The end of the racing season!

I’ve now finished all my races for 2011.  I’m now just enjoying my running – trying to get out a few times a week and keeping up a reasonable weekly mileage.  But I’m having a short break from proper training – so I’m just choosing nice runs which I fancy doing, and not doing any interval training – yippee!!  I did a lovely run last weekend – from our house, through the woods and then through Limb Valley, across to Burbage where I climbed Carl’s Walk and Higger Tor, and then along Stanage Edge for a while, before heading back.  It was 22 miles of lovely trails, great scenery and some of the challenges I love running when on the Peak District fells.  I can’t wait to do some more runs like that.

Review of 2011

I’ve now finished all my races for 2011.  I’m now just enjoying my running – trying to get out a few times a week and keeping up a reasonable weekly mileage.  But I’m having a short break from proper training – so I’m just choosing nice runs which I fancy doing, and not doing any interval training – yippee!!  I did a lovely run last weekend – from our house, through the woods and then through Limb Valley, across to Burbage where I climbed Carl’s Walk and Higger Tor, and then along Stanage Edge for a while, before heading back.  It was 22 miles of lovely trails, great scenery and some of the challenges I love running when on the Peak District fells.  I can’t wait to do some more runs like that.

Looking back on 2011 I have really enjoyed my racing year and am pleased with what I managed to do.  I was delighted to achieve one of my big goals in May when I completed my first sub-3 hour marathon at Edinburgh – I managed 2 hours 56 mins, despite running into a driving gale for the last 6 miles – very satisfying.  I’ve since beaten that time in Berlin (2:55) – that was a truly special marathon, with the streets filled with 1 million people giving huge support as we ran around this great, historic city.  There is now a report of this race on the website.

Pictures from Edinburgh and Berlin

I also completed my first ultra marathon this year, running 51 miles (with some help from a kayak and a couple of ferries) along the South Devon Coast.  I loved that sunny day in July, and it has given me a taste for more (see below)!  There is a report on my Devon Ultra on this website.

I also completed a couple of the classic Lakeland fell races.  Ennerdale was a huge challenge which I found particularly tough – scaling around 10 mountain peaks and 7500 feet over a 23 mile course – I need to pace myself better next time.  I also did the Langdale Horseshoe again, and loved this – it’s a truly classic course – see report on this website.

I’ve had a few disappointments, and tough experiences, which I’ve tried to learn from.  The Northumberland Coastal marathon was one such experience – my first “Did Not Finish”.  I really went for it, trying to win the race – but I didn’t give enough respect to a tough (beautiful) course and the warm conditions.  I blew up and ground to a halt after 23 miles.

My most satisfying racing achievement in 2011 was the Edale Skyline.  This is a course which I love, around my favourite parts of the Peak District.  It has some tough climbs, running on all sorts of terrain (the boggy 2 miles to Brown Knoll is a killer) and beautiful scenery.  I finished 41st out of over 320 runners and beat my previous year’s time by half an hour.  Everything went right as I completed the 21 mile course (with over 4000 feet of climbing) in 3 hours 20 mins.

Pictures from Edale Skyline

Plans for 2012

As I enjoy a rest from races, my thoughts have turned to planning for 2012.  I enjoy doing this – searching websites, reading about different races, checking calendars and dreaming about new challenges!

So far I have entered 2 ultra marathons next year.  I’m doing the Thames Trot in February, which is a 50 mile race from Oxford to Henley on Thames.  That will warm me up nicely for the Wall Run in June (on my birthday), which is a 65 miler along Hadrian’s Wall from Carlisle to Newcastle – finishing at the Millenium Bridge, amongst the stag and hen parties on a Saturday night!!

I’m also hoping to do the High Peak Marathon, in a team of 4 with my friends Andy, Nick and Fraser.  This is a 42 mile challenge in the Peak District, with most of the race run overnight (starts at 11pm) in early March – could be cold!!  I hope our entry is accepted.  The race is heavily oversubscribed with fellow nutters (!) and we didn’t manage to get in last year.

I’d like to do at least one more Lakeland Classic – maybe Wasdale in July, which is the ultimate UK fell race.  I’d  also like to do another couple of marathons…..  and so the planning continues!!

Keep on running!

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