11 July 2010

saunders lakeland mountain marathon

...and a week of recovery in the lakes. also known as, the perfect antidote to the whw race.

jo normally runs with her dad in the saunders. unfortunately his knee'd been giving him some serious gip, so with a week to go i bravely stepped in. my only concern being that we could still top out in the mixed vet category in kirkfell!

jo's a very competent navigator so my only job was to keep up and remind her to eat occasionally. saturday was a day of great running, high fells with fantastic views. mid camp was full of laughter and rehydrated meals. company and race tales provided by jane and vikki (carrock fell, moving up a category from last year) and cat and ruth (wansfell, mountain marathon virgins). jane and vikki had a good day out but the all the drama belongs to cat and ruth.

somehow they missed their first checkpoint but stumbled on number two. from here they were able to work out where they were, went back to number one before returning to number two. this would be the last checkpoint they would find today. and a few hours of searching, even using police style techniques they decided to call it a day. arriving at mid camp long over due but with smiles as broad as the valley. impressive.

to our surprise we'd finished day1 just 15min behind the first female team. but more importantly first mixed vet. i realise this doesn't count as we're both ladies and too young but i wanted to do john proud. not a bad result for a day that felt like a lovely trot out with friends. as the evening sun disappeared behind the crags, we slipped into our down bags. tomorrow would be race day.

a gray cold morning is never the most inspiring way to start but we had time to try and make up, and even in the clag longsleddale is a beautiful place. i'm always surprised at how quickly you can pack up camp. being so self sufficient is really satisfying.

a tricky day for navigation but jo was fantastic, no time lost and pretty much spot on for every checkpoint. in total contrast to the previous day, it was hard going. still runnable but an energy sapping wind and horizontal rain making for less than pleasant conditions.

three checkpoints from the end we came upon another female pair. after a mutual 'sizing up' i was pretty sure they were the leading team. however, as we didn't know what time they'd started we didn't know if we'd made or lost minuets to them. nothing like a bit of excitement to warm freezing limbs. we tried to pass them but they were really strong. the final quarter of a mile was real running. we both crossed the line knowing we had nothing left. what better way to finish. after pushing hard and keeping each other going, i feel like i've made new friend and partner in crime. hopefully one who'll let me follow her around again. jane and vikki finished in good time, with vikki praising jane's navigation. and amazingly cat and ruth found all the check points and in the right order. obviously they work better in tough conditions!!

as for the those 15min, well, we only made up 5. and we lost time to the eventual mixed vet winners. but overall we came 26/78 and second female team (kirkfell).

the rest of last week was spent with jane's family on holiday in the lakes. celebrating her mum's 60th, with a run along the screes in wasdale, too much cheese, too much ale, just the right amount of pimms a few walks, probably not quite enough cake and biscuits, nursing hangovers, aching knees and colds.

i have discovered the cure to ultra running failure.


ultra collie said...

you should bottle that cure!
i was worried that you hadn't been posting that something might be up but delighted to hear you were simply out doing what we do best..enjoying ourselves on the hills (and pubs ;-) )
lakeland 50 in 2 weeks..not tempted? go on...

Martin Rye said...

I do beer and the fells. Its the running bit I cant do. Well done to you for your run.

Ian Charters said...

Fantastic, so glad you have got rid of whatever you picked up on the WHW and what a way to recover. Two great days and you are clearly oozing enthusiasm again. Brilliant!

I could be for hire, and I can be quite flexible - but don't ask my yoga instructor about my flexibility ;-(

Jo said...

Yay! Sounds like you've found your competitive niche - much nicer than that nasty solo stuff!

The week's hol sounds fab too.

kate said...

uc- haha! i saw your comment on HF's blog and already started looking up the details. unfortunately it's a bit to expensive for me, should have entered earlier :(

martin- it's the running i also struggle with!

ian- was a great weekend. do you ever take part in mm's? i imagine you'd be brilliant at the longer/score courses.

jo- i think you might be right....however, i'm going to try solo for the next one. i just can't help myself ;)

trio said...

Sounds like fun! Well the holiday bit afterwards ;-)

Shelly said...

70 miles is hardly an ultra running failure - just a stepping stone towards eventual success ;) My bet is you'll be back there again next year!

kate said...

trio- was a lovely holiday but i wished i taken my bike.

shelly- never. ....well maybe, but certainly not next year....!

sbrt said...

Well done Kate.
Did you get to the mid way camp before they ran out of beer?

kate said...

sbrt- of course! but being elite athletes we declined ;)