Sunday, 20 May 2012

Weekend in Keswick

I was going to make the title of this post "Romantic Weekend in Keswick" because Martin and I spent this weekend in the Lakes to celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary. But I chose the destination and very obviously had an ulterior motive, so "Recce Weekend in Keswick" would probably be more appropriate.

We drove up after work on Wednesday night, parked the van in Ambleside had a quick meal then an early night....I had to be up at 4am.  I'd planned to run the Ambleside to Keswick section of the L100 course on Thursday.

I am now properly obsessed with the L100. I dream about the event, and in my sleep I rehearse the struggle and the discomfort that I experience on training runs and will have to deal with in spades on the day. When I am awake, I am thinking and planning training routes, distances and working through schedules - how far, how fast, where, when and how.  Not the best company - sorry Martin.

When I woke up on Thursday morning at 4.15am with the rain pattering on the roof of the van, I didn't spring out of bed, I braced myself and prepared myself for battle, and left the old man fast asleep - Happy Anniversary!!

It took me 16 and a bit hours to get around the 50 miles, which ended up being a bit more after taking the wrong path out of Boot and being too tired to notice until I was on the open fell side!

It rained steadily for the  first 9 hours, and the ground between Seathwaite and Wasdale was boggy and energy sapping. As I climbed Black Sail Pass, the sun came out and I enjoyed a short stop in the company of the walkers occupying Black Sail Hut who generously looked after me, watered me and sent me on my way - the only people I encountered all day, so the brief conversation saved my sanity!

At Buttermere I wanted to call I taxi, but I pushed through the last 9 miles at the pace I had achieved during the first section between Ambleside and Coniston on fresh legs. I dropped into Braithwaite just before 9pm and was in the shower by 9.30pm.

I felt broken, and as I walked through Keswick I was resolute that I was going to pull out of the 100. Having meticulously recorded my times along the way at each checkpoint, it was patently obvious that I am up against it time wise. I will be relentlessly working to avoid being timed out and it is likely that I will have to face a full 40 hours of struggle and mental battling...((groan)).

Back in Keswick, my legs were fine, my taped feet were great having been wet since 8am, I had no cramping or stomach problems, I had even managed to pick the pace up again in the Buttermere to Braithwaite section, so there was still something left in the tank, but as always, the climbs sapped my energy and although I can recover quickly and make up some time on the descents and the flats, I can't push my uphill speed, so my average time suffers.

This is the record of my progress - it's beyond tight!

Come Friday, I was in good shape and able to reflect and identify some of the positives gained from the training run. Martin and I went for a run up and around Latrigg, so another 10 miles logged and my legs felt great.


We had a fab couple of days at the Keswick Mountain Festival, saw Paul Tierney complete his sub 18 hour Bob Graham Round, and topped the weekend off with many pints of cider in the beer tent with the best view in the world.

The outcome... I have found a new approach, a new tactic. Rather than worrying about not making it 'round I'm just going to see how far I can get before the organisers pull me off the course.

I will be on the start line, and I may not finish, but I've trained hard and learned a lot. I need to enjoy the remainder of the training and allow myself to enjoy the event. I might get timed out on the day, but the challenge will be to see how far I can get before that happens.

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