2 Weeks Later

Thank you so much to everyone for the amazing response to the race report post. I wasn’t sure if I was getting the real race feel across properly but it seems you have all understood. It means the world to hear such positive responses from friends and blog followers.

Just before I start, I have added to my training plan section with an ultra and a half marathon, or thereabouts, race plan. You can go through the link above or just click on “Training” link on my home page on the site. Remember these are only rough guides, it isn’t about sticking exactly to these plans. You can tweak them in a way that suits you and your lifestyle. I hope to post a few more and some multisport plans soon.

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Hiking to Brevent near Chamonix a few days post race

And here are the Results from the CCC, UTMB.

So this time two weeks ago I had just registered in chamonix for the CCC. There have been many questions asked about the race and my race report, but it is still so hard to explain what UTMB races are like.  I have been recovering well and apart from an issue with my left leg, which I spoke about mid race, I think I’m doing ok. There is no doubt that I will need more time and the proper rehab to come back fully fit from this one. I have been doing lots of glute work, balance work and taking every piece of advice I can find on stretching, balance and strength work for IT band syndrome. I know it is in my quad and IT band that the issues are so it is about focusing on them and feeling my way back.

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A bit of Technical trail 

I’m still on a bit of a buzz after France, it really fires you up knowing there are so many other challenges you can go back to over there. But what is next?

I will, no doubt throw my name in the hat for a race over there net year. At the moment I am swaying towards the CCC again or possibly the TDS. The UTMB requires 15 points over 3 races, meaning I would need to complete another 100km plus race before christmas. That is not going to happen this year! I have plenty of time to decide. At the moment life is about finding work here in Bristol and once I have that I will know if I can race at all next year. I hope to be back running enough over the next few months to do one more ultra before Christmas, just to keep the distance in the bag!

The winter is a great time for training. A focus throughout the darker months is important and I have some ideas in mind this year. First of all I’m getting back on the bike, which I have already started since CCC. Secondly I have started playing a bit of football again, crazy I know risking injury a bit, but I am new to Bristol and it is about making friends. Thirdly I will run a few times a week and hopefully at least once on the trails at the weekends. This all building up to a little event next March? I won’t mention the name just yet as I haven’t decided 100%. For those of you back home I think you have a fair idea where I hope to be on the 23rd of March 2019!

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These typical alpine views keep you going through the months of winter training! 

My only other plan for 2019, at the moment, is to enter the draw for the Laveredo Trail Ultra in the Dolomites in Italy. No doubt it is one for the bucket list. This tends to be an easier draw to get through so fingers crossed. I will also throw my name in the massive and almost impossible hat for The Western States draw in November. This is one of the most iconic races in the world but the draw can take years before you have a chance. I have a chance to enter as a finisher of the CCC in under 25 hours, so why not!

As running has become such a big part of my life these goals are essential. Many ultrarunners burn out after a big race or take alot of time off. I think it is important to get back on the trails as soon as the body is ready and have these goals to fire you on.

 

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Day 2, Domail to Shary Mountain

We woke at 7am after our ten hour shut eye. Sleeping wasn’t easy on the hard ground and with the cold, but we still managed to wrap up as best we could. We had a  nice breakfast, in Liyakat and Mustafa’s tent, of porridge, omelette, toast and tea. We relaxed in the morning sun by the river, which by the way was so powerful and noisy that it sounded like being on a plane all night. I love rivers though so the sound didn’t bother me and I could watch a river all day, especially a glacial fed river like this one.

 

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The river and camp at Domail.

We set off with our packs and Liyakat at around 9am for our second day on the trail. It would turn into half a day but in these conditions and at this altitude it was no harm in only doing around four hours. We reached the base of Shary Mountain after a short hike and would gradually climb, with some steep sections, for the next two and a half hours. We met some sheppards and their familes with a few cows and a bull they were trying to make interested in their cows, however he was having none of it today. I saw some unusal birds I have yet to identify and more animals I managed to identify a bit higher up the trail, cows I believe they are called. The path wound it’s way up, some of it proving to be very technical hiking, followed by meadow like terrain until we reached the top. We sat at the top taking in the view with mouths wide open. Amazing to say the least. Eventually we closed our mouths as we ate lunch. A potatoe, an egg and a carrot each with some juice and nuts.

 

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Resting near the top of Shary Mountain on day 2

We descended back to camp in about an hour with a quick stop for some salty biscuits along the way. The day was very hot with a good sign of high pressure after a night of rain last night. We weren’t to know at this stage but there would be great weather for the rest of the week.

Once back at camp we did some stretching and yoga, some reading and snoozing and before dinner we even managed to feed biscuits to a pair of hungry hikers that ran out of food on their travels. We then sat in for a lovely meal with the guys before hitting the hay early we talk of a steep climb to our next camp tomorrow.

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Views of the snow to come.

Active British Columbia 

I feel very lucky to have been able to take this long holiday in British Columbia. The mixture of activities and relaxation has been fantastic so far. The past few days we spent time in Kelowna. This is a city on Lake Okanagan. It is a mixture of a slightly Western looking town and modern hipster kind of area. The landscape is something similar to Colorado with rolling hills, parched by the sun. The area has many vineyards with farming being the main industry before tourism arrived. I learnt some of these things on my morning hill runs. I got up at 6.20 and ran the local Knox Mountain the last two days. It is a tough 3km climb but well worth the views.  

   
The second photo was one of many deer I met on one of the trails. They were very confused by this crazy Irish man running down the mountain leaving a dust trail in his wake. 

We head back to Vancouver tomorrow so possibly one more run up the mountain in the morning. For now it is time to chill, eat and drink a few beers. 

   
   
This was some of yesterday’s fun on the Kettle Valley Railway bike trail. A fun 22km ride along a railway line which was replaced with a cycle path. An impressive 18 trestle bridges were refurbished on the trail after a fire in 2003! 

Vancouver so far 

Just a quick post on amazing British Columbia so far! 

The second picture is from the fanzine at the women’s World Cup final today . Well done to the U.S. on a stunning win. To refer to my post the other day, how many guys can say they have scored from the halfway line..

My Vancouver family   

  
Fanzone.


The next few pictures give an idea of the beauty of Vancouvers surrounding countryside and coastline. I also managed to run every day so far and did a few nice hikes and scenic walks as well. Just getting warmed up for the weeks ahead.      

What a view.

 

Me caught looling like a serious poser!
   
Bowen island trail.

 

Bowen island trail.
  
Deep cove hike.

 
Photo taken on the move.  
 

Downtown 

First Race of 2015, Gaelforce Sky Run 20km.

A little breeze on top of the hill!

Finally my 2015 posting will start to ramp up in the next few weeks. Please excuse any spelling mistakes as my cat is either on my lap or on the keyboard as I type!

Due to adverse weather including snow melt and storm force winds the course today was altered. We were now due to run a 10km loop twice taking in a 350metre climb on a boggy hill both times. I have to say of all the races I have taken part in this one was shaping up to be seriously tough. Gael to storm force winds with a driving mist and the ground was so soft and slippy that trail runners seemed more like slippers.

I decided after a strange week, busy at work and a head cold that this was going to be more of a really hard training session than a competitive race for me. I knew I wasn’t going to be at full fitness but that this race would stand to me later in season, It was strangely enough my first ever mountain running race, which wasn’t part of an adventure race. I’m still a greenhorn really !

At 9am we hit the trail after a 2 km warm up. I felt ok and stayed with the lead group for the majority of the first lap. I could tell there were some great runners here today though. After around 2km we hit some really boggy ground with one of the group taking a tumble, and I could swear he disappeared in the mud for a few seconds. I was to find out how this felt a little later . We managed to wade through this section and reach the base of the mountain. It is only 350 ish metres but it is slippy,very very soft in parts and steep, fun and painful. At the summit the gael force winds hit with a bang and as we descended the wind was so strong you had to lean into it to balance even a bit. I had a slip or two on the descent but managed to catch the lead group at the bottom. At the dib station at the bottom my dibber didn’t work and by time it did 5 guys had screeched away in the distance. A hard blow but I settled into my ” training” mode and decided to push myself and not worry about others for a while.

The second lap was similar, surprise there, a bit harder as I tired and I fell about 5 times. The falls were fine as the ground was so soft. A few guys passed me in the last 2km but all in all I felt good on the mountain and felt I lost most time on the road/trail sections. Some work to do here maybe. I haven’t seen the full results yet but I was definately somewhere in top 10. Not bad considering I haven’t really got into mountain training mode yet this year.

I would highly recommend this course, even for a training route and hope to come back fit and ready next year. Nice to have the first of 2015 under the belt.  Now for sleep !

https://www.facebook.com/GaelforceEvents

On the bike

Due to my annoying ankle I decided to do minimal running the last few days and do some decent work on the bike. I think things are going to plan and I am starting to enjoy the bike a bit again. All tri-athletes and adventure racers tend to have a sport they enjoy more than the others. For me it is running and I have always needed to work more at the bike while maintaining all round fitness to plod my way through the kayaking. My advice when you are struggling with a discipline is to try to change up the training a lot. A good example of this is to go for a long slow cycle, then a short fast one, and the next session hit the gym for a bit of spinning. The worst thing with hard training is monotony therefore variation is key. I have attached the link to my recent training sessions. Unfortunately my garmin seems to be constantly acting up so I am down to manual imput. A lot less exciting if you like your stats!

http://connect.garmin.com/calendar

I have a couple of races lined up over the next few months. mostly sticking to running and mountain races for pre season. Here are a few links to these events.

Annacurra mountain run, Wicklow

https://www.imra.ie/events/view/id/1220

Gaelforce Sky Run

http://gaelforceevents.com/en/gaelforce-mountain-run

Wicklow way trail

https://www.imra.ie/events/view/id/1222