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gernee
2010-09-19 20:55:50
Big Thumbs Up for Challenge Training!
For anyone who has read Bleck Cra’s offer of Challenge Training, this is a whole hearted endorsement of same! (and just for Macclimber – there wasn’t a white coat in sight!!!)

Having ambled along at a Grade 2 Level for the past 10 years or so, himself and myself decided this summer it was time for a new challenge and to up our fitness levels. So what better to aim for than the Mourne Seven Sevens? (nothing like aiming high!!!) After a number of outings we built up to doing the first 5 peaks in around 7 hours (with some tough ones yet to come). We thought this was pretty good (for us) but still we might not make the time cut off at the Ben Crom Dam and so opted out of this year’s event.

So it piqued my interest when I saw a post from Bleck Cra offering to meet up with anyone who was interested in picking up some tips on how those Challenge Walkers manage it all. After talking himself into it, we arranged to meet Mr Cra and see how we might improve our timings and be in with a chance of cracking the Seven Sevens next year. Himself had no idea what someone could tell us about walking that would make any real difference, and I was wondering if I had bitten off more than I could chew! But what a difference 4 hours in the company of “The nimble and very lithe Bleck Cra” can make!

We arrived at the Happy Valley Car Park a few minutes early to be greeted by a solitary big smiling Scottish face. With the charm (and it has to be said looks) of Billy Connolly, we were soon at ease with our new acquaintance. We set off up the track at a fair pace (I think he was getting the measure of us) and soon settled down to a relaxed but continuous trek.

We really are amazed that simple tips on pace, stride, speed, route selection, confidence etc etc can make such a difference. We reckon we knocked 40-50% off our ascent times up Slieve Bearnagh on today’s trip alone! Add to that the opportunity to spend some time walking in the Mournes with someone as knowledgeable and affable as Cra, and you cannot really ask for more.

We definitely need to train a bit more as the new techniques seem to call on some different muscles but by my reckoning, we hope to knock a good 30% off our previous target which should bring the 2011 Seven Sevens into comfortable reach. And what’s more, we have probably saved ourselves many months of ‘training in vain’ – by learning the right techniques up front.

But the training is not just for Challenge Walkers. I would whole heartedly encourage anyone who would just like to learn an easier way to climb those hills to get in touch with Cra – it will be time well (and enjoyably!) spent!

All of which leaves me with two things on my to-do list. Post a big thank-you to Cra for his time and patience and get ourselves back to the Mournes to put all our new knowledge to use.
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