Steve Birkinshaw – Three weeks to the start of the Dragons Back Race

It is now less than 3 weeks to the start of the Dragons Back Race. It is my main event for the year and what I have been building up my training towards but strangely I have not really been thinking about it that much up to now. It has always been in the back of my mind whilst I have been out training and racing, but I have been focusing on the next race. Now suddenly it feels close and I am getting excited about it. The kids and my wife have gone to their grandparent for 4 days so I have finally had time to look through the kit requirements and write this.

On my previous blog I was struggling to run but beginning to go a bit better. Since then I have carried on training and racing hard and although I am still improving I am still not quite right. I am still a sharp pain in my lower right leg if I land funnily (it is really sore for around 10 seconds and then goes) and I have a sore left ankle. The pain in my leg originates in my lower back. I have had lots of treatment (Physio, Oesteopath, Bowen) all of which is helping (and costing quite a lot of money) but I still sometimes get the sharp pain. I am also doing lots of core strength work to improve the problem. The good thing is that the problem only really stops me racing downhill and I will not be racing downhill (only running down steadily) on the Dragons Back so even if it does not really improve it will not make much difference during the race (as long as it does not get worse).

I have done some classics Fell race over the last couple of months (including Wasdale, Borrowdale, Arrochar Alps). On some of the races I have felt great and others rubbish – for example at Arrochar I felt really bad from the start and was being overtaken by people normally well behind me, although in the second half of the race my stamina showed through and I managed to overtake quite a few people. You would have thought by the time I reached 44 I would be able to be consistent in races and know what works and what does not, but it has not happened. After these long fell races I have gone out the next day and done another couple of hours. This can be really hard sometimes setting off exhausted but it is something I will have to get used to on the Dragons Back.

Photos courtesy of Stuart Stoddart at the Howtown Fell Race.

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