Thursday, July 23, 2015

Lakeland 100 v2015

Tomorrow I will start just my second race of the year, the Lakeland 100. 

My only other ‘race’ this year was The Spine which I finished for the second time in January. I did have a few smaller races planned for the spring and early summer, but these were all put on hold for my Camino at the end of May. The Camino, although not a ‘race’, entailed 12 consecutive days of 35+ miles running and it took several weeks to fully recover from its rigours.

So after 2-3 weeks off not much apart from eating a lot and increasing my girth, I’ve spent the last few weeks reacquainting myself with the Lakeland 100 course. I ran the entire the entire route over 3 days – 40,40 and 25 miles – and was amazed how easy backing up the mileage felt. Obviously the Camino has done my stamina and strength some good.

I’ve also been on an emergency diet in a effort to achieve some sort of race weight. I’m still 2-3 pounds more then I’d like to be but in a race like the Lakeland 100 I don’t think it really matters. It really does get harder to lose weight as one gets older. It puts in perspective how silly we can get trying to reduce our pack weights by a few grammes here and there.

This will be my 4th consecutive start in the event. In 2012, I wasn’t in the right place mentally at all and, after a torrid time, did well to get to Dalemain. In 2013, I felt at peak fitness and then proceeded to blow my Achilles out before CP1, becoming the first person to withdraw from the race that year. Not an honour I really wanted.

Last year, I went into the race with a dodgy Achilles again and remember telling Jenny that I’d either be out at CP1 again or finish. I was hoping for sub 30 hours, with a secret hope of sub 28 hours. I finished 16th in 26:24!
Remember to smile for the cameras!
Focus- leaving Dalemain

So my goal for this year? I’d love to beat last year’s time. I know I can be quicker through the checkpoints especially in the second half of the race. Hopefully, I can avoid the 2-3 bad slumps - I had to sit down at the top of Garburn Pass for a few minutes as I had completely and utterly hit the wall! A top 10 finish would be amazing. However, 105 miles is a long way and a lot can happen, so I'm trying not to put pressure on myself by "imposing an arbitrary target" - a phrase I often use at work! I'm not an elite runner, not a professional, and I do this for fun, and, therefore, pressure just isn't needed. So, I’ll happily take a finish and hope I enjoy it as much as last year. 

I had no doubt I’d enter it again this year. It’s such a great event. The course is beautiful but really challenging - exactly what I love to do. The organisation is exemplary  The atmosphere around the event is tremendous – the building tension in the camping field, the crowds cheering as we leave Coniston, the locals supporting in all the numerous villages, running through Ambleside, and then the finish in Coniston. And, of course, the amazing checkpoints and volunteers.

In my opinion, it’s one of the iconic British races.

So, apart from being a great event, why do we put ourselves through this ? cream and medals :) 

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