& hanging stone leap (24 Mile)
I’d best explain about the injury first i guess. Doc says Pre-hernia, sports fizz thinks some kind of severe strain. So no running prior to the Lakeland 100 but lots of stretching. It seemed to help and at least I could pull myself upright out of bed. I get the feeling I’m not really going to get a definitive answer on this one but at least I know it’s not intestinal and maybe can be managed. A friend sent a message to me about it. He said he thinks it’s what he had a while ago ,
‘Pretty sure your injury is the same as I had a few years ago. A tight sore pulling across the lower belly/ groin that went down into my balls’
That would be it exactly !!!
He went on to say
‘Nobody was ever able to tell me if it was a sports hernia, Gilmore's groin or just a long-term strain, maybe hip flexor. I found the answer to it was lots of stretching and strengthening work around hips, groin, hip flexor, adductor and core. I found yoga was the best cure for it (the hard strength/mobility type yoga’)
And that’s the kind of feeling I’m getting from this.
So, even after a raft of good humoured mails and texts telling me I was daft I decided to have a go at the Lakeland100. I still need them UTMB points after all.
I started the race more or less at the back and made no attempt to make up any places. The first 30 miles of the hundred and five miles are IMHO the hardest by far with some dam decent climbs and descents. That’s where I usually make my time up . Not a great climber because I’m too fat but even though I say it myself I can really descend fast. I love descending. I love flying down the rocks at full pelt without a care and got to admit I like the feeling of leaving folk who on the climbs and flat leave this slowcoach for dead. Of course I had promised myself not to fly the descents as any slipping or jolting was what really huts the abdomen.
To cut a long story short that wasn’t really a problem. The descents in the first 30 were treacherous so say the least. All this rain had let long grass grow between the jagged rocks and along with it mud& folk were going down all over the pace. I was ok but any idea of overtaking loads of folk was out the window. Runners were slipping over, sliding and taking out the person in front. To make matters worse,*some* using sticks were of course trying to keep themselves up right with wide arms so instead of one person width I had almost the width of three.
I slipped as well a few times. I was just going to slow and having to stop too many times but hey I wasn’t worried as I was saving my abdomen from further hurt. I did hurt it a few times in the first 30 but all in all I was pleased it didn’t have me doubled up in pain as it had in Hardmoors.
I’ve never seen so much water on the course either. Along the bogs of course you expect it but it wasn’t really a series of bog but all one bog! I didn’t really mind but again overtaking was hard. Anyway even on the supposed dry bit my feet were soaked for 80% of the time on this race.
All that said by the time I got to Braithwaite I was in pretty good fettle. I was later told over 60 folk out of 300 odd had already retired before this checkpoint at 32 miles! I don’t really like the next bits except the loop around the Blencathra centre. The old coach road passed me by reasonably well and I looked forward to the bit around Gowbarrow as it’s a lovely trail. A lot of the time along here I was running with my old friend Shirl and a girl I swim with at the TRI club. Shirl was asking how the gut was and I remember saying I’d had the odd jolt that hurt like hell but if it wasn’t jolted I was fine. (well fine as in not stopping me running but still making its presence felt )
Into Dalemain and I changed my socks. I also had stashed away a ginsters pasty. The food on the hundred is ok but I really can’t hack sweet stuff much and this was just the business. Heck though I’ve never seen so many walking wounded (or not walking with feet in tatters) . I’m not sure how many pulled out here and I felt a little guilty just how fine I was.
I trotted into Pooley Bridge and felt really good. I’d fancied a swift pint here as we pass a couple of pubs but I’d read we not only could not receive any thing from support but we could not buy anything either. I had meant to question mark on this in the Pre -race talk but he didn’t ask anyone got any questions . I’ll clarify it for next year. :-)
Up to the cairn and I ran all nearly all the way to Howtown. Little slow up Fusedale and Shirl and K left me. The descent was fairly slippy but nothing to write home about and nowt compared to earlier on. Got cold coming into Mardale head as it lashed it down but ascended Gatesgarth in fine manner with my woolly hat on, my hood up and my gloved hands in pockets. I was really enjoying myself now. Down the other side and I came across two lads. We didn’t say a lot to be honest and I suppose we were all concentrating on our foot placing on the dicey broken road.
Again I’m really happy at this point, I have no blisters , feel fine and well in front of the cuts off. I know I can make Ambleside in good time and once there it’s a relatively easy finish (if you not out on your feet that is). Another thing occurred to me about this time. My injury er seemed to have gone! I found myself jumping from rock to rock trying to jolt it into pain but it was having none of it!
Work that one out!
And then I fucked it up. The lads who I’d come across had gone up the broken road to Kentmere before me but one of them went ahead and came back down saying there was no gate and we were on the wrong road. Now I’ve done this bit before albeit two years ago but suddenly I had doubt in my mind and could not afford to lose time. The broken road did seem very different than I remembered mainly because all the rain had washed great craters down the middle of it. In fact it started to look like Garburn pass, or at least how I remembered Garburn pass from two years before! Checked maps and could see no other way but in the end we doubled back and ended up faffing for an age till we decided it the only bloody route we could take! I left them here and started the climb again and now I was looking at my watch. Fuck I need at least 2.5 hours to get to Ambleside and it’s getting tight.
I sprint down the other side , Drop down a grassy path the road book said. –slide more like. Over a wall stile and thru a gap in the wall opposite. And I missed that open wall. I really don’t know how but I lost another 20 minutes before retracing my steps and realising my fuck up. Rushed into Kentmere and I was below 2 hours . Their looks said it all. I could not my Ambleside in time for their cut off.
I fucked up. I was cruising along, not a sore or blister,happy listing my little Dab radio that had kept me abreast of all the Olympics and not a care in the world and I was out the race. Bugger , bugger , bugger. Barely 20 miles ot go , still 9 hours to finish and i'm out the bloody race!
Bus back to Coniston and a few sleep in the car before picking Rob up and heading home very very pissed off with myself. So pissed off in fact it took my a few days to remember I had left my drop bag with a fairly new pair of inov8 315’s in and some other stuff but more importantly my bloody Hardmoors buff!! Bugger to hell ! that Hardmoors buff means a lot to me. (We were warned any drop bags would be disposed of)
Yes I can take the positives. Very good fettle, not a single blister ( I would not swap these Muzuno wave harriers I bought on a whim as a training shoe for anything else at all), my injury behaving quite well but can’t say I’m not disappointed.
I'll be back next year.
Hanging stone leap. 24 miles LDWA .
So 6 days later I headed out with Anna on a 24 mile jaunt round the North York moors. Can’t say we were quick but a test none the less. My injury I thought had gone was of course back causing bother but my legs were still good and again not a single blister. Not a bad weekly mileage.
On reflection I feel I’m on a bit of a journey at the moment. I have lots to work on but it will all come good in the end. :-)