Ups and Downs (lots of them!) – Coniston 14

So, the crazy Saturday. I was up at 5.25am, made some porridge in a keepup and some tea in a flask to take along with me and had sensibly packed the rest of what I needed the day before so the only remaining task was to bumble around in the dark trying to get dressed without waking everyone up. The journey over to Barrow was reasonably uneventful barring some awful fog on the A66 and some even worse navigating by yours truly (it helps if you can tell left from right) but as we got into the lakes it cleared and looked like it would be a nice day. The less said about Barrow itself the better but the parkrun venue was a very nice park, although I was slightly dismayed to discover that the route involved running up the hill in the picture below three times (fortunately on a windy loop rather than the stairs!). My plan was 10 min miles to get near my Jantastic 30 min target, but I actually felt ok despite the hills so cracked on and got round in 29.21, not a bad start.


From there we dashed off to Coniston which was due to start at 11am. My crazy friends had to be back home for 5pm for a black tie dinner so there was some discussion about where to park as the main car park wasn’t going to let people out until after 2pm. Fortunately we snagged a space in one of the local carparks and hot-footed it down to the start, arriving just in time to catch up with some clubmates before lining up ready for the off.

The route we had driven to get there was along some of the course and it was clear from the car journey that we were in for some hills. I was hopeful that what goes up must come down, but the first few miles were tough and I was slightly perturbed after a clubmate running past me warned that miles 11-12 were the worst. Oh joy. I think I’d said that my original goal was somewhere near my recent half marathon time but it was apparent from the first mile that this was not to be. I’m still lacking in fitness and the parkrun before had already knackered my legs and the hills were just another realm of torture to be added on. I was doing ok though, as my first four splits confirmed,

Mile Split
1      09:45.6
2      09:40.6
3      09:40.1
4      09:31.0
5      10:25.7
6      10:16.5
7      10:37.8
8      11:05.4
9      11:07.6
10    11:44.2
11    11:40.8
12    12:57.4
13    11:41.1
14    10:03.7

After that it was all downhill though (unfortunately not literally) and I was getting more and more tired and more and more stiff. By about mile 10 I’d had enough but still had to get to the finish as it was evident that there would be no lifts available and I was also conscious of the fact that my friends were desperate to get back at a reasonable hour, so I plodded on, walking up the biggest of the hills and grimacing on the downhills. The hills at miles 11-12 weren’t actually too bad and there was a long downhill after mile 12 which was a nice (if painful) respite, plus plenty of water stations and some nice views of the lake and some beautiful houses.


The Old Man of Coniston

I can tell I’m having a bad race when I start getting cross with runners around me and that featured from about 5 miles onwards when firstly I had to drop back to avoid “Spitting Sid” – now I hate spitting full stop, but do appreciate it is necessary occasionally during a race – but occasionally is the key word here. Spitting Sid would hawk up his lungs about every 5 seconds on average and having to listen to it and avoid blowback was seriously stressing me out so I let him get ahead of me as unfortunately I couldn’t go fast enough to stay ahead. I managed to stay ahead of Puffing Billy (lady who breathed like a steam train) later on, but then lost the plot over the lady in pink who I would overtake on the hills as she was walking up them, then on the downhills she’d catch me up and then sit right on my shoulder before stopping to walk on the hills again. Repeat that about 15 times and I was about ready for homicide. I wonder if I should invest in one of those allergy bubbles and then run in that? Or perhaps see a psychiatrist…

Anyway, the torture was eventually over in just over 2 and a half hours and I crossed the line, grabbed as much water as I could along with a very nice coaster (which I promptly left in my friend’s car, along with my favourite trainers and possibly a jacket) and since it was nearly 2pm by that time, ran off to find my lift so we could hit the road before the other carpark let out. It was a long and uncomfortable journey home but we made it back in time and after a bath, some food, an episode of Homeland 2 and a quite frankly amazing leg massage I was feeling a bit more human. My pace and the elevation are below – it was the beginning of the race that really hurt me I think, and in hindsight it was a bit daft to do parkrun right beforehand (and a cheeky mile on Friday evening for Jantastic) but anyway. A lesson to learn for next time!


The rest of the weekend was actually quite nice, I had cheap tickets for Adventure Valley, a kind of low key theme park nearby so we dragged the kids out to see what fun could be found. We were worried that there wouldn’t be enough for Eldest to do (he’s 14) but he enjoyed it as much as we did – we played football, went on the zip wire, fed animals, bounced on huge pillows, went on go karts and saw a great bird show, followed by crazy golf (I lost by 2 strokes, grrrr). Not bad for stiff legs mind you. The rest of the afternoon I spent catching up on housework and helping Youngest pack for his school trip. The week ahead looks like:

Mon: Recovery run*
Tues: Strength and Conditioning
Weds: Club night run (ca. 5-6 miles)
Thurs: Swim (1 mile)
Sat: parkrun, possibly 20 mile bike ride
Sun: Duathlon (5k run, 25k bike, 5k run)

*maybe, I am vacillating and might do this tuesday morning instead, or I might go biking depending on the weather/when I get home

It is not clear whether I have learnt my lesson at all is it!


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