Tuesday, 18 April 2017

A chocolate egg or a pickled egg?

It may be an odd title for a blog post, but both types of egg were on offer over my Easter weekend.....no surprises that I had a whole chocolate egg myself and left the pickled egg to the guys to fight over (though eating it did earn them a free steak and ale pie in the pub!).

My Easter weekend was rather varied in that it consisted of work (Good Friday isn't an NHS holiday in Scotland), catching up with old friends (some of whom I hadn't seen in 20 years), making new friends......and unsurprisingly eating, drinking and running!

Climbing up from Threlkeld
One of my GB trail teammates (Katie) was recceing the BGR (Bob Graham Round) over the course of the weekend, and so I decided to join her for Leg 2 on Saturday. This leg starts at Threlkeld and finished at Dunmail Raise. I'd thought of doing a bike/car shuffle by my friend Andy Jackson (credit to him for the photos) had the novel idea of us leaving our cars at Dunmail and running round to Threlkeld before returning along the BGR route.

I think I'm showing how cold I was...

The initial run was grand..... relatively warm temperatures and a nice sociable chatty paced run, but when we met Katie and her husband Casper at Threlkeld the pace picked up and the weather deteriorated. We chatted up the initial ascent but when we hit the ridgeline, the wind made it hard to hear each other. Not only that, but at times it was hard to make much forward progress.

Into the wind along the ridge
Unsurprisingly, there were few people out (how often are you alone on the top of Helvellyn on a Bank Holiday weekend?) and those that did commented on my shorts. In all honesty, my legs were nice and warm.....but is was a different kettle of fish for my hands and face. An "ice cream headache" might be the best way of describing the pain I had down the right side of my face/ear/eye etc.

Descending to Grizedale

I decided to duck out as soon as I could sensibly do so, but as it turned out, everyone decided to call it a day at Grizedale and so we all dropped down to Dunmail from there (luckily just as a bus was passing to take Katie and Casper back to Keswick).

Getting back to the warmth didn't help that much and my right eye and sinus streamed  all night and a lot of the next day so I sensibly opted out of a run.

Monday was the day chosen by another friend (Jon Whilock) for his Joss Naylor Challenge (Pooley Bridge to Wasdale in under 12 hours) and I was due to support him on Leg 2 (Kirkstone Pass to Dunmail Raise).

Leg 2 "The Doctors' Leg" support
 ready to go...
In order to avoid lots of car shuffling, I left my car outside Ambleside and "ran" the 3 miles up "The Struggle" to the Kirkstone Pass. I would say it's rather generous to call my forward motion running (especially as I fielded a phone call at the same time) but I managed to avoid walking the whole way up.

Simon and Jon climbing up
Jon was about 5 minutes down on his schedule at Kirkstone but just took a banana and powered on through (picking up myself and Simon - a fellow GP - for support whilst his  Leg 1 support came down off the hill slightly behind him. He was looking strong and remained so for the whole of that leg.

A nice runnable (if boggy) ridge

As usual I was worried about being rubbish on the descents, but most of them were grassy and so runnable (even for me). They dropped me on the scree path down from Fairfield but I caught back up on the climb up Seat Sandal. Between us (Simon was carrying Jon's water, while I had his food and clothes) we ensured he ate and drank well throughout the leg so left us for the next leg still looking strong.

Off Seat Sandal down to Dunmail
He was going so well that he actually left Dunmail 16 minutes ahead of schedule.....and he just got stronger and stronger, finishing the challenge in 11 hours and 20 minutes (well inside his predicted time).....great going and massive congrats Jon! Luckily I'm too young to even contemplate doing such a challenge myself (it's only for people who've turned 50) 😂😂😂

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