500 Miles and Running with the Black Pup

IMG_2178It has been a funny old week. Well actually it hasn’t, or at least I haven’t been able to find anything funny about it. It’s probably been hilarious. The foggy tiredness started to descend on Sunday evening; a vague darkness settling, clinging, making itself at home. The black pup had, somehow unnoticed, crept into the room. She was asleep in the corner and I was cross I hadn’t seen her coming in. I went to bed. Maybe she wasn’t really there, maybe I was just tired (‘nah, I’m here, you know that kinda tired, it’s me).

Monday. Bank Holiday Monday. Monday was supposed to be long run and sort our shit out day. We were due to do 11 miles. I wasn’t too keen on the idea of getting up but eventually did and put my running kit on and then froze. I was rooted to the spot. There was no way I was going OUTSIDE. I mean seriously – like OUTSIDE? Freezing had nothing to do with running or the distance. I was quite happy about the idea of plodding along for 11 miles with my run/walk intervals, it was actually quite appealing but it would mean LEAVING THE HOUSE. Fuck no. The pup lifted her head: ‘Hi!’

I spent most of the morning on the sofa while Kath went and did the food shop and after a little while I started to want to run. When Kath got back I got changed and considered the possibility of leaving the house. Hm. The pup looked up again ‘Hi! You going out? Nah you’re not really are you’. I hesitated, she might be right. I hovered in the kitchen a little. Kath opened the door and gently nudged me out of it. I stood there for a minute or two and if Kath hadn’t been between me and the door I probably would have run back in. Instead we set off gently jogging down the street and I settled into a steady rhythm. I kept running for the entire 3.75 miles and then we walked up the hill home stopping for blackberries here and there. It was a definite win. It wasn’t 11 miles but it was a run. The pup was sulky and she was zapping all my energy. IMG_2177

Tuesday I worked from home and the plan was to run from Bolton Abbey to Burnsall after work. I was looking forward to it. I had an ok day. The pup was in the room and she lifted her head every now and again but generally kept quiet. She was there though. She was making me tired. We set off to go on our run. The route is stunning and I was looking forward to it. The run/walk intervals were set to 2 minutes run and 30 seconds walk. We set off. I felt tired and creaky but I was sure I’d settle.  I’m not quite sure when the negative chatter started. The puppy was bouncing along enjoying her time out and pointing out that I was feeling creaky. ‘Tight calf muscles?’ she would giggle periodically ‘comes from being unfit that’. The first mile was soooo slow. At least that’s what I thought. ‘Wow so slow?’. I tried to reason – lots of the route had been uphill, it was undulating generally… the pace was actually fine but I couldn’t shake the negativity. With every step it got worse.

IMG_2172I knew I was physically fine. Logically I knew that. I also knew that I was running well within myself, I knew the route was gorgeous, I knew…. but I couldn’t make myself believe it. By just under 4 miles I felt dead on my feet. It all felt totally pointless. The pup was bouncing round in circles – ‘you can’t do it, you can’t do it’. I decided to pull out of the Great North Run. I decided to bin long distance running. We stopped for a minute or two and I took a few deep breaths and kicked the pup. She growled but took off  and I got my act together for a bit and kept going. By just over 4 miles she’d caught up and she was on form: ‘Can’t do it, can you? Soooo slow, you won’t make the cut off time. Wow, it’s a wonder that butt can move at all – have you seen the size of it?’ She was relentless. I was tired and I gave up. I was pretty sure that was it, no more running because it just makes me miserable. I wondered if I could sell my Dopey registration. We sat by the river for a few minutes.

Then we slowly started walking back. The pup found it all hilarious and bounced around mocking me. I felt silly. I wanted to try running a little more so we ran/walked a bit – sometimes sticking to the intervals, sometimes just going by feel. I tried to think rationally and logically about the run  – prompted by some questions from Kath. Analysing it hushed the puppy a bit, she’s not keen on the science brain. Why did this run go so wrong mentally. Why could I not silence or at least quieten the negative chatter? Well, partly I think I had no plan. I assumed that because I had abandoned the idea of a long run on Monday that Tuesday would be the triumphant return to the distance. I had unrealistic expectations about pace based on the previous week’s 9 miles on the flat andIMG_2182 when that just didn’t happen (and it was never going to) I had no plan B and because of the depression absolutely no mental energy to stop the negativity and self doubt. I need a Plan B and C and possibly D. What I should have been working with was that Plan A was to cover the distance at a strong pace using the intervals, maybe Plan B could have been to cover the distance using the intervals as set – whatever the pace; Plan C to cover the distance adding extra walks where needed…. If I hadn’t built up the run quite so much in my mind and had articulated (at least to myself) the possibility of other plans or other ways of running it, I may have had a chance. Maybe not, it may simply be that the puppy was too much for me on that day. In the end I still covered 8.8 miles and in the end it was within Disney Pace (16 minute mile is the pace requirement for the Disney races – it was 15 something or other). That should be a win. It felt like total failure.

Back at the car I felt like I had been hit by a truck. I felt dead on my feet and everything hurt. I felt like I could sleep for months. Back at home though I couldn’t settle and I didn’t sleep well. Wednesday I worked on a workbook for one of my modules (frustrating, templates, urgh) and then drove to Nottingham for a gorgeous few hours with my friend Bex. It was just what I needed and I think maybe the pup stayed here in West Yorkshire. I think maybe Bex terrifies her a bit so she left me alone for the day and it was nice, it felt like maybe the darkness was lifting a little, feeling less clingy. By the time I got back it wasn’t long before I went to bed. Thursday I worked from home again and I vaguely wondered about a run but I couldn’t shake the tiredness and the non-specific ache. We’d booked a yoga class in the evening and I spent most of the late afternoon looking for an IMG_2167excuse not to go. But we went. I was again creaky and not at all bendy or strong but it was good to have to leave the house and to spend some time focusing on nothing but trying to get into and hold the poses. Black pups aren’t allowed into the gym.

This morning I actually got shit done. Kath had an appointment at Bolton Abbey and I went with her and while she was there I went for a run. I was dubious. I wasn’t sure I was mentally any stronger than Tuesday. But I had a different plan. I knew I had about an hour and I had 3 possible routes. The shortest would only be about a mile or so but I decided that if I wasn’t enjoying it or I wanted to stop then that mile would be fabulous. The next loop would probably be about 4 and a half and the longer would add another mile onto that. I had also decided to leave the run/walk intervals as they were and see – my ‘rule’ was that with every beep I would consider changing the pace – that way I could run for longer than the two minutes or walk for longer or whatever but on every beep I would need to think about whether to change. I also decided I might take some photos (dotted through this post for you) and that I was absolutely not thinking about pace. In fact this wasn’t a run at all. It was an outing, it was an opportunity to move and be outside and enjoy myself. If running happened then that was great but, I told the pup quite firmly, we were most definitely not going for a run. ‘Yeah, that’s because you can’t’ she said but she seemed to lose interest.

IMG_2181I set off on the first running interval  – all good. Then another, all good. Then I walked up a long sloping hill. Then I ran down the other side. And that’s how I continued – walking up, shuffling down, running on the flat, stopping for pictures. I didn’t stop after the mile loop, I kept going. I was doing our usual loop now but the wrong way round – I didn’t want any markers that might give me an indication that I was slower than usual. I didn’t want those visual clues to derail the positive of being out. I kept going. I went for the middle loop so crossed the Wharfe at the aqueduct and worked with the same pattern of run walk roughly to the beeps but sometimes running more and sometimes walking more. I chose the top path from the Strid and made good progress walking the up hill bits. Then there was a slight downhill and I started running and it suddenly felt different.  It felt effortless. I only had 100 metres or so before I had to stop to cross a little bridge behind a couple walking their dogs. They let me past but then their dogs came with me so I had to return them. I felt sure the effortlessness must have been an illusion.

I set off running again. Nope, there it was again. Wow, running is easy. Everything IMG_2183
aligned. I was breathing easy, all the creakiness had gone, there was no heaviness in my legs, I was running easy and just for the hell of it. I think I picked up the pace a bit and I just kept going and it felt amazing and joyful and free and light. That last half mile is, I think what we run for – for those occasions when it all comes together and running feels more like flying. Then I was back at the Pavilion and slightly irritated by people getting in my way. I got coffee and waited for Kath and then I got work shit done while she went for a run. It was a good morning.

The pup is here though. She’s lounging about and every now and again lifts her head to say something less than nice or helpful. She’s making me tired – that relentless sort of tiredness. The darkness feels less clingy and I am slowly slowly regaining my sense of humour about some things. It will take time. The pup isn’t one to just pop in for a cuppa and then bugger off again. She’ll linger. After today though I feel more confident that she is actually sort of under control. Like a sprained ankle, I know she’s there and she is stopping me from functioning fully but really is not stopping me from doing that much. I just need to rest more and be kind to myself and be aware of her.

Today’s run also took me through 500 miles for the year so far. I’m now just over 501 miles. I am really proud of this. I managed 500 miles last year – on New Years Eve and exactly bang on so I have now officially done better than last year! I won’t make the 1000 of the #run1000Miles Challenge but that’s ok. I’m running more consistently than I was and I am fitter and stronger than I was – whether the black pup agrees or not!

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Today just is!

Well everything is hard fought today. After a lovely chilled weekend with our friends that was filled with wonderful cuddles and giggles from the kids and just easy togetherness, my brain started misfiring at some point last night. I went to bed. I slept in that uneasy way you sleep when you don’t quite trust your brain to get things right.

We were going to run 11 miles today. After a cup of tea in bed I got up and put running gear on and then I couldn’t move. I was quite clear in my mind that I could not possibly go outside. I could not, under any circumstances leave the house. Yes I do realise that’s ridiculous and not exactly a healthy response to anything but there I was, rooted to the spot. The 11 mile run was quickly abandoned and I managed to persuade my grey matter to shut up for long enough to go downstairs and make some breakfast. Then I set about the slow and so often futile task of having a conversation with myself about how this is all a little silly and the world is no scarier and fucked up today than it was yesterday and that sitting on the sofa is not going to solve anything, it won’t get shit done and it won’t allow me to just be and enjoy the bank holiday either. I wasn’t really listening

To try and do something useful at least Kath and I compared diaries, planned meals for the week, wrote a shopping list and then Kath went shopping. I stayed on the sofa. Where it’s safe. I read posts on the #run1000miles facebook group and enjoyed the photos people had posted of their runs. Other people’s adventures big and small distracted me enough for the chemicals to settle a little and I began to really like the idea of a run. But then there was the door to negotiate with, you know actually leaving the house. I’d also posted about how I was feeling and the comments I got back where so lovely and supportive and I began to feel a little less scared of the world.

When Kath got back we got changed. Then I stood in the kitchen a while pretending I wasn’t really putting off going OUTSIDE. Eventually Kath gently nudged me towards the door and then through it and then stood on the step between me and the door while I figured out if I really wanted to go back in and hide. Once outside I was ok. We didn’t linger for both watches to find the GPS but set off as soon as one had it. I left my run/walk intervals on so I could drop into them if I wanted to. We ran easy. I didn’t want to find out if I had any mental strength to push – it didn’t feel like I had anything at all mentally. Physically though I felt fine. We ran our sheep loop. I slowed off even more than usual on the downhill not wanting to give my persistent black pup any excuse at all to get involved. I still felt physically good so we extended the loop by turning right across the canal and going to the stone bridge and turning round there.

We were talking on and off and Kath had just finished saying ‘We haven’t seen the kingfisher for a while’ when we saw a flash of blue and orange and a kingfisher flew out on the opposite side of the canal just in front of us. You can’t not smile when you see a kingfisher. A little further along there was a heron on the edge of the towpath and we ran past it slowly, hoping not to scare it off – I could have touched it if I’d stretched my arm out. A little while after that it got tough. Probably not actually physically tough but mentally I was beginning to really want to stop. We went post to canal boat to tree to patch of nettles to bush to bench to post….. Before I knew it we’d reached a tarmac section and then the bridge towards home. 3.75 miles run and another just over half a mile walked home on a day where it looked like making it downstairs might be a win. I’ll take that and I’ll celebrate it.

I have no idea why today is like today is. There are no obvious triggers. Sometimes there is no reason, sometimes it just is and that’s ok and most importantly it doesn’t mean that the rest of today has to be like that or tomorrow or the rest of the week.

Happy Running, or just running or not – whatever you need today

300 Miles of Happy Running (mostly)

Well it’s been a little while. Usually that means I haven’t been running but this time I’ve just been busy. My last blog post was a couple fo days after the half marathon and recovery went pretty well. Following the run on Toronto Island, I then had a treadmill run in the hotel gym – in spite of rather spectacular views from there, I managed only 2.5 miles and a stupidly slow pace. Slower than the half marathon average pace in fact.

The day after getting home I had a lovely run through the wood with bluebells and wild garlic. It was the first run in really warm weather though and it felt tough. Then I didn’t run for a few days – busy, couldn’t be bothered, usual excuses. Then I got my act together and went for a sheep loop trot out. Last Sunday I thought I best get training for multiple loops so in the morning we went up. 3 miles of up (ok 2 miles of real up). It was sooooo 33834416_989649484548533_537151107076456448_nhard, I’m really not hill fit at all but once up on the moor it was gorgeous. It was a perfect day for being up there and we’d gone early so we were on our way back down when the first set of hikers were making their way up. We saw some lapwings and heard curlews. The grouse were chattering away in their grumpy way and up on the moor I felt like I was running free and easy. It felt perfect. Those moments you just need to hang onto and file in the memory bank so you have something to draw on when the dark closes in.

In the afternoon we went out for round 2. A gentle estate, road, canal jog with lots of little excuses to stop and watch wildlife. I think it was on this loop I saw the deer vanish into the wood in front of me and stopping to watch ducklings always makes me smile. It was good to get out twice and not feel too knackered or broken.

Last Tuesday we added some hill sprints to our sheep loop backwards route. Instead of walking up the golf course we made our way up it in 10 -15 second sprints with 90 seconds (ish) recovery in-between. That took us to 4 out of the 5 sprints so we walked back down the last bit and did it again. So hill sprints – by how my legs felt afterwards I’m guessing they’re quite effective!

IMG_9614Then I went to London. The less said about my first day there, the better! I did blog about it here if anyone is interested in my thoughts on legal education but in short – I was exhausted and wired at the same time and thought running would help with the wired part so that I could actually sleep. I’d got to the hotel about 5.30pm though, it was busy. I felt a bit self-conscious. I got my gear on anyway and set off. I had no idea about where I wanted to go – I was roughly a mile away from the river and roughly a mile away from Regent’s Park and I didn’t want to go far so in the end I just decided to randomly loop round the streets for a bit. I did a little circuit round the British Museum dodging tourists and commuter cyclists and weaved in and out of side streets, eventually ending up at a Pret where I bought a salad box and little dark chocolate bar for my tea. Then I walked back to the IMG_9607hotel. I managed to somehow not turn on my watch when I started off and then turn it on when I thought I was turning it off at Pret and then realise and turn it off at the hotel. I tried to retrace my steps on google maps and I think I did roughly 2 miles. I was out for just over half an hour including buying food so that sounds about right.IMG_9591

The next morning I woke up early, got up and headed out again. I still wasn’t quite sure where I wanted to go or how far really – I thought the river might be nice. I set off. I don’t understand how London hangs together. Don’t laugh – I spent years only being able to navigateit by tube and really have only recently started exploring on foot – mostly through running – but it means I have a warped sense of direction and distances. So I headed pretty much in a straight line through bits of theatre land I don’t usually see and eventually to Trafalgar square where I tried to take a selfie with a Lion and couldn’t get

IMG_9590the angle so took a selfie and then a picture of the lion – grumpily. Then I headed straight towards Buckingham Palace (this wasn’t the plan, it’s just what happened) and when I got there turned off into St James’ Park. I ran a gauntlet of ducks and geese and continued until I came out at Horse Guards Road.  I saw a mouse (or very small rat, who knows) run into the FCO and chuckled. I made my way to the river, across the river and ran past the London Eye and all the way along to Millennium Bridge. I stopped to take a few pictures and walk across it talking to Kath hoping that Lord Voldemort wouldn’t choose this moment to play with the bridge. London had woken up and was now much busier with runners and people
IMG_9597walking to work or going about their business than it had been when I left the hotel. I turned left past St Paul’s and stopped to look at google maps – Oh look Fleet Street – who knew! I ran down Fleet Street, took a picture of the Royal Courts of Justice sign, carried on and saw a coffee shop out of the corner of my eye. Mmmmmm cofffeeeeeeeeee! I decided I wanted coffee. It was just before 7am. The coffee shop was still closed but the one next to it wasn’t. I got coffee and walked back to the hotel. A great 6 and a bit mile London loop.

I didn’t run Friday and Saturday dragged by butt out for 3.25 miles after our gym induction at the Leisure Centre (more on that another time). I wanted to go out again really but I was absolutely shattered. No double running for me, I fell asleep instead.

So today. I knew I was going on my own because Kath has a little foot niggle that she’s been looking after. So the original 12 mile plan needed revising. I’m not sure 12 miles on 34036580_989647691215379_7069943930778812416_nmy own is really necessary. I looked at my chart and a plan formed. I walked down Ilkley Road with Kath who was off to pick some wild garlic for our risotto tonight and then I set off. I headed towards Morton and kept running apart from a few steps along the path to avoid breaking my ankle through the narrow uneven bits. I ran the first 5km relatively quickly for me – just over 37 minutes, comfortable. Then I walked for a couple of minutes to have a drink. Then I ran to 5 miles and it was now getting tougher and towards the end I realised that I was developing a blister on the arch of my left foot. I’ll spare you the picture but it’s a bitch. I wanted to get under an hour for the 5 miles but I’d walked for too long to make it – just over. Still happy with that though. I walked and watched a kestrel zig zag across the canal accompanied by a cacophony of smaller birds’ warning cries, then I tried to plod on. I was hot. I pushed to 6 miles. I could really feel my blister and my legs were getting tired. I walked up the golf course hill. I ran down the other side and past our old sheep fields. My legs were now protesting. Hot.

I walked quite a lot from here to home but recovered well with a jog downhill.  I felt pretty good when I got to the bottom of Ilkley Road and thought I would try run up it, I stepped off the curb to go round a dog walker and whimpered at the pain of the blister and the shooting pain the move had sent up my leg. I was obviously not running properly in order to avoid the blister pain. I walked the rest.

IMG_9543So, including the walk with Kath that was about 8 miles but if I count the 7.75 recorded by my watch then the Year to Date Total now stands at 300.18 miles. 300.18. I’m thrilled with that! It took me well into August to get to that amount last year and I don’t feel like I’m really pushing the miles or working at an unsustainable level. I feel like I’m running strong and that I have a pretty good balance between running for fun and pushing myself. As part of the #Run1000Miles Challenge I’ve said that really I just want to do more than last year (500 miles) but that 750 would be awesome. I’m now wondering whether 800 might be on the cards. Let’s see.

Happy Running!

The Day After the Day Before

According to the training plan we worked out for the next few months, we were to cover 15 miles across the two days this weekend. I did point out that a 10k run in the Lake District isn’t like a 10k run along the canal towpath and that I might struggle both mentally and physically to get my arse out of bed after the Hawkshead event. I don’t think Kath was that impressed by my excuse at the time so the 15 mile weekend stayed on the training plan.

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Shack looking more interested in us than he usually is!

After yesterday I went to bed really early and slept really well for about 2 hours. Then I woke up and pretty much repeated that pattern throughout the night. I woke up properly about 7am. Kath wasn’t there so when my eyes had adjusted enough so I could read I looked at her note – she’d gone for a run about 6.30am. I curled up with our Shack for a bit feeling lazy and also trying to assess the level of aches and pains. No pain. I went for a pee. The damage from Hawkshead seemed to be as follows

  1. Slightly aching ankles
  2. One little blister on my left foot
  3. Making themselves known glutes
  4. Possibly grumpy hips

So nothing to worry about really. This is all normal after running that takes me out of my comfort zone in terms of speed, distance or terrain. I expected worse. This was good because none of it was pain. It was more that smug ‘I’ve done some exercise’ sort of feeling. The cat wanted attention so I got back into bed and wondered if I really needed to go out and run today. But I wanted to. I wanted to go stretch my legs.

I was just about to head off when Kath came back from her run. So I set off on the Guth leg of the Self/Guth relay run of the day. I wasn’t really sure where I was going to go. After yesterday I didn’t want anything technical or slippery, just didn’t have the headspace for that. I started off looping through the estate further down the hill and then turned onto the canal towpath towards Bingley. At the next bridge I came off and walked back up the hill and turned right towards Morton. Then I turned right and headed back down and looped back along the canal. I was now close to 4 miles and beginning to feel it. I was tired.

There was also something going on in my head – I really didn’t want to run the same section of the canal twice so I came off at the next bridge again and dropped down onto the road. It’s Sunday so there was very little traffic . I probably wouldn’t have done it otherwise because I hate running with traffic noise. I passed the cemetery and was tempted to run a couple of loops in there but somehow it seemed disrespectful on a Sunday morning so I kept going on. I got back onto the canal towpath for a bit, went uphill on the road a bit and ran out of steam. I was at about 5.5 miles and it was so tempting to turn right and go home rather than left to complete my miles. I decided to walk a little because even though tired, nothing hurt and I wanted to get the miles in. I asked the #Run1000miles group to send energy on FB and they duly obliged. Awesome people. I was about to head down the road that runs parallel to the canal when I bumped into one of the dog walkers I know from our sheep days. I stopped and chatted to her for a bit and it was a welcome break.

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Random Route!

After the chat I took a deep breath and headed on for my last couple of miles. It was tough going. I stuck to the run/walk intervals as much as I could but the gentle slopes were starting to feel like the Coffin Trail all over again and I ended up walking more than I usually have to on that route. I was relieved to turn onto the flat canal towpath and managed to run/walk to schedule until I got to the next bridge where I stopped and started to walk home. I walked up the hill and just as I got to the top I bumped into Kath’s mum who was walking to our house so I abandoned the very vague thoughts I’d had about running home lamp post to lamp post and walked back with her.

8.30 miles taking me to a total of 191 miles so far for 2018. Happy!

Hawkshead 10km (which is actually about 12km)

Today has been a good day! Our alarm went off just before 6am. We had a cup of tea in bed and then slowly got up, had porridge and eventually set off about 7.20am. We drove up to the Lakes and made really good time – by 9am we were parked up in Hawkshead in quite a wet field and were making our way to the Lakeland Trails event registration via the loos – trying to be well hydrated has its downsides.

We got our race numbers and timing chips and went back to the car for a bit but eventually got bored and a bit twitchy so wandered round the village and then went to the loo again, looked at the trade stands that were there and resisted buying more shoes and then went to the loo again. The Hawkshead event doubled as a meet up for the #Run1000Miles group so we were partly playing ‘spot the #Run1000Miles ruff’. We spotted a few and had a chat with a couple of people just before the start. And then, just like that, we were off.

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I was planning run/walk/run overall but not until after the early congestion was over and so it worked. I settled in towards the back as we made our way out of the field, round the field on the road and then onto a muddy track and into fields. Muddy fields.. Mud was a thing. Mud pushes my buttons. Not today though, today I just splashed through most of it. There were slippery sections were it was sort of muddy grass and my trainers didn’t really grip at all but it was all ok. Kath had told me to just keep going, to not stop and just keep moving so that’s what I did. Until a while into mile 2 anyway, there was a bottleneck at a style. It meant an enforced rest break when I really didn’t want or

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Where the Herdy lamb can’t be seen

need one. But no matter. It took nearly 15 minutes for me to be over that and on my way. I took some pictures and chatted with a few more back of the pack people. Mostly though I watched a jet black Herdwick lamb with white tipped ears which made it look really distinctive and easy to spot (just not on the pictures!). It charged around a bit and then collapsed for a rest before bouncing off again.

My run/walk schedule was out of the window simply because I kept running little bits and then negotiating the mud more slowly and the running a bit more. But the miles kept ticking themselves off. Before I knew it we were 3 miles in and made our way along the edge of Lake Windermere. It was gorgeous and running along here was easy. I jogged along looking around grinning like an idiot.

Then we got to it: The drinks station at the bottom of the Coffin Trail climb. I made a rookie mistake – I stupidly gulped a cup of water and set off walking up the hill. My little sips of tailwind along  the way had been great, the water gulp just induced a stitch. Thankfully it didn’t last long and I kept putting one foot in front of the other. The cobbles up this climb were slippery so it seemed slow going and the first third is definitely relentless. Then it gets easier. Essentially though it is a mile long climb that is pretty steep in places. I took the opportunity as it levelled a little to text Kath to tell her that I was absolutely loving it and not to worry – the terrain up to now was exactly the sort of terrain that I really struggle with so I was concerned that she’d be worrying about me. There was no need – up until this point I had loved every muddy, messy, slow, down, up and even slippery step.

However, a time check told me that there was no way I was going to get back down within the 2 hour cut off time (If we take the time off for the style hold up I actually took just under 2 hours – in case anyone cares about my time more than I do) and more importantly get there to meet the other #Run1000Miles people for a group photo or to wave them off on their 17km adventure. For a minute or so I felt a bit dejected and disappointed. Only for a minute though – I looked around. It is hard, if not impossible, to be grumpy out and about in the Lakes! So with the Coffin Trail climbed all I needed to do was get back down. Yeah, down. Down on wet trails, on muddy paths and slippery slate. The sort of down that terrifies me.

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My totally disinterested Cheer Squad

I never stopped. I ran when I could which was more than I ever thought I would have run if you’d described it to me beforehand. It still wasn’t a lot but it was actual downhill running. I got down, I turned left along the road and right onto a wet but not muddy path. I ran more than I walked here and then as I came up to the road which would take me back to the finish line field I saw Kath. Yay! She ran the last stretch of road with me. As I turned right to make my way into the field, the frontrunners of the challenge 17km run were coming straight at me – a wall of runners all going rather fast. Scary! I dived into the field and jogged round the edge with a guy called John who I had been changing places with all the way along the course. He’s been running Lakeland Trail events since they started and I don’t think I ever saw him stop to walk other than on the Coffin Trail.

It was lovely to cross the finish, collect my t-shirt and go have a hug. We realised we’d have a bit of time before the 1000 Milers would be back so we went back to the car, I changed my top and my socks and shoes – yep I’m a sucker for dry feet! Then we went back for some food and were just in time to say hi to a fellow ruff wearer as she set off on her 17km race. Then we had a little wander round Hawkshead again, popped into the Peter Rabbit and National Trust shops and then made our way back just as the first runners were returning. Soon we saw some familiar Facebook faces come in and were glad that we’d decided to stick around and cheer people in. It also meant that we could be part of the after the race group picture.

After a few minutes chatting once most people were back we set off to go home. We had to wait a while to be able to got out of the car park because several cars had got themselves stuck in the mud. One had been pulled out but there was a van just being winched out – it took several attempts. Thank goodness for our Nellie’s 4 wheel drive! Once home we warmed up the shepherd’s pie we prepared yesterday, had a yummy dinner and a nice hot epsom salt bath and have now settled down in front of the telly.

 

Like I said, it’s been a great day. Thanks to the Lakeland Trails team and thanks to Claire Maxted of Wild Ginger Films for organising the meet up and to everyone for making it a great day out.

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