Wednesday, 12 February 2014

January Challenge: Hull to Bridlington - 27 miles

Now I feel I have some real focus with my year long challenge, I'm going to try and keep the blog updated with run reports. In the last few years I've not done this well and I think at least part of that is that I felt I’d be duplicating the good reporting of somebody else or multiple others doing the same event, who invariably get their act together with reports quicker it seems. Many of my runs this year though are solo projects, so I feel i should tell you a bit about these runs, with some pictures too.

The Hornsea Rail Trail, a few miles out of Hull

My boy turned 1 a little over a month ago and started nursery full time. Hence, I’ve spent December and January suffering one bug or another he’s brought home! Things were going well in early January with two good weeks training and I was geared to do the Brid run Saturday 18th – only to be flattened by another virus midweek before. So I did my very best to eat, drink well and look after myself to try and be fit for my January run in January rather than fall behind at the first hurdle.
It must have worked as after a light protein/carb-balanced breakfast – to try and engage “fat burning mode” for the run to run steady all the way instead of fast early and suffer later on – I was out the door at about 9.45 on the morning of Saturday 25th. At about 27 miles this should have been a gentle introduction, but with recent bouts of illness I figured I’d be happy just to get around and made sure I was well prepared for all eventualities on route. Weather looked ok for January, rain mid afternoon which I hoped to beat, about 5c, sunny spells and the wind would mostly be assisting me on this point-to-point venture. Nevertheless, best to be over-prepared, in the bag I had:
·         waterproof jacket, water-resistant jacket and over-trousers
·         clothes change (which I hoped I wouldn’t have to open till Brid)
·         ibuprofen and paracetamol
·         plasters and light dressings
·         woolly hat, thin gloves and thick convertible mitts
·         Drinks: over 500ml water in bladder, 500ml chia charge drink in bottle
·         Food for run: chia charge flapjack, chia charge trail mix, banana chips, chocs from Christmas supply, clementine
·         Food “just in case” and for after: sachet of chia charge mix, electrolytes, powerbar recovery bar
·         All in a Saloman S-Lab 12 pack
More than I’d carry for most runs, but the pack didn’t feel too heavy and nearly all tried-and-trusted stuff. I know if it rains and is windy close to zero degrees you quickly need a few layers, especially if you’ve been out a while and you’re tiring as your body doesn’t manage temperature as well. The food and drink should be about right. Barring the trail mix I’ve been using Chia Charge products for a while now and find them tasty and effective without feeling too manufactured – very effective energy release for long days on the feet.
I live just under 2m south of the outskirts of Hull, but backing on to the Hornsea rail trail, which is a godsend quick link to the countryside for a trail-preferring runner like myself. The path follows the old track bed of the Hull to Hornsea railway and is now hard path for a few miles out of Hull before it turns to cinder-path. As I passed under road bridges, crossed minor roads and passed dog-walkers in the initial suburban miles I checked my pack fit was good and adjusted clothing to comfort.
Towards the edge of Hull my baselayer and windjacket combination was feeling a little warm, but not so warm I wanted to take off the jacket. I knew I needed longer to get comfortable and see how the winds out of town effected me, so should leave the jacket on. So I rolled-up the sleeves a bit pulled the zip down and got on with it. For the kit geeks out there I was wearing/carrying:

One of the old railway station platforms on-route

·         Inov8 Trailroc 255 shoes
·         Drymax mid-protection trail socks
·         Ronhill DXB tracksters
·         Odlo Evolution warm baselayer
·         Sugoi Windjacket
·         Buff (pirate style)
·         Map
·         Garmin 910xt

Out of town a bit of breeze kicked in predictably, but I felt comfortable, all systems go and I now had about 7 miles of the Hornsea Rail trail to make some progress along – as the route once I left this track may not be as clean or fast. Being a fairly straight route and consistent surface for long stretches these miles seemingly dragged, despite maintaining a good 6mph+ pace without great effort. Hitting road crossings and the trail-break and mini-climb – to over 20 metres above sea level, a regular mountain on this landscape – passing through New Ellerby provided marks of my progress and I otherwise looked forward to half-hourly drink or food breaks.

A rare uphill on route at New Ellerby

At 30 mins chia charge trail mix, banana chips, chocs and at 90mins half a chia charge flapjack went down well respectively. With chia charge drink on the hour between. Lots of that “Chia Charge” word there, they don’t sponsor me, but I find these products very agreeable and chia seeds – and what they are mixed with in these products – do seem to provide a good drip feed of energy/nutrition from not just carbs, but protein and fat
Not long after New Ellerby near the old Sigglesthorne station – distinguishable as a few of the old station on route are by still having platform edges at side of the path – came the end of known route for me. Looking for a left turn to a series paths I didn’t know, which would take me to my destination. The turn came and it wasn’t promising, crossing a stream on a bridge which had a felled tree laying across it I had to manoeuvre through the branches of – not a good start, hopefully not a sign of things to come! Then it was my first brief bit of mud following a field edge in an arc away from and almost back onto the path I’d just left, before rejoining roads through a hamlet called Goxhill.
A few more fields edged or crossed now, some quite thick mud where I probably worried some tentative walkers as I barrelled past them in sucking, ankle deep stuff. I then passed into a wooded outcrop and over a fallow field to arrive at Seaton – Hornsea Mere remained just out of view to my right, which was a shame. Edging Seaton I hit a farm track heading north. It was about the best part of the morning now, the sun was out and the wind wasn’t much in evidence. I was feeling very happy to be here doing this. But my tranquillity was soon shunted as I passed a farmhouse and was persued by aggresive dogs for a while, probably harmless, but one of them was confident enough to dive at and nip close to my legs. I accept this kind of thing as an occupational hazard, you can’t expect rural homes to tie up their dogs all day just to suit the rare passer-by on routes like this such as myself.
Hitting Beach at Fraisthorpe Sands
Next it was past Bewholme and a zig-zag route around newly built houses on a nice soft grassy path they’d laid out. I look at my watch and was over half-way, and still moving well so messaged Clare to say I was running on or maybe ahead of time and would arrive at my destination at about 1.45-2pm. I slipped into a self-congratulatory moment, took on my planned foodbreak and rook my eye off the map.
The route bounced around unusually shaped field-edges at this point and I got to a hedge with a gap and what might have been a downed bridge over a ditch. There was no footpath sign here so it was going to be guess work if I should cross here or follow a similar line this side of the ditch. In the end my desire not to wade the ditch made me decide to keep following the field edge this side. I got going again, but soon enough ran out of path so back-tracked slightly to find a place to jump the ditch now there was no blocking hedge. I’d probably gone wrong, but not far wrong, but the stops to check route had punctured my good-going bubble. No biggee though, I wasn’t in a hurry and I soon came back onto minor road through Dunnington. Following a zig-zag minor road I was passed by a fast group of cyclists who I reckon were having as much fun as I was on these quiet roads.
I soon came upon Skipsea, but didn’t pass through, instead crossing the damp field past Skipsea castle – which I’d seen on the map, but had never been to before and had me wondering. In reality all that remains is the motte (hill/mound) the castle would have stood on and the earthworks looping around that probably formed the defences. Thankfully I didn’t see the ghostly ‘lady in white’ that haunts the hill – she probably kept away more scared of me than I would be of her. Reality was soon very much restored as I past a sewage works.
I was soon back on road briefly and passing through Ulrome. Pausing to picture the unusual – or so I thought at the time, doesn’t look so much from the picture – clock tower on the church. Over a large field and across a wide drainage channel on a wooden bridge brought me to Barmston and within short distance of the coast for the first time. I turned right down the main village road and then left back onto rural path, just a short distance before this road abruptly ends where land – and a holiday park – has been eroded by the sea at a rapid-pace.
I rounded one of the biggest hills I’d see on route @26metres or 85ft above sea-level. The challenge today was more the terrain than the hills – I’d only ascend 425ft in total on route. I then arrived at a dike which impeded onward progress and made me turn east to finally join the coast at Fraisthorpe Sands – a naturist beach, but too cold for “action” today.

The Sun always shines in Brid
I now turned north for the last leg on clifftop, beach and then clifftop again. Plenty of people were about now on the long stretch of good clean sand south of Bridlington. I passed another Holiday village and park-and-ride - very much empty today – and was gathering pace as I hit the south promenade. I gave passers by a comedy minute or so as I dropped a cereal bar packet and then chased it as it was blown along consistently just faster than I was running, but in the same direction. Every time I raised speed to catch it and stamp on it, I couldn’t stop dead on tired legs to pick it up, so it blew on past me again. At about the fourth or fifth attempt and about 300 yards I finally got it. I wonder if anybody did more than me that day in Brid to Keep Britain tidy?
I’ve not walked the Bridlington south promenade for many a year and I was impressed by the tidy up job they’ve done on it. Wide, smart, clean, and my perception probably helped by low-footfall on such a winters days. Approaching the harbour and I slowed up the last hill (ramp) to bring me to street level and into the town centre near Audrey’s fish and chip shop/restaurant. I stopped the watch at just over 27 miles and 4hrs50mins, just after 2pm in the end, but sufficiently early that Clare or my dad weren’t here yet. I popped into the nearby conveniences to change into my spare trousers and baselayer and came out again just as the rain arrived and the wind seemed to ramp up too. I chomped on a power bar recovery bar and directed Clare towards the meeting point, whilst getting battered by the sudden onslaught of wind and rain. I perched in the doorway of a closed shop and was glad when Clare, Isaac, my dad and grandma arrived and we could go inside Audrey’s to get warm and have fish and chips!

Post run facilities, changing on the right (WC), food on the left, mmmmmm :)

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