June 8th ~12th: Weekly Stats (5 days) 24km / 3517ft
Friday. It’s 630am and I don’t feel much like sleeping. Better to be up and eating! My left heel is feeling a little tender after yesterday’s excursion. So I’m icing it to settle it down.
The weather forecast has sort of made its mind up but sort of hasn’t. It’s probably going to rain a bit at some point but how much and whether it then clears or remains claggy and a bit non-descript is anyone’s guess. The good news is that winds are forecast to be light, it’s not going to be too warm nor too cold.
And so in a little more than 20 hours I will be off. That seems ages away but the slightly scary thing is that a little more than 20 hours is only slightly more than the total time I plan to be running. The Bob Graham Round feels a long way now.
Nervous, excited, yes all of those things. Confident, no but yes. I’ve done more training in the last 9 months than I ever have done in my life, it still doesn’t feel enough, maybe it isn’t but you can only do what you’re motivated to do. Since October, some 388,000 feet of vertical ascent and countless miles in all weathers.
My biggest fear currently is making a route error, followed by simply falling apart once that clock goes beyond 11 or 12 hours. After that I simply have no experience on which to fall back on – long days in the Alps climbing perhaps but certainly not fell running. All I will have is me and my support team.
Thursday. One final recce! I’m not a big believer in doing absolutely nothing when tapering, and I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t go and search out the ‘Parachute’ descent off Blencathra just one more time. So I had a steady walk to the summit via Halls Fell this evening in the sunshine. Was nice to turn the legs over without killing myself. Dropped in steadily off the summit, following some very useful beta I’d been given by another runner I had the fortune to bump into (who also had struggled to find the complete line) and the I am glad to report, I found the line. 14 minutes to the fell gate, 18 minutes to the A66 – it is absolutely miles faster!
Wednesday.Another steady run out towards Staveley and back. Slower pace today and the head and legs are beginning feeling a little more normal. It was warm today. Shocked the hell out of a guy not wearing very much (!) for his dip in the Kent – top tip, don’t do that next to a public footpath unless you’re not bashful. Almost felt tired but I think that is mostly due to my stomach not knowing when it is supposed to be eating still.
The forecast is looking decidedly uncertain for Saturday. But the Met-Office synoptic charts are changing every 12 hours, currently for the better. Maybe the front coming up from the South wont make it to Cumbria. Either way I don’t think it is looking bad enough to postpone!
Tuesday. Repeat. 6km circuit to Staveley and back.
Monday. Tempo run out towards Staveley and back along the banks of the River Kent. Feeling very sluggish and still got a fuzzy head from re-adjusting back into UK time after my week in the states, but ran at a brisk tempo to try and get the legs back working. Still it is a pleasant 5 or 6km circuit with just a few rises.
1st ~ 7th June: Weekly Stats: 20km / 2625ft
My first week of full tapering. I’ve been in the North-West United States all of this week and have had an enforced few days off thanks to long-haul flights and a 48 hour delay in my baggage turning up, which meant I had little more than a toothbrush, let alone any running gear! The upside is that work has brought me to the Cascades, Washington again, so plenty of terrain on which to potentially run on, through and relax amongst.
Thursday. Another few hours spare and with a lift from my friend Woody upto one of the higher Trailheads, I headed out for a run along Nason Ridge. A delightful undulating ridgeline, heavily forested throughout most of its length but with occasional glimpses through the trees across some of the higher peaks of the central Cascades. Only Moquito’s for company which was the perfect encouragement to not hang about.
Wednesday. My baggage finally turned up today and keen to run-off some of the jet lag / 8 hour time difference I forced myself out for a run. Drove up the Icicle Creek road for a few miles, and went for an hours jaunt from Bridge Creek, running along upto the Stuart / Colchuck Trailhead. 400 metres of steady climbing up and along a fairly uninspiring track.
Monday. Today I have spent some 12 to 13 hours flying to Seattle on the Western seaboard of the United States and have then driven some 2 1/2 hours across the Cascades to Leavenworth. I’ve now been on the go for 26 hours and am knackered. 12 hours of economy-class flying is hardly ideal preparation less than two weeks before my Bob Graham Attempt. To make matters worse, our baggage it still in Amsterdam – including all of my running kit!