Sunday, 17 June 2012

Lakeland 100 recce

Today saw John and I complete our recce of the Lakeland 100 route by closing the circle, joining the finish point from last time (Wasdale) to the starting point of the first outing (Buttermere).

John and Katrina arrived last night and we feasted on Mexican food prepared by Tracey and banoffee pie made by Katrina - thanks ladies! The plan for today was for Katrina to join us for the last 8 miles as our route passed closest to our house, so in between the main course and pudding we had a walk out to show Katrina where to meet us. Seemed like a good idea at the time but a downpour had us soaked by the time we returned, leaving John no alternative but to change into an unplanned outfit for the rest of the evening. (Don't ask!!)

We were away early this morning with Katrina kindly taking us down the Borrowdale valley to Honnister Pass and our starting point. After the complex logistics of last month we went for a simplified version today, however this involved a rather long warm up of running from Honnister to Wasdale Head. You know it is going to be a long day when you run an hour and a half just to get to the start point. We had some dramatic views as we made our way over to Wasdale and made good use of map and compass in thick mist approaching Beck Head Tarn - all part of the game.

Dropping into Wasdale
Out of Wasdale, we made the long climb up to Black Sail Pass, but at least we now had the wind behind us and were able to remove jackets, hats and gloves. The only tricky spot on the climb is where the path crosses the beck. In good weather this is just a few easy steps - not today! John went for the confident/cocky approach and nearly took one for the team (wait for the video).
John crossing Gatherstone Beck
Heading down to Ennerdale
The drop down to Black Sail YHA was far more spicy today than the last few times I have been down. Everywhere was soaking wet and very slippy. This came as a good reminder to take things cautiously during the race - the mantra seems to be that you can't make a good race time here but you can certainly blow it! John went into reminiscent mode around the YHA, with a trip down memory lane. The climb up to Scarth Gap never seems as bad as you think it will and we were soon on the long, rough descent to Butteremere. The key here is to be able to hit the small gap in the wall just after the really rough section; fairly easy in good visibility but a different ball game in the dark. I hope we are not telling tales of woe in our race reports.

As we made the final drop down to the lake and subsequent run along the shore line path towards Buttermere village, we both commented on the significance of this moment as it would close the circle of the whole route. We set off on our first recce in the snow on March 4th from this spot and both felt this has been a job well done. The circle of life was mentioned, along with a quick rendition of Hakuna Matata.

This time we did not allow our minds to think of this as the finish of our run as we did last time in Coniston, but set off on the next section at a more sprightly pace. John led the way for much of this section to Braithwaite, trying to remember the exact route from last time. This really showed us how much time we had spent doing the videos as we were much faster today despite having already run a number of hours in rough terrain. It felt good to just get on with the running, find a more consistent rhythm and eat up the ground that little bit quicker. Once we had dropped down into Braithwaite, John called Katrina to give her the half hour warning that we would soon be in Keswick and two become three.

After a slight delay (again, don't ask), we set off up towards Latrigg with Katrina "I'll never keep up" Kynaston springing up the climb with John and myself trudging after her, safe in the knowledge that she has not got a clue where to go. We met a number of runners taking part in a trail marathon as they made their way down to Keswick - obviously, at least two of them knew John. Never mind the theory of seven degrees of separation; within ultra running, it's two degrees of separation - I know John and John knows everybody else!

Katrina obviously thought the route was fantastic. At one point, there was a scream from behind us, John and I span round expecting to see Katrina face planting the path, only to be greeted by a huge grin and Katrina skipping along shouting to anyone who would listen how much she was enjoying herself!

Are we having fun, or what?
Matching outfits! Aagghh!
I brought them back along my golden mile, which they both seemed to enjoy and we rolled up to the house 7:46 hours and 30 miles after we had left Honnister.

We both have our plans well in place for the coming weeks and, as we said goodbye, realised our next meeting would be in five and a half weeks, just before the big day. Blimey!

The best thing of all is that, unless John is working on his new ipad in the car, I have, for the first time, got my blog report done before John! You saw it here first - literally!

1 comment:

John Kynaston said...

Thanks again for a great day out.

Congrats on posting your report first!!

Who will write up their race report first??