Thursday, 16 July 2015 17:00

Here comes the Summer...supposedly

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I realise that I have been neglecting you all, all 53 ½ of you that is. I just don’t know where the time goes, one minute it is April and the next thing here we are in the middle of July.

A quick resume of the last few weeks for you. The Brathay 10 in 10 came and went during the month of May. For those of you who do follow me you will know that this event is a real toughy. 10 marathons in 10 days to support the work that Brathay do with under privileged children and young adults. The guys that run it are absolute stars and inspirational to one and all. I look at them in awe, forgetting that I actually completed this event myself a few years ago. I did get to run the final day this year and dragged my friend Julie around with me who wanted to finish in under 4:15. I forget what the time was but we were well inside it.

During the marathon my left calf decided that it didn’t want to play and tightened up considerably, leaving me heading straight to the physio for some much needed trigger relief. I took the best part of 5 sessions to get it sorted and was mighty painful at times, but, sorted it was and I headed up to Coniston for the trail marathon at the beginning of June.

I love this marathon, hilly, muddy, boggy, streams to ford, tarns to look at, the beautiful mountains of the Lake District within touching distance and 26.2 miles to run. What’s not to like? The weather behaved itself and I ended up running a lot of the route on my own, wonderful stuff.

A few weeks ago I decided to enter A Day in the Lakes. This was a last minute entry for me to test out my fitness levels for the upcoming Outlaw Triathlon. The start was delayed for 20 minutes as the swim course had to be reset as the safety team deemed it unsafe in its present location due to the rough water. Not the words you want to hear just before you get in the lake. It must be said that the wind was fairly strong and the forecast was not good.

Eventually we started and were immediately greeted by swells of water which I was ok with but I could imagine a few people being panicked. The first leg was into the wind and seemed to take forever, whist the second and third legs were like a dog leg meaning the wind was behind us before a cross wind. As the course had changed we had to do 2 laps, joy. The last swim to the shore was really tough and exposed and it felt like I was swimming in mud. Once out of the water I was amazed at how long it had taken. I felt that even though the conditions were not good that I had had a good swim. I was later to learn that the reset course was 400 m longer than I thought, phew.

On to the bike leg, a little jaunt over Kirkstone pass and Shap fell, both at around 1500ft of climbing. Did I mention that by now that, not only was it blowing a right hooley, but it was also tipping it down adding to the feeling of deep joy I was experiencing. I couldn’t feel my feet at this point and was riding along squeezing the water out of my gloves, such fun. Kirkstone loomed in the distance; at least I think it did as I couldn’t see the top of it due to the fog. I had to remind myself that this was the end of June! The good thing about not being able to see the top of the pass is that I didn’t know how far it was to go, so I just kept my head down and pedalled away. The pub appeared in the gloom and I sped of down the other side, taking it easy though as the roads were treacherous. As the route headed towards Shap the rain eased of a bit but typically as the road climbed higher the wind and rain picked up again. Once over Shap the weather became kinder and there was even a glimmer of sunshine. I had been trying to eat on the bike to keep myself fuelled but all my food was soaking wet and kept falling apart making it difficult to get the food in. I had a couple of gels so took them instead. By the time I rolled into transition the sun was out, hurrah.

On with the trainers and of I went. The run is a bit of a beast with a massive climb in the middle and a technical downhill preventing the build-up of a decent pace. I set off and realised about a mile later that I hadn’t picked up any food, d’oh, what a rookie mistake. I had no option but to plod on and hope that I had enough energy in my system to see me through the remaining 12 miles. The hill came and went and I hit the last 3 miles with a spring in my step. I had managed to snaffle some jelly babies at a feed station and felt reasonably good on the last stretch. I finished in over 7 hours, not what I wanted and slower than a few years ago but given the longer swim and horrendous weather conditions I was pleased with my overall performance. At my age times, are not everything!! Two and a bit weeks to Outlaw now, a long distance triathlon in Nottingham, I have had a good weeks training this week and will be finishing it up running a marathon on Sunday. After that a few steady weeks before I see whether I can become an Outlaw.

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