Travelling through to Keswick this morning the weather was so atrocious that running up one of Englands highest summits seemed a ludicrous notion.
Luckily about 140 folk thought it was a good idea so I wasn't on my own as I tackled the motorway ascent of Jenkin Hill. There were hailstones and gale force winds to contend with as we neared the summit. Then suddenly a runner blasted back down the hill toward me - the leader. Either this lad was the fastest runner in the history of the event. Or I was running MUCH slower than last year. Or they were turning people round short of the summit. Not surprisingly it was the third option due to safety concerns. I would like to have gone to the top so I could compare my race time to 2009 but I can see why they did it. There were a few lads near me who also ran last year and I noted that on average they took 12 minutes less this year over the shorter course. Adding 12 minutes to my time would give me 1hr 19 mins which is 3 minutes quicker than I have ever ran. Progress indeed.
I still need to get better at descending steep rough ground though - one lad passed me going at least 50% faster than I was. Near the bottom of Latrigg I caught three people (including the first female) and was confident that with the safety of the less steep ground and then the short tarmac section I would be able to beat them all. I did, but it required a sprint finish to take my 14th place.
After a bite to eat in Keswick we returned to the van to find the lights on. That little monkey Scamp had obviously knocked the switch and flattened out battery for us. A push start got us going again and on the A66 at Threlkeld en route home I stopped to take a couple of pictures of my favourite fell. Remarkably the rain had stopped, roads dried and the summits cleared. Back home we sat in the garden enjoying the sunshine. Cumbria! I love it. (which is handy 'cos I live here)
Yesterday I ran my long run in the morning. I intended to go really early before it got too hot as I couldn't be bothered driving out to place drinks en route. I didnt get up soon enough really and so setting off in considerable heat I kept it to just 13 miles. 1:28 was a decent time considering I was never trying hard - just a nice steady run - if a bit sweaty.