Monday, 2 January 2017

2016 wipe

The year started with a concerted effort to train more, run more. It started well with a highest monthly mileage for almost 2 years. Then we went skiing. Another classic in the Italian Aosta valley where it sure did snow. We explored the area and fell in love even more with this area (excluding Courmeyer ski resort which always disappoints) but the local remote places were hidden gems and some magical tours and descents. Only on the last day for me to inflame my knee again skinning in the deep powder.
So my training dipped when i got home along with the post trip cold. This did give me a chance to relax and say a fond farewell to our local pub 'The Farmy' which i had been frequenting for 25 years. A sad day.
It got sadder when for a brief moment in time we thought we would lose our soulmate Lola to Alabama Rot. Days of worry turned to hope then joy as our baby was not taken too soon and now we enjoy each and everyday with her. Although sometimes I wonder...
In April we headed up to the Yorkshire Peaks to tackle The Fellsman a 64mile route in the high peaks. Having a mild fever and forgetting my running shoes!! Decided for us that we were never going to finish this one. And so with night falling I had my first DNF after 35miles. The beers and curry sure made up for this disappointment though.
The force was with me in May, I ran hard, slogged through a couple of Ultras (Brecons, Marlborough) and culminated in a trip to France and the Annecy Maxi 86km and meet up with the old gang and chilled out after a tough race on Lake Geneva.
June was a nice time to relax although we did venture up to North Wales and have another go at the Welsh 3000s. We bivvied at the top of Snowdon with what looked like 100s of others. The wind was up and the weather foul. The dogs were not impressed once we hunkered down deep into our bivi bags. 4 hours of restless sleep and we set off on one of the great challenges in the UK. Over 12 hours later we finished, slowed up by a nagging injury to Dave. An awesome day shared with the dogs Next time i'll aim for under 10hours.
A trip to Cornwall and the Scilly isles hiking the great coastlines, beaches and eating fudge and pasties. Whats not to like. Maybe the ferry crossing, 3 hours doing your best not to be sick.

Finally it was time to concentrate in July and August and get some high mileage in. 100km from Ham to Lyme. 40miles on the Jurassic coast (finally completed Bournemouth to Weymouth, a long time goal of mine) and some vertical training with tough circuits on the mountainous Snowdonia range.

Then UTMB. 

The biggest challenge to date. 105 miles around Mont Blanc with 10,000m vert. 41 hours later I was descending into Chamomix. Ecstatic, elated, still awake and stumbling along with my poor wrecked feet. I came close to quitting after 20hrs. Persevered and overcame a resounding mental and physical breakdown to embrace the next 20 hours with renewed vigour and determination to finish.
Back home it was time to relax after a tough summer and enjoy a holiday in Devon walking the endless beaches and dunes with the dog. Something i could do each and everyday.

Keeping the remainder of the year simple we managed to tick off another couple of parts of the SWCP. In October we completed Port Issac to Porthcothan, a stunning area of rugged coastline, pretty villages and perfect sandy beaches. Then just over Xmas in perfect winter weather we did the stretch from Bedruthan Steps down to Hayle. One of the best and now Lands End is in sight.

A packed year shared with good friends and my best friend. Many miles in boots and over 1100 in running shoes.

Plans are already in place for next year. More running around Mt Blanc my thought are I may as well do all the races they have on offer there. I did not get into Western States and so we will hopefully tackle the GR20 route in Corsica. More Micro adventures and plenty walks on the beach.


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