Here's me

My name is Matt I'm a freelance music teacher. I teach whole classes, voice, and guitar both privately and in local schools.

I've been running since February 2010. I originally set this up to promote fund raising for Edale Mountain Rescue Team when I did the Nottingham Ultra in 2011. I raised over £500 but the race was so uneventful (in a good way) that I couldn't be bothered to do a write up.

Now I'm intending to use it to document the running stuff that I want to be able to remember.

Monday, 8 August 2011

The Dovedale Dipper

Yesterday I went up to the White Peak to run the Dovedale Dipper. Its a circular 26.5 mile route with nearly 4000ft of elevation. Here is a GPS trail although unfortunatley its not mine because My phone obviously lost signal at one point and I have a mark in the middle of the sea.

It was a brilliant day that I can really recommend. Its a tough course but really beautiful. I went to treat it as a training run and I was really happy with what I did. I was part of a group for quite a long time between miles 12 and 17 but they eventually left me so clearly my endurance isn't great but there were people I was very pleased to finish ahead of. At the start I fell in with two guys but very quickly told them they were going too fast and I dropped back. I was lucky at some stiles and they came back past me as we got onto the high peak trail and I again told them I couldn't keep up. I'm not sure where I passed them but I saw them come in about 15 minutes behind me. I also finished ahead of one guy called Jimmy that I hadn't seen at all but caught at the 12 mile mark.

What pleased me most was how I dealt with the cramp. I think it was as bad as at the White Peak Marathon but I handled it better. I didn't really stop to walk it off but ran through it this time, I've also discovered a good stretching thing. Last time when I stopped and stretched it was a disaster and made it worse because as I stretched my quads my hamstrings cramped but this time whilst still running I started just to kick my heels higher towards my backside and I think it really helped.

I stayed really energised and positive all the way through although in the last 4 miles I wasn't really with anyone so I kind of zoned out a little. While I was zoned out I started thinking a little about the Ultra. I'd run the 1km upto the last checkpoint (22.5 miles) really quite strong and in those last four miles I carried on running well (albeit slowly) and I started thinking well, the pain hasn't really changed since mile 19. It moved about a bit; sometimes my quads were tight and on the verge of cramping, sometimes my hamstrings, sometimes just above my knees. But I thought well if I ran mile 19-26.5 without deteriorating why shouldn't I run mile 19-31 in the same way.

When I did the White Peak I really picked it up in the last half mile or so but I wasn't able to this time because it was very down and there's a terminal velocity in the Vibrams. The Vibrams probably cost me a bit of time in the last 4 miles because every now and then I was having to walk across the limestone shards that covered the path but there was nowhere that I suffered for wearing them.

The reaction to the Vibrams was interesting. Amongst the runners most were interested in them but I think the general consensus was that I'd be suffering more because of them. The non runners were more interesting and they were generally saying how healthy must be, one actually said that they must be a lot more protective than trainers – right. A few people were asking if they had enough cushioning and I think were surprised to hear that there is none.

I was talking early on with an old gent who I caught and passed who was talking about his experiences of some of the other runs he'd done. He tended to stick around the 20-25 mile mark and had no interest in going further. There were a lot of people on the run who were talking about big distances though.

I was talking to the older geezer about the time when I was young and first heard about ultra distances. Me and my dad were going up to Hadrian's wall and we asked a guy who we knew was a youth hostel chap if he'd done it (yes) and what hostels there were. He didn't know about the hostels so we asked where he stayed. “I didn't we caught the train up ran the whole thing then caught the train back”. I found that amazing and I suppose since then I've always had an ambition to do some long distance running. Looking back though I realise it was really this ill-defined dream that seemed unachievable. I guess I've always thought that things like that would either happen or not. I wish that back then I'd have gone – wow I want to do something like that, what can I do now to get towards that goal. That was probably 17 years ago and its only now that I'm working towards that goal and I love it. I'm so proud that I'm in a position where I can learn about an event on Thursday and rock up and complete it on Sunday. That means more to me than times; the fact that fitness is no barrier to doing anything I fancy doing. Its a parkour thing too; how useful are you – if you find yourself in the situation where you need to do x can you do it?