Hopefully you will have read my article from Totally Active Magazine, if not you can read my “How to Get into Fell Running” feature here. The photos used in the article were taken by my lovely and talented friend Shona Bradley – thanks Shona! I have used a few more here as I think they show the atmosphere of fell running really well. Also thanks to Caz for being my wing man and letting me look like I was leading!
I have recently been so proud of my ladies running groups, a few weeks ago some of them completed Lyme Park parkrun after around 9 weeks of running in my beginners groups. Many of them haven’t run before so I was really pleased for them and am looking forward to seeing them continue and progress. It was very important to me to show them that hills are not the enemy, on the contrary they are the jewel in the fell running crown, offering stunning visual as well as fitness rewards! In June, I competed in Castleton fell race. It was my first time there and I really enjoyed it. The parking was a good 5 minute walk from the start area and registration was busy but very well sorted – channeling runners into little rooms to fill in forms and collect numbers. I made a mistake at the start and positioned myself too far back in the field, in hindsight next time I will go to the front as the bottleneck which follows in the first 500m was a little frustrating. There are a lot of rocky paths in this race and I would recommend wearing shoes you trust. I was wearing a brand new pair of Roclites which turned out to be slightly too big and I had to stop twice to tighten my laces which was most annoying.From the Hollowford Centre the course goes up to Lose Hill after a funny camber along a sheep field. The ascent to the trig is stoney with steep steps but is still runnable. At the top we bared left and I saw fantastic views to Edale and Derwent water momentarily as I caught my breath. There was a technical rocky downhill after Lose Hill and I found it quite hard going until we passed through Hollins Cross and I saw a few Striders supporters cheering us on!The next section took us up to the top of Mam Tor where we had to avoid the front runners gunning down the hill towards us. I watched the route they were taking and decided I would stick left on the grass for as far as possible when my turn came to descend. At the trig the wind was blowing a gale and buffeted us round and spat us back down the hill towards Hollins Cross once more. The next section was again steep and technical, I was really careful not to go over on my ankle but went for it as much as I could. Once into a field of cow parsley after a short tarmac section I started to wind it up for the finish. I was determined the runner behind me was not going to be passing! A short burst to the finish and mission accomplished, no one passed and I was happy with my effort. I walked to the refreshment table to have a cup of orange cordial which was very welcome! Not my best result ever but after quite a long fell running break I was pleased with 1st lady strider and 12th WSEN overall in 64:50. The following day I ran round Lyme Park with my running group and noticed my hip hurting with every stride. I put it down to the concussion effect on my joints from the fell race and decided I would rest until my Tuesday evening group.By the Tuesday my hip was still hurting, even in walk and in hindsight I probably shouldn’t have done 7km that evening. My hip pain turned chronic and I had to take painkillers and ice it.Three weeks down the line and my hip is still no better. I have had physio and been recommended to have 6 weeks off running – my first proper running injury! I have to take full painkillers/anti inflammatories and do exercises. I am still allowed to cycle, swim and attend pilates classes – but no running! As a result I have withdrawn from Hathersage Hilly Triathlon. I am really sad about it but these things happen and I’d rather recover quicker and get back to run fitness gradually than wreck myself for the summer by running on it at a race. My physio says my mantra has to be “to it not through it” meaning to go to the pain but not push it. I’m going to be sensible and stick to the plan. My biggest fear is losing run fitness and putting on weight but I will be careful to avoid it by eating sensibly (and trying not to drink too much at weekends! – good intentions!)For now, my running groups are continuing without me, I am helping them on a consultation type basis recommending routes and hearing their progress through our WhatsApp group.Today, I have had the pleasure of run directing at Whaley Bridge junior parkrun, it was a lovely sunny morning and we had a hilarious warmup featuring Paul Potato! I love the randomness of working with children – I miss it from my teaching days so this put a big smile on my face!Next weekend I will be taking part in the 60 mile Manchester to Blackpool ride, which I am looking forward to. Organising a team of 17 is the order of the week!…Happy and injury free running to all!TLF