Saturday, 16 January 2010

First Fell Run Since the Knee Op

Location: The Wrekin, Telford, UK
Date: 16th January

Ran to the top, then walked down.

Total Time
: 20:42

Post Workout Nutrition: this, 2 hours later.

Don't get the wrong idea from the satellite picture... it was a snow and ice-clad Wrekin that Lightening and I unceremoniously sloshed and skidded our way up yesterday.

The route map is courtesy of his new GPS phone which tracked us ascending from the car park (top right) to the summit 200 metres higher (bottom left) then back down the way we came.

The speed and altitude map did not really make sense, so I've not included that.

I'd elected to make this the first real trial of my Vibram Treks - the recently released Vibram Five Finger model which has a few millimetres of tread. After my skidding acrobatics wearing Vibram Flows at a fell race last year, I had decided that basic, flat-soled Five Fingers were not up to the job.

Perhaps this was not the best time to perform such a trial: my first fell run after the knee op, on a mostly sheet-ice path. However, since my companion was scarcely more sure-footed in his fell-running shoes, I think we can deliver an open verdict for now.

The photos are also courtesy of Lightening, and are not staged, honestly.

This could just about pass as a genuine 'action' photo...

...but here we are stretching the bounds of credulity.

To give you an idea of the ice: normally, Mrs M walks up the Wrekin while we run. She gets a small head start while we stretch, beat our chests and do Maori-style war dances. On this occasion she returned after five minutes and declared the route impassable.

I was pleased with the performance of the knee. Given the beating it took two days previously, and the increased stabilisation needed in the conditions, it shouldered its 50% of the responsibility for propelling me to the top with little complaint. I suspect running downhill would have taxed it more, but in those conditions we preferred to walk anyway.

The 20:42 time is far short of both our bests - previously, I have made it in sub-16 and Lightening in sub-18. I think we agreed that this was attributable as much to festive excesses as the conditions under foot. However, I felt I had more in the tank when I got to the top, so I'm looking forward to a possible visit next week to aim for a better time.

This one is authentic: I was genuinely standing there doing nothing.

I did plenty of quad stretching later that day, which my physio tells me is now going to be very important for the rehab of the knee. Until now I have not been able to bend it far enough for that to be possible.

This year's goal will be to get a respectable time in the Ben Nevis race, assuming we manage to get our entries in quick enough to beat the rush...


Chris said...

wow. well done! Glad to see the knee holding up

Ben Nevis is a tough race. I've been up the hill a couple of times and can't believe the speed that people do the race.

Methuselah said...

Chris - Mrs M and I went up it a few years ago, but we took the zig-zag route and lots of rests, so it took 8 hours. I think the race takes a more direct route - but it is indeed still incredible how quickly the top runners do it.

Lightning said...

16:37 is my best time . More recently though it's been around 18:00 . I went up the Wrekin again the next day with Mrs Lightning . There was not as much snow left but still some ice . It took me 19:00 ish mins . At least we have plenty of time to prepare for the "Ben". I need it :-)

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the linkage! Those icy/cold conditions look pretty intense. I've personally had at least one near-bust in my Treks on stepping out of my car onto some ice on a parking lot. Fortunately, I hadn't let go of the door and was able to catch myself.

Hope your knee heals up!

Methuselah said...

Lightning - my mistake - sub-17. What was The Panther's time? Fancy a shot at the title this Saturday?

Thanks Justin - I wonder whether they should consider researching retractible claws for Vibrams so we can get the same grip as a snow leopard? ;-)

Lightning said...

M . The Panther took a while longer to get up . I did it again the following day (Yes I know 3 days on the trot) and got it back down to 17:58 . Did some sprints on "little hill" today (day 4 at the Wrekin) and have got a WFRA navigation corse in Wales on Saturday . I should be up for a challenge on Sunday . Early .

If Vibram chopped the feet off Polar bears instead of Monkeys for their shoes I think that would help for grip in the snow ;-)

Methuselah said...

L - early Sunday sounds good. Hopefully no ice so the new Vibram soles can get a fair test. I'll get onto Vibram about the new Vibram 'Polar' ;-)