Monday, 16 July 2012

I’ve been saundered

This is a week later than intended - I was intending to put some photos with it, but just haven't got round, so thought i'd post it up regardless.

Where to begin. Well I suppose the start is always good..

Friday (just finishing the antibiotics for a chest infection) I jumped in my car after work and had the looooong drive to Wasdale head. It really is a long way round from the M6! Amazingly I arrived at 11 and then spent the next 30 mins having a wander round the campsite, pub and toilets to find my mates who had a) already pitched b) I was staying with and c) had gone to sleep…..

Luckily I managed to pick the right tent and found my compatriot Don. Crawling into bed I was soon asleep.

Saturday dawned to blue skies, which considering the forecast was a minor miracle. Dan and Sian were already up and raring to go having an earlier start than us. We chatted for a bit, watched them walk off in the direction of the start and continued to crack on with our preparations as well. After much food intake, packing and some faff we were ready and picked up maps to wander into black sail pass. I was a bit unsure how I’d fare at this point but we were soon through the start and given controls to mark on the map! A bit of cross checking and marking later and we were soon off to the first control. One bagged and it seemed like it was a bigger version of the Peak Mini –MM’s I’d done earlier in the year. However, I soon suffered a dawning realization that I was struggling with lung capacity, energy and a body that didn’t really want to be doing a big day in the mountains.

Thankfully Don was very understanding and since we’d done training together knew it was just a body-say-no weekend rather than anything else. However, we persevered and pushed on. It was quite a busy course and there was lots of passing and re-passing going on. But we made some sensible choices and were going well. Then just approaching one control (Greendale tarn) we were being waved at.. it was Dan and Sian! We had a quick reunion and walked and talked before deciding we needed to push on and so carried on to the next control.  After this it was a LONG slog over rivers, bog, tussocks and hill to get to the next control. Where with a little bit of sensible route choice and some hard work we pushed on to the campsite at Scalderskew woods (farm?). It was a good bit of running at this point and with the added advantage of people to overtake we managed a very respectable 63rd at the halfway. The evening passed to milk/protein, sleep, food, avoiding a quick shower, beer and chatting before a decent sleep.

Sunday, dawned to light grey skies, and several aches that were quite new! Faff in the morning and queues for the toilets meant than Dan/Sian managed to get away before us. However, as it was only a 25 min window for everyone to start we weren’t far behind (or all the other masses). As per the previous day it was a bit of hard work, coupled with some running, river crossing, bogs and hills to contend with. We made a few interesting route choices and I think one thing to learn is not to bother heading for a bridge or stepping stones, but if there’s a path in the general direction – take it!

However, we plodded on and had a bit of leapfrogging of a few teams. The final descent and climb and descent (round scafell, up to a sheepfold and then back down into wasdale) was hard hard work. We got the final control and headed into the finish. I’d love to say I put on a spurt of speed and sprinted for the finish but I couldn’t even muster a gentle jog. My ankles, legs and body were broken.

Food, faff and a long drive home awaited. It was 11 before I got in and I was sooooo glad I’d booked the Monday off to recover.

Looking back I was very glad to have been in the area only a few weeks before, am even more glad that I put in a sterling effort to train hard beforehand and even more so to have had a brilliant partner in Don. He sorted out some brilliant lightweight kit for all our training weekends, got food when needed and also matched my pace on the event and various STEEP descents on training weekend (normally at the end of a day). I’m pretty sure I’ll do another MM, probably the SLMM again next year!

Plus.. yet again wifey was at home whilst I was away for a weekend, sorting out our home and making use of the mortgage we pay on it! Thanks to her for letting me do this. (I just am not sure she’ll like the idea of another MM.. even if it is next year)

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