Sunday, 23 February 2014

Selfish sod

Preparation, planning and training have completely taken over this week to the point where my wonderful wife and kids have been very much neglected. I am acutely aware of lucky I am to have a family who are willing to support me with this Munro adventure and to be fair I have always been able to pursue my running and cycling as long as the family get plenty back from me when I'm at home. Unfortunately on top of nearly 13 hours training I have had so much else to sort out including copying maps, scores of emails, sorting and ordering kit and meeting up with people to borrow equipment and chat about my plans. Even when I have been home, I've had my head buried in maps or a laptop; certainly there in body but not in mind. It has felt like a full time job at times, and the clock has been ticking as I know that with my return to work tomorrow, it will be non-stop until we depart in April. So yes, it doesn't feel good, but this week I have been a bit of a selfish sod! Even typing this my 6 year old is snuggled up asking me to play with her and I've had the odd "Daddy, why do you always go out running?" and "Why do you never play with us?" Heartbreaking really.

Helen and the girls, neglected of late

The upside of all the hard work is that I am many steps closer to being ready to go than I was at the start of the week. Wheelbase have sorted my mountain bike out and that's running as sweet as a nut again. I've borrowed lots of kit that I can't afford to buy, had yet more offers of help from people and have copied pretty much all the maps I need for what I reckon is a journey of around 1500 miles. We have also bought a motorhome at no small cost! A great source of information (and maps) has been Joe Mann, a 20 year old Ambleside student who did all the Munros from the back of a van with his friend Pete in the Summer of 2012. I met him for the first time this week and have been really inspired by what he told me about his trip. They cooked all their own food on a camping stove, played rock, paper scissors to decide who was hitching back for the bike and had just 3 showers in 60 days!! Makes my plans look luxurious by comparison. Hopefully Joe and Pete might be able to join me for some of my trip. The blog of their trip is here.

My steel framed Kona Explosif stripped down ready for a rebuild

GEEK ALERT! Munro data dashboard

Great Rigg on Friday

As intended, and in some horrendous weather, I have managed a decent week of running and biking:

M: 50 mins Scars
T: 1 hour 15 mins Loughrigg
W: 1 hour 45 mins Red Screes with Jane
T: Rest
F: 3 hours 20 mins Fairfield - Glenridding - Kirkstone
S: 3 hours road bike with Aled
S: 2 hours 20 mins Loughrigg - Lingmor - Loughrigg with Stu

Totals:     Run: 9 hours 30 mins               Bike: 3 hours

7 weeks to go

Monday, 17 February 2014

Plans, purchases and perspiration

I am on holiday this week and have a list as long as my arm of stuff I really must get sorted before I return to work and the hectic slog that is the run up to Easter. No progress as yet on the motorhome, but we are off to see a couple today so hopefully will be the proud owners of one by the end of the week. Another big job that I've got finished is plotting the route on 1:50000 maps. No small task this as I reckon the route is between 1000 and 1500 miles long and to see that bright yellow line weaving around connecting these wild and unfamiliar places brings home the stark reality of what awaits. Am I lucky or stupid!?

My kitchen table recently

Pinning people down to come up for specific dates is something else that is proving difficult largely down to me not having the time to keep people informed and up to date. Most of the people signed up definitely so far are in the first 7 days (Easter hols) and its looking a bit thin after that. Im the kind of person that drifts along confidently thinking (knowing!!) that everything will be alright in the end. I have a long list of folk keen in principle who have very kindly said they would love to come up, the challenge will be getting them psyched enough to put their hat in the ring and commit to certain dates. It's a long drive without a doubt but what awaits should make it worth it. It's the nights where I'm out camping or at bothies where I really need support lugging stuff in and out. If you are reading this and would like to come up for a very steady day or two out on the hill up there at the end of April/May then get in touch and I'll send you my schedule. I'm at danmunro at gmail dot com. 

Another aspect I'm keen to get pretty much sorted this week is a lot of the kit that I need. Later on today I'm taking my long neglected mountain bike into Wheelbase for them to work their magic and get it running nicely again. Toby (taxi driver to the stars!) there has been very generous with his support and I really appreciate that. I also need some other bits from The Climbers' Shop in Ambleside. I've got plenty of running stuff but what I don't have is the kit I would need for moving more slowly for long periods of time and sleeping out for several nights in remote places. Mountain mitts, powerstretch tights and top, lightweight sleeping mat and a few other bits and pieces. Again, they have been generous in helping me get hold the things that I need at a good price.

In amongst all this I've been running! Quite a good week in the wet and wild winds culminating in a great run in the snow with Matt B on Sunday. 10 hours training in total which is enough I think. Some good advice I've had from several clued up people including Spyke is not to overdo the training in the run up and end up injured or exhusted. Sound advice no doubt! I'll hopefully get fit as I go when I set of in April but if I can keep the training to 8 - 10 hours in the run up (maybe a bit more this week as I'm off work) then that should be fine. My diet has been much improved this week and I feel a bit lighter and fitter. Still another few pounds to shed though!

M: Rest
T: 1 hr 15 mins club Ambleside trails
W: 50 mins Scars
T: 50 mins Scars
F: 1 hour Scars
S: 2 hr 30 mins road bike Langdale with Jane
S: 3 hr 40 Hartsop - Haweswater loop with Matt B

Total running: 7hr 15             Bike: 2hr 30               Pilates: 1hr

8 weeks to go
 On The Knott

 Before High Street

 High Street

 Getting steep - spikes on!

 Threshthwaite and Ullswater

 Blea Water

Coming off Hartsop Dodd

Sunday, 9 February 2014

The pain of discipline

A good week back on the running after a couple of weeks off. What a relief! Touch wood my foot seems better  now and I've managed 5 runs this week including a wild slog up Sergant Man today in the wind, snow and rain. Also managed to eat a bit better this week. I need to shed a few pounds before April and it's time to get on top of the diet now. I know I'm a good half a stone above what I want to be when I set off so time for some discipline with the eating. It is something I know I can do (having done it many times before) but still find difficult. Like many runners I get big cravings for food that is bad for me! And all too often I submit! 

Training this week:

M: Rest
T: Run 55 mins
W: Pilates and 50 mins run
T: 1 hr 15 mins run
F: Swim 30 mins and 40 mins run
S: 15 min run and 2 hr bike
S: 1 hr 45 min run

Totals:  Run 5 hr 30 mins        Bike: 2 hours        Swim: 30 mins          Pilates: 30 mins

9 weeks to go

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Work stops play!

A quite demanding week at work meant that I missed a couple of my planned sessions. Although this was a bit disappointing, the silver lining to that cloud is that the resulting easy week has meant that my foot is now much better and I've managed a couple of tentative runs which have thankfully been pain free. I need to be cautious upping the milage now but would have settled for just 10 days out of running when my foot was killing me a week and a half ago!

M: Rest
T: Rest
W: Bike 1 hr 15 mins
T: Bike 1 hr 30 mins
F: Bike 1 hr  Swim 30 mins
S: Run 35 mins
S: Swim 30 mins    Run 1 hr

Total:  1hr 30 mins running         1 hr swimming        4 hrs biking           30 mins pilates

I've also been cracking on with plotting the route onto 1:50000 OS maps. I have a mixture of emotions doing this. First and foremost is the excitement and joy at the thought of having nothing to do every day but move through the Highlands. I love maps and get a real pleasure from anticipating what the terrain will be like as I plot the route on the map. The other feeling I have would be best described as trepidation as the reality of the length of some of the days starts to become clear! My schedule is broadly based on Spyke's schedule from 2010 and I am in awe of what he achieved. He had no rest days at all and his round included some massive days.

Although I have spent quite a bit of time climbing and running up there over the years and know some parts well, I have only been up about 30 or 40 Munros before by my reckoning. The days giving me most pause for thought are the first day (which has 2 sea kayaks and 3 different bike sections separating Ben More on Mull and Beinn a' Bheithir to the south of Glencoe), the 2 Cairngorms days (with a night in Corrour bothy in between) and all the Knoydart Munros on Day 24. Im sure there will be many other tough ones as well. The weather has the potential to make any day tough, or even impossible! Strangely though, these are the days I'm also most looking forward to, and they are the reason I want to do it. As they say, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it!

10 weeks to go