Tuesday, 25 July 2017

City Centre Running

Over a Full English Breakfast in the work kitchen one day we were musing what would happen to us if we kept eating this way - my workplace is not averse to the odd cake and even features a donut based scheme to incentivise good information security practice -  and a passing comment was made to starting a work running club.  Given I have discovered running in a big way over the last 8 months I thought this was a great idea and seized the opportunity, and before anyone could wonder what was happening 12:00 on a Tuesday was a fixture in the company calendar.

I wanted this to be accessible to people, and to fit in 1 hour while giving people time to wash, cool down and eat.  Working on the basis of around 30 minutes moving time I decided to look at some 5km routes starting and finishing at our City Centre office.  Inspired by the Outdoor City Run Routes I tried to add some interest to each route taking in the urban green spaces Sheffield is so loved for.

Route 1 - Sheffield Canal and the River Don

My first route is inspired by my good friend Andy, from whom I lay have also borrowed the idea of a work running club.  The combination of the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal and the Five Weirs Walk along the River Don is a real bonus for urban running in Sheffield, running as they both do from Sheffield City Centre to Meadowhall (and beyond) with never too much distance between them, and I have used them in runs ranging from 5k to 21k of mostly traffic free running.

For our work runs we start at the top of Fargate, running down the side of Town Hall and across Arundel Gate to the station via Howard Street before turning right, and a short climb up to the tram tracks.  From here it's a blast along to Park Square, and if you get lucky you can race the tram.  From the roundabout you drop down into Victoria Quays, one of the hidden gems of Sheffield and a beautiful place to dream of the relaxed pace of life of a narrowboat.  Along the canal to Cadman Street bridge where a bit more road takes you to the Five Weirs Walk - well in reality a quick blast along Effingham Street before crossing the delightful Cobweb Bridge and dropping past the ever evolving River Don sculptures by 'Dan' before returning to the city centre and a punishing blast up from West Bar to Church Street - I vary this section depending on how cruel I am feeling on the day, it certainly gets noticed by people lulled into a false sense of security by the prolonged flat section :)

Route 2 - Norfolk Park

This route is directly inspired by the City Centre Traffic Free Trails but tweaked to suit an office start/finish.  Following the tram tracks we again cross Park Square, this time in a different direction, before climbing past Park Hill flats through South Street Park up to the Cholera Monument and Clay Wood before crossing into Norfolk Heritage Park.  The relentless climb from Park Square continues all the way up to the top of the park before finally turning the corner and heading downhill to Sheffield College, back along to the station, and then a final kicker of a hill back up Howard Street back to the office - a great place to stretch out the pace...
Route 3 - The Botanical Gardens

This was always designed to be a fast one as it's fairly flat, though it does involve crossing a great many roads so you have to get lucky with traffic.  Up along West Street dodging the lunchtime crowds and crossing over the ring road below the University to continue along Glossop Road, the crowds die out as you hit Brocco Bank and eventually drop into the utterly wonderful Sheffield Botanical Gardens where I like to pick a route at random to make the most of the space before dropping down on to Ecclesall Road and fast back in to town - watch out for the building work at the site of the old Grosvenor Hotel though or (like us) you might find you need to double back on yourself...

Route 4 - Upper Don and the Ponderosa

Picking up the Don where we left it on Route 1 we follow the Upper Don trail to the industrial heritage (and the birthplace of the Sheffield Real Ale revival) of Kelham Island before heading up to the Ponderosa which on the time of our first run was still in full cleanup mode from the weekends Tramlines.  This was a hard climb, possibly because only a few days before I had run 21km from Hillsborough to Attercliffe and back via Don and Canal, before finally reaching Crookes Valley Road and a much needed descent.  Crossing the road we pass the Arts Tower and enter the pedestrianised space of Sheffield University Students' Union before passing the Hicks Building and the famous Johns Van and crossing past the old Henderson's Relish factory and heading back to West Street, through Leopold Square, and back to the office.

We've now run each of these routes at least once, with 2 or three people each week so far generally running at something between 5 and 6 minutes per kilometre - the Botanical Gardens was a fast one as we managed to get our Commercial Director on board, who is a regular runner with eyes on a sub 3 hour marathon.  I'm really happy with how it is gone and am always looking to get more people joining in so will be keeping the pace accessible, faster runs can always happen another time - There are plenty more lunchtimes in a week!  Coming up next I am going to try reversing the routes and see how they fare, then I may have to think of some new twists.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Stanage Far Right, again

Stanage Far Right is fast becoming a favourite area.  Easily accessible from Sheffield after work, and the walk in is fairly short and easy - even if we stay until sundown it's not hard to get back to the parking.  It's also really nice rock.  After our recent trip to The Henge we already had desire to try the Huge Slab area so as soon as the forecast was good plans were made.

The Huge Slab is easy to spot and we walked in, landing next to The Cube.  A little bit of Head Scratching on Cube Left made me decide to warm up elsewhere, and I soon bagged the straightfoward Upper Cube Traverse before going back round and working at Cube Arete and Cube Left, comfortably getting them done.  At this point Liz was attacking Lower Cube Traverse so in her rest breaks I was trying Slots but just couldn't get it to work for me.  After a brief look at some of the problems on Huge Slab itself and deciding they weren't for me we moved on to Gripple.

Landings are pretty sketchy with a jumble of rocks at the base of the rock, and it's quite high, but Gripple One was dispatched On-Sight with only a few sketchy moments. Gripple Two needed more work being higher with worse holds and there was a moment when topping out when I thought I was going to topple backwards, but it all came good. Gripple Three looked too green, too high and too poor over a bad landing to even warrant an attempt.

Around the corner Ed, Kelly, Andy and Kelly were already on Gripple Nipple so I went and joined them, but was struggling to link it all up.  The start was fine, thanks largely to some significant reach, but going up from the slot to the top was not working - I was repeatedly chickening out of throwing for it and making neither one thing nor the other moves which weren't going anywhere.  I carried on working it while Ed was grappling with Gripple Graunch, and it was getting rather frustrating.  I switched from trying Kelly's beta from matched on the slot to Andy's beta of pressing down on the left hand in the slot and going for the top with the right.  Eventually my right hand stuck - just - and I matched the top and hauled myself up the wall with more than a bit of noise.  For something I worked so hard I was expecting more than a 5b out of it, but I'll take what I can.

After catching my breath again I joined Liz, Andy and Kelly on the Pert Block, going straight up Pert Wall then making a meal out of Pert Bloke by trying to climb it on the steep overhanging side rather than the slabby side.  With this pointed out I got up it and then ticked off Pert Block Arete too before we called it a day as the sun was setting.  All in all a good session, and just what I needed to clear the head after an indulgent weekend.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Greno Chase 2017

A while back one of our circle of running friends pointed out the Greno Chase - a 5k road race just up the road from us on a Friday evening?  Sounds ideal!  This year it also didn't clash with Tramlines so it was easier to get people to sign up, even if some were reluctant... We ended up with 4 of us in Team Monkey Business - Me, Andy, Kelly and Liz.

As the event drew closer the thought of doing a 5k race after a hard week of work seemed much less sensible, especially as 3 of us had found this to be the week where Half Marathon training plans had us doing Cooper Tests which are never pleasant, and there had also been the regular climbing sessions  in the evenings including a trip outdoors.  Some last minute frantic planning on Thursday evening saw the important parts arranged - the logistics of how to get beer and meat to Andy's for a post run barbecue. Come Friday and we headed up to Andy's got changed, and walked up to the start.  There were many complaints about sore legs, and much discussion of how slow we were all expecting to go, but registration was swift and soon we were avoiding the communal warm up - I never saw it actually happen, so maybe everyone had the same idea.

The course is a relatively simple one, being a triangular circuit, 2 laps starting and finishing midway up one of the straights.  From my brief attempt to study the course it looked like 2 sides were uphill, and one downhill, so my aim was to take it steady on the hills and belt it down the last side, though I was also hoping to get an average pace of between 4:30/km and 4:45/km.

Soon it was in to the pen ready for the start and after a few announcements we had a 10 second countdown and we were off. Now my experience of mass start events has been Hillsborough Parkrun, so I was expecting a bit of a shuffle until people spread out and then having to pick up the pace to make up for it.  This didn't happen, the start was ultra fast and I got swept up in it, my last comment to Liz before leaving her to run her own race was along the lines of "B****y Hell, that was a fast start!".

Uphill out of the park and we turn right along Main Street, the crowds were out in force and it was a fantastic feeling to be running on a closed road with people on all sides cheering us on. A sharp left on to Stephen Lane at one of the many pubs on the route saw us hit with a bit more of a climb, and I was continuing to overtake people here and worrying that I was overcooking it as there was a fair way to go before the downhill.  I'd caught Andy up by this point, and we kept trading positions for most of the race - he was gaining on me uphill, I was pelting past him on the downhills initially then he caught me, and then I'd pull away again.

As we climbed out of Greno, I saw the downhill start much earlier than I expected and I picked up pace towards the corner and took it fast before belting down the hill and taking kilometre 2 in 4 minutes dead - fastest ever km for me.  Dropping back in to Grenoside we pass the Cow and Calf, loads of kids were lining the route holding hands pout for a high five so of course I indulged, indeed I tried to get everyone I could on the race - absolutely loved the community support. Onto what in my head was the Main Straight the uphill started again, very gently at first but slowly increasing.  The crowds were growing again, loads of cheering, and passing the start/finish there was water on hand but I didn't feel I needed it at that point, and I was running too hard to take it on board again.

Lap two went much like lap one, though a little slower due to tiredness. Special recognition to the kids on the corner of Stephen Lane and Graven Close who were giving out drinks, I didn't need one but I thanked them anyway. I fought up the hill knowing where the downhill was again, and caught Andy up who was suffering a little, encouraging him on as the crest of the hill was in sight but I'm not sure he had anything left to reply with. I took the downhill as fast as I dared, conscious of the fact I still had to drag myself up Main Street to get to the finish. I found myself being chased up the road by a double decker bus which had decided it was time to move regardless of the fact the race was still underway but I wasn't going to get out of it's way. Before I knew it I was turning in to the park, Kelly already finished cheering me on. I had nothing left to go any faster so when someone came storming past me all I could do was congratulate them and cheer them over as I followed them home.

Over the line, stop the watch, grab a medal, look at my time.  Watch says 21:15 at 4:38/km average pace - fantastic! That would have been a 5k PB if it had been 500 metres longer.  As I grabbed a bottle of water and walked to meet Kelly I saw Andy running home not 30 seconds behind me and so shouted him home, then it was a sit down and short wait for Liz to come through, entering the finish straight at speed and soon over the line.  Official results are not yet in, but looking at a handy Strava Segment results for us are as follows:

  1. Kelly - 17:56
  2. Me - 20:33
  3. Andy - 21:03
  4. Liz - 25:25
Fantastic times for all of us given it was a Friday evening and we were all grumbling beforehand.  I really enjoyed my first road race on closed roads with big crowds, and will be looking for more of them as the energy of the crowd was a great motivator.

Once we had all cooled down a touch it was time for the walk back down the hill to Andy's for beer and bbq.  Half way down the hill we were all getting chilly, so by the time we were changed and sat outside many blankets were required, some rain turned up too but we persisted and had a very enjoyable evening before heading inside to catch up on the Tour de France. Next running event? Looks like being a 15k run to the pub in August for Kelly's birthday.

EDIT: Results are no up, 40th out of 129 for me which I am really pleased with. Kudos to Kelly for his 9th place finish!

  • Kelly: 9th place (18:32)
  • Me: 40th place (21:10)
  • Andy: 50th place (21:40)
  • Liz: 94th place (26:19)

Good work Team Monkey Business!

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Witness the Gritness!

It was another fine evening yesterday, so we headed to the Peaks again.  With a flourish of last minute planning we decided to go to Higgar Tor as Ed felt the need to push his climbing into Font 7 territory, and I was looking to try and push myself a little (although not that much!) too. After work I drove out and wandered over the top of Higgar Tor past a plethora of youth groups out enjoying the weather, and dropped down to the Big Slab area where Ed and Kelly were warming up.

(An aside while I think of it: In my book it is Higgar Tor, whereas the location I ended up tagging things with on Instagram and Facebook was Higger Tor.  Turns out both are acceptable, but I am sticking with Higgar Tor as that's what my book knows it as).

After warming up on Broken Arete and quickly getting my head back in to climbing I flashed Pocket Wall which was satisfying, as I was quickly getting on to harder stuff and sending it.  We then moved on, initially looking to head towards Like Pommel but ending up at Harvester.  Here Andy joined us, complete with bike, having ridden out from Sheffield.  Harvest Grove went after a failed attempt where I didn't feel comfortable, then when I got to the top the second time I noticed that I was oozing blood from my little finger - this rock is sharp! Soon taped up and it was time to try Harvest Arete.

Ed got up this quickly, throwing a heel up to a nice ledge and rocking over it, but neither Kelly or I could make this work.  I eventually cracked it by using a pebble for my left foot and getting my right onto a small lip around the arete, allowing me to stand up for the top at which point it was pretty much over save for watching your head when topping out.  We then worked at Combine Harvester, Ed again sending it without too much bother while the rest of us suffered the sharp rock again and again.  I was getting the traverse start in fine, but failing to get to a position where I could then finish it using the same beta I used on the arete.  Eventually multiple repeats saw my technique going backwards so I called it a day on this one.

We then headed over to Leaning Block, the reason we came here as Ed wanted to try the 7A Witness the Gritness.  This is an imposing block, and has quite a few trad routes going up it.  Witness is on the lower side of it, meaning you are faced with the might of the boulder and even though you are not going all the way up it, it's quite intimidating.

Definitely not staged to make it look like we were going to solo it. Nope.

I was quite tired from trying Combine Harvester by this point so mostly spotted and watched while Ed, Kelly and Andy gave it repeated attempts. I gave it several good goes, eventually managing to pull on and get off the ground but unable to go anywhere right or left.  Ed was managing to get an awesome knee bar in, but even once I had switched from shorts to trousers for protection from yet more shard rock neither Andy or I could make it work.  The rock was quite warm and only got warmer as we held it, but the start holds were also suffering from excessive chalk - a bugbear of mine when climbing inside, never mind outside.  You really don't need that much - you are only trying to dry your hands - and especially when outside you really should clean it off afterwards.  It's not that hard to show some respect for the rock and your fellow climbers.

Anyway, rant over.  While we were attempting it a group of Scouts came through who were weaselling up a fault in the block, quite a few of them expressed a desire to climb what we were climbing but I think maybe our lack of progress put them off :). Ed was getting further up than any of us, and at one point borrowed a stick from one of the scouts so he could tape a brush to it and clean a higher hold.  Eventually as the light failed and we had all had enough of this, I took my shoes off at this point and kinda wish I hadn't as everyone else tackled the start of a trad route which looked easy but high - topping out at the same place Witness tops out.

And with that it was time to leave the peaks again in the light of a beautiful setting sun. Hopefully it won't be long before I am back.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Bouldering at The Henge, Stanage Far Right

The weather was looking good - not too hot but dry, and plans were made to head outside. Plans were made over coffee at The Climbing Works on Sunday and we drew up a shortlist, which resulted in a decision over curry later to go for Stanage Far Right (often classified as part of Stanage Popular from a Trad Climbing point of view but worthy of it's own area when bouldering) and look at Easy Jamming (though that might be high and scary), Huge Slab, Henge, Snout and Rim.  I picked Liz, Kelly and Kelly up after work on Monday and we drove out to meet Ed, arriving to a beautiful moody peak sky - and a fair breeze, so I was glad to have packed long trousers and a hoody.

We walked in and decided to start at The Henge as it was Liz's most favoured area, and we could always try more on the way back.  The walk in wasn't too bad and the weather was lovely for climbing, not as hot as on recent trips so the rock had a lot more friction to it. We started out with Tweedle Dee, Steps and Tweedle Dum which were beautiful to climb if a little high for a first climb of the day biut landings were good and the rock was full of solid holds.

Moving on from here it was more of the same with Hook, Line and Sinker then on Slotted Wall it was starting to get a little more technical - nothing too taxing but on my first go I decided I had broken too far left to count it (verging on to Slotted Arete) so repeated it being careful to stay centre, then quickly knocked off Right Hook and Slotted Arete.

We then headed further along at took a look at the Quick Wall area.  I bottled it before even pulling on several times and we got confused by the topo, in Peak Bouldering it appears to stop before the top so we decided it was a matched top hold rather than over the top climb, and eventually I built up the courage and flashed it, but I think that was far too easy to be a 6A+ so I am guessing it must go further than we took it.

I then took on the sit start on Staircase Flake and then Front Flake before looking at The Henge itself - this has lovely looking breaks but is rather high so I let others go up it first before getting on.  As it happens this was a really nice climb and at no point did I feel uncertain but when I got to the top my heart was racing and I realised I was breathing fast - I think I forgot to breath all the while I was climbing it!

Finally it was time for a very rapid ascent of Sparky Slab, if nothing else because the previous area was very sheltered and we were getting bitten a lot, getting around the corner meant a bit more breeze to keep the midges down. I was really enjoying myself, the rock here was lovely, but the light was beginning to fail and we needed to head home.  I'm already itching to get back outside again, I have got my head properly into it again and I need to start pushing my grades.  Hopefully it won't be too long, but this weekend sees Cliffhanger and having failed to make it along in previous years I have this firmly in my calendar.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Quick Climbing Update - Cioch Top and yet another visit to Burbage

In amongst the recent running it has been far too hot to climb indoors, so we have headed outside instead.  On Saturday Andy took Liz, Kelly and me out to Burbage to meet Ed and Kelly and their friend Alex, where the plan was to head to some of the boulders we didn't get to last time although we ended up revisiting Cobra, Pock, Lamb and Sheep before then moving on to Armoured Car and Tank.  It was quite hot, and I was running the next day, so I was fairly gentle about the whole thing and there wasn't really anything to write home about.

After work on Monday we decided to head to the Peaks again, making it three days in a row I had been in the Peak District. We wanted to head somewhere we had not seen before, and aimed for Cioch Top Boulders at Curbar Edge.  When we got there we had a long walk in including a bit of scrabbling, and then searching for the rocks - turns out the picture in the book is deceptive and what looks like one rock is actually two, with an awkward boulder in front of the one we were aiming to climb, and with worse than expected landings with the drop off not far away.

Oh, and it was a lot steeper than it appeared in the book which made it look far more slabby...  Left Arete was an easy climb  but with a quite high and balancey top out, where you get over and realise it's not much better than the face you just came up.  Crispy Roof was a really nice climb, and for the first time this year I felt I was pushing into the space I should be climbing outside in rather than coasting and taking it easy. I didn't like the look of Crispy Noodling or Crispy Rib though, and this particular boulder felt quite loose and fragile.

The area is clearly a lot less climbed than some of the peak crags, the rock having a lot of loose sand and grit all over it making for some careful climbing. Chekov, Scotty and Bones were all simple enough, moving on to Mister Spock and Uhuru was a bit more intimidating as the top was quite a bit higher. Despite being the lowest grade on this face no one fancied Sulu, but we worked Uhuru for quite a while to no avail.

Kelly attempting to find anything on Uhuru

Picture by Liz

Having exhausted the area we moved back to Moon Buttress, initially looking at Dog Leg Crack before deciding that crack jamming was a silly idea and dropping around in to The Trench where the landings were good and the tops not too high. A nice easy Left Arete (common name...) and then it was time to work at Trench Hole where there are a few good hands and then a lot of slopers, which eventually went.  The neighbouring Ringworm was less pleasant, some nice undercuts and ledges low down and then a barren sloper that I just couldn't stick to right where you really wanted a tiny pebble or sharp crimp just so you had something to work with!  Others got it, but I just could not make it work however I tried it, but I gave it a really good go.

With daylight fading it was time to head home, and we were treated to a really great peak district sunset.  There were plans to head out again on Wednesday but we were tired and the weather was threatening rain so I went for a swim then hosted a solstice barbecue instead, with only a few periods of hiding from rain :)

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

2017 Dark Peak Trail Run - Short Course (12km)

So, having done the White Peak Trail last month it was only rational to enter the Dark Peak Trail too. Described on the event info page as "A longer trail running event on the footpaths, tracks and trails within the ‘grittier/higher level’ surroundings of the Northern/Dark Peak District" it sounded interesting, and I signed up the day after the White Peak Run in a bout of post race enthusiasm. As the race got closer I studied the race profile more, and realised it was 2km of relatively flat trail, 6km of relentless climbing to gain 261m, then 2km steep downhill and back on the same 2km trail as we set off on. Target time for a Silver band finish was 1h05m - 1h20m which means a pace of 6:40min/km to 5:45min/km, looking at that hill I figured a gold was not going to be achievable but a silver should be comfortable.

Race week approached and I had not got a decent run in for a while but managed to stretch my legs on a 10k hitting a pace of 5:49min/km (on the flat) which gave me confidence for the race. Also in this week I received a message from Kelly D asking if I had space in the van for the trip over to Hayfield. I assumed he had a friend looking for a lift over but no, he had decided this event would make a perfect taper run for him in advance of the Round Sheffield Run. Kelly is quite a bit faster than me but as he was tapering opted to run with me, so we discussed strategy and went for a fairly simple one - try and run the flat bit on the start at around 5:30min/km then see what the hell brings - slow up, fast down - then once back on the trail give it all you've got left. The other thing the week before the race brought us was hot weather, and I was praying for it to break at the weekend, I would even have welcomed rain.

That didn't happen. We left Sheffield bright and early on Sunday morning and you could already feel the heat in the sun. By the time we got to Hayfield at 8:30 it was already scorching. We got registered and sorted race numbers etc, then watched the long course starters depart and listened to their briefings - extra water stations had been added, conditions were dry and dusty. As expected kit rules were restricted, this time I did opt to leave my waterproofs behind but still took my pack for water supplies, having been cunning and frozen the bladder before setting off. Waiting for the start it was beautifully cold against my park, I shall be repeating that idea.

Time for the off!  As it is a dibber timed race there is no mass start, people instead starting on an individual time.  Previously I have ended up right at the start of my wave as other racers seemed to be reticent, but on this occasion there were many eager racers jostling to start and we ended up several people back.  The first 200m were quite narrow and twisty, dropping down steps and over a single file bridge before going up the steps on the other side, through a housing estate, and then on to the trail proper.  This meant that pace was very low and as I run to an average pace for the current km I was trying to get back in to the target zone when Kelly pointed out we were going much faster than planned (his Fenix 5 is better at instantaneous pace than my Forerunner 405) and we were running under 5:00min/km. It felt good, so we agreed to try and stay just above 5 minutes.  The trail was wide, smooth and flat and well shaded by mature trees - this was feeling OK! Kilometre 1 went in 5:26, k2 in 4:57.

Across a road at the split point we had been well briefed on, then we take a sharp left and start the climb.  A brief flat road section at the top and we reached a switchback where we also had to stop at the checkpoint to dib in, sapping all momentum.  This was the start of the hill proper as we took on Over Hill Road. We soon climbed out of the trees and into searing heat, slogging up the road.  There were many many false summits, and it seemed to go on forever.  It was feeling OK though and and we were actually maintaining a decent pace, between 6 and 7 minutes per km. I was taking on water in small sips all the way up, and at some point I decided to take on a Wiggle Mocha caffeine gel but the running was so hard I couldn't stomach eating anything.  Eventually I managed to find a bit flat enough that I could take it on and wash it down, and on we went.  After the face I discovered that at some point on this climb my heart rate hit 198bpm which is the highest I have ever pushed it in a race.

 As we got higher we were treated to beautiful views over towards Manchester, and after about 25 minutes of hill we passed the drinks station, neglecting to stop as we both had ample water with us.  Just up the road from here we turned hard left off the road and onto a trail.  The gradient here ramped up significantly, hitting 20% at one point then settling back down to around 10%.  At this point I was wiped out and had to resort to walking for a bit while my heart rate recovered, my breathing calmed down, and I lowered my body temperature. I was determined to start running again before we ticked over the 7km mark, and thankfully the gradient had calmed down by here.  In the final push up the hill I decided that I wanted a Tour de France style summit marker at the top as a reward, and then over the crest of the hill appeared... a summit marker!  I let out a laugh and relief flooded my body as we started on the downhill stretch.  The terrain was still quite technical, far more reminiscent of the Langsett 10k than the White Peak Trail Run from last month, but we got some decent speed up.

With 2.5km left to go the trail joined a road again which made speed easier, and then it was down a narrow wooded track back into the blissful shade of the Sett Valley Trail.  We tried to keep the pace high, accelerating past the 1km to go marker, and soon we could see trees and cars - the end was in sight.  Spurred on by this we hopped back across the bridge and into the field, running fast for the line, stopping the clock at 1h13m - Silver it was! At this point I had nothing else on my mind than sitting in the shade and pulling my shoes off.  The remaining water from my pack went over my head - ok it was warm from being against my back but that was lovely.

Duly cooled down we harvested the buffet, got our official results, and faffed around with the standard tasks of notifying friends we had finished safely and with a decent time, downloading and uploading GPS traces, and catching up on the activities of others as well as applauding racers over the line.  We'd started in the first wave of the race but there were not many people back when we crossed the line, and few if any people overtook us once we hit the hill - surprisingly no-one overtook us while we were walking though maybe people had availed themselves of the drinks station. Eventually all runners were home, and we looked at the results. And then looked again. We'd finished 13th and 14th out of 83 runners, which was 4th and 5th in class (Male 17-39). I'm still blown away by this, it's my best race finish and I'm not sure how I did it but the official results confirm that I did.

We drove back to Sheffield for a delicious breakfast of bacon and eggs courtesy of Liz, and reflected on a brutally hard race on a scorching day - temperatures of over 30 degrees centigrade were recorded.  So, what's next?  An easier one this time, the Greno Chase but I do keep looking at the Accelerate Gritstone Series and especially the Salt Cellar Fell Race.