 miles in April and the Lakeland Trails 110km in July.  I’m suffering with a bad hip at the moment so I’m not building up the training as much as I’d like to right now, but such is life and I’ll have to see if I’m ready for the OWU……

I’ll also be developing this site to contain more recipes, routes, short gear reviews, race reports and any other running related thoughts.  Anyone please feel free to contact me on anything related to this site, any opportunities for running/writing/blog collaboration or anything else that may be of interest!

Preparing for The Drop

In a couple of days time I’m running a race.  Not just any old race, but one that’s going to be very difficult and it probably won’t go very well.  The race in question is called The Drop (by Team OA).  The fun starts in Huddersfield where you are blindfolded and driven to an undisclosed location, ten-miles away (as the crow flies), and then released at two minute intervals.  First one back to Huddersfield wins.

The high-tech generation may merely shrug their shoulders and wonder where the problem is with that.  Well, Google-mappers, no phones are allowed.  Or GPS watches.  Or maps/compass.  The race organisers will have strapped a GPS tracker onto us so they can observe (laugh) at the various routes we “decide” to take.  You can follow it here:

http://live.opentracking.co.uk/decdrop16/#

I don’t feel in a strong position for this one.  I’m completely full of Christmas dinner and I’ve only ever been to Huddersfield once, and am not at all familiar with the area.  Or any of the areas within a ten-mile radius for that matter……

There’s been all sorts of pub-talk on the strategy for this; following the sun, memorising the route the van takes, friends sending out carrier pigeons if I’m going the wrong way, Prison Break style tattoos and even zen-style just “feeling” the way.  Other runners could be sent in the wrong direction by planting decoys giving wrong directions or rotating road signs.  Some have even suggested that I must be the first person to ever try and run back to Huddersfield 🙂

I certainly wont be cheating so my only strategy can be to start to run in a random direction and hope to find something (or someone) that will tell me the way!!!

I’m writing an article on this race for Men’s Running so check out the mag (out end of January) to see how it went!

Finally here’s a couple of pics I took walking in Waseley Country Park on Boxing Day.  For no other reason other than its nice over there and it was a lovely day!

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