Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Coniston weekend

We had planned months ago to spend a weekend at Coniston in the lake district as Scott had entered the marathon trail race and I foolishly had entered the reported 14k trail run.
With Scott's hospitalisation earlier and the resulting leg problem running was not an option but as we had accommodation booked we thought what the hell go down for a few beers etc. We were both very pleased when Olga said she would come down with us and we would all take a family weekend.Saturday morning with the car loaded up we set off down to the lakes and what was a glorious day and took a steady drive down to the lake district.

Scott and I were staying in one b&b and his mum was in another as we could not get all together as the area was very busy that weekend.
After checking in to our b&b's we had a walk round a very pretty village and sampled a few local brewed ales.
Olga and I in a day glow top
The sun hotel where Olga was staying the second night had a great beer garden and fantastic views over the village

After a few beers the next day was planned and I thought :- I've paid my fee , I've got a number shall or shan't I. Beer is good for making silly descisions so I picked up my number and thought I would give it a go. The fact that I had somehow packed my running shoes club vest and shorts may have something todo with my final thoughts of the event.
I got up early Sunday morning to head off to the start area as I was trying to find Andrew one of "Waister" forum friends who was running the full event. I had no joy but did later find out that he had been doing the earlyer challenge event and had started before I got down to the start area.
I found out that the route had changed a bit and the 14k was now going to be nearer 16k and it started to sink in that trail runs can go up as well as down. Scott turned up to wish me well and took a couple of photo's on his phone so here is one of a person not knowing what he was letting himself in for
little does he know whats ahead
I did not see Olga before the start but Scott stayed to cheer me on my way. I thought that if I managed about 4 miles an hour over the hills I may be back before 1 o'clock so that gave every body (Scott & olga ) to do their own thing while I was enjoying myself.
The run started off and I planned to start at the back and go very slow to try to get the full distance in (before dropping out ). My planned walk / run went out of the window when the announcer said that the police had now closed the roads in the village so we could start and get through traffic free talk about pressure and that's before the off.We headed off down the field and then came back up the road to the village the atmosphere was fantastic and the support was brilliant and I just kept thinking go on you can walk later just get through the village. I was still about last even at this stage and when the marshal radio's in "that's the last runner" going past him you know it's you.I did not know but Olga had turned up in the village and saw me heading over the bridge and she took one of her famous "that's him in the distance photo's"
where has everyone gone ?
After the village we headed off up the lane and picked up the trail proper so I settled in to a slow run / walk and to be honest walking became the norm on all the "Ups" and managed to run on the flat and let gravity work going down.After a pleasant undulating trail through the woods we hit the first long drag up a very minor road after a few k. I was happy to see that i had actually caught a few people up and managed to pass one or two runners on the way up. The temperature was quite high and I did see a couple of people starting to walk back saying they were too hot.After the lane part we entered the trail proper again with quite a lot of loose rock, shale and tree roots to contend with as it went on up and up and up. I stopped at the one water station and had a chat with a few other tail enders before setting on upwards again.We went round Tarn Hows and although I was very tired by then could not fail to see how pretty the place is.
After the final climb I was going along by myself the fitter ones had left me behind and I had lost the ones that had been following me.It was about the 11k to 12k that a few alarm bells started going off and cramp spasms hit both legs so ended up doing a little shuffle step as stretching out stopped me dead. The views were fantastic over the lake but then trees blocked my view and by now I just wanted a drink. After a while I could hear the announcer at the finish but to me it felt like miles away. There was one final sting in the tail when you had to do a small loop round the field before heading to the finish line. That part I did enjoy as I was in a gap to myself and got shouted on all round the field support was fantastic and to give the announcer something to do he broad casted all my details so I had a mention in dispatches. Just under 16k in 2hours 15 mins and the oldest runner in that event and I could still walk !!
That was it I had done my very first trail run I had covered the longest distance in a race since 1986 and I had a big stupid grin on my face. After 10 mins I found Olga walking down to the finish and she though I had dropped out as I was to "early" she sent a text to Scott so we could all meet up for a pint (or two ). But what a great day / great event / great weather and the people where fantastic.
Olga and I that evening
We all met up and Scott got me a pint it was all good stuff so it's now back to shedding more weight and trying this running lark again. I 'll just finish off with a couple of Photo's taken above Coniston by Scott

lots of trails to walk