The last 3 weekends have seen me do a 34 mile run down the river Lune, a 26 miles run over Clougha and the local hills, followed by a crazy 3 consecutive ascents of Skiddaw.
In contrast to last year – were I had 3 weeks less training due to doing the Paddy Buckley round 3 weeks later into June – I had more time to do specific training. I did all 3 of these recent runs with the pack weighted to TMB + a bit, levels. All the runs went well, I did the River Lune run from Devils Bridge to Plover scar and back to Lancaster in 5 hours 40 mins, in fairly warm conditions. The local hill marathon (26 miles 4,500 feet) was done in 4 hours 35 minutes in constant rain. Then the crazy run!!
I decided that Skiddaw was an average type of trail to simulate the TMB. Its surface is similar in that it is mainly hard and stony; it has some steep parts and some gentle parts to the climb. The long climb is also good and at 25 miles and 8,500 feet it would pack a similar punch to the TMB. So the idea was to do 3 ascents and descents to make use of this ideal track. The first climb was going well until I got exposed to a brutal 50 + mph wind near the summit and lashing rain. I got battered on then off the summit ridge. After descending into the calm of Jenkin hill I questioned if I wanted to go through that 2 more times. I convinced myself that as the day wore on the temperature would rise and the wind drop. I was right about the temperature, but got battered by wind and rain twice more to complete a good training session in 5 hours and 40 minutes with one 5 minute break at the car after 2 laps. My last decent was the fastest - for confidence - 37 minutes, after a 1h 15 ascent.
It was a fun day, but not one that I will repeat. On my 3rd ascent some walkers asked me in a confused way is this you 2nd time up, when I replied "no it’s my 3rd", I think they thought I was mad. I hate doing out and back runs and this was just as much a mental battle as anything else. I think in future I will stick to making up circuits of hills, and leave this as a bizarre one off run.
So my training is almost complete, and I feel fit and ready for it I hope to do it in 34 hours but I will be flexible and adjust this if needed just to finish. Even my sponsorship is going well. Many generous friends, family and work colleagues have sponsored me to raise money for St Johns Hospice. So I feel I should have a much better run than last year. Well it couldn’t be much worse…..Could it.