This is despite yesterday morning having some of the worst conditions on the fells, I'd EVER experienced... I was about 6 miles into my training run on the Long Tour of Bradwell route when - heading up Ringing Roger - the winds got worse and worse.
It was bad running up to the first stile leaving the field out of Edale. Upon getting to the stile I was basically not moving - being pushed back by the wind heading from the N / NW. Heading up the zigzags got increasingly desperate. It seemed like every 10m of height gain was linked with a noticeable increase in wind speed. So much so, that by the time I was climbing up Ringing Roger, the wind was seemingly being funelled around the rocks making it nigh on impossible to get up the path. It actually entered my head (for a split second) that I would have to retreat.
That has never EVER entered my head on the fells before.
Thinking really quickly I realised what I needed to do - drop down the side that was sheltered from the wind. That solved the problem for a short while until I had to top out - upon summitting I was promptly nearly lifted off the mountain !
Being in the clouds, with no gloves, no hat and just a flapping hood I was quite glad to drop down to Edale YHA. Bit of a dodgy line but got there in the end. Running was best classed as 'relaxed' all the way to Win Hill then Ladybower and Yorkshire Bridge.
|The Route for the Long Tour of Bradwell starts middle left - Bradwell|
At this point, I knew I was halfway round and the legs just wanted to keep going faster. I knew that the main climb out of the 7 big climbs was just up ahead, so get the majority of that out the way then gradually wind it up ?
Well, in a nutshell let's just say I wish every run felt that good. In fact, I've never felt that good on a 30+ run even when I was running regularly 3+ years ago. Yeah, OK things are never that simple on an ultra and yes there were a couple of moments where I thought "Oh god, that's it now I've overcooked it" around Leadmill / bottom of Abney Clough, but a good dose of Jelly babies sorted me out.
The climb up Abney Clough was a pure pleasure. I was dreading this after the Xmas / NY mudfest but I needn't have worried. There was actually a path this time and my legs were just itching to go faster, so I wound it up little by little knowing that I still had the climb from Abney to the descent before Bradwell. I got faster all the way until the descent I'm pleased to say which is in stark contrast to the pre NY run !
If I never run this well again then I will still be happy as for an hour or two I had a feeling that I don't think I've ever felt before. I'd been running for ages, but yet my legs just felt solid and got faster and faster.
6h7m ish back in Bradwell and a dip in the stream was in order followed by Tea Shop then back home to meet up with Mum for a nice Mountaineering lecture on Tien Shan in the local village hall.
I've since checked my route with Saul who did the race last year and confirmed I stuck in a fair few wiggles around Ladybower that I didn't need to. That's pleasing considering my time and that I didn't race the first half. Knowing me though, I probably won't enter the race as it's in August !