14 weeks, a rather full day of volunteering at Lakes Sky Ultra and my 2nd time leading Ben above marathon distance in training
I started the week with 7.5 miles on Tuesday morning and later on in the evening. This was then followed up with 2 more laps at 4:30am both on Thursday and Friday. My wife has joined a local gym and in the spirit of supporting her to get used to going, I have shifted my morning running back to earlier in the day.
I spent around 14 hours of yesterday outdoors volunteering at LSU. This was my 3rd year of being at one of their checkpoints and I was lucky to be paired with Darren who was another keen runner. We had some great views from our checkpoint
The day went quite quickly and both of us took turns “dibbing” in the runners using the SI Entries boxes. The runners all seemed really appreciative of the support and to be enjoying a day out on a very challenging course. We had a decent supply of hill food that we shared and were able to graze continuously for the 8 hours or so we were at our checkpoint. The last responsibility we had was to strip the course of flags from our checkpoint (9) through to checkpoint 12. I was pleased with my vertical momentum going up to Helvellyn and while descending Swirral Edge was still an adrenaline rush, it was nowhere near as intimidating with a proper backpack this year!
We got back to base about 9:45pm and after a quick supper of a beautifully curved high plate of food and the majority of a bottle of cider left by another runner (I’m not precious about that after 14 hour days!) , I was dropped back at my car by Darren and got back to Leeds around 1am.
I started today with another lap of 7.5 miles while Helen was at the gym which was at a nice steady pace then went to meet my brother at 10am.
Ben had agreed to my “back of an envelope” plan to build up his mileage before Whitworth Trail Ultra containing a 13 lap training run in Post Hill Woods today. Getting stung by nettles heavily on lap 1 was difficult but we both adapted well to this for the subsequent 12 laps. We both enjoyed interacting with dog walkers and teenagers for most of our running. I did a “high 5” with a girl who was positioned reasonably high up in a tree which I get the feeling she didn’t share my enthusiasm for but was willing to extend her palm.
We managed to plan in “treats” at key intervals (end of lap 7, 10 and 13). For the purposes of morale, energy drinks and beer were certainly more enticing to look forward to than the lemon squash and water in our hydration packs.
Ben had a bit of a difficult last mile with cramps but we both held up well for virtually all of the run and appreciated the weather not being as intense as it was recently. I’m glad he’s managed to increase his off-road training to this level and is looking forward to tackling his first technical style ultra in just over a month.