Friday night I arranged with Penrith Stu to meet up early Saturday to run a couple of laps of my famously hilly Talkin circuit. Just afterwards I saw a local weather forecast - 70mm precipitation due to fall on Cumbria over the following 24hrs - up to 150mm on higher ground.
An out and out fellrun would have provided less favourable conditions than those we encountered on the Northernmost Pennine fringe, but only just. About half an hour into our 15miler I noticed a couple of runners coming toward us. 'Very unusual' I thought, as theres scarcely even a passing car most times I come here. As we each closed in on one anothers position I realised it was actually just one runner - my pal Mike Scott with the 'other runner' being his laal babby Will, snuggled up tight in his streamlined racing pushchair. Mike lives very close to the Talkin circuit and I had let him know I was coming out to run there. To see him out in such awful conditions 'con bambino' was utterly hilarious. I should have realised that such a well known successful race winner would never let a small thing like paternal commitment stand in the way of a workout, and I listened with incredulity at his stories of 'sub 7 pace' around his hilly four mile loop and how one week earlier he had completed the full 6.5 mile loop (which includes 600ft of climbing - some,VERY steeply downhill) despite a fresh thick layer of snow.
Amazing! Hilarious and amazing!
|Theres no babby inside - when Mike gets to the top of a hill he gets in it himself|
The 15 miler itself was largely interest free. Same as on 3rd January, Stu bombed off ahead with a couple of miles to go. I resisted this silly behaviour this time and slowed down to an easy jog in an effort to spare my muscles a downhill pounding. I was thinking of the following days training, even though I knew Stu would henceforth refer to the days run a his latest 'victory'
Sunday morning dawned very fresh, ie rainy and windy. I had planned to run very late morning to allow a bit of a lie in. I had also planned to complete my Crosby circuit which goes through Rickerby Park. However, upon reaching the park with Scamp after breakfast I was greeted by rather a lot of water. Last September the Cumbrian Run went right by the Cenotaph. Today scarcely one third of the 4ft railings surrounding it were above the water level.
Cue route change!
I was slightly apprehensive of completing 10 miles anyway so opted for 8 instead. The Houghton route is marked (in my head only, now that the paint has worn off 10 years after I marked every half mile). The route is also a tad more lumpy than the Crosby loop but nothing long or steep involved. I wanted a brisk run and 6:20 for mile 1 seemed perfect. Four miles later I was still on 6:22 average and at the end of 8 miles exactly the same. It had felt brisk but not excessively hard at any point so I decided to add one more mile.
Final result. 9 miles at 6:21 per mile.
That's quicker than I ran for the Brampton to Carlisle 10 mile race in November and on a generally tougher course (the 'hill' many people dread at 8 miles in the B' to C' is the same one I ascended x3 within this 8m)