Yes, I have returned to the land of the blog after a slightly stuttered start to the year in training terms. And I'm back to training in full tilt now thank goodness. We experienced the awful hell of both parents and baby ill with winter vomiting virus on the same day with no parental help within 300 miles. Oh how the minutes crawled by ...
But that's now history, our daughter is back to full health and I have started focussing on the main goal for this year - completing the 103 mile, 33,000' of ascent Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc in late August. This is the race that got me into ultra running in the first place. My wife and I competed in the 2005 Edinburgh Rat Race, a slightly tongue in cheek 2 day city centre adventure race involving the usual orienteering, mountain biking, kayaking but also abseiling off buildings, bouncing around a car park on space hoppers and impersonating Sean Connery. Anyway the North Face sponsor it as well as the UTMB and they were handing out gear catalogues with pictures of Tim Tweitmeyer (did't know of him at the time) running next to glaciers and big, impressive mountains. It also had his UTMB race report. I was instantly inspired and hooked. And this year I have got an entry.
I did a wee 6 mile trail run yesterday whilst I was off work and I thought about the race all the way round, picturing what it might be like and what winning a red gilet will feel like. I can't wait!
Since I last blogged I have also been for a project meeting inside the Arctic Circle in the north of Sweden. A tiny 250 inhabitant place called Abisko on the main line from Kiruna to Narvik on te Norwegian coast. The Ice Hotel is about 10km from Kiruna if you've heard of that. I lived in Kiruna for 13 months in 2001-2002 and thoroughly enjoyed myself.
I took the plane to Stockholm then caught the 17 hour overnight train up and back. Much more civilised and relaxing and only aboout £100 for a sleeper cabin to myself each way so not too expensive, particularly compared to flights in that part of the world. Although the flights have their unique charm when you first notice that have are landing on ice and packed snow in a jet plane. Hee hee!
Abisko is stunningly beautiful. We were there only 10 days ago so the aurora was out and the ground was covered in snow. The temperature was between -5 and -25 C, averaging around -10 to - 15. I went out running twice, the first time for an out and back 7.5 mile run on snowmobile tracks through the forest and the second I only managed 4.5 miles as it was below -15, which is not so good for long lung exposure. I saw a wild female moose and a juvenile whilst on the first run. The photos below are of the Lapporten or Lappish Gate, which looms over Abisko, and of some aurora taken from just outside Abisko. The Lappish Gate is a main waymark on the traditional reindeer herding routes of the indigenous nomadics, the Saami.
Lapporten, Abisko, Sweden
Aurora Borealis from near Abisko, Sweden
To top it all off I even got to drink beer in the sauna. A great Swedish tradition. Hic.
If you are interested I'm training 6 days a week like this:
Monday - speed or hill intervals
Tuesday - easy run
Wednesday - tempo run
Thursday - yoga (a new innovation for my training this year)
Friday - gym
Saturday - long run (for 2 weeks, then a long hill session for the 3rd week and 4th week off)
Sunday - rest
I'll be in blog contact once per week, or maybe more frequently and look forward to catching up on all the news I've missed from the WHWR family. Hope everyone else is dong well and training hard. :-)
Scafell Pike Marathon
1 day ago