Sunday 8 September 2013

Montane Lakeland 50

Lakeland 50 27.7.13

Competitors geting ready for the 100

I entered this last year knowing that I had a good chance in getting in this years UTMB. I was going to use this has my big last long run as training. Up to now everything else was going to plan with the Montane 26 ultra at the Howgills been a pleasant surprise of coming 10th overall (2nd 40 Vet). I had continued with some good training taking in plenty of hill work over distance between then and this the Lakeland 50 event.
I arrived early on the Friday to get the registration process out of the way and spend the rest of the day chatting and relaxing. The weather was hot and sunny and the forecast was for the same on Saturday with more cloud and rain coming in around midnight Saturday night.
Joe Faulkner & Sharon Mcdonald with about 98 miles still to go!

I walked up to Walna Scar road to watch the Lakeland 100 competitors come through. It was a real good atmosphere up there, with plenty of cheering support and cowbells, what more could be perfect especially with the back drop of the Coniston fells. After a few familiar faces safely passed us; Joe Faulkner, Sharon McDonald, Roger Taylor and Claire Mckeown and with about another 98 miles to go it was time to go to the chippy for tea. A great night to relax, me and Rachel sat on chairs outside the tent, all my kit sorted. All the mandatory kit which is very similar to the UTMB kit list minus stuff like a spare torch, I was very happy with my pack and contents, with a few additions like the new Montane Minimus smock and Minimus pants. Shaving some grams off my weight and the fact they pack up into minute packs making the pack less bulky. With the addition of a Saloman cap complete with detachable neck protector ( after a recent incident in the sun, I thought this might be a good idea, knowing how i suffer if my neck gets exposed to strong sun and UV). Plus lucky for me was to get a pair of the new Cebe Sportech S’Track sunglasses, these have been designed particular for running and I managed to get a pair before they came on sale in the UK, more about there performance after I finish the race.

The day arrived and I had the usual Porridge for breakfast plenty of fluid, went to the race brief and got on the bus for the journey to Dalmain. Fortunately I shared a seat with my good mate Rhys and we were soon up at the race start, and moved our way up to near the front of the race line.

This is probably where the race started to go wrong for me!  The 10 second count down started and we were off at a fair old pace. I was not best impressed with the fact we had to do a 4 mile cross country circuit around the grounds before we were on the route towards check point 1. As I said I got caught up in the start and probably set off too quick especially in the heat and humidity. Back round towards the start and passing the odd  Lakeland 100 competitor the crowd was unbelievable and very loud which certainly assisted in increasing the adrenelin levels. Onwards to Pooley Bridge and I tried to settle into a good pace. It was very hot going and I was soon leaking from my head and I was impressed my Cebe sunglasses weren't steaming up. running through Pooley bridge was amazing the road was lined with cheering folk. Soon onto the climb out of Pooley bridge, I settled into a walk and seemed to be passed by quite a few runners. Something didn’t feel right in side but at that time I just thought it might be because it was early in the race and it was very hot going. The first Checkpoint soon arrived and for me it was a quick drink a gel and to top up my fluids, and go and tackle the longest leg with the biggest climb of the race. I managed to get up to the summit ok but I wasn't firing on all cylinders. I met Roger ( on the 100) near the summit and he said he wasn't doing great and was thinking of binning it and saving himself for the UTMB ( personally I thought he was mad doing the 100 only 5 weeks before the UTMB!)
At last some running along the ridge down towards Bampton Common before descending a good path down towards Haweswater. On the steep section the bracken was high and thick and I lost my footing on a corner and ended up in some thistles and and other spiky vegetation, resulting in my hands looking like pin cushions. Bugger that hurt, and my hands were numbed. I tried to remove a few but many were firmly embedded. With numb hands and a tingly sensation  on my arms, I started to make my way on the lake, trying to put it out of my mind. This just made me feel worse and I was starting to have doubts whether to continue once I got to Mardale. On route with a mixture of running with the odd walk up the small climbs which I normally  would run, I finished both bottles of fluid and was glad to get to the well supported checkpoint. Today eating wasn’t a problem for me and I managed a peanut butter and jam sandwich some coke and another Gel. After this I decided Id continue. Gategarth wasn't a bad climb but I was slow again, but managed to do it with out stopping. I was surprised with the descent, as I was struggling with descending, and with this been my strong point, It wasn’t going well. Both Quads felt bad and I wasn’t sure what was wrong. With one more small climb and a descent to Kentmere, I know knew I was over half way and there was some good food on offer here. Pasta and strawberry smoothie went down well and a top of fluid. I set off with the climb up Garburn pass ahead of me, and I seemed to climb this very well, managed to pass a couple of runners. Behind it was getting very dark and it looked like a thunderstorm was imminent.
The run down Garburn seem to go better but could have been better, my muscles were killing me. Now I was thinking I would finish, but just to plod round and do my best. Up through Troutbeck and the climb onto Robin lane there was a rumble of Thunder behind. Not been great in thunder storms this probably became my best bit of running, a good pace through the tress, at this point it was very dark in the woods. I kept a good pace up on some technical sections which suited me. Running with a guy called Alan we kept the pace up and Ambleside was soon upon us. Onto the tarmac down into the centre of Ambleside I caught up with Joe Faulkner who was having some blister trouble.
I got caught up in the spirit of the crowds and increased my pace through the big crowds in Ambleside, cheering us on. It was great and just what I needed to give me a lift, and we just got to the checkpoint as the heavens opened. 
Some very moist ginger cake and juice and It was time to go, the cloud burst outside was still in full swing so it was time to try out the Montane Minimus smock. I was glad it is a thin, light top as I was still hot and it was still a little humid outside. A good test for it breathability.  Once we were climbing and on route to Chapel Stile it cooled off with the rain. It was a good move, keeping the rain off the top half of my body. I was impressed with both the waterproofness and breathability of the Minimus smock. There was a group of about 4 of us that seem to keep good pace together. Soon the rain stopped and it had taken the edge off the humidity. Some good running on good tracks soon brought us to the Langdale checkpoint and the most impressive of all the checkpoints. A marque in the middle of no where, with music, arm chairs and settee’s and some great vegetable broth. Trying not to get too comfy, we set of on this short leg which had a couple of small climbs up out of Langdale, up and over to Tilberthwaithe. With one un-maned check point on a gate on the little Langdale road, easily spotted in the night sky. Tiliberthwaite was only 2.5 miles away, I was feeling really crap. I decided to give up and walked the last 5-6 miles, including a quick stop at the last checkpoint (Tiliberthwaithe) and the last climb over to the finish. It was now raining quite heavy and the path on the last descent was deadly, a mixture of wet slate and mud. But in true fashion I tried to finish the race in style by putting on a good sprint down the track into Coniston. I was chased by some Guy who really put the pressure on. I could feel my legs burning, my feet were really sore, I could feel a Bursae on my right foot again. Along the tarmac been cheered by pub goers and down the final road to the finish. I was amazed how many supporters were there to see us in. Some how I managed to get a extra bit of acceleration to pip my pursuer to the finish. In side the venue I was greeted to more cheering. I completed in 12:20 hours. Not bad to say it all went wrong, felt rubbish and walked the last 6 miles.


In reflection I was more than happy with my kit and the new kit; Montane Minimus Smock kept me dry and warm and packs up to nothing, not tried the pants yet!
Cebe S’track glasses are super light and as a a glasses wearer they are very very comfy, in fact you don't know they are on after a while and they stick to your head like glue. they don’t move. Ventilation is great and they didn’t steam up. I used the photo chronic lenses which are interchangeable. They kept the sun out of my eyes and darkened when the light increased. 

Now me! not sure if I had a virus or I was totally run down, but the following week I felt crap with no energy, muscles were tired. Sore eyes ( stye) and cold sore, my body and mind was a mess. A week later and after some ‘pick-me-up’ medicine I am feeling a lot better. Just need to get fit now for France and the big one, the UTMB.

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