On 7th October I took part in ‘Lakes in a Day,’ the 50-mile British Trail Running Middle Distance Championship which goes from the top to the bottom of the Lake District. I wanted to see what my limits were. It was absolutely the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
I was a nervous ball of energy on the start line and had to stop myself sprinting the first few miles, remembering it was 50 miles, not Ganger Farm Park Run! After the first climb, we crossed a waist-high river. It was absolutely terrifying. Then I “ran” (plodded) uphill through a bog with no defined footpath, in a cloud, on my own. When I got to around 600m I starting panicking about descending Hallsfell ridge in 60 mph winds, but we got diverted to avoid the slippery ridge. This added an extra 5km to the overall distance but it was a good thing because the wind knocked me over several times ascending Helvellyn. At that point, I cried on a man called Gary who held my hand till I pulled myself together.
I told myself I was dropping out at Ambleside, but when I got to Ambleside, changed my shoes, had some squash and realised there was just 35km left to run it all felt bizarrely achievable so I cracked on. I tried to view being submerged in Lake Windermere up to my pants for the next 1km as a good thing, a free ice bath.
At the final checkpoint, I realised I had a chance of being in the top ten ladies. I was a bit unclear of my actual position but my competitive edge spurred me on in the dark, trying to not confuse sheep eyes with race signage, and I made it in just two minutes ahead of the 5th lady. The first three women did insanely amazing times. For the British Trail Running Championships I’m very happy as a Romsey *Road* Runner who lives nowhere near any mountains to have come fourth!
I’ll be very happy to not think about racing for a while. It’s been a wild 6 months of training. Fun, but not sustainable!!