Monday, 3 August 2020

Montane (Virtual) Lakeland 100

Sunday 19th July.
Three weeks ago, driven by peer pressure, FOMO and half a bottle of rose I had signed up to another ridiculous adventure - the virtual Montane Lakeland 100. I had spent the time since fretting and planning, but mostly fretting! Trying to work out how on earth I was going to fit 105 miles of running/walking around a 40 hour working week, finding routes I could run from home that were easy enough for when I was tired but not so easy I'd be bored. I came up with a plan to do 12 miles per day Monday to Friday then have a big back-to-back high mileage weekend. Now I was having an early night, with all my work clothes laid for the week and next to those all my running clothes and the first two days worth of pack up made ready. I was dreading the week to come and cursing myself for being so impulsive! The real Lakeland 100 wasn't even on my 'races to do' list so I'm not sure how I got drawn in...

Monday 20th July.
The day started early with a walk before breakfast. The dog joined me for part of it until she realised there would be no time for scent marking and sniffing! Only a short distance covered but it got the ball rolling in my mind.
After work, and a snack, I put my first set of running clothes on and headed out into a beautiful sunny evening. I ran along footpaths and country roads taking in the villages of Kirby Knowle and Boltby, I met some gorgeous cattle outside Boltby before climbing over the Mount St John and finally enjoying the long gentle downhill all the way home.
Day 1 and a total of 13 miles covered. I felt pretty good, but was only 1 day in...

Tuesday 21st July.
Double run day! Another beautiful morning and on half a jam sandwich I set off to run the 5 mile route I call Gold Lane Loop. I felt good and the run was smooth.
A busy day at work ensued and I was glad of being organised as I headed over to Kilburn to join some Harriers for a social run. I got there early and David T joined me for a couple of warm up miles before joining the main group for a guided tour of the proposed Mountain Masters route. I still needed another mile so headed back in to the woods as everyone else set off home.
Day 2 and another 13 miles under my belt, everything still works so that is a bonus!

Wednesday 22nd July.
Third early start in a row, not my bag normally. Just took the dog for a relaxed walk before heading to work.
That evening, Gavin joined me for a (relatively) pacey run around Bagby and Thirkleby. The route was mostly flat on good farm tracks, but I had not been this way for some time and had to consult the map a few times. It went well until we hit a field of oil seed and the path disappeared under the crop. That was annoying on tiring legs near the end of a long run, but we made our way around and got home in one piece.
Day 3 and again 13 miles down to stay just a touch ahead of target. My appetite was now being affected, I struggled to eat my dinner when all I wanted to do was go to bed.

Thursday 23rd July.
Despite being so tired, I had a lousy sleep and another early start! I took a power walk to Felixkirk and back, managing to cover 3.5miles in under an hour.
Just about stayed awake at work, so tired, more mentally than physically as my legs still felt pretty good.
I left work and went straight to Osmotherly, once again arriving early to do a lap of the reservoir before joining the social run. I let them all run ahead, I was slow and didn't want to spoil thier run. It's a route I enjoy so I just trotted along on my own without any problem (other than nearly getting stuck in a squeeze stile!!)
Despite my lack of speed, I made it back to the village in plenty of time to get fish and chips. My appetite still off but they were very good and I ate most of them before taking a gentle stroll back to the car.
Day 4 and I was now over 50 miles for the week.

Friday 24th July.
Tired was not the word. I'd decided last night to re-set my alarm to allow just enough time for breakfast and had a mini-lie in instead of walking or running anywhere. It was the right decision and I felt much more awake at work.
Later though, I ran down from home to Sowerby and around Thirsk. I'd done 5.5 miles in an hour and was feeling ok, but it was short lived and by mile 7 I'd had enough. I worked out that if I ran home from that point, I would have still done 10 miles which was enough (as I was a little ahead). So that is what I did.
My appetite a little better, I also inhaled a take-away pizza!
Day 5 another 10 miles brings the total to almost 62.

Saturday 25th July.
First long run day of the weekend. I had arranged to meet Alan S at Sutton Bank at a civilised time and we set off on a very simple out and back route to Black Hambleton. It had to be simple as my brain was no longer functioning! The weather was mostly fine, apart from the fact it poured down on the summit of Black Hambleton! We made good time on the route, averaging 12 min/miles which I was very happy with, given I'd already done over 60 miles for the week. We had a tea stop at High Paradise and the hot drink was most welcome. We pressed on, I was getting tired now but walk breaks were still fairly minimal, then had another refreshment stop at the cafe at Sutton Bank visitor centre. We'd done almost 18 miles by now (my target for the day was 25) but weren't finished yet! We dropped down the bank, passed Gormire Lake and 'dropped' Alan at home. I carried on, just walking now, towards home. As I walked, I ran the maths in my head and realised I'd only need another 2 miles to make my target, so once I got home I deposited my pack and collected the dog and my partner and we did those last two miles round the fields at home.
A long day, 25 miles done and now things are hurting but I am still mobile.

Sunday 26th July.
The last day! Another fairly civilised start. This was the one day I hadn't planned in advance. Gavin met me again and took me around town! We went to visit the Buddha then on to Sandhutton and Carlton Miniott taking in paths I've not really been down before. I felt good for about the first 8 miles, then started flagging. Taking on sweets and a banana helped but I was running out of energy. My legs hurt, but that is to be expected and I could ignore that, just didn't have the energy to lift them! At about 14 miles we decided to re-route back towards the town centre and get some refreshment from Greggs! We'd reached 16 miles by this point and I'd run out of 'run'. I also knew that if I just took a slight diversion on my way home, I could reach my target of 19 miles for the day. Gavin and I parted company and shuffled back to our respective abodes. My watch clicked over the 19 mile mark shortly before I reached my house and I arrived home - triumphant.
Day 7 and 105 miles complete! In fact, 106 as I wanted to be sure I wasn't short.

As ever at the end of an ultra or multi day event, there's no party just a quiet satisfaction. Physically, my body held up pretty well - legs are stiff and sore but that is obvious, but I am not broken at all. I think this is due to pacing myself well from the start and of course being able to spread the miles out over the week. Appetite and sleep have been very messed up which led to a greatly reduced energy level which has been more of an issue than any physical pain. Not sure how to work around this, but I'll keep practicing.