This weekend has been a learning curve in more ways than one. I rather think that I suffered my first DNF, I've had a few DNS's in my running life, where I've decided for various reasons not to start but I feel that this is my first DNF and it hurts like hell, more of that later and I promise there isn't a whine or moan in sight. (On re-reading there might be one or two).
The Lakeland 50 has been part of my life
now for 3 years and before this year's event I said this would be the
last, now I'm not so sure LOL.
Actual running training hasn't been going so well but walking and
hill training has been as per schedule so I wasn't worried on that part.
So off we went, very organised this year, lovely B & B for Billy
to have comfort. Bag packed to perfection with all the mandatory
requirements, didn't manage due to work commitments to get down in time
to see the 100's off but did see the kids start their mile, wow so many
kids with big big smiles. Got registered, meet the girls and guys I've
become friendly with over the three years. Coincidence number 1, the
guy who kit checked me was Andrew whom I'd sat next to on the bus to the
start last year. Then coincidence number two came when walking to the B
& B Billy says to me, that woman there passing us couldn't keep her
eyes off you. Well I am used to this at these events as I'm not built
like a person who does this sort of thing LOL.
Anyway saw her later through a cafe' window and thought mmmm she's
familiar. Next morning we are sat in the breakfast room reminiscing
about the Nav event last year, yes we had been in the same B & B
then and had walked to the Nav event together - small world. (She went
on to do very well this year at Lakeland btw).
Start of event to start of trudge round to Mardale Head.
a hearty breakfast of porridge and toast it was down for the briefing
and onto to the coach for the journey to Dalemain. Spent the next half
hour in the toilet queue, yattering to various people. In no time we
were in the start pen, initial dib done and away. The race as always
starts with a trawl round Dalemain for 4 miles, mostly done through the
fields. I hate this bit but it does give you a chance to get the limbs
and lungs moving. Ran down through the fields towards Pooley Bridge
but got caught in a single file of walkers. I had initially had an
idea I could run the downs and walk the ups (so much for plans in the
end). Was caught by the event photographer, I might buy it, it's
actually a good photo and I look happy and relaxed in it - which
reflects how I felt at the start of the event. Caught up with internet
friend Kim on the downhill into Howtown, we stayed together after that.
She picked me up when I fell whilst simultaneously trying to take a
drink from my bottle and read a sign at the side of the track. Lovely
bruise on elbow for my trouble. It was extremely hot and I was drinking
because I felt thirsty but feeling too bagged up with fluid not a nice
feeling. Pulled into the checkpoint in Howtown and perhaps not such a
co-incidence my other internet friend Jessica was there squealing my
name.... she's been off the radar lately so we had a bit of a catch up.
It was here we met Peter who was gutted to be pulling out as he had a
chest infection thing going on and had found Fusedale was killing him.
Kim thought she might just sack it here but I bullied her into getting
up (not really but you know what I mean) we needed each other to get up,
excuse my french "the Bastard" yes Fusedale, we both hate it with a
passion. So she left first but somehow ended up behind me until the
climb. It look us quite a while, we huffed and puffed and swore all the
way to about three quarters of the way up. It was here that we met
Angela who was on her way back down, we persuaded her to go on and quit
at Mardale Head rather than Howtown. We thought she would perhaps get
to the end once the worst bit was out of the way - little did we know
what was to come.
To Mardale Head.
We were all feeling
brilliant at the bottom of the hill and were just through the deer fence
gate when the sky almost instantly went dark and the heavens opened, we
thought the first downpour was hail, later we learned it was! So on
went the waterproofs top and bottoms. No sooner had I done this when
the first rumble of thunder came followed by lightening, into the bag
went to poles. So started the trudge to Mardale Head, torrential rain,
thunder, forked and sheet lightening which I don't care what anyone says
is scary, it terrifies me. The path disappeared and became a stream,
the streams which normally cross the paths were beginning to get rather
gurgly. Then nearing the turn we watched the mountain rescue helicopter
land near the car park and just knew this was for a competitor. By
this time it was obvious Angela was not going any further she was
knackered. Kim and I were fine just getting more and more worried about
the underfoot conditions. Much debate ensued as to what to do. In my
heart I knew (especially after putting my foot through the edge of the
path and nearly ending up in Haweswater) we really should pull out. Kim
was talking sense but I have a certain mind set which makes me want to
go on. She made the point that we couldn't see, hear or keep our feet
in the light, what would the dark be like. So like teenagers we all
made a pinky swear to end it at the checkpoint. Which we did.
At Mardale Head.
we had finally dibbed out and ate our soup and changed into our spare
kit ( yes Marc you are vindicated). Both Kim and I were bouncing about
trying to be cheerful and helpful. Angela was not really in a good way
she couldn't get warm and ended up in a bivvy bag, shivering. I don't
think we did the right thing for her by getting her to come on with us,
but she said was pleased to have conquered the hardest bit and been
almost forced to quit rather than just give up. It was very soon dark
and as we waited to leave in the sweeper mini bus (the previous bus took
away 35 runners, unprecedented in history of the checkpoint) we
watched the beam of a headtorch coming along the other side of the
water, then it suddenly turned and started going in the opposite
direction. We knew it was a 100 runner because of the excellent system
of tracking the event, we even knew who it was. This was very worrying
for the checkpoint staff (The Delamere Spartans) so they sent out two
runners to find out what was heppening. Bus driver drove along the road
with Kim shining a high powered torch to the other side of the water.
It took over an hour for them to locate the gentleman and turn in and
bring him in. He had become disoriented and just turned round. Apart
from that he was generally fine, but had timed out. So he was loaded
into the mini bus and off we went to fill it up with stragglers at
Billy came to collect me and take me back to the B & B.
at the B & B I couldn't sleep. Mostly I just wanted to cry but
couldn't. I knew in my heart we'd made the right decision. I was
gutted, completely gutted and couldn't focus at the time, all I saw was
failure. However a good nights rest, listening to the pouring rain
started to put it into some sort of perspective. I was pleased to go
to the presentation and was very emotional when the young couple who had
been in front of me until Howtown came in at the very end, they were
elated and she was in floods of tears. I spoke to them, they were
shattered but happy, he said it hadn't let up the whole night. That
couple had real guts. I could cry now thinking about that. We have
discussed it Kim and I and know we could of ran the risk of injury or
worse and having completed it twice we felt it wasn't worth the risk to
either us or anyone else to carry on. Angela said she slept in her car
inside her bivvy bag and sleeping bag. She feels she may go back to
being a marshal again next year, but this event gets into your blood.
Still feeling conflicted but Billy was very happy that someone had sense
and could help me see some for a change. He is however getting well
used to my ever spiraling sense of adventure. I have been on facebook
and so many of the stalwarts of this event pulled out either voluntarily
or on a non voluntary basis and I think all are similarly gutted. The
airlifted chap was injured but was recovering well after treatment.
Lessons learned- not the least of which was humility and how much we
are at the mercy of the awesome power of the natural world. It's much
bigger us puny humans. Also carry that kit, people and never
underestimate how it feels to be completely cold and miserable. I saw
at first hand the debilitating affect it had on Angela's morale.
to the future - I have an entry into Glen Ogle, so will train and give
that my best shot. I have also been thinking of marshaling at an event n
December. As for next year,I plan to enter the GL3D cafe' class, Kim
and I may do the first day together and then decide if she wants to up
the ante on her own for the other two. I'll take it as it comes and I
have been offered the chance to think about marshaling at Lakeland,
which I will seriously think about. I won't enter, I have asked Billy
to hide my cards, when I say I won't enter I don't mean ever again but
Sorry if this has been a long blog but if you've made it
to the end I thank you for listening to my head spill, I'm still way to
emotional................................ Thanks to all the brilliant
people on this journey, each and everyone who wished me well, helped me
along... I didn't want to let anyone down, perhaps that's the bit that
hurts the most.
Down, but not defeated LOL
Bye for now