Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Lakeland 100 recce

Spotting the weather forecast showing a change from dismal and cold to hot and sunny, I took myself up to the Lake District for 2 days last week to recce the second half of the Lakeland 100.

As you may remember, I DNF’ed last year. I really wasn’t in a good place at the time and was have trouble motivating myself to do anything at all, let alone run. Hardly the best preparation for a 100 miler. I almost didn’t bother to even start but Jenny convinced me that it would do me some good, and that a failure would be not even starting. I had a torrid time but stuck it out to Dalemain, then called it a day.

However, I was in awe of the course and the tremendous support and vowed to return……..

Day 1
I stayed overnight at Keswick YH in order to get an early start. I drove to Pooley Bridge, parked the car and was off by 06:00 in glorious clear, blue skies. It was forecast hot, damn hot, and it already felt warm.

My provisional plan was to get to Ambleside, stay overnight there, then have a shorter day to Coniston before making my way back to Pooley Bridge, and hopefully no parking ticket!

I made my way along the easy path around Ullswater to Howtown and then began the long ascent up Fusedale. I fumbled around at the top before finding my way over Bampton Common and down to Haweswater.

At Mardale Head, it was the long drag up Gatescarth Pass and onwards to Kentmere. It was swelteringly hot by now. I later heard that the temperature had been 28C in the valleys.

The section on to Ambleside was much easier and I arrived in the town centre at 13:00. It was far too nice a day to stop so I quickly assessed my options. After a very pleasant refreshment break at the Apple Pie, and having booked a bed at Coniston Coppermine YH, I set off for Elterwater and Great Langdale.

Then it was up and over to Tilberthwaite. Then it was up some horrible steps which will be hilarious at the end of a 100 mile race.

I arrived at the youth hostel just after 18:00 having covered 43 miles averaging just under 13 min/mile (whilst moving). Not bad in blistering heat. After a shower and a hearty meal it was off to bed, ready for another early start.

 Day 2
Up and out at 05:10, it was quickly onto Walna Scar Road. It was already warm and I was treated to a lovely sunrise.

Reaching Seathwaite without any difficulty, I set off towards Boot. After some fiddling about on forestry tracks, I crossed the River Esk on a bridge I couldn’t find marked on the route. Turning my map over, I realised it was the River Duddon. Whoops, wrong valley. I decided to cut my losses and walked all the way up and down Hardknott Pass. Lovely. 

At Boot, I replenished my low spirit with and ice cream and diet coke. Just the job!

Boot to Wasdale to Buttermere to Keswick was no problem as I’d only done this section a few weeks ago. I stopped briefly at Black Sail YH and had a chat with a group of people doing the Coast to Coast in piecemeal style. This was their last section. They thought I was mad – first impressions and all that!

I safely navigated public transport back to Pooley Bridge where my car sat undisturbed by parking attendants. 39 miles, averaging 15 min/mile. Happy days!

A tremendous 2 days in the Lake District. On a bright, sunny summer’s day, the Lake District is simply stunning. As far as running goes, that was pretty much as good as it gets.

Lakeland 100 in 10 days. Yes please!

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