2022 – Adventures, goals, escape and mental health

Last updated on January 2, 2022

Places to escape to!

Let’s break this into a couple of sections – and then let’s walk through why I’ve done it this way.

Races and events

I’ve written about some of the more important events of the year – the first one back after lockdown (The half ‘Ring of Hell’ at Edale) – the ‘target events’ (Rat Race Scotland Coast to Coast, Ultra Tour of Edinburgh) – but not so much about the supporting races or training. I’ll touch on those today.

There’s been a couple of supporting races in and around the bigger ones – I did the ‘half’ Limestone Way Ultra (not the full thing so I wouldn’t impact other events) in-between, whilst my ankle was still healing. In short – started on a cold morning in Monyash, I ran it with Tim – it’s a fairly local scene race, and had a great atmosphere. Plenty of good hills, some sections felt like a grind – a mixture of road, epic mud, and some good descents. It’s worth doing alone for the descent through Cave Dale down the side of Peveril Castle, descending into Castleton. Great event, I’d like to do the full ultra without a recovering ankle at some point!

I also went through the usual shenanigans of getting a place in the Steel City Striders Percy Pud 10k in north Sheffield – shenanigans because it’s a very popular race (in particular after lockdown), and the entry website crashed even worse than usual – it took over a day for it to get properly unpicked and working. The race itself was great as ever – the basic rules, it’s an out and back 10k race from Loxley in Sheffield to Low Bradfield and back, you get a Christmas pudding at the end. The field is generally significantly good with Eilish McColgan having won it a couple of times, and with the format, you get to see the front runners coming towards you on the second half.

This year’s focus has been on distance more than speed, and my interval training has suffered, particularly with having moved to the top of a hill recently – but I came in at around 47 minutes – a few minutes off my PB, but also I was comfortable with the result and it was great to be in a large supported event with friends running in the same field. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the mass start given recent Covid waves, so ran the first 2km with a Buff as a face mask until the field spread out a little.

Drive and why I do this.

I didn’t get around to writing up the smaller events this winter – and I tend not to run through day to day runs, even the longer weekend escapades. To an extent, they’re training runs (although they’ve suffered in December, apart from finishing off 2021km for the year) – but also they’re largely simply to help clear the head, particularly with increased home working. Apart from when I run commute into the office (which is generally good for structure in the day, drive, and just getting the mileage in), the past year has not been structured with any form of actual training plan beyond the occasional intervals mid run when I remember them – this needs to change.

I’ll freely admit that I run to try and sort my head out – and I’m probably at least partially addicted to exercise. I run because I love good scenery, I love being able to get out to places others can’t, under my own steam – it’s slightly narcistic, but it’s also satisfying. I’m not particularly fast, I’m not massively slow, I’m not *consciously* particularly stubborn, but subconsciously, it’s maybe a different story. I know that the perception from others does not match my own view on what I do. I also know that I can’t do the types of running that I really enjoy *without* putting in the graft – and I get significantly grinchy when I’ve not been out for a while.

I’ve got some target events (races? I’m not competing at any realistic level…?) for next year that I’m looking forwards to. I’ll get back to Parkrun as it’s a good social event – and 95% of my running is on my own (largely down to the times I run at, and the people I run with being on different schedules, or running at different levels) – Parkrun will also get me focusing back on some speed work, which generally makes everything else a little easier.

Targets and goals for 2022 – races, running clubs, adventures and goals

I’ll start this section with a non-distance or speed related goal – run more on a more sociable basis, and try to use it to get more structure to the average day – I’ve worked some long hours in the past few years, and whilst some of that will not go away, having some set pieces or times to work towards in the week will help.

Races – I’ve got the following booked in so far:

  • Round Sheffield Run Winter Edition – running as a pair (right now my back is out and Tim who I’ll be running with isn’t on full attack strength so we’ll see how it goes. Part of the course can be a mud-fest in the SUMMER let alone the winter. I suspect it’ll be entertaining as it always is, but possibly not quite the festival atmosphere that the summer edition has
  • Gods Own Backyard Ultra – this will be a sufferfest held in Leeds. My ever suffering running accomplice did it last year and recommended it – I’d not entered before in an attempt to let my ankle heal. For those who don’t know the format, it’s about a 6.7km lap, you have to be at the starting line every hour on the hour. Eventually you’ll time out – so only one person finishes. The winners are in a different league – but it’s a personal test, and different to the usual reasons that I run
  • The Dirty Reiver – yes, it’s a gravel biking event, not running – and I suspect the training isn’t going to combine too well with other events such as…..
  • The Montane Summer Spine Sprint – yes, it’s the shortest race as part of the ‘Spine’ family (47 miles across the Pennine Way, 18 hour cutoff) – but this feels like a good opportunity to see how this goes before considering the Challenger version of the event next year (108 mile, 60 hour limit).

Other contenders that I’m considering include the Grand Tour of Skiddaw in the Lakes, and the Ring of Steall

Events and adventures

Where possible I’d like to get back into Snowdonia for some ridge running – and explore more of the scrambles in the Peak District. There’s also couple of routes I’m looking at from my house that are in the 50-70km territory which loop into the Peaks, building up range to having a go at the Sheffield Way ultra route later in the autumn. Depending on travel opportunities and time, I’d also like to start scouting some Munros around Glen Coe with an eye on the Charlie Ramsay Round in the next year or two.

I also headed out to Canning Chase with the Bad Boy Running Club earlier in 2021 on a running / camping weekend. It was great, and underlined how much I generally run on my own (but enjoy company). In 2022, I’m looking at organising a weekend out in the Peaks and see who else comes along, and hopefully meet a couple of like minded people.

I’m also looking at Sheffield running groups – I don’t have great amounts of time to commit, but having a more defined group to run with (and to occasionally do events with) will really help. There’s a couple of options – the main question is whether to go with one of the more local running groups, or a fell running group.

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