I've had a pretty good year so far, After the spine, Robbie and I agreed we'd work on shorter stuff through the spring and early summer and not rush back into things too hard and let my body and mind recover. I had some shorter event targets in mind, and with work becoming increasingly challenging and time consuming I felt it was time to put other things before running and focus on quality training.
|I had a crack at a Vertical KM whilst I was at it!|
|Look how happy I look!|
Before I went to Morzine, I headed up to the Lakes once more, alone this time and got hold of the correct map, road book and took a compass! ON the Saturday I ran/hiked the 28 miles from Dalemain to Ambleside, briefly going wrong but righting myself and getting on towards Kentmere. Somewhere between Mardale Head and Kentmere, I took the most ridiculous wrong turn. I don't even know what I was thinking. I turned off the route and scrambled up a gnarly mountain. After 2 hours scrabbling about, I finally dragged myself through some shrubbery into a farm where I begged for some fresh water as I'd run out hours before in 28 degree heat.
The rest of the recce to Ambleside was uneventful and I rolled into the backpackers hostel, showered and went to get myself a beer and food. The next day, I drove to Coniston, dropped off my car, got the bus back and ran the 16 or so miles Coniston. This part of the route is really runnable on the whole. A few big climbs naturally but I was surprised to arrive in such good time.
I went home feeling positive. I'd heard terrifying things about this course. But it all felt pretty manageable. Don't get me wrong, there are some big long hikes where it's not possible to run but it was a pretty runnable route compared to the likes of say the Dragon's Back which I'd been expecting it to be more like. I tentatively suggested my goal to Robbie (a 10 hour something time limit). There. It was out there.
Four weeks ago I went back to recce once more. To fine tune the bits where I'd gone wrong, having done plenty of hill training, I also wanted to see if I could actually run up any of the hills now. To my surprise I could! (well the ones early on when I was fresh anyway) I had a fantastic time, apart from taking the wrong fork up over High/Low cop and being in the rain, couldn't be arsed to get my map out, then later to find I'd lost my compass and descended into the wrong valley and continued to go round and round and up and down the same hill twice. (I clocked an extra 10k in this detour!)
The rest of the trip back to Ambleside was spot on, and the weather was kind beyond that. Even with the detour I got back in a decent time. The next day, once more I made my way to Coniston. I really enjoyed myself, the weather was perfect, I was loving scampering over the last few km in the sunshine, and knowing I had to catch the bus back to get my car I had to put my foot down a bit.
Driving home, thinking about the times I'd take over the sections, I felt it was well within me to get a sub 12 hour race, the dream was to get 10 something. So I set myself a few options. Some which I'd share with others;
To complete in less than half the time allowed (i.e. under 12 hours)
To complete in between 10 and 12 hours.
My quiet target - 10 something and a top 10 ladies position.