It was with some trepidation that I dragged myself from bed at an ungodly 6:20 Saturday morning. Even though I run fairly regularly before I take on a race at half marathon or above distance I ideally like to complete a similar mileage on a training run. This time around though I hadn’t managed that, in fact it seemed like months since I had last run over 10 miles.
The journey to Coniston was incident free and the weather was set reasonably fair. In fact, the forecast indicated that the North West would have a reasonably pleasant weekend whilst the North East would be fairly grim. Seeing as how I was going to stay in the lakes for the weekend that seemed like a pretty good deal to me.
Though I had been a more anxious than usual in the days before, as the time of the race approached, the nerves seemed to settle a bit. I placed myself halfway up the field, the race was chip timed so I didn’t see any need to join the scramble at the front. Into the first mile though I wish I had made more of an effort as I spent a reasonable amount of energy trying to get round people, the field being relatively large and the lanes on the narrow side.
The race pretty much circumnavigates the lake by road with a few interruptions on paths. There is nary a flat part though as it undulates almost the whole way. I didn’t pressurise myself pace wise, I set myself a target of sub 1:40 but at the back of my mind that seemed like it might be a bit too challenging. Approaching halfway the pace had settled and I was matching stride with a group of runners spread fairly widely. There were water stations every 3 miles or so, and unusually for me, I actually stopped at most of these to drink, as I was feeling a bit dehydrated and I have never mastered drinking from cups whilst running. This had the unfortunate side effect of me needing a comfort break about 8 miles in. All these stoppages meant I spent more time than I would like getting back the places I had lost.
All told the lack of fitness and preparation manifested itself in a fairly painful run. There is a particularly nasty incline at around mile 12 before a relatively easy descent to the end. I spent most of the second half of the race thinking about that descent.
As hard as it felt I was very pleased to finish in 1:34:36 (chip time) in 54th (chip position). Had I not stopped so much I might have beaten my best time from a couple of years ago.
I thoroughly recommend this race in a beautiful part of the country, especially when the sun is shining.
Full results are available http://www.tdl.ltd.uk/race-results.php?event=1528