Raining fellrunners

April 22, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
are we nearly there yet?

are we nearly there yet?

My legs are still happily (it’s a pain-pleasure thing) reminding me about my day out on Saturday at the Anniversary Waltz.

Last year, on a slower amble, I went the same route up Robinson from below High Snab Bank, and was latched onto by a flock of sheep who thought I had something to offer. It started with a small flockette, until more and more joined, pursuing me in a rather lovely sheepy way for about half a mile until I shook them off by making a noise a bit like mint sauce.

This year, I had 150 fellrunners behind me, and another 150 ahead, and the sheep had had a better offer.

Hands on the ground at some points on the way up past Blea Crags, not by bending over, just by having the ground steeping up to meet me. My calves (legs, not more farm animals) were a bit shouty here, but I could also hear everyone else’s protesting in the communal pained silence. Back at the start, the wind had led to extended iffiness about how many layers to wear, and how long their sleeves should be. Now, people with long sleeves were finding them most useful to wipe the sweat from their eyes.

Heading up to the summit, I already had the lightning-twitches of cramp, but I was relying on my long girls’ socks to stop that getting worse. If someone called the fell-running-fashion-police, I was hoping I could out-run them…

I also already had time on my mind, despite there being no cut-offs on this race. A couple of days before, I’d looked up past results, and noticed that when I first did the race in 2007 there were split times recorded for each summit checkpoint.

I’ve never been close to my (still mediocre) 2007 result since then, but now I had the checkpoint times on my mind, and it was difficulty to ignore them as I went from Robinson to Hindscarth and Dale Head, chasing the elusive younger me. (And not even looking at the view, until someone else mentioned it, and then it was almost all I could look at; a perfect lakes day in the middle of some less cooperative ones).

Now I was at Dale Head, I had a decision to play with; seventh-time-lucky on finding a staggerable line straight down, or going with the potentially-flaky-but-reccied option of heading to Honister and remembering to turn left. I went with the excitement of the new, and headed off by myself trying not to feel too disconcerted at being emphatically by myself.

As it was, it turned out to be some of the nicest running in the race (maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough), with a sweep and a swoop down to the tarn across grass and bogs, and nothing even vaguely pointy to land on. More importantly, it got me down a sight quicker than last year, and with a smile too.

Should have tried harder on the climb to High Spy, but that’s something for next year, and while the cramp flashed and banged a bit over Maiden Moor, it never really set in to stay.

The threat of distant binoculars from Catbells was good to keep me running hard on the way to Hause Gate, and the promise of a kiss kept me honest on the last up before the last down.

Frolicking down over the rocks from the final checkpoint I made sure I was nice to walkers (although I did remind an elderly couple ‘don’t try this at home, kids’). My beloved spectator described the sensation of walking up the final stages of Catbells when it was ‘raining fellrunners’, and there are better and neater places to fall on someone.

Oh, and my younger me extended his lead from one minute at Robinson to seven minutes by the finish, but I’ll get him next year. I have the advantage of coming at him from behind, after all.

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