What a cracking week it's been up here in the Lakes, the weather has been just fantastic which, combined with the longer evenings, has meant that people are starting to get out into the hills again in their droves, and we're no exception.
This weekend saw me heading over to Langdale to support a friend of mine in the Great Langdale St Georges Day 10k Run, an annual race held on the Langdale to Ambleside road. I had just finished a nice big breakfast and was about to set off when I got a call from Steve, enthusiastically telling me that there were still places up for grabs and that I should compete. Well, as he's my usual running partner, I thought it might be a bit of a laugh - a little run between mates - so I lobbed my shoes in back of the car and headed over.
Well you couldn't fault the location, 10km in the spectacular Langdale Valley, being overlooked by the Pikes and with Bowfell and Crinkle in the background. As I'd only joined with quarter of an hour to spare, I have to say I wasn't really taking it completely seriously; we jogged along, chatting away whilst our fellow competitors ran in stoic silence, heart rate monitors bleeping in unison. And so we continued, for the bulk of the race, both telling each other every now and again that 'if you want to go ahead then be my guest', but always declining ... UNTIL, we passed the 8km mark.
At that point there was a change in Steve, no longer 'friendly jog' mode, he was now in 'on a mission' mode. 2 yards, 5 yards, 15 yards, gradually increasing the gap, until all of a sudden he had disappeared round the corner. I picked up the pace, and overtook a couple of people but he was gone, and the beautiful weather was starting to seem less beautiful as I baked in the sun. As the finish came into view, I couldn't see Steve anymore, but it didn't matter, all that mattered now was getting to the water table and cooling down. After an attempt at a sprint finish, I staggered through the finishing posts in 50 minutes, 50 seconds after Steve, and a damn sight worse for wear.
Moral of the story? Probably best to prepare for a bit more for events (i.e. a little less breakfast and a bit more training), and there is no such thing as a 'little run between mates' - its always a race!