It’s been a while since I’ve had a proper, ambitious running goal. Over the past 18 months, getting Mud and miles up and running, so to speak, has been the focus for much of my time. Yes, I’ve still been out there running, quite a lot in fact, but if you’d have asked me what I was training for, the answer would have been “Nothing really”. I’ve achieved a few parkrun PBs and enjoyed some races in spectacular places, but I couldn’t honestly say that I was training for them; they’ve just kind of happened along the way.
I’ve always intended, though, that 2018 would be a ‘big race’ year for me. In 2008 I celebrated a big birthday by jumping off a car ferry into a Norwegian fjord at the start of the Norseman extreme triathlon (I did do the rest of the race too, in case you were wondering!) so for while I’ve been mulling over what my challenge for next year might be. I knew it had to involve running, definitely off-road, and I wanted it to be long; it also had to involve my favourite area of the UK, the Lake District. Having ruled out a couple of events for having too many participants and too much bling, or being at the wrong time of year, I came upon the Lakes Traverse, a new event for 2018.
Starting in St Bees on the west coast of Cumbria, the 60 (ish) mile (and 12,000ft of ascent) route follows the Coast-to-coast path right across the middle of the Lake District to the village of Shap, on the border with Yorkshire. I love a run with a distinct starting point and a destination elsewhere, and when I discovered this was an unmarked route with just a couple of feed stations on the way, I was sold.
So, November marked the first day of my journey towards my destination, Shap; my event-specific training started. All that running I’ve done over the last 18 months has prepared me well and I feel ready; fit, strong and raring to go! I’m looking forward to sharing my journey with you all along the way and hope that we can all learn something from it. And in case you are wondering what my first day of training involved, it was Pilates. No running, just an hour’s class focused on moving and moving well. After all, that’s what will help get me through my journey to my destination.
Originally posted November 2017