I was at Brathay for a trustees meeting on Friday and Saturday - and so I thought I had to take a training opportunity.
Saturday was a lovely day - not too hot, but clear and sunny for the most. Sunday dawned cold, misty, leaden grey skies and raining. Not ideal for tackling the whole Langdale Marathon course solo.
The Langdale course is two laps of the half marathon course - each one having two huge steep climbs of over 25% plus numerous other smaller ones. During Challenge 30 I shall be running it both ways round. So my plan was a lap one way, turn round and a lap the other way.
On my first lap as I ran along the valley past the Dungeon Ghylls I could see waves of rain being blown sideways across the climb up to Blea Tarn. I was cold, very wet and railing against the Gods - or the fact that there weren't any. I hadn't prepared for this so no gloves, fingers like cold sausages, couldn't get the tops off my energy gels etc etc.
The weather did clear a bit towards the end of my first lap so that encouraged me to turn round and into the second lap. The climb up through Little Langdale back towards Blea Tarn is long, steep and merciless - but with views to die for. Absolutely magnificent and going the "normal" way round, unless you keep looking back, you never see them.
I started to tire and get a strain down the outside of my left knee after about 4 hours 20 minutes. It only really affected me on the downhills and was alleviated each time by walking a little. I think I completed the course in around 4:45. A bit slower than usual but then I don't normally do it in those conditions, nor carrying all my drinks, food, phone etc.
And I had run to the course from Brathay - and then had to run back from the course. So definitely Langdale plus - plus about 4 miles I think. The main thing is that I completed, my in-run recovery was good (get tired going up a climb, but recover to run properly again quickly) and my post-run recovery felt good at the time. And still feels okay this morning. I must be fitter than I feel to be! I certainly don't feel super fit, but around 30 of your hilliest Lake District miles and still reasonably okay this morning is encouraging. Not that I would feel like doing it again today - yet!