I suppose the reason being is that finishing the Lakeland 100 was always what I was aiming at and everything else was a build up to it. I've just been mulling over what to do next. That and my router keeps restarting so I keep losing drafts for posts.
Since finishing the L100 physical recovery went very well and I was back running at a slow pace 2 days later. The emotional ups and downs that came after the Housman 100 didn't seem to arise this time, I think this was down to me preparing more for afterwards and making sure I set some time aside to actual go out and do some recovery runs.
The lack of postings was probably also down to the UTMB taking place and a lot of my friends out there in Chamonix with varying success. Well done to all for getting out there and experiencing it, especially Mark Dalton who helped me around both the L100 and Housman 100, he powered through all the way to the finish where over 1000 others couldn't. I did plan on writing a big build up to it but the race is that big now I think the internet is saturated with blogs and reports on it. If you haven't seen this video it brings it home what it's all about. Just a shame that the majority still use those geriatric sticks.
Oh yeah and Kilian Jornet showed everyone who is the best ultra trail runner in the world right now. Just watch out for the Bob Graham record. I know he has a copy of the 42 peaks booklet and has half an eye on the round.
What was this post supposed to be about again? I'm not trying to avoid it, honest.
The High Peak 40. The second ultra I ever did in 2009 and was dismayed at the amount of road running involved. I vowed never to set foot on the course again. So, you guessed it I was back in 2010 and suffered once more but at least I knocked 15 minutes off my 2009 time. My feelings were laid down in this post.
My previous two outings have been hot weather affairs which I don't usually get on with and seemed to suffer as a result. This year the forecast was for spells of rain throughout the day and arriving at Buxton community School we weren't disappointed as it began to chuck it down quite heavily albeit in short intervals.
The usual suspects appeared and a runfurther series ultra running blog post cannot be complete without a mention of Nick Ham who only 3 weeks ago had to drop out of the UTMB with rather painful shin splints. I'd not seen Nick look this worried or focused about a race before. As he was erecting the runfurther flags and banners he mentioned that the shins felt fully recovered but had not been given a proper test yet. His grand slam chances rested on todays result. If it went well there would only be a short 50 mile plod around Rotherham in October to complete for the full set of 12 races in the year.
The two guys from Bolton, Stephen and Jason who I'd met on the Lakeland 100 recce weekend well, it turned out that they actually won the Lakeland 50 team event, on their first ultra as well. They had obviously caught the bug now as they were doing HP40 but insisted they would only do the L50 again next year, not the 100.... See you at the 100 then.
There was a distinct lack of 'Big Guns' this year. No Stuart Mills, Duncan Harris or regular front runner Brian Cole so it was anyones guess who was up for the win.
As we walked down to the start the waterproof jacket was on and it looked to be set for a wet day. Mark had travelled up the night before from a day watching the cricket and just as we were talking everyone seemed to run off. That must be the start then.
I tried to ease off during the early stages of the race as I knew the early downhill road stretches would take their toll on the legs. I had to stop down in Goyt valley for a blast of Ventolin which was not a good sign as two blasts before the start of any race usually sees me through.
The first 20 odd miles all went well as Mark was in fine form with his tales from UTMB. He also had me in stitches telling me about the LDWA walk he is organising in Ripon and the local busy body bureaucrats trying to stick their oars in to his local village hall events.
The legs were feeling strangely weaker than usual though and a slight ache was developing all over the body.
Reading back through my post from last year I can see that I fell apart going up Cave Dale. This year was no exception but I don't remember feeling this bad. I had tried to keep some in the tank but I was clearly having a bad day. I told Mark to push on and I'd see him at the finish. He wasn't that bothered so stayed with me for a while but as I got slower it was pointless for me to hold him up. He was out of sight within 5 minutes.
Tideswell Moor and checkpoint 7 sees a break to the previous climb and I take on a load of flapjack from the aid station. Nick catches me here and asks if Mark has deserted me. He appears in good spirits and I can tell then that he was sure to finish and in a decent time too.
I picked up slightly here and run surprisingly well all the way down the 3.3 mile downhill stretch to Tideswell Dale. For the first time ever I wasn't wearing X-talons. I was using new shoes today; Inov8 F-Lite 230s brought especially for the road running occasion. I'm well impressed. Just not at the price I arrive just as Nick was leaving.
All the way down Monsal Dale was a struggle not helped by the stench of a dead sheep with it's foaming bloody mouth described so poetically in Will Merediths blog and the unhelpful non motor vehicle signs stating 'walkers only', no need to take the p**s. I had adopted a 100 steps running and 50 steps walking technique.
Making my way up to the checkpoint before Monsal Dale I was stopped for directions by some kids on their DofE. Refreshing to see them enjoying the day out. They certainly had enough kit. Not so sure about the big orange rucksack covers though.
The muddy trail down to the river and following it was quite sketchy in the F-lites but here and the later Cave dale 2 descent were the only places I missed the X-talon grip.
Feeling demoralised by the time I got to 'that' long road section I did attempt short bursts of running but I still wasn't with it. I had started with 5 torq gels and a couple of new accelerade 2nd surge gels. One which I'd taken earlier but found anything but a surge. I took my second er 2nd surge and a torq along with some flapjack on the march along Flagg Lane and by the time I reached the turn off they started to kick in. I was running again. This was all a bit too late as I hit Cave Dale 2 and had to slow down anyway as it was quite slippery in places.
In a shocking turn of events from the last checkpoint 11 I could see half a dozen people all struggling in front of me and my second surge was still going. From here to the finish I probably passed 10 in total only to halt at a junction crossing the main road in Buxton that I was sure was the way back to the finish. Had they changed the route at the last minute? I hoped I could remember the way. This ended up being no great problem as it all came flooding back and the pathway to the finish 'desk' came faster than expected where I was presented with my special 25th anniversary mug.
My slowest time in three attempts by a long stretch 2009-8:17, 2010-8:03, 2011-8:42!!
After the big 100s this year I took my eye off the ball for the HP40 and genuinely expected to get well under 8 hours so I could go away happy never to do this dreaded event again but as always there is something that is drawing me back to it. Maybe it's the organisation and checkpoint staffing that is as good and as friendly as ever or maybe it's that masochistic streak and the feeling that one day you can beat those long road stretches and just run them all like a real runner would.