This weekend Dad and I headed to the Lake District, for the Grizedale trail half (me) and marathon (dad). The Lake District is perhaps the only place I'd call 'home' (see previous blog - click here) having been going there since I was a few weeks old. Mum and Dad owned a second home there through my teenage years, Dad published a book on the mountain ranges and we enjoyed long and regular holidays there, which meant by the age of 15, I had climbed 120 mountains in the Lakes, the first one being when I was 3 - which might explain a lot of things!
L - Little sis & I aged about 5 & 8 with Dad at the top of a mountain.
The weather forecast didn't lie, torrential rain the entire day and the wind which was fine in the shelter of the forest - but out on the exposed fell tops, proved challenging. Racing in the rain isn't a problem - its the warming up and then trying to stay warm which is the hard bit. Dad set off just before 10 - on a marathon over Lake District terrain - with the weather to match. The marathon kit list requirements were strict due to the terrain and conditions. Runners had to carry a rucksack complete with full body cover, whistle, phone, nutrition and hydration. Luckily my only requirement was a jacket. I tried to bring a bit of sunny optimism to the race by cracking out the shorts for the first time this year!
With the half marathon start about 15 minutes later, I passed Dad about 10km in. Our course was the same as the first half of the marathon. We climbed up through Grizedale Forest, before reaching the fell ridges - which provided some amazing views which took away the pain for a few moments - as we looked over mountain ranges, Lake Windermere and the forest below - it was a spectacular sight - about 500 hi-viz kitted runners lining the mountain ridge on a bleak, grey day. And it was that moment when it became clear to probably all 500 of us why we had got up at an ungodly hour on a cold February Sunday morning - stood on a boggy startline in a forest and set of with up to 8 hours of running ahead of ourselves. It was great.
I was really excited to race - it was the first one of 2014 and although the course certainly isn't a PB one (!) ... I was really pleased to go through 21km in 1.32, which is encouraging for when I get onto the road. Fair to say - my trainers are trashed! But it was so worth it. Running brings such a sense of freedom and adrenalin, and running in a setting like that - was just brilliant. After struggling with the comeback from two tibia stress fractures aged 17 - I feel like my running is finally beginning to come back together. Next confirmed race is the elite duathlon champs on the 30th March - there may be a 5km on the road and perhaps BUCS biathlon as a guest before then. Though in two weeks time I'll be flying over France to meet the CRV Lyon Grand Prix team who i'll be racing with this summer.