HMHD99 £2 up to £10 to 70070
I saw a few familiar faces from the Facebook community, (Jon Fletcher and Otto, Andrew Hayes, Simon Fisher, Anna Roberts etc) in the school canteen. I got weighed, registered and went through the kit check. I chatted to a few more people after kit check and then went to The Endurance Store as all the display they had out looked all bright and shiny and inviting. I bought some arm compression /warmers, quad compression and a running top that I thought I might wear after Dalemain, (one of those compress sport tight as a wet suit top thing). I got the right size tried it on and made a note to myself that they weren’t easy to put on and take off. So I though id decide at Dalemain whether id wear it or not.
I checked my race pack and my halfway drop bag again and settled myself in the car with the air conditioning on as it was getting rather warm and humid. I watched a movie on my phone(Trance, directed by Danny Boyle the guy that orchestrated the brilliant opening ceremony for last year’s Olympics), which is well worth a watch. This took my mind off things for nearly 2 hours and as I relaxed and cooled off in the car.
Time crept on and I got my running kit on and again checked my pack and drop bag, I chatted to Marcus Taylor a guy id ran with on a previous recce and Steve Mee, who’s blog id read a few times after he completed last year’s 100.
So the countdown ensued a few more brief chats with those around me and we all set off. The Lakeland 100 2013 had started and I was one of the starters! I wasn’t sure at this stage whether Simon had snuck in at the front and was in front of me or if he was behind me. So I carried on at my normal pace, not really thinking of what was ahead of me or how it would pan out. What I didn’t do and haven’t done since I signed up for the 100 last year was let any negative thought enter my head. No talks of DNF (did not finish) with anyone, the race was always a race and not an attempt, all conversations were positive (when rather than if, im running rather than im attempting and so on), I think this is a major factor in your preparation, filling your head with negative thoughts and phrases and comments only feeds any sub conscious negativity that can lay dormant until resurfacing during the event, then any hardships endured have a ready-made excuse to give up.
I ran with Nick Ham (an experienced ultra-runner of countless 50 and 100 mile plus ultra-marathon finishes) for a while, knowing that he knew how to pace a 100 mile ultra I stayed near to his pace as it was similar to mine. The checkpoints came and went, each one hosted as brilliantly as the other by different teams. The 70s themed checkpoint was great, really lifting everyone’s spirits, a few photos were taken and on we went towards Buttermere.
We headed out of Braithwaite (after some pasta and sauce and a brew) through Keswick and up towards Latrigg car park. We had a quick chat about the climb up Skiddaw, a decent route which id done a few times in June after work when I (lucky for me) was working on the A66 at Threlkeld and Doddick Farm supervising the construction of some access steps and stiles on the Public Footpaths that cross the A66. We headed around the fell and made our way down the left hand side of the Horseshoe shaped path which headed towards Blencathra.
We pushed on up the climb and had a chat with Steve Mee writer of the great post that is on the home page of the Lakeland 100 website. He had some positive methods of staying motivated throughout the event last year when he did the 100 for the first time.
I continued feeling strong passing to my amazement more and more of the ladies and gents doing the 50. I couldnt believe how i felt after 75 miles! I was half expecting the wheels to fall off at any point but i continued knowing that the pace i was going at i could maintain at least until Ambleside. We dibbed and refuelled at Kentmere, by this point i think i had left Chris and David behind me although they werent far away. I felt energised again coming out of Kentmere and wanted to use this positivity to the best i could while it lasted. I was now not only thinking of just finishing but finishing in the best possible time i could. I still maintained a manageable pace but was picking more and more fellow 100ers off as i went. This felt good and motivated me even more to push on. I was up and over Garburn through Troutbeck and was heading into Ambleside before i knew it. I picked up the pace again keeping up with some 50ers all the way to the checkpoint which was now located in the Ambleside Parish Centre having moved from Lakesrunner which is now a coffee shop i think. I flew up the steps like they werent there causing a marshall to shout 'no way are you doing the 100!!', this gave me even more of a boost entering the checkpoint. I sat down for a few minutes, filled water bottles had a brew and ate something proper ready for the run to Chapel Stile. I hooked up with a few lads doing the 50 and ran with them all the way pretty much to Chapel Stile. I reckoned this saved me half an hour easy and i passed some more 100ers who were walking at this point.
Before we set off i had refuelled with some food and a few cups of sweet tea. I also had to to change the batteries on my head torch as it had started to flash a warning that it was getting low on batteries on the way in to Tilberthwaite. I changed from the Lithium battery in the Petzl Nao to some AAA, to my horror within 2 mins it had started to flash again warning that the battery was low. How could this be, i had checked and rechecked this before packing kit for the final time. I didnt panic and positioned myself as close to David as i could on the climb out of Tilberthwaite. Pushing on up the climb with us was a group of 50ers, one had a brighter head torch so i got behind him for a while. This was easily the least enjoyable section for me, the lack of head torch plus the wet ground and slippy Bondi B and i was sliding all over the place. I didnt let it get me down and laughed evertime i fell on my arse. I found it easier on the grassy sections just to slide on my arse as i could keep up with the man in front better!!. So after picking my way down the tricky rocky steep descent with no head torch we finally came to a proper path. I now found myself running/shuffling next to a 50er with TWO TORCHES!! ahh if only id found him earlier I explained my predicament and asked if i could borrow his hand held torch for the run in (the easy bit down the road, not the rocky tricky steep descent!!), he very kindly lent me it and i set off knowing the end was not far away. My left IT band was giving me some gyp by now, so to counter this i ran sideways like a crab all the way down the hill into Coniston, i corrected my gait for the last 100 metres (wasnt sure how people would react to black mansized crab-like figure running through Coniston in the early hours) and rounded the corner on to the final run in to the school. I was soaked to the skin but felt elated when i saw the finish line. I was met on the final turn by a bubbly (for 0345 in the morning) Tracy Dean who shouted ahead that another 100er was here, i dibbed for the final time and entered the school. I was hit by a wall of applause, warmth and friendly faces, i didnt know whether to laugh or cry so i just smiled the biggest grin. I was led into the hall where i picked up my medal and t shirt.
What an experience!!
I finished in 33 hours 52 mins and 08 seconds in 65th place. I could not believe the time and the placement. I was over the moon, so pleased at how it went.
I completed this event with a few motivational/tools for inspiration. The first is for the Charity i ran for Duchenne Now and the young lads and girls my fundraising efforts will help. Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy affects mainly boys and is a rare muscle wasting disease. Most of the young people affected ny this disease dont make it past their late teens or early twenties. A friend through works stepson Tyler Richardson has it, and Nick Irlam (his Step Dad) and family spend alot of time fundraising for Duchenne Now www.duchennenow.org I wanted to help. If you have managed to read this far and are would like to donate there are a couple of ways that you can, the www.justgiving.co.uk/christetlow249 link, or by texting HMHD99 £2 up to £10 to 70070. Thanks in advance for your donation.
Ill be back in 2015, as next year i hope to bring my sons up for the Lakeland 1 and help out marshalling if they need it. I like the idea of being on the other side for once. See you next year then!
I pinched a few photos for this post as mine werent that great, thanks Adam Rose and others that posted to the L100 Facebook page.