What a fun night that was!
Lakeland 50 and 100 organisers putting on a reccie weekend for people who want to familiarise themselves with the route before taking on the big mileage. Breaking down the route into manageable chunks. Not only that but the checkpoints were manned by volunteers of the most cheerful nature in those awful conditions. Hats off to them all.
I’d spent the week worrying about the weekend and what the weather would be like and what am I going to wear because it’s going to be cold and what about food and and and and and…… I could end up taking enough kit to go walking in the artic! Light, minimal, WARM, necessary – I broke down all that I needed and it had to meet those requirements. My pack had everything I needed – extremely light weight base layers top and bottom, first aid kit and major first aid kit (I always carry two for some reason), emergency food (Kendal mint cake), lightweight full waterproofs top and bottom with taped seams, lightweight full windproofs top and bottom, heavy duty poncho (about as heavy as a banana!!), spare batteries, spare head torch, gps etrex, mobile, map, route instructions, base layer gloves and windproof gloves, one walking pole, ginger cake, babybel, white pitta bread and lastly a water. Any kit was bagged into separate waterproof bags (tie handle freezer bags) to help reduce damp kit.
Then what I was wearing! I’m terrible. I’ll run in long sleeves in the middle of summer. This time I’ll be mainly walking and it will be near freezing temperatures. I’m really surprised that what I chose was perfectly comfortable. Lightweight wool long sleeve top base layer, running vest, winter long sleeve running top, waterproof top (removed from the bag), winter running tights, windproof running bottoms (removed from the bag), buff, windproof motorcycle buff, beanie, ledlenser H7 headtorch, inov8 gaitors and trail shoes.
I had all the kit ready to go a week before getting to the B&B on Friday night. I’d packed and unpacked my running pack with the exact same things. I couldn’t think of extra or less for the conditions. I’d even packed and unpacked my running kit bag. Again, nothing changed. The thought of wearing less was not an option and I didn’t want to take more in case I had to carry it. It made getting ready on the day very easy. Kit on, bag on, waterbottle filled, food checked and bagged, torches checked, gps checked, phone checked – sorted. Out the door!! Then waiting for my friends to sort out their kit and put on their kit. Just like me – it’s cold, it’s going to rain, it’s night time – all the things we’re not used to. It didn’t take them long to get ready though.
A quick trip on the coach and we’re in Ambleside. A quick loo break later and we’re the last ones leaving the church hall heading down the path to the first big hill out of Ambleside. The base layer gloves came out of the bag pretty quickly when we started running on the first mile because it was bitterly cold already. Once warmed up going up the first hill out of Ambleside I was toasty all the way to Coniston. My new head torch was fabulous. Kit discussions on facebook helped. It wasn’t the best head torch discussed but my budget wouldn’t stretch to the hundreds for a head torch unfortunately and H7 was the best for the price. I was happy. My bag was lighter than the last time I tried this route in daytime so I’m getting better at selecting essential kit. I felt strong and the cold night air and rain was thrilling.
Even though we were the last to set off we made good time to each of the check points. We each took a slip on the treacherous mud in the darkness of the night. Soggy feet was unavoidable. When we reached the point where I wrenched my knee last year I became very nervous of the route, making sure I used the walking pole to pick a safe route through the marsh. Once we were on the road and running from that point I was full of life. Even the treacherous wind tunnel climb out of Tilberthwaite didn’t dampen my mood. I was having a hoot!! A bit of concentration required down the mud ski slope towards the copper mine road and then we were running down the hill. My last attempt at that hill was in daylight and I was not a happy bunny because my knee was filled with all manner of pain. This time – Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!
We were in no rush to complete the route and we started right at the back of the whole group. We didn’t see a sole for a good few hours and we passed two groups of people. 15 miles from Ambleside to Coniston in 6 hours 18 minutes – mostly walking lol!
I am so looking forward to the Lakeland 50 this year and this time I’m prepared for whatever the lake district has. Bring it on!