Sunday 15 April 2007

11 miles of hills in 22 degrees of heat!

I knew when I looked at the forecast on Saturday that today's run from Stanhope to Middleton was going to be one heck of a scorcher! At least I had a bit of company to share the pain with! Mike and Michael (pictured left) decided to put some training in for their up and coming 22 mile Pennine Challenge run. This event runs parallel with day 16 of my big run from Castleside to Middleton. I've been trying to scare these two for some time with stories of the steep hills in and around Stanhope. I reckon by the end of today's run that they thought my stories were justified. Although nothing these fit lads can't handle!

We set off, in glorious sunshine, with me leading the charge up the 17% gradient hill out of Stanhope. After 10 minutes or so, I found the pressure of leading such a high quality field too much and asked if Mike and Michael would share the burden of leading. They are both built for speed and I thought we benefited as a group from this approach. I still maintain that that first climb out of Stanhope is by far the worst on this stretch. It's a complete nightmare to run up (Especially at my weight!).

Things got much easier after that first climb and I felt I was getting stronger and stronger as the run progressed. The other lads hardly seemed out of breath most of the time.

As was the case last week, the cars and motorbikes passing by gave me plenty of room. I find the riders of those big Harley Davidsons to be the most courteous. There was one spot at around the 9 - 10 mile mark that had a few blind bends. Thankfully, Mike and Michael (pictured) were a bit in front of me so they would have got hit first!

We all had a strong downhill finish into Middleton and, as planned, Katy was there (with Monkey) to pick us up in the car.

Despite a very difficult start, in scorching conditions, I have to say that this was yet another pleasing run. Even more pleasing considering I ran 11 miles yesterday afternoon in equally hot conditions.

It's obvious when you think about it, but I've noticed that I consume twice as much water on hotter run. I got through 2.2 litres today, mixed with that wonderful electrolyte powder, in just 10 miles. It's a bit of a culture shock running in such heat after months of cold winter training. I much prefer the hotter conditions though. Just as well, as I'll be running my 900 miles in the height of summer. Scorchio!!!