Fell running on the Trans Pennine Trail

I wanted more out of this week than ‘just’ running, and I made this happen.  Monday was my easy day, a bit of a cycle commute to and from work, but with a twist….I went to the pool and swam a kilometre before getting a relieving sports massage for 40 minutes that I’d managed to get for a steal on Groupon with KTJ.  I did my usual cycle and run commutes (well only 2 run commutes) and managed to get to Bioticfit on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.  Tuesday was supposed to be get started fit, which I thought would be perfect after my mileage on the weekend, but it certainly didn’t feel like getting started, got walloped as usual! And I went back for more on Wednesday night, this time trying out one of the newer venues at Crossford Bridge Park in Sale.  Lucky for Gillian Haworth that I turned up as it was just the two of us, so PT Kev put us through some serious paces, including bear crawls, scorpion walks, sprint drills and planks galore to name a few.  I was seriously shattered at the end of that!

My hubby and I had a great visit to Race kit, an ultra running gear shop in Matlock on Thursday, spending as mall fortune but all necessary for the Kalahari.  Andy was so informative and an absolute wealth of knowledge with great advice and recommendations.  we walked away with some great kit, Raidlight backpacks, X-Bionic tops (& shorts for hubby), head torches, sleeping bag liners, water bottles and sleeping mats.

The plan was then for us to run with our new running packs to Kidsgrove, stay the night & run back…..but the weather was shocking, chucking it down, and we backed out at the last minute.  Didn’t want to ruin our bags after all! Ended up with a bit of a naughty night at home, enjoying a few beverages too many.

This change of plan then meant I was in charge of a route on Saturday, so I had been wanting to test out the Trans Pennine Trail to Edale, so what better time than now.  Leaving Didsbury we headed off to Reddish Vale and joined the TPT from there, taking us up to Broadbottom and Charlesworth before cutting through the Peak District up on Kinder, down via Jacobs Ladder into Edale.  633m climb along the way amongst others, along with varied terrain of sand, rocks, slate rocks, mud, boulders and grass made for a tough yet rewarding run.  The views were spectacular and we had an awesome day out.  We made it to Edale 2mins before the next train to Manchester so that was perfect timing.  We made the mileage up to 34 by running the last 5 miles home, as it was only 29 to Edale.  That was tough to get running again after 40 mins on the train, but all good training in the bank of pain!  A tasty treat of fish & chips finished off a great day out.

18 miles in with Manchester city in the background

18 miles in with Manchester city in the background

Is it a bird, a plane.....no it's me taking off at Kinder.

Is it a bird, a plane…..no it’s me taking off at Kinder.

Dion heading down Jacob's Ladder, absolute murder on the knees

Dion heading down Jacob’s Ladder, absolute murder on the knees

Taking a load off in the Giants chair just before Edale.

Taking a load off in the Giants chair just before Edale.

A ‘recovery’ ride on Sunday of 55 miles out to Warrington finished off a massive week of training, resulting in Sunday evening sat with my feet up on the couch in my compression gear!


Compressport sorting out my tired muscles

36 miles in 24 hours & I become ‘Bug of the Month’

The plans were set, so even without ideal preparations (a weekend of bad food, booze & late nights), the plan was executed; mostly.

The hubster and I parked up at New Mills and joined the Macclesfield Canal and ran 26 miles to Kidsgrove on Monday.  It was a good run, the sun was out, it was pretty warm (by our standards) and it was great to get this training run ticked off & test out this route.  The canal path itself was harder than we both expected, very hard rocky surface which caused the knees to suffer along the way but we persevered.  Again I suffered with the inability to eat after 15 miles.  I was doing quite well up to 15, I ate salted peanuts at Mile 5, had a salami stick at mile 10 and then had half a chocloate Clif Builders bar at mile 15, but by 20 I had my usual nauseous feeling and didn’t take any more food on; much to my detriment.  Maybe it was my hydration……I normally drink Nuun http://www.nuun.co.uk/ along the way which has always worked for me but thought I would try Elete water http://new.eletewater.com/ on this run as I had been hearing a bit about it, but it just didn’t taste as good or feel that it was giving me the same hydration kick as Nuun.  So my apologies to Nuun for even considering another product, I’m back with a vengeance, my bulk order has been placed!  Image

We arrrived at Kidsgrove and it was still 3 miles to Alsager where we had a room booked for the night at the Best Western, absolutely knackered we jumped on the train for the last 3 miles with a Mars milk in hand.  Great recovery drink!  Even when I’m feeling nauseous this manages to settle my stomach and refuel me wonderfully.  The hotel was great, always a bit hit & miss with Best Westerns, but this one is great, odd location as there isn’t much out there, but we were only there to be fed & sleep.  Food in the Stables Bar was perfect, we both had the steak, egg & chips and the meal was so substantial there was no need at all for dessert.  We will definitely  be using this route again with this hotel, the good thing is there is a pool & sauna there too which could be quite handy.

The original plan was to run the 26 miles back, but considering we both needed to be at work this was not really practical, so we caught the early train back to Macclesfield and ran the 10 miles back to New Mills, got home, showered and worked a full day.  So not a bad effort at all.  Legs felt surprisingly good after sleeping in compression kit and we managed 9:30min/miles for the 10 miles.

No rest for the wicked though.  Back on the bike on Wednesday for the cycle commute to and from work and even got to Bioticfit for a tough session of Military fit that evening.  Still feeling my abs on Sunday after monstrous V-sits!  A short 7 mile run on Thursday, followed by a day of rest on Friday left me feeling fresh for a ride on Saturday.  Took the mountain bike out and explored the Trans Pennine Trail from Reddish Vale to Longdendale.  I would have liked to go further but was running out of time, so it was a nice 32 mile loop along some lovely tracks & found a new route to get home when I am doing my long run home from work as well, so that was a bonus.  Always nice to get out on the bike to take the weight off the legs a bit too.  It was quite a warm day so I kept hydrated with my camelbak filled with Nuun & a tasty flapjack on route to keep fuelled.Image

Finished off the week with a double run commute, so a tidy 14 miles, to take my weekly running mileage to 57.  Pretty pleased with that!  I stopped via Asda on my way to work and found that they stock Milo, as my husband would say ‘Oh Yes Please’, I bought a tin of that, perfect recovery drink for me, just need to stay out of the tin for extra helpings of course!

You are probably wondering what ‘bug of the month’ is…… There’s a great website, called Running Bug where there are loads of tips, competitions, log your miles & forums for runners from all walks of life.  Take a look at the link and get involved.  It was great to be selected as bug of the month & I really enjoyed chatting to James at The Running Bug to tell my story. http://therunningbug.co.uk/rbblogs/follow-the-running-bug/b/weblog/archive/2013/06/14/bug-of-the-month-lucja-leonard.aspx




From the hills of the C2C to the hills of Wincle!

My running mileage had to drop back a gear the last 2 weeks as I was so busy with doing the C2C, and of course still having to work full-time as well, so I was quite suprised to tally up to find that I still managed to get in 34 & 37 miles respectively each week of running, along with the 137 miles from Whitehaven to Tynemouth on the bike.
I have done the C2C once before (3 years ago on the same bank holiday weekend) but that was in terrible conditions and with a hybrid bike. What a difference a weekend of beautiful weather and a great Specialised Secteur bike make! What a team as well, cycling with hubby and friends Harry & David, with Rebecca being our driver for car support, which thankfully we didn’t need, but nice to have someone take the bags from one B&B to another and of course cheer us on along the way. Only one accident (me whilst stationary of course resulting in a grazed knee) and only one puncture, so a fantastic effort. It is a great weekend, we did it over 3 days which is just nice, you could do it over 2 but that would be tough. It is not a challenge to be taken lightly, some of those hills are absolute beasts, and with bad weather could be absolutely horrible (as I know all too well) but definitely should be on the bucket list for many of us!
Legs were feeling a bit tired all week recovering from that, however I attempted a 20 mile run on Wednesday morning, failing to reach the target and only making 17 miles. I could have finished if I’d had to, but I also had to work a late shift at work, so thought better of it! Was still great though to be out along the river in the sunshine, but you sometimes have runs that just don’t go as planned, but in the scheme of things that’s all alright!
Finished off the week with a highlight of my running calender, the annual Wincle Trout Run, which is a great 9km fell run through Danebridge trout farm in Wincle, near Macclesfield. It is a short run by my standards, but what a toughie! Lung busting fell climbs, muddy patches, creeks and half a dozen stiles to climb over make for a very tough run indeed. The reward – a fresh trout! No t-shirt or medal here. There is also a great little fete in the village, with hundreds turning up to partake in cake eating, Pimms drinking, burger eating along with dancing, dog show, plate smashing and many more family fun activities. I took the Mother in Law along who is over from Australia, and she described it as something she has only ever seen in the movies! She didn’t think these sorts of things actually existed, but they do! I also had a new friend join me for the run, and for her first ever fell run, boy did Niamh do well.
So the training is fairly well on track, hoping to get a couple of big runs in this coming week, but with Hubby suffering from the flu, not sure if this will proceed as planned but we shall see!

From the hills of Shropshire to the Peaks

Started off the week with a lovely 9 mile hike from Carding Mill Valley up over part of the Long Mynd with a dear friend (& fellow blogger smirnieoutdoors.blogspot.co.uk). Considering the weather throughout the UK we were treated to a dry day with patches of sunshine!  It was lovely to natter away and soak up the lovely sights and sounds of a beautiful spot.  Nina, prepared as always, had her mini stove at hand to boil us up some water and make a brew, along with a taste test of Noodle, Chicken & Black Bean from Mountain House (http://www.mountainhouse.eu/) which went down a treat.




Monday to Friday saw the usual runs and cycles to and from work to keep things ticking along.  I did make it back to Bioticfit at long last for Thursday night circuits & yoga which was great.  A monster session of circuits followed by a relaxing outdoor yoga session listening to the birds tweeting and the thunder rolling.  It did stay dry however.

I attended an event through http://www.eightpointtwo.co.uk on Saturday morning in Hathersage in the Peak District, which was the Dig Deep Ultra Talks, so got to listen to Marcus Scotney talk about his experience of ultra running and some tips on training, nutrition and gear.  This was really beneficial for me and I got to meet some great fellow runners as well. I missed out on going for a run with them all as I had to go to work 😦 Still managed to fit in a quick 8 mile run after work, went up from Didsbury through Stockport and back through Abney Hall Park. I love the fact I now bound up the steps to the overpass instead of gasping for breath!
Sunday saw me head out for a 10 mile run, with hill reps x 6 and some good ole hills along the river path just for ‘fun’. Hill reps are not my favourite by a long shot but I know I need to get these in for Kalahari, really good at pushing the heart rate up (as you can tell by my photo!). So a total of 40 miles running, 35 miles cycling and a 9 mile hike for good measure.

Hill reps

Hill reps

Recovery week but the training plan begins

No rest for the wicked really!  On Monday we did it, we booked our flights to Jo’Burg and paid our deposit for the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon (KAEM).  So no turning back now.  After doing that, thought I better watch some more YouTube videos about it to get a better feel…….Oh. My. Lord.  What have we signed up for?!  Looks amazingly awesome and tough, after reading some blogs by people that have done both Marathon Des Sables and KAEM, they say that KAEM is the tougher of the two!

So the training plan begins…Monday was really a rest day, did do a little cycle, cycled 7 miles to work Tuesday and ran the 7 back home.  Legs weren’t feeling too bad at all.  Wednesday saw another run back home, just in time to make it to http://www.g4physio.co.uk/ for a late 8.30pm appointment with Kamilla who really gave me a work over on the legs.  She found tight spots in both calves and absolutely murdered them. Close to tears, but not quite, from me that is, not Kamilla!  Drank loads of water that night & put the feet up to relax.  The next morning I felt great, still a little fatigued in the calves so thought I better listen to the body and take a rest day, stole Hubsters car for the day to give me a full day off the legs.  By Friday I was spot on, fresh as a daisy. Ran to work and cycled home again.  Had an early shift on Saturday so cycled to work and made a timely getaway to fit in a 20 mile run home.  Took the Ashton canal all the way to Stalybridge and headed back home via Mottram, Hyde & Stockport.  20miles reached at Stockport & as I knew Dion was at home with cricket being called off, called him for a lift 😉 Cheat I know but I was done mentally knowing he was at home in the warmth with a bottle of wine and videos!


Good use of compression socks and ForQuad had me ready and raring for a 10 mile run to back it up on Sunday morning with the delightful company of Dion, before meeting our friends for breakfast at 10am.  Amazing what you can get done on an early start!

All in all not a bad week for a ‘recovery’ week.  I felt so much better this week after the 34 mile ultra compared to the Manchester Marathon, think the trail and the speed (or lack thereof) helps with that, less strenuous on the body overall.  



My sexy pink compression socks!

Week of Wins!

I never win anything…..until now!  I started off my week with a call from Rosso Restaurant in Manchester, I had one dinner for two with a bottle of wine after putting my business card in the draw over a Christmas Networking event held there.  How exciting!  I immediately got hubster and I booked in for the 15th Feb, the night before we go away on holidays for 3 weeks in India, just perfect!

Then a fellow twitterer, @chrishorricks31 , tweeted me to tell me that my Letter to the Editor had been published in the latest issue of Runners World, which means I have won a pair of Saucony running shoes!
runners world

Now I’m thinking I should buy a lottery ticket as these things always happen in 3’s.  Though I don’t want to give my 3rd away, I am secretly (or not so secretly) hoping that I will win with Ashmei http://www.ashmei.com to be selected as one of their ‘Face of Ashmei 2013’ places.  That would just top it all off.  Apparently I won’t find out if I have been successful until around mid February so fingers crossed until then.

I finally took 2 rest days after the excesses of Janathon, had Sunday and Monday (3rd & 4th off) after a massive bike ride on Saturday.  I went out with hubby and 2 other mates for a 75 mile (yes 75, not 7.5) ride from Didsbury, up Wizards Hill, up past the Cat n Fiddle outside Macclesfield (stopping at the Peak Tea Rooms for a bacon sandwich & coffee), through Buxton and up to Castleton (stopping again this time for a seriously tasty hot choc with the works and a massive piece of choc fudge cake to boot), taking a peak at Winnats pass (which we will be attempting in the Summer I’m promised) and back through Stockport to home.  Absolutely shattered after that.

Been testing out my Brooks Project shoes, a pair of Pure Grit trail shoes.  Getting to trial them out for free from Up and Running in Deansgate.  Even had a bout of snow on Tuesday to really put them to the test this week.


Unfortunately I have got a months break from Bioticfit classes as we are off on holiday, so thought I would try out Crossfit (got a deal through livingsocial) and headed there last night, but couldn’t find it!!!!  Need to do a foundation course to learn before you can attend, so looks like that will have to wait until Tuesday next week.

Thursday morning meant the day of my long run, I was on a late shift at work, so perfect to knock out 18 miles. I thought I would combine my run with getting to work, so did 11 miles around Didsbury to Salford Quays and back, grabbed my backpack and ran the last 7 to work. Only had a glass of water at home at 11 miles, silly move not grabbing some energy, so the last 3 miles were pretty nasty, but 18miles completed so feeling pretty pleased with myself! Was absolutely starving when I got to work so Chef cooked me a BLT bap and a cup of tea and I am back on form! Bring on the 20miles as part of the training plan next week. Getting ready for Manchester Marathon in April, it is only supposed to be a 8 mile run next week, but then I am on holiday for 3 weeks in India and fitting the 20 miles in there might prove difficult so I thought I’ll get that out of the way and do the 8 miles (and then some) in India!

3000 calories smashed #BOOM! – Day 6 Janathon

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant day out! I know I was going to run every day, but I think a 55mile cycle takes care of that! Headed out with hubby and pal, Harry (our personal cycle guide😜) left Didsbury, out through Alderley Edge to the Cat & Fiddle. Lovely stop at the tea rooms for a delish coffee & chocolate cake before heading back home via Buxton. 55 miles with over a kilometre of climbing ascent, my thighs will thank me tomorrow!