Well, there was possibly not that much actual cavorting, but what did feature heavily were new friendships, running, amazing scenery and Chris Hoy’s thighs.
The weekend was a social outing for those of us on the 700 miles thread on http://www.fetcheveryone.com (seriously if you like running stats or even games and all sorts, this is where you need to be).
We’d managed to get a cottage around 5 minutes walk from the start and with the race being on Saturday, I packed up and headed down on Friday morning.
Despite some road works around Glasgow area, I managed not to get lost and I had a couple of coffee and snack stops on the way down before dropping in to have a look at Castlerigg Standing Stone Circle. I have a photo of this circle in my downstairs loo but have never been there, so I decided since I was passing it would be rude not too. The weather was a bit dull with some rain, but it was lovely to see.
Once I’d taken in the surrounding beauty of the area I headed off towards Coniston with google maps as my guide. This worked pretty well although I don’t think I’ve ever driven on such twisty and narrow roads. I don’t think they get many speeding motorists down that way, simply because you can’t.
Eventually I found my way to the cottage, but not without managing to take a wrong turn or two, but thankfully standing outside was Mr AL. There were hugs all around and then a tour of the cottage and being there second I got to choose my room. I opted for the one upstairs and these are the views:
My room also contained this in the en suite bathroom. It scared me!
After getting myself settled in we had a visit from Alpenrose, before Mr AL left to get Fleecy from Windermere train station. Last to arrive was Star who had the provisions for that evenings meal with her, so after a quick tour and room assignment we all got busy in the kitchen for a fabby meal. I couldn’t have too many carbs, so I made myself an omelette. 🙂
After dinner we sat talking whilst Star started preparation for some broth for after the race. She is very well organised. It was most impressive.
Soon it was time for bed and after a good nights sleep race day was upon us. Porridge was consumed and then we took a wander down to the hall to register and get our numbers. Fleecy had entered the race rather than the challenge (yes it was a bit confusing) so she had to transfer her number. We managed to meet up with alpenrose and her friend Ann, as well as CumbriAndy who was doing a spot of marshaling before setting of for the 15k race which starts an hour after the challenge.
Once everything was sorted out with numbers we wandered back to the cottage and decided some early lunch was the order of the day so toast with peanut butter it was and Fleecy had just enough time for 40 winks as well.
Soon it was time to get race ready and head off to the start. There was a group photo, although we were missing alpenrose, but we found her before the start 🙂
As we lined up and saw the tail end of the 10k folks coming in and kids races, it started to warm up. I decided that I would take off my long sleeve top, which meant some mucking around trying to strip off. I knocked out an earring, but managed not to loose it, but realised that my ear was bleeding. I’m not good with blood, especially my own, so unbeknown to my companions I pretended to ‘stretch’ and touch my toes. I was doing my best not to pass out. Thankfully after having to do this several times the race started after the inaudible briefing.
Once we were underway I was fine. I knew I would be so I just plodded on, but later confessed to everyone what had actually happened. There was no way I wasn’t running this race!
The first section was pretty flat and we went through the town before heading upwards. All the while we were bombarded with the most beautiful scenery. The views that take your breath away and make you want to weep at the sheer beauty of the place. We all stuck together and as we headed up the hill after around 2.25 miles I hit my 700th mile for the year.
As you can see I was delighted. However we were still heading upwards. There was quite a bit of a climb and AL and Mr AL ended up ahead with Star. Eventually we reached the highest part of the course and it was now time to start the descent. Not before the official photos though.
Not to long after this I caught up with Star. AL and Mr AL had decided to go on as AL had a little bit of a niggle which was not fond of the stopping and starting. I continued on for a bit on my own, but before too long I saw Star, Fleecy and alpenrose, not that far behind so I waited for them and we all continued on together for the rest of the race.
There was now lots of down. I so need to work on my technique for sure. As it had been wet leading up to the race, there was quite a bit of mud and the ground was very wet in places making it a bit more difficult to navigate for us mere mortals. Soon enough the leaders for the race were flying past, their feet barely connecting with the ground. We plodded on.
We were now getting passed by quite a lot of runners, but it was so slippery in some places that a couple of them came a cropper and took tumbles. They were all fine though and continued on. Our group stopped to take a drink at the water station and before long we were on to the last section beside the lake. We all reckoned that alpenrose had been hustling us as she really came alive during the downhill part, but I was starting to get really tired. I managed to keep going and soon there was the sound of the tannoy at the finish. There was however, one last obstacle in the form of water! I wasn’t sure how deep it was so decided to let everyone else go first.
Wasn’t sure if I gathered more mud here than got washed off, but all that was left now was a squelch around the field to the finish.
Once we finished we all got our t-shirts which were being handed out by none other than Ann, alpenrose’s friend who’d been drafted to assist.
We then stopped for another photo to mark Fleecy’s 700th mile before wandering back to the cottage to scoff the lovely broth Star made and get cleaned up that is after Fleecy and I made a quick dash into town for some provisions.
That evening we went to the local pub for dinner and met up with alpenrose and Ann. Was a lovely evening and once home, there was much discussions and after having a little wine there was much talk of Chris Hoy’s thighs. I wish I could link the video but I can’t seem to.
I spent some time distracting AL as the others were decorating the kitchen 🙂 She has a big birthday coming up so there was cake and bunting 🙂
After a most brilliant day we all crashed out.
On the Sunday morning Fleecy had to leave us for home, so she was picked up by alpenrose and Ann, whilst the rest of us were chauffeured and admirably guided around the area by Mr AL and AL. We visited Tarn Hows, Hawkshead where we stopped for a bacon butty and a quick look around the shop, Windermere ferry and Booths (independent supermarket with loads of interesting foodstuffs). Once back at the cottage it was again all hands on deck in the kitchen as Star again put together a fantastic dinner.
All in all a most wonderful weekend. I’d never been to the Lake District before despite spending the first 17 years of my life not that far over the border in Dumfries. What is definite is that I will be back. In fact a few of us on Fetch have already been looking at the Lakeland Trail races for 2017, so we might well see you there.
For those who are interested, here is the elevation profile:
Finally I’d like to thank AL and Mr AL for organising the accommodation and being our guides as well as Fleecy, Star, Alpenrose and Ann for the company. We all met because of our love for running. That’s why I love running so much. From almost strangers to friends in one weekend 🙂
Can’t wait for next year now.