That was fun, I really enjoyed myself today, my favourite course of the Lakeland Trails Series so far I think. It was a glorious day for running, just the right temperature with some lovely sunshine and good visibility.
Due to not getting in much in the way of long runs in October I had decided that I wasn't going to race this just have a good run with company. I was going to run at my pace, walk if I needed to early (and not wait until I physically couldn't run anymore) and make a point to stop and look at the views rather than my feet, they would be excellent today.
I did a ten minute warm up and my legs felt tired and heavy (TOTM, great) so it wasn't going to be a day for speedy running but the warm up made me feel ready to go. I started near the back to make sure I didn't get carried away and just trundled along. It wasn't long before we started climbing and I kept running at a sensible effort level. I actually felt my heart rate climb a little too high only once and I walked five metres or so but because I'd sone it sooner rather than later I recovered quickly and was soon running again. I ran all the rest of the first climb so I was pleased. I caught a glimpse of a snow dusted Hellvellyn and smiled, it looked stunning, what a gorgeous day.
The climb had been mainly on fireroad style track but once we crossed Glenridding Beck it changed to rocky, slippy, muddy Lakeland bridleway. It the kind of running I love, picking a line, dodging rocks and splashing through mud. Once I got past the people in front of me who were picking their way through it slowly I was off! I speeded up and had an absolute whale of a time and completely forgot about looking at the view (oops) as the track did require concentration.
It was quite slippy in places and I saw more people fall today than any other race I've been at combined. Most of the people falling over had road shoes on (though not all), for a change due to the slippiness of the rocks road shoes were a bit of a liability I think. Pam had a bit of a walk around the course whilst I was running and had to get her first aid kit out to patch up a woman who had taken a spill. One young lad in front of me fell twice once landing on his knees on a rock, I think I asked him three times if he was ok on the way round. The third time was due to him pulling over with a monster stitch, poor lad. I was having so much fun I had to remind myself to take fuel on board, I needed it and was glad I made myself slow down to do it.
I ran within myself and backed off where I needed to but just really enjoyed the terrain. The last part of the race was along an undulating fire road track then down to the road. This type of terrain usually results in me being passed by people I've overtaken on the rockier sections as I struggle with the more steady running. This time it didn't happen, I felt very strong on this last part and got into a good rhythym and actually overtook a few people myself (very, very rare). There was a steep downhill road section which seemed to pound my knees but I ran the last flat section back to the finish quite comfortably, pushing hard but not absolutely killing myself.
I finished in 1:33 which I really wasn't expecting though I have a feeling that the race is shorter than 15k but I didn't have the Garmin to check. I think I will be doing this one again next year, it's done my motivation a power of good I think.