My good pal Stu (Shirley) Stoddart said once I'd done the BGR I would wonder what all the fuss was about. I can see what he means - the round itself didn't seem like the toughest thing I've ever done, but I think that was mainly due to being fed, watered, and generally looked after all the way through it. In my mind the BGR is still a huge thing to do, requiring excessive training, preparation and support organised to the nth degree. Then even with all of those in place the weather can spoil the party so easily.
I'm still as keen as ever on the route too. Perhaps not legs 1 and 2 and 5, but 3 and 4 are still relatively new to me and I want to spend time on them, especially 3 between Langdales to Esk Hause. I'd like to be one of those people who invent new routes, new challenges, but for now I'm more than happy to spend my time covering the established ones again.
Turned out the BG bit me back - I got injured. Probably during it, although it took about 3 weeks for me to realise it was a proper injury and not just a niggle that would go away on its own....
Tibialis Posterior. The muscle/tendon that runs down the inside of your leg then around the ankle bone and under your foot. It is taking forever to get properly fixed. Now 8 weeks. I can run on it now without any real problem but afterwards my whole foot aches in general and up the other side of my leg too. The left foot seems to have lost strength and stability too - on a fell run I find that foot giving way, twisting or slipping at a ratio of 10 to 1 compared to the right (good) foot.
Due to this injury I have NOTHING AT ALL firmly planned for the rest of the summer. I'm just enjoying doing my thing, in the hills, with ma dawg and occasionally some friends.
I did have a wee go at a couple of events lately - lets just say these didnt go well...
The Rydal Round is the fellrace I have done more than any other, and as my foot had been OK for the 5.5 hours of leg 3 the weekend prior, I reckoned this sub 2 hr race would be no problem. It wasnt a problem for my foot.... but the rest of my body wasnt happy. I struggled to run again once Nab Scar had reduced me to walking and by the summit of Fairlfield I had been passed by TWO WOMEN as well as several blokes. Handily, many of them had little idea of the best route from Fairfield back to Ambleside so even though I only trotted myself down I kept getting ahead of some of them. This was little consolation really though - possibly my worst ever race.
Things then got even worse on Saturday for the Lakes 50.....
I felt sure that 50 miles would be TOO far to run on a still healing foot and would surely set it back as bad as ever. So I planned to run FAST to Mardale then walk back. I probably ran TOO FAST considering the heat, but by only about 5 miles or so I was struggling and being passed by runners. I felt so bad that I merely jogged from the Cockpit to Howtown, where I stopped. So in 1 year I went from being first to finish the L50 to being first to quit it!!
On a slightly more positive note I also resumed my track training. Firstly with a single mile (after running there as warm up) in 5.36. Not bad - I honestly thought i would be nearer 6 minutes and struggling at that. A few days later I returned and ran a (admittedly easy) session of 3 x 1 mile. Proper miles this time, not just the 4 laps. Its only about 1.5 seconds extra to run the 9metres more but still felt good to record 5.36, 5.36, 5.35.
So I am still reasonably fit and reasonably fast. I just need this bloody foot issue to go away and let me get on with things properly.
I just have to keep reminding myself that even if I just spend the rest of the year tootling around doing nothing in particular........ I did the Bob Graham Round in less than 20 hours