My Lakeland Trails Derwentwater Challenge

It wasn’t raining when I woke up on the morning of this race. I was pretty sure I’d ordered rain; the same heavy, saturating rain as experienced at last year’s Lakeland Trails Derwentwater Trail in Keswick. It was overcast and so I held on to the hope that my longed for rain would arrive before the start of the run.

I assembled the troops and loaded the car and we were off to Keswick. After 3 miles, with Professor Green blaring (not the most relaxing music!), I glanced at my wrist and realised it was bare! No Garmin!! Cue panic and a quick turnaround to retrieve it and then, finally, we were away!

We arrived at Keswick and ended up parking at the Pencil Museum. We made our way to the event start at Fitz Park and what an atmosphere we encountered. The Batala Samba Band were amazing – the drumming really getting you pumped up.

Before we started

Batala Samba Band

Start Area

After registering, we took Erin to sign up for the Kid’s Fun Trail. Despite being nervous about her first ever run, she was really looking forward to it. The girls were entertained at the park until it was time for Erin to line up at the start for her fun run. As the race started, she sprinted off and kept a good pace all the way. She had a massive grin on her face all the way round, which was lovely to see, and helps to remind you that we run for pleasure and we shouldn’t lose sight of that.

Watch Out Usain Bolt!

Erin at the finish

Erin with her medal.

As she crossed the line, you could see the relief etched all over her face and she was beaming with pride after being presented with her first medal. What a star!

After that, the girls and the other half wandered off for food while I waited nervously at the start with Ali. We usually like to start near the back but everyone seemed reluctant to go anywhere near the front and so we started a long way nearer the front than we would have liked.

Eventually, we were off, without the hoped for rain making an appearance. In fact, the sun had decided to shine brightly in Keswick – a very rare occurance!

The first 2 miles along the disused railway are fairly flat and so it was easy to get carried away, again, with the faster pace. Miles 2 to 5 were all uphill and included making our way across the infamous Glendereterra bogs. I witnessed a few people meeting sticky ends in the bogs – some of the muddy bits seemed bottomless!

Trail Route

Elevation of the Route

The going was gruelling through these early miles and you really have to dig in in order to keep plodding forwards. The camaraderie amongst fellow competitors is amazing and it helps to keep you going on the tough ascents.

The scenery at the top of the climb was breathtaking, although I had to keep my eyes forward because the sheer drop at the side of the narrow path was terrifying! The running then became easier and I was able to pick up the pace in anticipation of the lovely downhill section.

From the Lakeland Trails Facebook Page

However, as we started descending, I started to experience the worst ever stitch! I was so looking forward to just letting go downhill but, instead, I had to really ease up. How frustrating! I kept going but the pain was so bad that I really thought I’d have to stop and walk. I did keep plodding away, taking deep breaths, until the pain started to ease some. I’ve read that getting stitches when going downhill can be related to a weak core. This is something I really need to work on and so I’ll be getting reacquainted with Jillian Michaels again as, I admit, I’ve neglected her evil exercise DVDs lately.

With a mile to go, I could hear the drumming from the Samba band and just focussed on deep breathing and keeping one foot going in front of the other. A short, steep climb into the park nearly killed me but the drums kept me going, and the encouragement from the race organiser and the marshals.

Once I hit the path I could see the finish and my legs started moving faster despite me not being able to really feel them any more! I focussed on some people ahead and made it my mission to beat them. Forgetting my long suffering legs, I managed a sprint finish. The relief at crossing the line was immense and it was brilliant to see my family there at the finish cheering me on. I wish I could bottle that feeling that you get when you finish a run.

Relief at the finish

The time on my Garmin said that it had taken me 1 hour 32 minutes and 51 seconds. I’m really pleased with that time – it’s always a great feeling to beat last year’s time. And I managed to run despite the fact it didn’t rain!

Afterwards we headed home; both myself and Erin very pleased with our achievements and the fact that we can push ourselves and enjoy the wonderful countryside that surrounds us.

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