Monday, 6 July 2009


I don't know how something that hurt so much can have been so much fun but the Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon was a fantastic experience. Huge thanks to Jane for asking me to enter as her partner, for persuading me I didn't really need to carry so much kit, for pushing me up the hill in the woods, for not stabbing me to death with a spork in the tiny tent, for not being cross when I messed up and made us miss the first check point on Day 2, for carrying my bag up the big grassy hill and generally being a top person to spend an extreme 48 hours with. 

Although it was fun two days of navigating and running in the Lakes was also fairly challenging. The low points were making the mistake of trying something new on race day (even though everything you read about preparing for an event tells you not to), I started out on Day 1 with Gatorade in my drink bottle, this made me feel sick, made me not want to eat or drink. The first opportunity to dump it out a refill my bottle with stream water and nuun was very welcome, but my stomach was in rebellion for a while. It was a real effort to get anything down, and I got a bit dehydrated and low on energy, fortunately I perked up once the nuun worked its magic. I realise the only things I really want to eat while running are jelly beans and fruit pastilles, carrying lots of chocolate is pointless, unnecessary weight that can be got rid of next time. I definitely need to work on hills, I was slow on all the climbs, I need to start doing some hill repeats, this is a shift in attitude for me from being somebody who just goes out running to somebody who trains, but I think it needs to be done. I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't struggled so much up the hills, and we'd have been faster as team. My knee was fairly mangled by half way through Day 2, we could still move reasonably quickly over flat ground, but descending was crippling, I tried a strange skipping technique for a while but on the steeper drops I was reduced to a slow shuffle. 

For my first mountain marathon though I don't think I did too shabbily, 124 teams started in our class, we finished the first day in 67th, we dropped 30 places on Day 2, a combination of lost time due to me making a mistake with the first checkpoint and my knee not co-operating, so we finished 76th overall. 

A mention must also go to Pete Bland Sports thanks to them for having a van on the field at the basecamp, this meant I could come to my senses, go a bit mad and splash out on the worlds light thermarest ensuring a balloon free night of comfort at the overnight camp. 

I'm definitely up for doing another. I mean where else in life can you be stood in a field having a conversation with a man who is wearing nothing but harlequin patterned lycra shorts and nipple tape and it seem like perfectly acceptable behaviour. 

Photos of the weekend on flickr.


Red Bike said...

Very very impressed
(Even if I do think your nuts!).

Well done ladies!

ps loving the photos.
Raincoats, hills and smiles.

trio said...

Thought the balloon bed was a little crazy!

Julbags said...

Well done. At least you'll know next time not to introduce anything new! I only seem to be able to tolerate water to drink when running, even struggle with Nuun.

Pink Orange 5 said...

I ddin't understand about the balloon bed, I thought it was home !!
Well done did wonder how you went on. I looked at the results but they were as clear as mud (no pun intended) to the non-mountain marathon person (probably not ever).

Pink Orange 5 said...

Oh no just looked at the pictures that bloke in the Harlequin shorts should have been disqualified for casuign distress to other comeptitors.
Apart from that it looks great...can of Carlsberg?? Training aid...?

jumbly said...

Red - thanks! It was a bit crazy but fun.

Trio - loads of people use the balloon beds, they're meant to be great, but I probably did get a better night on a thermarest.

Julbags - nuun is a life saver in my book. I think I'd have had proper dehydration without it.

PO5 - yeah the shorts are amazing aren't they!? We saw him at the start and then when he started to chatting to us at the mid-camp, he was honestly wearing just them and nipple tape!

kate said...

who is this jane you speak of?

so glad you enjoyed it. jane hasn't stopped talking about it, "and this one time at saunders.." i'm still laughing about the "sullenly/hypoglycemic" guy ;)

lets do some running about soon :)

jumbly said...

kate - yeah some running about together would be good, I have at least one toe that needs a bit of a rest first though! I hugely enjoyed it, even the bad bits were good, Jane was a great race partner, you can't have her back, you have to find somebody new to race with ;0)

Pedalling Polarcherry said...

well done! great result. glad you enjoyed it

sally in norfolk said...

wow impressive ..well done :-)