Spoilers; at some point this blog will turn into a rant. There may be swearing, there may be talk of toilets and there will be lots of ranting. Sorry about this…apparently if you suppress your rage it’s not good for your health. If I’d have posted an update the day after The Borrowdale Trail Run it might have been even more ranty but as it is I’ve given myself a couple of weeks to calm down. Always best to leave a bit of time for reflection before posting.
So, I’ve been marathon training. Last week was my second week of training leading up to Chester and consisted of:
Monday – Rest Day
Tuesday – General Aerobic and Speed Session. 8 Miles with 10 x 100m strides.
Wednesday – Rest Day
Thursday – General Aerobic 10 mile session.
Friday – Rest Day or Cross Training. This ended up being an arms and legs weight session at the gym.
Saturday – Recovery 5 mile (ended up being a hard 3 mile parkrun followed by 2 mile recovery).
Sunday – Marathon Pace 13 mile run with 8km at Marathon Pace (This ended up being a half marathon trail run in Keswick…more on that later).
Generally, even though it’s only the second week of training, I already feel a lot stronger and faster. Hopefully this carries through the next three months of training leading into a decent Chester Marathon outing.
I was meant to do a recovery run on Saturday but I thought it was about time I returned to Carlisle parkrun (small p everyone) and had a bash at beating my long standing personal best.
I’m pretty sure that my personal best for Carlisle parkrun had stood since about August of last year. So it was long overdue for a beating. I’d set myself a goal of 7 1/2 minute miles to get me round in about 23 minutes.
Setting off I’d convinced myself that my personal best was 23 minutes 35 seconds and that that was going to take some beating on my part. It was a humid day and within a minute I was sweating buckets and ruing the fact that I’d forgotten my bandana.
The first mile went by in a blur and I was really starting to enjoy running without music. My Ipod has been in a state of dying for the last few months and I was getting consistently sick of adjusting headphones etc and, as a result, my times had been improving since I stopped using it. It is now something I use for training runs and the gym only.
A hard push on the last lap got me to the finish line at 24:14 and I was literally dripping…I was also cursing the fact that I hadn’t beaten my PB. I then went out for another 2 mile recovery run to ensure that my mileage was right for the week.
It only dawned on me later in the day that my PB was actually 24:35 and I had beaten it. GO ME!!!
Sunday saw me taking part in the Borrowdale Trail Half Marathon. Since signing up to it I’d had no information about it and what information I had gleaned was confusing in my opinion. (I later found out that Hotmail had been junking the two emails that had been sent about the run…DAMMIT).
All I knew was that I had to register at Crow Park in Keswick.
So, the clan Claringbold piled into a car on Sunday morning and set off for the lovely Keswick. After getting some petrol we were about half an hour down the road when I dropped this bombshell on my ever suffering wife.
“I’ve forgotten my running trainers.”
So we turned around. I don’t know how I keep managing to forget my running trainers. I think I might have to start leaving notes around the house and on the car before my next race.
Upon picking up my trainers we set off AGAIN!!!
This is not the first time I’ve forgotten my running trainers and it won’t be the last. As a matter of fact I forgot them again a few days later when I was heading to the gym to do some treadmill work. After realising I’d forgotten them I headed back to the house (and missed my bus) and as I headed back out of the house my neighbour said “Have you got everything now?”
I’m assuming this is possibly a running joke in the neighbourhood now. As they see me head out of the house I wonder if they’re taking bets as to how long it will be until my inevitable return having left something.
Anyway, back to heading to Keswick.
When we arrived at Crow Park there was literally nowhere to park. As it turned out a triathlon was on at the same time as our arrival so the car park was rammed. The car park attendant advised us to head back to the other end of town and park at the Rugby club. Screw that…
We left Crow Park and parked at a car park about a two minute walk away.
I arrived at Crow Park for registration and as I was queuing I overheard someone saying something about getting a ferry to the start line. I enquired with them about this and apparently the last ferry was at 1030 otherwise it was a 25 minute walk to the start line. At this time it was 1015 and I still had to get back to my wife and son, who were waiting at the car park for me, to tell them what was going on. Bugger.
A quick run to the car park and a garbled explanation of what was happening and then a quick run to the marina and I was already on edge before the run had started.
I managed to get the last ferry and as we were leaving a group of about ten runners just missed it. It would be a long walk for them.
Once we arrived at the start line I thought I would head to the toilets. The queue for the two toilets in the café was massive. I unfortunately parked my derriere on the one toilet that wouldn’t flush. I didn’t find this out until after I had done my business though…a couple of failed flush attempts and I had to concede defeat and leave.
On leaving a lady entered the toilet I had just vacated. As I was washing my hands she re-appeared and called me disgusting. I explained my predicament and asked her what she thought I should do to which she tutted and rolled her eyes. This was going to be a long day…
I have never started a race so angry but this was to be a recurring theme throughout the run. During the race brief it was mentioned that there was a water stop…I’ll get back to this because this was a massive problem for me and one which I believe was dangerous and an issue that the run directors should reconsider in the future.
I knew that there was another run going on at the same time which was a 10 mile version of the run we were doing. However, I didn’t realise that the triathlon and the scawfell marathon were on as well. There was a lot going on for one day at similar times.
Here is a run down of the route:
From the marina the first section leads through woodland trails alongside Lingholm to Hawse End Bay on the shores of Derwentwater.
The route then follows the lakeshore trail through mixed woodland to the picturesque village of Grange, before winding its way past Castle Crag and on to the typical stone built Lakeland Village of Rosthwaite.A steady climb out of Rosthwaite following the bridleway leads to a welcome descent into the hamlet of Watendlath.
A spectacular trail follows the beautiful Watendlath valley before descending to Ashness Bridge via a short road section. Here the panorama opens out with views down to the lake and fells beyond.
A singletrack traverse passes the aptly named Falcon Crags which loom up on your right, followed by a gradual descent into Great Wood. Cross the Borrowdale road back to the lakeshore past Friars Crag, a rocky promontory, and follow the path skirting the shore of the bay back into the finish at Crow Park, Keswick.
At 1100 on the dot we set off. Not much to report for the first four miles. A variety of different terrains; grass, stones, water and bark being the main offenders for the moment. It was around four miles where I hit the first incline. It was difficult to run up as there wasn’t much purchase on some of the stones because as soon as you put your foot on them they just rolled down the hill. So it was a mixture of walking, jogging and running where it was safe.
At the top it was downhill for a long way down. It was fairly precarious trying to go downhill and not lose your footing.
Five mile in and I was starting to wonder where this water station was. I was ok, as I had a bottle of lucozade with me but the girl who was running next to me for a few miles looked like she was going to faint at any minute.
It was a hot day, about 21 degrees, and there was no shade so the sun was just beating down the whole time.
I’d spotted a few locations where they could have easily have put a water station but it wasn’t meant to be.
In the end I had to give the girl next to me some of my lucozade. (Other sports drinks are available). I felt like I had no option really as she looked ready to flake at any moment.
There were a few more inclines to contend with in the meantime. The second one was where I first spotted THE CHEAT.
There was a pretty clearly defined route of where we should be going as you were just following the paths that walkers would take to get to the top. This guy though was shaving loads off by heading through fields and finding different ways to the top. He was shaving considerable distance off the route each time he did this. If there was one thing I was going to do today it was to finish in front of him.
8 miles in and still no water -stop. There were only 5 and a bit miles to go.
It was around this time that I started to notice that some of the walkers were starting to become a bit, for sake of a better word, twatty.
As I rounded a corner I was met with a group of walkers heading towards me. There was a bit of a Mexican stand-off as they weren’t going to move for me and I was still running towards them. I politely said excuse me as I got nearer to them and the lead walker tutted at me.
She actually tutted at me.
I genuinely didn’t know how to deal with this. They were enjoying these lovely picturesque sites for free and I was enjoying and enduring them for a cost of £25 and I was made to feel like an invader of their day.
If they’d had any foresight they would have maybe have checked to see if there were any events on that may have hampered the enjoyment of their day.
I wisely chose to ignore them. This was turning out to be a rubbish day. As it was she wasn’t the last walker to tut at me and I was being polite. I dread to think what they were doing to runners who were just barging past them.
9 ½ miles in…WATER-STOP.
I can’t begin to tell you how angry I was at this. We were running a half marathon and at 9 ½ miles there was a water-stop. We were nearly bloody finished…plus the water was a funny shade. Hmmm.
As organisers the consideration should be for safety. If you have a water-stop at 9 ½ miles then tell people to bring plenty of fluids. Most people expect a water stop at least every 4 miles in a half marathon and a sensible organiser would provide that especially on a day as hot as that. I’m all for endurance but that in my eyes is cavalier and unsafe. If you have lots of events on and are just doing this for ease then that is playing fast and loose with people’s safety.
11 miles in and we started to come across some marathoners. Well, to be precise they started appearing behind us.
A few of them were very courteous and asked to be let past as we were hitting trails that were narrow. The ones running behind me and shouting “MOVE” were made to wait. At the end of the day I was trying to get a decent time as well so why should my time suffer because someone else feels that their run is more important than mine.
It was around 12 miles where I spotted THE CHEAT again. I passed him and sped up…he wasn’t catching me.
At around 12 ½ miles I nearly crapped myself as a rescue helicopter appeared very close and landed in the field opposite where I was running. Not sure what had happened but I hope whoever they were picking up was ok.
I knew I was nearing the end when I started to see runners who had already finished coming the other way. It was lovely to see the marina again and all the people that were about were clapping me.
On the approach to the finish I spotted my wife and son. Fantastic I’d made it.
I finished the course in 2 hours 38 minutes 11 seconds.
“How are you?” My wife asked.
“Bit dizzy.” Was my reply.
I’d only gone and gotten sun-stroke.
Not long after I was enjoying fish and chips while the boy managed to get more ice cream over himself than in his mouth.
Still slightly groggy I then had to take the boy to his friends birthday party. Twenty odd screaming kids when you have a bad head is not great.
This run left a bad taste in the mouth. I’m still not sure if this was due to the culmination of events throughout the day or whether I just genuinely don’t enjoy trail runs.
I don’t think I’ll be doing it again though.