Monday, 23 July 2012

10 Peaks...

Never having been to the Lake District before I thought 45 miles taking in the 10 highest peaks wouldn't be too bad.  My running Buddy Elias agreed, 4 mph is walking pace, and I can run so 11 hours?... how hard can that be?

In fact, if were weren't so naive I would have looked less confident in this "2 am getting ready" photo.


From 10 peaks race lake district

Although we didn't look as confident as the guys returning from a Stag do was we left for the start.


From 10 peaks race lake district


Fair-play, there were your totally opposite of drunk and angry, just drunk!  They couldn't believe that we were off to race.

Once the race was going it turned out that the challenge wasn't really the distance or the climbing (although both were tough) it was the going underfoot.  We must have run about 30% of it, the rest was walking on rocks/grass, at one point (Scafell Pike to Scafell and return) we averaged 1 mph, thats a 60 min/mile!

Having said all of that, it was great with the huge bonus on the day was the weather.  The first peak was Helvellen, which we got to just as the sun rose.


From 10 peaks race lake district


Helvellen was followed by a 3 hour bog slog - epic in wetness and mingingness.  The only saving grace was the comedy b*lls**t banter (which Elias and I specialise in) and the rising sun.


From 10 peaks race lake district


From 10 peaks race lake district



After that was 8 peaks, lots of rocks, scree, rocks and scree.

From 10 peaks race lake district



From 10 peaks race lake district



From 10 peaks race lake district



From 10 peaks race lake district


Peak 9 was the breaker.  We were hanging and it was an epic trek.  But somehow getting there changed everything, from struggling to loving it took about 30 seconds of standing on the top and the nice marshal giving us a chocolate bar each out of his own bag (he could obviously see through my 1000-yard-stare and into my empty and exhausted soul).


From 10 peaks race lake district


From there it was only 6 more hours of movement, but after that point sacking it off was never on the cards again.  Even as we passed within spitting distance of the finish before starting our last peak, Skiddaw.  To be honest though there wasn't a lot of fun had on the ascent or at the top.


From 10 peaks race lake district



From 10 peaks race lake district


But from their it was only 90 minutes of downhill running in the dark to the finish (and straight into a 5 hour drive home, but that's another story).

Kit-wise all turned out good in the end.  My Inov8 Elite 15 pack with bonus scoff pockets was perfect, super light and comfortable while the Inov8 scree-gaiter things were mana from heaven.  Having slagged Chris off for having them last time I am so so glad I got some.  Awesome for this type of running, I didn't have a single 'stone in shoe' moment despite all the scree, what a bargain!  Not so good were the Invo8 319 shoes, well they were perfect for the race (comfy, grippy and lightish) but they didn't last the course and are trashed after only about 250 miles.  Not great for 80 odd quid :(  Poles were awesome (despite being called cheating sticks!), Fizan were the ones I borrowed (thanks Sara & Pete Holton!) and thank god they didn't bend when I fell on them :)  The last bit of top kit was my nutrition which worked a treat.  SIS bars, gels and energy drink were fantastic keeping me fuelled and focussed - big thanks to PJ at SIS for his support :)

I pretty sure that ranks in the top 5 of hard things I've done and also in the list of things I was happy to finish. 19 hours, 45 miles, 10 peaks, 1 blister.  Thanks feet, I owe you a nice bath!


From 10 peaks race lake district



And of course, huge thanks to Chris - my running partner without whom I would definitely have sacked it off somewhere near Great Gable (and who did most of the drive back - hero).