Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Lakes in a Day

In late September I figured my legs had probably had a good rest post BG, so tested them out at the Three Shires fell race. Slightly over optimistic on the recovery, it was harder work than it should have been but given a bit of effort I could run. It was a beautiful day and a bit of tooing and froing with Nicky and Wil along the way kept me running! After about 2hours my legs suddenly said 'no' though, so I backed off on the final climb, wanting to make it to the finish still running!

Pleased to be back running something like normal, I was a bit aprehensive about the 'no' part of the race, with only 3 weeks until the Haglofs Lakes in a Day ultra (LIAD) when I would need to keep running for a bit longer than 2 hours. Ealier this year James Thurlow asked me whether I thought I would break the women's record. I said I thought I could, but I couldn't guarentee nobody else would do it faster. Now I wasn't entirely sure I could break it....

First bit of fast running of the year - Ali reminded me how to race downhill at the IHMR!

3 weeks and one Ian Hodgson Mountain Relay later my legs were feeling much better. I was looking forward to the first half of the LIAD, knowing my pacing pretty well over Blencathra and the Dodds. I estimated it was possible to get to Ambleside in around 6hrs 30, possibly slightly under if it all went very well! From there on in, the plan was to hang on as best I could as that was where you actually need to run,  heading over Claife Heights, High Dam, and Bigland (I'm not as good at that bit when there's no awkward terrain underfoot or steep climbs to contend with).

Some race faces already. We were chatting really though!

Starting out with Helen and Sabs we had a quick catch up along the road. When we hit the fell Helen was off, but I was happy to let her run up the first hill, keeping her not too far ahead, as I knew where my strengths (and weaknesses) lay.

Blencathra seemed easy, maybe due to the amount of chatting I was doing with Larry, a Pennine member living in Kendal, but it passed by easily now I was on my own terrain. Looking at my time, I was moving very similarly to my BG pace so this was good!

Halls fell was a good bit of fun. Joe Faulkner said he was enjoying watching 'fell runners vs ultra runners' heading down the hill and I soon found out what he meant, making up a fair few places on the rocky decent. I hit the feed station around 2hrs 20 - 2hrs 25mins, within about 5-10minutes of Helen and up on my half thought through schedule. If my plan for Clough Head and the Dodds continued to go well, I would hopefully see Helen again soon :-).
Halls Fell - good fun descending!
Off up Clough Head and even on the gentle slope at the bottom I think I knew my plan was out the window. When we hit my least favourite ascent in the lake district (there's something about the steepness of Clough Head that really never gets any better....) I knew for sure the game was up. My legs weren't powerful, I didn't feel like I was moving (although aparently I was better than some) and it took a lot of effort to haul myself up and over the top. A little after Calf How Pike Sabs caught up. Having just watched me ascend Clough Head she confirmed what I felt, I was moving around 20% slower than I had when she'd accompanied me up there on my BG. (In fact, it took me around 10-15minutes longer than it took me in the BG, so a fairly accurate description)

So, there wasn't a lot else to do other than put one foot in front of the other, watch Sabs run off and enjoy the views. It made life a lot more pleasant as I wasn't going to fight to climb fast and I arrived in Ambleside after 7 hours, enjoying a lovely run on a stunning route!

I ran over Claife Heights with 'John' and we had a good chat about some silly ultra runs he'd done. I seemed to be moving fastest whilst chatting in this race as I cleared claife heights, the part of the race I thought I'd slow down on, much faster than anticipated and faster than a lot of the men did last year according to strava. Perhaps a little too much left in the legs?
Finish! 11hrs 59, a whole 20s to spare on the time I needed to get to the BG dinner :-)

 'Mike' and his support cheerleaders were a welcome sight along the way and we too had a bit of chat over to high dam. Ultra's are great for my chatting style of running ;-).  Maybe I measured the effort just right as running the last few miles to Cartmel that 'no' sensation was definitely imminant. But I ran over the finish line in 11hrs 59 to finish 3rd, around an hour and forty minutes faster than the previous record, but an hour behind Helen's fantastic run this year!

A great route for an ultra and another well thought out and supported event from Open Adventure -  thanks for the GF pasta at Ambleside Sarah!

Just enough time for a shower and a bite to eat then it was off to the BG dinner, sporting my shiney new Haglofs LIAD finishers t-shirt, to recieve my certificate and dance the night away!

I'm not sure how, but my legs recovered well enough to do the FRA relays justice a week later (I think BG dinners are clearly good for recovery).

3 weeks on and next up, it's time for the open 5's..........

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