I’d not run a mile in the past four weeks, I’d been wrestling with a cough and was finally beginning to feel awake again after returning from the USA the week earlier. I really needed to get back to training. What better return than a firey competition run to get the lungs working, better still a race with an exhausting but ferociously abrupt climb followed by a lightning fast and ice hard descent.
It had been more than a month since the first, and my only entry so far in the Kendal Winter League on Scout Scar above Kendal. That was a fast, relatively flat course, more akin to a cross country race than a fell run.
Sunday’s race was Fairmile, all together more different, for a start with a proper hill. Starting out from the bottom of Fairmile Beck at the western foot of the Howgills, it took a beeline into the clag heading up towards Linghaw and the slopes of Fell Head before turning back to the valley floor.
After physio on the Friday and ice-climbing on Saturday my quads were screaming, and in general my body was feeling, or more correctly about to feel the effects of no running in five weeks. Still never let a woeful lack of training, a good curry and four beers get in the way of a good race. Not recommended, nothing to be proud of, but that’s the situation so deal with it.
And so I slotted into position as the snaking line of runners jostled for position, kept my head down and let the pain build. Ten minutes in and the steepness of the slope relented a little, before steepening again, the patches of snow got bigger, the burn in the legs greater, nearly choking as my throat filled with a mucus that can only come from the ill effects of cold and lack of conditioning. After 20 minutes or so, the dim figure of the summit Marshall came into view through the murk. A brief acknowledgement and I turned for the valley, swooshing through melting snow to avoid the ice-hard ground. My lungs were burning, gravity doing its work as I attempted to stay upright as Fairmile Beck came into sight.
I was glad to finish, it’s been a while since I felt that bad at the end of a race. The relatively short distance and higher tempo had been hard. A good kick-start to resuming training.
33 mins. Position tbc (21st approx). Official timing and results tbc.