Sunday, 21 October 2012

Running hills with friends

I've been looking forward to this trip for first visit to the Lakes since my failed Lakeland 100 attempt in July, and although I've run the course many times now, this would be the first training session where I would be running alongside friends.

The outing was to be focussed on covering the 50 miles from Ambleside to Keswick over 2 days with an overnight stop off at the Wasdale Head Inn on route. This turned out to be a fantastic arrangement. Running all day towards a cosy pub provided plenty of motivation, and focussing on the cider, pub grub and comfy bed that was waiting for me at the end of the day kept me moving forward with a very positive outlook.

Annie, Sarah and I ran at our own pace over the two days, so after the first few miles of the day I was running on my own chasing Annie who was much faster than me. This suits me well. It was nice to know I had good company at the end of the day, but I liked having someone to chase without the pressure of having to keep a pace I was not comfortable with.

Conditions were wet underfoot. Lots of slipping down hillsides and a couple of spectacular falls coming down from Black Sail pass ensured that I came home good and muddy!

We covered around 50 miles in 14 and a bit hours at a very comfortable pace for me. I'd not over planned my hydration/nutrition because there were limitations imposed by having to carry all our gear for the two days, and although my pack was by far the heaviest (!), packing light was the key. So I carried 1.5 litres of water and minimal food to carry me through day one. 

As it worked out, I had no issues with nutrition, foot care and dips in energy and I was significantly quicker in comparison to the last time I covered the same ground back in May (although I did do the whole 50 miles in 1 outing). I thoroughly enjoyed this recce and ran comfortably, well within my capabilities allowing me to enjoy the experience rather than focus on times and how my performance reflected my ability (or lack of!) to complete the 100.

Thanks to Sarah and Annie for their great company...I'm off now to plan stage 2 of our adventure - Keswick to Ambleside some time in the new year.

p.s. thanks to Annie for acting as official photographer on the trip!

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