The SNOD ultra runnig thread

The Idle Banter non specific race ultra thread

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03/09/2014 at 13:16

The best place for reports, DE.  Not every reads, or wants to read, blogs.  There is a word limit for posts, though.

07/09/2014 at 08:23

No problem T Rex, lots of different events going on at the moment and I find it hard to keep track of who is doing what to.

Day 1 (conclusion) -

Being buoyed by the food was almost outweighed by a feeling my feet were probably blistered and still quite a few miles to go today. Taking the road out of a Masham we were now well out of the dale and the surroundings had changed to agricultural and quarrying. We took roads and a few field crossings through several villages. When the route took a field-crossing footpath it was a lottery in this section whether it would be ok running, or a ploughed field, or the gates/stiles in field would be overgrown or not visible. One such stile was invisible at first as completely overgrown by a huge solid plant which was hard to push through and covered us in those sticky, spiky things. But either side of 'the plant' the field footpath was obvious and looked used? These kind of areas can be nearly as tough as hardcore trail moorlands in their effect on tired bodies and time took to navigate.

I was slightly cursing my decision to dog-leg into this area when I could have taken us a shorter southerly route to Ripon. As the day was starting to look like it would finish well into darkness and closer to 60m than initial plotted 54. Which would cutdown on my recovery time quite a lot. But I had a reason to come out this way and it was to visit the tiny village of Sutton Howgrave where my late mother - who I was doing this in memory of and whose charity my fundraising would support - was brought up. Whilst in the village I took a walk around and tried to imagine it in her day.

After a few more tiring fields and a small detour adding more distance I realised there may be a more direct route for the remainder. And Mark confirmed from his local knowledge that there was. I'd done enough that day not to worry about not visiting a couple more on route villages for no particular reason. So we followed a mostly road-based route south to get to Copt Hewick (small village outside of Ripon) and Marks house minutes before darkness at 9 pm and having covered 53m.

The spicy Thai curry that Marks wife served up was most welcome, as we're a few beers for hydration purposes and a bath. I didn't dwell too long on my blistering feet,deciding to sort them in the morning and try and get some restorative sleep. Overall a really good route for the first 2/3 of the day that I'd recommend to any touring off road runner.

Edited: 08/09/2014 at 09:25
08/09/2014 at 09:51

Day 2 Ripon - Selby (44m) -

Another just after 5.30 start. Slightly groggy, mild stiffness, but pretty good for having done over 61m in last two days. I spent a bit of time looking at feet, some swelling and a large blister under the ball of each foot, almost to toes. Not an easy spot to put a compeed and make it stick. I did my best, but I didn't feel they would stick. Mild reflief that no more blisters or other problems really.

Mark was up not long after and we had breakfast; tea, cereal and toast for me. Mark was also kind enough to knock me up a ham sandwich for the road Mark would also be joining me for a cameo for the first few miles today, but then would be heading back home as he was going out for the day with family and would also need to retrieve his Car from Garsdale, before working that night.

At about 7.15 we were out the door and walked down the windy road out of the village. The pack felt ok, if anything it would be mildly lighter today as I'd eaten some food from it yesterday. Onto the main road into Ripon past the race course and we had a jog, before hitting the Ripon canal towpath and passing Ripon marina. This is a nice pleasant section of running on gravelly path, which after a few miles brought us to the junction of the canal and river Ure.

We followed the now, easy flowing, widening river along wet grass paths - rain overnight - and through some slightly overgrowing foliage, which meant that pace was slowed down to walking again. Feet felt a bit sore and uneven footplants seemed to tear at the bottom of my feet. Again I tried not to dwell on the distance remaining today and over the week with already breaking feet.

We reached the river bank section across the river from Newby Hall and took some pictures of the great view of river, gardens and hall. Then I said my thanks and we said our good byes as mark was now heading back and I had a day of about 50m still left. I though it would be interesting to see how I coped with my change in status to lone runner. I don't do too badly in solitude and have done challenges all alone before, but after having a sociable long run yesterday the format was now quite changed for the remainder.

Onwards and own the river bank, more wet grass and foliage, but a really pleasant river bank section overall. I also managed to have a 'comfort' break, which was something else that had been bothering me the last few miles. Before not too long I'd passed through Roecliffe and onto road, crossing under the A1 before entering Boroughbridge. A bit of road helped ease my foot worries as I could rely on more even footfalls and get a move on, which was desired as with a shorter day today I hoped to finish a good few hours earlier and have more time to relax tonight.

Through the roman town of Aldborough and I now enjoyed a couple of faster miles on quiet lanes. There was a brief interruption from a "farmed over" footpath crossing field and overgrown field edge top get me wet and tear at my feet. Then respite on road through a small village to join a nice firm and trod field crossing path to bring me into Great Ouseburn and nearly 14m in the bag - moving along nicely at over 4mph and legs feeling pretty good.

Through the village and a left turn to follow a fast-trafficked road and cross the Aldwark toll bridge over the Ure. I think the traffic moved fast along this road knowing that the bolted wooden-decked bridge was single track and the one guy taking tolls wasn't exactly in a rush.

Edited: 08/09/2014 at 10:07
08/09/2014 at 12:19

Day 2 (cont..) -

Along another quite-fast trafficked b-road I rounded the RAF airfield before entering Linton-on-Ouse. I had also just passed a bend in the river where the River Ure became the River Ouse. I stopped to enjoy my sandwiches and nibble on a posh trail mix - from Poundland - including chocolate covered peanuts and raisins. Today would be a bit of a split-lunch day as fancied this now and would be passing through York later where there should be plenty of options for a top-up.

Following the large bends of the Ouse I was back on grassy trail on a path around Benningbrough hall, then into rough and muchly overgrown paths for a few miles. The path widened and became more foliage free after awhile, but this couldn't stop a 'bad patch' as I had to negotiate cows on thin strip of land between fence and river, which meant the damn things kept running along with me. It also started raining a bit.

This annoyance and my general cow-phobia when running tired meant I came off this path and took a sneaky detour through farmyard (naughty) to cut through village of Overton. Then when through the village I followed a track to rejoin river which had bent around to meet.

There was now following of the Ouse on a short section of hit and miss paths before getting closer to York where I joined the 'cycle trail 65' which links to the transpennine trail and assured me the option of solid path and easy running into York. It was quite nice to run into the city this way and see 'people' and activities along the riverbank.

Into the city centre and I detoured my smelly-ass into the shopping 'maze' and grabbed a Greggs (again) sandwich and cola as well as a water bottle so I could top-up my twin bottles of chia charge and water with electrolytes. I probably looked odd hunching at the edge of the street filling up bottles place on the floor with water and strange powders and tablets!

Back to the river and I crossed to the east bank whilst eating and walked/ran along the tree-lined path beyond the millennium bridge - another rain shower started - and turned off to pass the old terry's factory with its iconic clock tower and then around the most of and across the race course (taking marshalls advice crossing track as it was a race day).

After crossing under the A64, this led me to a cycle path on an old railway line offering tarmac much of the way to Selby on a long and fairly straight section. Good for progress, but the lack of variety might well do my head in. But now the sun was out and there were distractions such as a scale milky way with the sun statue at the start of the path and then planets located along the next 10k to mark the scale of the galaxy - the inner plannets all being a few hundred metres apart, then outer ones being km or more.

Harder surfaces, which had been respite for the blisters were now presenting their own issues though as my battered feet started to feel more-and-more swollen throughout this day. Where possible I'd take a parallel softer path or run on the intermittent softer bridleway alongside this cycle path.

The footpath hit the A19 at Riccall and my route took me through here. In fact my planned route now detoured me east across the river again and through a few more villages. But with extra miles already in the bag I decided to follow the more direct route paralleling the A19 on a grassy path, then taking a road off and riverside path (on flood embankment) as it followed a few more bends towards Selby. These remaining miles of trail were mostly unchallenging terrain, not ripping or battering my feet and the river soon delivered me past industrial works and into Selby.

Edited: 08/09/2014 at 12:20
08/09/2014 at 12:21

Day 2 (conclusion) -

As the day cooled into the evening I walked through the town centre, grabbing a milk drink to keep hunger at bay a bit longer and located my B&B for the nights stop. A spacious room was much welcome so I could spread out my kit and lay down awhile whilst I went through my mental list of what I needed to do. It was nice to be finished earlier in the day after 10hrs58 on the go and 44.2m covered.

The rest of the evening consisted of shower, dressing in spare kit and hobbling down the road in the cool evening air to the Wetherspoons I saw on the way through the centre. A pint of cider and double-Mexican burger with chips really hit the spot and I had a bit more time this night to catch up on calls, messages and other normal things.

A good, but different day to the last, mostly flat, more hard surface and as such my feet and leg joints were definitely more stiff and swollen than 24 hours ago. But, undefeated I was able to relax into sleep.

24/09/2014 at 13:03

Day 3 – Selby-Hull (43m) –

After a good sleep to try and recover as much as possible it was again about 5.30am and time to get up and get prepared for the day ahead. Despite the tiredness and stiffness associated with over 100  miles – mostly run – in less than three days there was an immediate positive to start today, a cooked breakfast. My B&B option here in Selby had a fantastically early breakfast start time of 6.30am. So after taking time to get dressed, bag readied and feet patched up – yesterday’s blister plasters were mostly off so I took great care to adhere more “moleskins” to the sore patches on the balls of my feet – I was downstairs at just after 6.30. And I wasn’t even the first down in the breakfast room!

Cereal, fresh orange and then scrambled egg on toast really filled my tank up nicely, without stuffing myself. I then paid my bill and I was off at 7.16am. I walked at first through Selby to gently ease stiff joints into motion, before breaking into a ‘slog’ (how it felt at times and an abbreviation for slow jog) down the main street and over the Ouse bridge. My choice route on the river-side, transpennine trail cycle path out of town was off-limits as blocked by works on the railway bridge. So a detour through industrial Selby followed, before meeting the river about half-a-mile out of town.

I now followed hard, stoney track or flood embankment top path for the following few miles tracking large bends in the river, which really made the route far from direct today. The legs didn’t have much speed today, but by running long periods with much shorter walk-breaks I was making faster than 4mph progress as per yesterday. The bounce of harder surfaces was faster, but the softer embankment top path was kinder on swollen feet, on the condition that the path was even and didn’t aggravate the blisters!

After some more fun with cows, much as per yesterday pre-York, I arrived at a place called Newhay and was greeted by an aggressive dog at a path junction, where I was unsure of the correct path. The grumpy owner came over from his front garden after making some snide trespassing comment - despite me being at the path junction still – gave me some less than cheerily-toned guidance. I got back on my way, a bit upset/wound up by this as the map wasn’t conclusive. My last word on this should I see the man again would be, if this happens enough to bother you then why not aid the long-distance walkers, runners, cyclists who frequent this route with a helpful sign? I would.

Back onto the embankment path down the Ouse and at Barmby tidal barrage I decided to deviate from my planned route along the river and go through Barmby towards Howden – conscious my route today had large sections of little civilisation and I really could do with a shop before not too long to top-up water and maybe get some lunch in for later. If not my next “sure thing” was Brough where I wouldn’t be until potentially hours after lunchtime. Barmby didn’t offer much, but it was a gimme few miles along a straight road before I hit Howden.

Edited: 24/09/2014 at 13:05
24/09/2014 at 13:07

I only skimmed the southern edge of Howden and I looked like not hitting a shop. Should I deviate further into town as surely there would be a shop? Or do I push on and make do with the water I have and snacks I have until Brough? I decided on the latter and it worked out well enough as I came within only a 100yard detour from a garage on the way out of town. I put my money to good use snapping up a meal deal; a big chicken Caesar wrap, crisps and water. I topped up by bottles, packed the wrap, but wouldn’t be able to stash the crisps in my relatively full pack without crushing them. So I had a mid-to-late morning snack on-the-walk as I undertook one of the only climbs of my day to rise a few dozen feet over the M62 on the road bridge.

Heading south of the M62 between Goole and South Cave took me into the large, flat and not unpleasant (on a sunny day like today), vast expanse of super-flat farming land that I think of as a little step back in time every time I visit. I would now have miles and hours of quiet roads and paths and would probably see as many transpennine trail cyclists as I would cars in this time. Such an experience may not be unique in our country, but would more likely be experienced in the mountainous areas of the UK.

I passed through Kilpin and Laxton before winding my way closer to the river through Yokefleet and then joining the bank at Blacktoft. I decided to run atop the flood bank again here for a while so I could try and photograph the end of the river Ouse as it spilt out into the Humber Estuary. After so many miles and so many of them on road my leg motion was very restricted by tiredness and stiffness, so running on the quite even grass bank top was slow going. So I slowed to a walk to eat my wrap and try and recharge my batteries.

Outside the village and I was back onto quiet minor roads as regained a stiff jog. My overall pace today was marginally faster than the previous two days, the slowest being the first day. But on the first day I tackled more off-road and hill and seemed to walk a fair bit more as I gabbed with Mark. Day two had seen a preference for road, but some off-road that was far more challenging than today. Today I simply had to ‘slog’ most of the time, otherwise I didn’t seem to be getting anywhere fast.

I moved onto a gravelly track and then as that swung north and off-route to a village I followed straight on to a path marked on the map. Which was really now a mostly chewed-up field edge between a ditch and dried-mud plowed fields (very nasty on blistered feet). Even running bits I slowed massively here and motivation nosedived. I was glad to eventually get a grassy track to a farm and – after trying to figure my way out of the yard for a few minutes – another grassy flood embankment in the land between riverside marshes and lots more fields.

This was quite a good surface for progress, the natives, 100’s of sheep had beat nice trod along the flat-topped bank. And running through the numbers of these gentle creatures cheered me up simply because they weren’t aggressive cows for a change! And also reminded me of my little boy at home whose favourite toy is his fluffy sheep ‘Bah-bara’. At the edge of Brough a different emotion was stirred as my path passed the Humber Yawl club. I choked up a bit as I had in the past picked up my late-mother from here after she’d been sailing with members of the blind/partially-sighted activity group she supported.

Edited: 24/09/2014 at 13:08
24/09/2014 at 13:25

I was back to civilisation, in the large village/small town of Brough. Which had shops, cafes, pubs, you name it…. But I just wanted to get on with it and all I needed was a water top-up. Before that though, it was a sure sign I was back in familiar territories as I ran into a friend of my dad’s, who was taking on a gruelling challenge of his own landscaping the garden of the house his son had brought. I stopped to chat and tell him of my venture and got some more sponsorship J

I got a bottle of water to fill my bottles and a ‘for goodness shake’, which I stashed in the bag for after I finished today. And then headed out of Brough via the only slightly hilly section of the day through Welton, Melton and then over the A63 to Ferriby. I then headed back downhill to the riverbank and stiffly-jogged along the riverside path towards Hessle. After a brief stop to picture the outlines and plaques of the historic “Ferriby Boats” to add to my collection of journey memorabilia. The sun was out this afternoon so I passed numerous people out walking the river and further family groups as I headed into the shaded paths of the country park. From here I climbed the short section of steps from the old quarry and followed the raised path with great views under the vast Humber bridge. As I skirted Hessle and rejoined the river at the edge of Hull my thoughts were now “last leg” as I used to live in Hessle and would sometimes run to work in Hull centre and it was little over 5m using the most direct route. However my riverside path weaved a bit more so it could be more like 10k left today.

My path now followed a fine line of solid land between high-reeds and marshy land by the river and the A63 dual-carriageway, the central artery between Hull and the outside world. Still mostly beating out a slog with my swollen, sometimes painful feet I rounded the old overgrown and dilapidated docks which sandwiched the St Andrews Quay retail park with my first view of “jewels” of civilisation such as Starbucks and McDonalds since York.

I was now journeying back into the old-industry areas of landscape that fill many of my midweek run miles each week. Leaving St Andrews quay I got lucky that although the old dock-buildings to the east had started the process of being demolished since I last past not that long ago, I could get through and didn’t have to take an extensive detour at this late stage. One more ascent and descent as I passed over the raised walkway built over the Albert dock warehouses (which I always thought a pleasant and unusually dramatic way for this path to enter the city, but it’s good for a city panorama).

It was then across the lockgate of the marina and through the old fruit market area before crossing the river Hull – dividing the tribes of east and west – on the millennium bridge, around the dramatic deep building at Sammy’s point and onto the path along the riverfront of the Victoria dock village. I’d contacted Clare at 5pm and maybe 3.5m ago ago to meet me at about 6pm at the end of the village. Which meant I had little respite from slog-speed if I wanted to stop at the shop and collect a cool drink to sink at the end. In fact, just as I ran up the road to the roundabout Clare who was driving up spotted me. In a rare event me and Clare were both a few minutes early!

Edited: 24/09/2014 at 13:26
24/09/2014 at 13:27

Day 3 conclusion -

10hrs40 and 43.2m today.

It was great to be home and see Clare and Isaac, who I’d missed so much (this being the longest I’d not seen Isaac for in his 20mths). I got home and I was able to relax that little bit more than previous days. Although, relax isn’t in Isaacs vocab yet, so I also had to offer some low-key playtime. After a bath we got a takeaway Chinese from our great local and I think I was asleep not long after.

It was great to be home, but there was still significant mileage and possibly a challenging riverbank route tomorrow taking me out of town from where I’d stopped today through miles and miles of mostly deserted reclaimed farmland to my eventual challenge endpoint at Spurn point. It wasn’t a mileage or route that would usually phase me, but my body had taken a battering already. The damage seemed to have been accelerated today. As well as a general stiffness and achiness, my legs were almost seized up now. The blisters weren’t really any worse, but my feet were now really swollen and my big toes in particular has taken quite a battering.


24/09/2014 at 16:40

I love your descriptions DEot.

I also think I might be borrowing your "slog" for my first attempt at 100 next month.  I foresee a lot of "slogging"

24/09/2014 at 17:15

Thanks booktrunk. Yes, the slog will no doubt become familiar to you in that second half. In that 2nd half any pace illusions may well go out the window so its a case of get around how you can and don't focus too much on how far on how much time. Just think of the next feed, etc... best of luck!

I did High Peak 40 at the weekend. 40.9m, near 5000ft asc, 7.10 hours on foot. So far more hills than any of my long GYRR days and nice was able to have a change from the slog as this was mostly run or fast territory jog (even on many of the uphills, which were a cracking gradient to still be able to run, especially road ones). I've been retraining myself to try and pick up some roadspeed for Yorkshire Marathon in October. Quite happy with that time for HP40, but really destroyed my quads so training this week has been muchly a non-event.

Edited: 24/09/2014 at 17:18
25/09/2014 at 23:39
hmmmmmm...... well you hardcore nutters really know how to put your body thru it!
Lots to digest there... congrats on it all. Quite inspirational.
I will think of those exploits when I take on the druids 3 day event in November. Not in the same league I know but I gotta start somewhere on the multi-day stuff.
Thanks Guys
26/09/2014 at 16:02

Hi Garth. At that distance it sounds tough enough to me and whatever step you take into multi-days its likely to be a lot more mileage than previous. I'd already done 33 and 37 milers in one day in years before I took on Atlantic Coast Challenge over 3 days (78.6m), which really gave me a beating by day 3. I've done mostly single day events since and unless they are 50m upwards they aren't usually as bad as you get to rest the day after.

TBH some of the guys/gals out there do a hell of a lot of tougher stuff than I could currently or probably ever do. And I've already taken on challenges beyond what I ever imagined I could. The 'challenge' stick keeps getting moved on with every goal achieved (My missus probably thinks she wish se met somebody whose hobby was golf or football ). So keep reading there is inspiration everywhere on these threads whatever your challenge. Best of luck

27/09/2014 at 17:54
DEot: thank you for that. You're right... inspiration everywhere. I need to soak it up like those sponges they hand out at the water stations!
I've done a few ultras but only single days.
Really interested in what you think about day 2 & 3....
Should I run Day 1 so conservatively that I feel really fresh on day 2?
Should I still hold back on Day 2 so that I might go well if not get faster the last half of day 3? or just take each day as it comes?
Reckon you will say it all hurts after the first day but there must be some stratergy...
Ps. my missus (girlfriend actually) is the multi-day ultra runner responsible for me leaving the road events for more fun and mud in the country!!! (so at least she understands...!)
28/09/2014 at 15:23

Depends how much running you've done imo, if marathon distance is still relatively new then recovery between days is going to be slower. Also depends massively on what you want out of it, if you're just there to enjoy then take it easy and enjoy, only you know what that pace means. If you're looking to push yourself then I would make progress on day 1 while still fresh, but be aware of situations which may affect recovery, e.g. take special care on steep hills to preserve quads. Maybe start out at your weekend long run pace and take it from there.

In my experience the first mile or so of days 2, 3, ... will be a little sore but once properly warm you'll be fine.

It probably helps a bit if you know what terrain is coming up, no point pushing it on the hilly bits only to be tired when it flattens out, having said that most of the Ridgeway is very runnable.

29/09/2014 at 16:36
Shawk: Really appreciate your advice... I'm no stranger to the marathon and have moved on to a few 50k - 100k events. - Thing is only in 1 day - not over 2 or 3 days like this one. You seem to suggest that I shouldn't be over-cautious on the first day or I'll find myself too far behind my peers on days 2 & 3. Just reasonably sensible (LSR training pace) would you say?
29/09/2014 at 17:34

I agree with shawk. Day 1 will feel easy for a long period anyway if your well trained and not in all out one-day race mode. A good LSR pace for similar distance might work well. Day 2 and 3 may feel hard at first, but you will loosen. I'd be a liar if I didn't say it'll get progressively harder to maintain same pace each day and any suffering will come sooner (based on similar terrain each day).

ACC was an odd one, I probably wouldn't have suffered so much on day 3 if I didn't try and go out at day 1 and 2 pace. As the third day was a significantly slower course due to terrain and undulations. I don't know the ridgeway, but I suspect you won't have such a terrain change?

01/10/2014 at 21:59
DEot: thanks for that... btw sorry whats ACC? (I mustve missed that bit of info on your writings!)
02/10/2014 at 13:45

Hi Garth, sorry shouldn't abbreviate so much, ACC = Atlantic Coast Challenge. A good run, particularly day 3 which is quite wild in places.

02/10/2014 at 14:43

Final day (Hull – to Spurn point)

My plan for the final day was for a shorter than the previous few days route of about 30-35m. I’d even run an extra mile yesterday to try and give myself a boost into the next day. After not much of, but a slight lay-in after the last 3 days starttimes I was awake. But it took me awhile to get up. Perhaps the comforts of home made me more relaxed about having a later start today. But I don’t think even this would be enough. My body had pretty much had enough. And after breakfast and a few hours of stiffly limping around I agreed with Clare that I would cut some of today’s route down to make it twenty-something miles.

Such a decision didn’t rest easily with me as I felt initially I was cheating – myself and those who had sponsored me. But Clare made me realise that people most probably really wouldn’t mind me not covering every mile I’d planned, especially if they could see what state I was in. As I slowly got ready I think I’d cut my planned mileage further down below twenty. As I struggled to even get shoes on my swollen feet – particularly my left foot with a hugely swollen big toe and feet that would barely flex – I decided I’d run from a village near to Spurn Point, to its end and back again. This would be less than ten miles. But I now figured it would be all walked. I guess I could have done nothing today, let my body recover and not risk further injury, but I wanted to get to Spurn Point, my planned end point. And as the end of Spurn point was miles from the nearest road I’d also have to get back on foot.

As Clare drove me on the nearly hour long journey to the rural village of Kilnsea I changed plan again and asked Clare to get me as close to the “end of the road” to Spurn as possible. Which would give me an interesting 6m+ ‘out and back’ and Clare agreed to meet me at the same spot 2 hours 30 minutes later. Surely that should be enough time. I’d managed 4mph for days so this should be easy….right?

I said my goodbyes at the barrier on the road beyond which we’d have to pay to take the car (which for reasons I’ll soon explain is pointless for most people). And then off did I walk. Trying to set a good steady march to see me to the end of the ‘spit’ and back in good time. I was soon onto sand as a massive section of the road has been washed away by the massive tidal surge in December 2013. The spit has been breached regularly over the years and I think they’ve just about given up replacing the road now as there is something like 1/3 mile where there is now no road and only a 4x4 can pass and the head regularly now becomes an island at high tide.

Have a read on Spurn point it’s a fascinating place, a thin stretch of land poking out for about 3m from the mainland marking the end of the river Humber and the start of the north Sea. For example there was once a significant town and port larger than Hull at the time – which was overrun by floods and eventually abandoned to the sea in the 14th century. To be walking through the sand seeing water a few hundred yards to my left and right was pretty amazing. I’m incredibly surprised I’ve never been here, it’s a special place and not that far from my home.

Edited: 02/10/2014 at 14:44
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