Course profile

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What lies in wait on 2nd July - The 110k course profile

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Boxing day run

Boxing day was another horrible wet one, but not quite as bad here as predicted. Couldn't allow that to put me off so I duly went out on my long run. However, as it's Christmas and foul weather I did allow myself 2 1/2 hours instead of the 3 on my schedule as a special treat, running to Ambleside and back from one of my regular running start points at the beginning of the Dubbs Road.

What was that like? Well, as an experiment I've made a film of it. It's not the best quality as I made it with my (cheap) work phone and I do worry it makes you feel a bit sick to watch but I think you can almost feel the rain ......

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Saved by the track!

It's been getting really difficult to find places to run recently. Not only am I out in the dark after work mostly, but it's been really wet so there are lots of flooded areas and large puddles everywhere. And before you scoff, I'm not just being a wuss here. I don't mind getting my feet wet but running into water that you can't see the other end of and don't know how deep it is (let alone what's lurking beneath the surface) due it being dark is just plain foolish. It would be all to easy to injure myself by doing this and then I'm in real trouble .....

It was already tough, then storm Desmond struck. Most people will have seen the mess made by this deceptively benign sounding event and it's added to my problems by churning up a lot of the paths and tracks and adding extra piles of rocks or bonus pot holes to turn an ankle.

I'd even started doing what a lot of off road runners do this time of year and that I really didn't want to do - running on roads. It's not nice though. Once you're used to the reduced impact you get from non tarmac surfaces it does feel very uncomfortable on this much harder surface, especially with the lesser cushioning I have in my trail shoes. And no, I don't want to buy another pair for the roads.

Off round the track in the dark - you try getting a good photo this time of year!
So I've been reduced to using the running track. That's right, Windermere has a running track. It's only short (I reckon 300 metres), but it has a nice cinder surface and enough ambient light from the surrounding streets and houses that you can run on it with your head torch off. Depending on what pace I'm going at it takes between 1.5 and 2 minutes to do a lap and I've only managed an hour at most before getting bored, but it's been a bit of a life saver in this last week and I've been round it I don't know how many times.

Now the storm has faded, the flood waters subsided somewhat and a lot of the paths and tracks have been repaired, I'll be venturing out further afield again soon but there has been a strangely hypnotic and comforting feel to these circuits. I just hope I can still run in a straight line!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Rain stops play ....

Last weekend the weather was dreadful when I went out for my long run. Strong winds and lashing rain gave me reason to head round to the west shore of Windermere where it was a little more sheltered. This in itself was tricky enough as the roads were strewn with debris brought down from trees and a little flooded in places.

But I persevered and managed the full 2 1/2 hours my training programme has got me up to now. I've just read an interview with Holly Rush, British international marathon and ultramarathon runner, where she describes her favourite feeling after a hard session or race, that complete and utter exhaustion, tiredness, smugness. I'm not really to the point where I'm training that hard yet, but after soldiering on through the constant rain and considerable buffeting (copyright MWIS - Google them) that Saturday morning I certainly had a warm glow of smugness when returning home. Great, I thought, I can run even in the very worst conditions .....

Didn't reckon with storm Desmond a week later though. If I thought it was bad last weekend then this weekend has really put it in perspective. Even so, I reckon I would have got out and completed my planned training today, even if it meant running round and round some of the local paths and tracks that have remained free from floods in my home town of Windermere.

Civilised! Running in the balmy southern air of Richmond Park.
I would have, but I didn't. Instead, I was stuck in the car on the A591 for the entire night. We'd been down to London visiting family again (where we had a lovely run all the way round Richmond Park on Saturday) and unfortunately/stupidly chose Saturday night to set off and travel back to the Lakes. After an initial uneventful 280 miles, we got stuck 10 miles from home. Lots of to-ing and fro-ing, unsuccesful attempts at sleeping and trying alternative routes saw us finally getting home at 11:00am on Sunday, 18 1/2 hours after setting off. Brilliant.

Funnily enough, I didn't really feel up to a long run after that. I'm knackered, basically. Looking at the nightmare many Cumbrians have been through over the weekend, I'm well aware we got away lightly and really only suffered a small inconvenience. But it seems there is such a thing as the weather being too bad to go out for a run, but not for the reasons I'd have guessed at ....