Lakeland Trails 15km Derwentwater Trail Challenge

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You know how it goes, someone mentions a run they’ve entered, you’ve seen them wearing the t-shirt and you think it sounds like a good idea…. I like trail running, husband likes trail running…. What could go wrong…

So that is how we found ourselves on the last day of August packing the car for a trip to the Lake District (not that many weeks since we were last there!). We’d borrowed a tent (it took some persuading to get my husband to actually camp), borrowed the essential bits and pieces for two nights, then threw everything bar the kitchen sink into the car (why do we always do this?).

Last time we went to Windermere, this time we were heading further north to near Keswick. The drive over was OK, just a few hold ups and we arrived at the camp site before any of the others. Thankfully it didn’t take long to pitch the tent and we were feeling pretty pleased with ourselves. The camp site was good – facilities excellent – although a much busier site than what I would have generally chosen when I used to camp more regularly. One by one the others turned up (we were the only ones in a tent – they all had caravans or camper vans), tea was made and eaten and we all wandered up to the pub for a few. This is actually what this weekend was about for me – the company. There have been very few times in my life where I’ve spent weekends away with friends and they are a good group so I was looking forward to the social time too. Although we were all very well behaved and back at the camp site and into bed at a very reasonable time.

Saturday – Race Day!

What else would you do on race day morning when your race doesn’t start till 1pm than go to parkrun? I’d have loved to do Whinlatter, but was informed that although beautiful it wouldn’t be a good idea with what else we had to do in the day, so off to Keswick we went.

Keswick parkrun is an out and back route along an old railway line and although not a particularly interesting course it was still pretty and going over the bridges and seeing the river was good. A nice steady run, chatting to a friend and parkrun done, leaving plenty of time to head off for a good breakfast to keep us going till after the race.

Lakeland Trails 15km Derwentwater Trail Challenge

As we don’t know the area we followed the instructions give regarding parking from the organisers. This was at Keswick Rugby Club and there was information that it was a ten minute walk from the start. Very, very poor start to our experience at this event. We found the carpark with a little difficulty, which was already about full. There were no marshals on hand or signs to give directions to the race. All it would have needed was one or two volunteers to point people in the right direction. As it was, we had to keep stopping people who already had race numbers to ask them where to go. Ten minutes walk? Hmmm…. I walk fast and it took us quite a bit longer than this. By the time we’d found registration, got our numbers, gone back to the car to swap shoes / tops etc we were both feeling really stressed. We’d given ourselves loads of time to get sorted as we hate rushing about last minute and this was a horrid start to the event.

It was a busy start with a lap around the park before heading along the same railway line we’d been on at parkrun and then starting the ascent up into the hills. There was more road than I was expecting at the beginning and was really glad once we got onto the softer trails, even thought the up-hills were really hard work. There was lots of walking – but we knew that that was going to be the case.

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We had to stop for a selfie 😉

It really is a beautiful part of the world and fab for running. Once we were up onto the fells the views were amazing (yes we did stop for a couple of pics!), it was still hard going with lots of boggy areas making the going pretty slow (and the feet very wet). I also don’t know whether it is really good or really bad that you can see the runners who are well ahead of you already making their way back along the opposite fell!

I was becoming more and more grateful for the fact that I had worn my Camelbak so could have a drink whenever I wanted. I’m not good at drinking whilst out and I take it so that I can have very small sips but at regular intervals – well I was very grateful as we still hadn’t seen a drinks station ! We ended up sharing my water and I think I’d have been feeling pretty ropey by this point if I’d not had it with me.

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Hi-Vis Sheep!

Over another stream and we completed the U turn to head up the opposite fell and past the hi-vis sheep). Once we’d done the initial climb this was pretty good going along a rocky track on the side of the fell. Heading for home I started to feel pretty good and that I could complete this. Just as we started to head down we got our view of Derwent Water too (and I did have to have a pic of that).

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Derwent Water – what a stunning view

Finally at about 8 miles there was the water station. I think this was very poor – or at least we should have been warned. About 4 miles in would have been ideal.

Out onto a hard packed chalk track we started the decent for the final mile back to Keswick. One of my fellow campers pointed out that we could see Braithwaite (where the campsite was) in the distance – big mistake…. Getting tired, taking my attention off my feet and to the view and before I knew what was happening I’d caught my foot and stumbled. It was like slow motion and I tried to save myself, then knew that I’d hit the point of no return. I remember thinking that it was going to really hurt… Yep, it certainly did!

I’d winded myself so didn’t move for a minute (sorry to those that were with me, I know this frightened you!), then with a bit of help sat up, examined the cut hands and knee quickly then was back on my feet. My husband knows me really well and knows that the minute I’m shown sympathy I will end up in tears – so a quick ‘you OK?’ and they set off again. I knew when I’d fallen that I’d done something to my left quad and certainly could feel it as we started to jog again. Thank you to Lynn for your company on the run, but particularly that last mile. This is where stubbornness kicks in and I was determined to finish!

Back into the park, through the finish and a quick visit to first aid to clean the blood up and back to our friends. Knowing that we had a good walk back to the car we had a pit stop at the pub on the way 😉 before heading to the campsite for a very welcome hot shower and painkillers.

Official Time:  02.13.06 – 9.47 miles – 366th out of 456

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Would I do this race again (or any of the series)? Yes I probably would, despite the issues with parking and water. The route was stunning.

Bling? T-shirt (very nice)

Recovery….. the cuts are the least of my worries, the ribs and the quad are causing me the most grief so I’ve spent most of the week dosed up on painkillers and trying to do gentle stretches. Sneezing is not good!!

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Before the fall!

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