Sunday, 1 January 2012

First Lakeland 100 Recce

Happy New Year to all.

Things have been progressing well over the last two weeks. Since I broke up for the Christmas holidays two weeks ago, I have been able to get into more of a training routine, at least with regard to regular running; whether the running I am doing at present can be classed as "training" is another matter.

I am certainly not at the point where everything is free and easy, the running is always a bit of a struggle but it is getting easier. I had a run on Christmas day where I felt really good and found that I had to hold back the pace a bit which was a great feeling and equally important for my confidence. I recovered quite quickly from my run along the WHW last week and feel that I am just about ready to try a "training week" rather than just a "run as you feel week". I have been pleased with the way I have built up my running over the last 2 months, starting with the 30 second jogs to a point where I can tackle training sessions.

Yesterday morning, I thought I would start my training for the Lakeland 100 with a recce of part of the route from Blacksail Pass to Buttermere valley. So, despite the abysmal weather, I ran/walked from Buttermere, over Scarth Gap, down into Ennerdale, up to Blacksail Pass and back again.

Start of climb to Scarth Gap from Buttermere
 I took the first climb nice and easy, walking the steeper first part, running the easier middle section and walking again up to the pass. I caught and passed three folks pushing mountain bikes up the hill; knowing how rough this terrain is, I wondered where they were expecting to ride; each to his/her own!

Scarth Gap to the left
The drop down into Ennerdale was a bit slippy in the wet conditions, so much so, that I ran most of it off the rocky path on the grass. I stopped at the YHA at the head of Ennerdale to change my gloves for a second (Goretex) pair and put on an extra jacket for the climb up to Blacksail Pass as the weather was getting more brutal. I ran the first half to generate some heat and then stomped to the top, feeling pretty good but glad I was not continuing on into Wasdale.

A quick turn round at the top and lots of concentration on the descent. This was now the Lakeland 100 route and it became very clear that this section would need more recceing. During the race, this will be in the dark and, at times, the path is very indistinct particularly through the rocks. It gets much easier towards the bottom and you always have the handrail of Sail Beck on your right, but I am definitely going to have another look at this descent before the race.

The climb back up to Scarth Gap is much easier and shorter than I thought, taking less than 20 minutes. Once again, the descent from the top is very technical and is not the palce to make a bid for glory in the race. The objective for me will be to get to the valley in one piece and protect my quads for battles later to come.

Back in Butteremere Valley
I got back to the car in just over 2 hours, tried not to get too depressed to find that I'd only covered 7.2 miles, but felt great to be back in the hills again after such a long break. No major problems with the tendon other than a little stiffness later, but this was again less than I was suffering only a week and a half ago.

So, next week I will try an easy training week and see how the legs cope with that. Watch this space!


Ali said...

Glad to hear you are back in the hills Dave. How does your heel feel on the uphills?

DaveT said...

Fine so far but I haven't really thrashed it yet.