Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Some You tube videos of the 2017 Grizzly

Taken from You Tube, not filmed by me, they do give a good 'flavour' of the day 

At the Fountains Inn 13/14 miles


The Stair way to Heaven and the Preacher!


The whole run!!!


Saturday, 18 March 2017

Grizzly day

17th March 2017
After the lovely sunny warm day on Saturday, Sunday[12th] dawned very grey and damp after overnight rain but only very light winds. I felt very nervous as I sorted my snacks and drinks etc. for the event later in the morning, have I done enough to get me round the 19.5 miles, 2500 feet of climbing, several river crossings including crossing the estuary twice, one of the hazards on Grizzly is the ‘bog’ which is a couple of hundred metres of  sticky mud, deep stream water and slurry type mud, but I will be one of 2000 other runners from all over the country and including several  teams from Europe.
An early text from my running mate Rachel, indicated she had the same feelings as me, nerves in the tummy!! I was trying to leave my breakfast until as late as possible before leaving, as the race starts at 10:30 and it will take us at least four hours to get round, which means crossing lunchtime!

A bottle of ‘tailwind’ energy drink, an energy bar chopped into small pieces to supplement the many jelly babies on offer on the race and the refueling checkpoint at mile 13 where there is usually a large spread of cakes!!! Race number 1816 pinned to my race vest, three quarter Ron Hills, Paramo long sleeve and my Fell Raiser shoes complete with my inov 8 gaiters to keep out the sand and small stones on the shingle beach. A change of clothes packed as rain was forecast. I took my ‘Hilly’ waist pack with my montane waterproof as rain was forecast, I decided to be comfortable if it did rain heavy for the bit of extra weight.

Breakfast was a large bowl of muesli with extra nuts and raisins topped with a banana, washed down with several mugs of tea.
I drove up the lane, picked up Rachel, we both chatted excitedly, but clearly we were both nervous about what was ahead. We were surprised getting to Seaton that there was already a queue to park, luckily we were early enough to park on the seafront, more convenient for the start and finish. We were there in good time so able to get the atmosphere of the event walking down to HQ at the town hall which was full of people dressed in running kit, buying last minute, gels etc, drinking tea, buying the event merchandise a real atmosphere. The weather was very grey with a hint of rain in the air, not too cold, but chilly.

All too soon the start time approached, the sky was still very grey with a light chilly wind ,we made our way down the front with the crowds of runners to the start line, positioning ourselves in the middle of the pack, [out of the wind] the announcer building up, the excitement. A final  cheerio from the town crier and we were off, it was several minutes before we hit the start line and before we actually started to run, down onto the shingle beach for a good half mile 2000 runners creating an ear deafening noise as they ran on the shingle , we managed to keep our position as we finally exited and hit the road, it was lovely peace and quiet on the tarmac, back through the cheering crowds, an amazing number of people turning out to cheer us on, it was a blur, but I did recognise several people from the cycling club.

 Up the first hill, past one of the many musical accompaniments, a drum band, the hill was familiar from my training runs, the first steep climb out of Seaton Hole had everyone walking , it was hard work with so many people trying to walk on the very narrow road. Down into Beer, again cheering crowds lined the road. The next hill we were walking again upto the first drink point in the Beer Head caravan park, first drink and jelly babies as we approached the first off road section, this would give us an idea how muddy it would be, we could see the front runner snaking up the hill as we struggled to gain grip on the muddy track, soon onto the top and running along Beer Head, again familiar from training runs, down Seaside, the track now very slippery, we were reduced to walking as there were so many slipping and sliding, but I overtook when I could.

 Down to the beach at Branscombe where the split happened, Cub run back along the beach we would follow later, right for the full Grizzly where we had to cross the stream exiting to the sea, it was knee deep, and icy cold for about 20 metres! Then a climb up onto the shingle beach, welcome jelly babies here, the water starting to slosh about in the shoes and my feet were very cold, as we ran on the beach a drumming band were beating out a good rhythm, which they seemed to maintain even until we came back this way later, hard work I imagine, but a great motivator. Up the path to the village, feet sloshing around whilst the water escaped, as we got to the village hall it was uphill up a steep road, which after a few hundred metres lead us off road up a very, very steep track, we could hear a faint sound of bagpipes as we struggled up the hill, and around the next corner a man dressed in highland regalia was playing his bagpipes, very rousing!!!! The path was steep and very muddy, grip was difficult, we had no idea of our position now in the race now, but we did seem to maintain our position with the same people, so not losing places.
The tracks continued with a steep down before another steep bridleway which seemed to go on forever with those bends that you just cant see round, at one point there was a violin duo playing folk songs, a wave from Rachel and quick hellos as Rachel knew one of the players. We went on over very muddy and slippery fields until we came to a very muddy forest track that was difficult to run in as the mud was deep and slippery,it also started to drizzle a little at this point, on exit of this we were grateful for another water checkpoint, I had been sipping my energy drink, sharing with Rachel and trying to keep snacking on the energy bar as well as jelly babies on the way. A great folk band the ‘Fountaineers’ were playing at a farm at one point, several runners danced jigs as they ran past, I had enough trouble just running!!! the rain had now stopped.
We were soon at the dreaded ‘bog’ down a steep incline into the knee deep icy stream, wet feet again, before wading through a knee deep muddy slurry which went on for about 50 metres, before exiting up a steep hill that had a rope to assist us. Across off camber fields, making you run with weight on one leg, to stop sliding down and we came to the prayer flags and the Buddha!! Before the food checkpoint, strange coming across the Buddha in the middle of nowhere!

The food check point was most welcome, I forced fruit cake and flapjack down along with a couple of cups of water before yet another steep uphill track, I was on familiar ground now as this was my training run back to Seaton from here. I felt I was going well, bit tired, a little shin splint on my left leg, Rachel appeared to be going well despite ‘not doing any training’ then!!!!!! Crossing the field before the descent to the Fountains Inn, my left knee started to hurt, I couldn’t think what I had done, I hadn’t tripped?? Or had I?  The descent down to the Fountains Inn on the stony track was really painful, I had to walk. The Rock band were playing as we ran through the beer garden, crowds giving us a narrow passage way. Before the next uphill, I was worried now as my knee really hurt when I put pressure on it and found myself hobbling to try to keep up with Rachel, she was ahead and waited for me at the top of the hill, I found it easier going up than coming down and over the next stretch lots of runners overtook us, I did tell Rachel to go on, but she insisted on staying with me, the run down to Branscombe was excruciating, I hoped the next river crossing and the cold water might relieve it a little as we had three quarters of a mile of shingle beach to run, we continued to lose places as I was so slow, the drummers were still pounding out their beat, such energy, I couldn’t believe the pain, and didn’t know what I had done, I took a couple of pain killers to see if it helped [ it didn’t] but we were lucky that the tide was low and we were able to run mainly on sand.
There is a memorial on the beach you can tie a ribbon to remember a lost one, I had forgotten my contribution to my cycling mate Dave who passed away at Xmas, but I did ask him to help me get to the finish, I also had a heavy heart when I thought of him and felt a lump in my throat.
We were soon leaving the beach after a steady beach run, helped by the sand, my knee  hurt but I just plodded on. We worked our way on the under-cliff path to the bottom of the ‘stairway to heaven’ where we could hear the sound of what sounded like a preacher, casting out our sins etc. sure enough half way up a man dressed in full regalia [complete with hip flask] was spouting out words from the bible [I think!!]  we walked up the steps, my knee was ok going up here as long as the steps were not too high!  Across the top of Beer Head and down to the final drink station at the caravan park, before we descended to the crowds waiting in the middle of Beer as well as a great saxophone group,

 I ended up walking down on the road as my knee was painful. The steep climb out of the town and the last big uphill of the day wasn’t too bad and we seemed to be holding our position, down once again, this time a very steep road downhill, very painful ! the path through the woods to the road was our final walk before we jogged down to the park, here we actually overtook several people and finally the finish was in sight, crowds lined the road and cheered us as we went passed, we crossed the line together, before picking up our well earned tee shirt, banana and water! The fire service was there with hoses to remove the caked mud from our legs, I felt this really refreshing, and though it helped my knee.

4hr and 40 minutes for 19.5 miles and 2500 feet of ascent, think we were 1200 ish out of 1600,  some 35 minutes longer and 400 places lower than last year, but we got round, and with my injury, we like to think that if I hadn’t hobbled the last 6 miles we would have done a lot better, it was very,very muddy and slippery making it hard work, off camber fields trying to keep upright, perhaps this put pressure on my opposite knee??? Rachel did well for her ‘no training’!! and left over virus, but then she always does, a good running partner!!!
A really good day out in good company, will I do it next year? definitely the shorter Cub run !! But maybe the full Grizzly once I have forgotten the training and pain!!!! The winners did it in just over 2 hours !

The evening I couldn’t walk down stairs, Monday felt a little better, good job as it was two days of Bikeability aa local school, I did have trouble lifting my leg to get on my bike, it slowly improved throughout the day, I did rub ‘Volterol’ into it, not sure it helped though.

Tuesday, knee was much better I could now walk up and down stairs without too much problem.
Wednesday was Wobblies ride day, the weather was looking good, so eight of us headed to a new community café at Kingsbury Episcopi a village on the levels, however, by the time we were cycling through North Curry it was getting near lunch, so we stopped at the Community Café, a lovely place, lovely people, lovely cake and good price!Back through the lanes, only 30 miles this morning, my knee felt fine and we set a good pace, with the sunshine allowing several group to wear shorts for the first time this year. The café at Kingsbury will have to wait.

Wednesday afternoon my stitches were removed, so now just a scar left from my BCC removal, all painless and all involved from start to finish were great, nice to see the NHS working well after allyou hear about it.

Friday dawned very bright and sunny, Mrs B was out coffeeing with friends so I was up for a cycle ride, Kingsbury Episcopi was my destination to try out the new café my route went through South Petherton and East Lambrook, the café was quiet and a large fruit scone and mug of tea went down well, good price, nice café, will visit again. I headed back over Burrow Hill where they produce cider and onto Hambridge, back through Isle Brewers and Curry Mallet [ all nice village names]  and crossed the A358 [a very busy A road] and back through Horton and over the hills through Crock Street. It was a beautiful spring morning, warm for a change 35 miles covered.  The afternoon was a lawn cutting session as its now growing regularly.

Saturday I had thoughts of trying the Park run down at Seaton, to try out my knee, it was a very damp morning, wind a brisk wind.  I decided to go for it and hurriedly drove down to Seaton to arrive on the front just in time for the start and just in time for the drizzle to start.
120 hardy runners lined up at 9:00 and headed off up the front into a head wind, round the turn and a tail wind took us down to the turn at the sailing club and onto the shingle back up the front for the first time then once more before the finish on to the Shingle once again, I was going well, no knee problems, I felt ok, keeping my pace around 8:30 a mile. The last few metres were the hardest, over the shingle, reminders of the previous week on the Grizzly!!!!
25 minutes 53 secs, 37th out of 120 runners, 2nd in my age category! My best time for 5k

So a good running and cycling week, injuries seem to have gone, pleased that we got round the Grizzly and two cycle rides went well, icing on the cake was my Park run.  So back to cycling to prepare for my Audax rides in April and my French trip in may.

Friday, 10 March 2017

More running, back to work, no cycling and a minor operation!

2nd March 2016
Well another birthday passed, but no new age category this time in races! I had a lovely day down in Exmouth even though the weather was rain!  Some lovely cards from my family and the grandchildren. It seems ages since I ran even though it was only a couple of days recovery time!!!
So the day after my birthday it was time to run off my birthday cake, only a 6 miler round the town, to see how I felt after my efforts on the coast etc. which didn’t go well.

Saturday I was keen to get a final long run in, so determined to make a real effort I was parking on the Quantocks by 6:45 am[the only car there]  on a bright but cold morning with frost on the grass. I was unsure what to wear, as there wasn’t quite the wind, but I took my rucsac and water bladder again which had about three quarters of a litre of water, I was determined this time to eat better so chopped up a couple of Fruisli bars and jelly babies that I could grab and eat.
The ground was decidedly muddier than my last trip, and where the ponies had been, well churned up. I set off at a slow pace trying hard to be positive and focus on a big distance today at least 15 miles.
As I approached the top of Wills Neck the sun came out and there were glorious views all around, not a person in sight anywhere, I descended down to Triscombe stone, enjoying the sun and feeling comfortable, I had walked up some of Wills Neck , which I normally run.
It was quite muddy up to Dead Womans ditch and the sheep scattered at my approach, the sun was directly in my eyes so had trouble seeing the ground in front of me as I ran, several detours round very muddy areas and large puddles., skylarks were singing their song, this is always welcome when out on the moors. I normally snack at Dead Womans but today I had already snacked twice, still managing to keep my pace steady. On to Beacon Hill, this time I ran round the base and ascended up from the West, steeper and longer as I had lost height, the sun had now gone but there was still spectacular views down over Minehead, Butlins standing out, but, not out of place, Dunkery Beacon could just be made out as the highest point on Exmoor.
More snacks and drink before I headed back down to the ridge track several deer crossing the track in front of me, keeping a wary eye on me before bounding off down the combes. There was a head wind for my run back, a slight detour around Crowcombe to increase the mileage. I was feeling fine, legs, feet etc after 12 miles and I knew I would do more than 15 miles. I walked up most of Wills Neck, finishing the last of my Jelly Babies to get me over the last couple of miles, the final path was very slippery, so I had to take care. Finally arriving back at the car after a good 16.21 miles a good run, feet and legs were a little tired but not too bad. I am sure the extra food helped and the constant sipping from my camelback. As well as walking more of the hills. Time wise I was ok, just over 3 hours, which gives me a Grizzly time well in the 5 hour time [did 4hr 6 mins last year for the 19.5 miles] I was pleased with the distance as I am only 3 miles short of the distance so confident that I can get round the Grizzly once again.

Sadly Sunday was a very wet day, but the good news the grandchildren came for the day!! What a brilliant day we had and sad to see them go, the twins are very active now and full of life, interested in everything, Granddaughter now helps Grandma with Lunch even though only 4 years old. So no cycling today!

Monday was a Bikeability day over in Wellington and although I should have gone for a run, was lazy and tired from a day out with the school children, on a windy blustery, rain threating day.
Tuesday although Bikeability again, I decided I must get out and stretch my legs, so home for a cuppa, then running gear on and out of the door for 6 miles before tea, and it was hard work, it started to rain and the wind was against me coming home, the 6 felt harder than the 16 from Saturday !!!

Wednesday was a very wet day  and I had a small operation on a skin cancer spot [BCC] on my face, five stitches, so no cycling once again, that’s nearly two weeks since I was on my bike. I plan one  more run before the weekend and the race on Sunday, this is dependent on my operation and whether it allows me to get out. Bikeability again for Thursday and Friday, the weather was very good and the children well behaved making life easier!

Also paid my final payment for my Manche to Med trip today as it’s only a couple of months away now. After Grizzly I must get the miles in on my bike to prepare for the ride.
Friday, a short 4 mile run in the mist and drizzle with my running mate for Sunday, it felt as though I had never been running.

Saturday 11th March, The day before the big event, the Grizzly, 19 miles across the south coast near Seaton in Devon. The weather forecast is poor, but not heavy rain, so trying to be optimistic, we will have wet feet anyway from the river crossing and bogs! I will make sure I take food and probably a pertex top to keep the wind off, especially when wet. It’s going to be a long day I keep telling myself I have done the miles over the last month or so, even though this week I have only run 10 miles! Slow and steady will be the plan, and hopefully the other 2000 runners will inspire me.  My next post should have a Grizzly report!!!!!