Since my podium at the Cider Frolic my year has been a mixed bag. My next race was the North Downs Way 100. Unfortunately I came down with a stinking cold and I felt pretty rubbish on the start line. I thought I’d pitch up and give it a go, but at 12 hours and 50 miles in I was dawdling along and my heart wasn’t in it. The final straw was a minor shin splints injury, and I decided to withdraw.
This put me into my off season, so I had a few weeks of unstructured training. This coincided with a family holiday to Snowdonia and the Lake District, so I spent some time doing a few glorious UK mountain routes. Highlights were:
- A day with a friend doing a loop around Tryfan, Glyders and Crib Goch (bypassed summit of Snowdon because it was too busy!!) on a gorgeous summer’s day. Walking along the top of Crib Goch in the sun, without a breath of wind was simply divine
- On another day I took myself out and did Tryfan via it’s north ridge. I simply walked up to it and then picked my way up and over it. Great fun and fairly quiet early on a summer’s morning with a touch of lifting cloud
- I raced the train up Snowdon. Not at all a macho thing to do as I was being tight. My family were on the train, and I was too stingy to pay for an extra ticket. I filmed the train leaving the station with my family on it before I took off. I met them in the cafe at the top and then raced the train back down again. Top speed flying down the Llanberis path is quite a thrill 🙂
- While in the Lake District I had the Wasdale screes all to myself one morning (apart from the thousands of spiders that had made webs between all the rocks!
- Whin Rigg and Illgill head were the scene for another gorgous morning run
- A scrambly wet day out on some of the less visited peaks around Scafell Pike was really cool. Great End, Ill Crag, Broad Crag, Scafell Pike and Lingmell. I returned the following day with my family and we had an amazing day climbing Lingmell and Scafell Pike
- A weekend out volunteering for the Glen Coe Skyrunning weekend. For my role this included marking the Mamores VK route, marshelling the Ring of Steall Sky race and then marshalling on the Glen Coe Sky Race which featured both Killian Jornet and Emeli Forsberg. It was amazing to see them in action.
After that it was time to get back into my plan until I decided to take up my entry to the Eden Project Marathon. It would be my third time running it, but this time I wouldn’t be going for it. My plan was to take it easy, incorporate a zone 2 20km training session, but otherwise just enjoy it. I spent the first 19km near the back of the pack talking, walking, eating and drinking. Once I hit 19km I picked up the pace into my heart rate zone 2 which is steady but not too onerous. I was of course speeding up just as others were tiring and slowing, so I had plenty of people to overtake which felt good for me, probably not so good for them. I was totally self sufficient trying out a new Salomon race vest and carrying 2.5l of water. It was a really muggy day and the sweat just seemed to soak my clothes and wasn’t evaporating off. It was cloudy though, so no sun beating down thankfully.
Anyway, as I picked people off I felt pretty good. The Eden Project Marathon is muddy and slippy in places as well as having nearly 800m ascent over the route. It certainly isn’t to be taken lightly. There is also quite a lot of tarmac which was taking its toll on my feet and hips by the end.
After 4 hours and 43 minutes I rolled into the finish. My stomach felt a bit horrible after a tummy bug earlier in the week, but I had managed to get some food in and I was in good shape for eating the pasty at the finish 🙂 I ended up finishing about 161st out of 250 or so finishers, overtaking about 90 people between 19km and the finish 🙂 MY negative split was rather excessive with the first 21.1km in 2:32 and the second in 2:11 and an overall average heart rate well down in zone 1. Much slower than last year, but with a lot less effort and to be honest a much more enjoyable experience.