July 18, 2017 George Foster


Well that was shit.

Had a meeting, no coffee, with the Man with the Hammer.

Disaster – noun – a calamitous event, especially one occurring suddenly and causing great loss of life, damage, or hardship….

Sums up my day fairly well.

Before I go into the weeds of it; the excuses.

  1. I’ve not run a step in 3 weeks….
  2. ….because 3 weeks ago I developed posterior tibialis tendinitis.
  3. I’ve not been on anything approaching a hill since the Coledale race back in April.
  4. I took a heavy old fall only a quarter of the way into the race, bruising my hip and resigning me to having to physically lift my right leg up with my hands when going up any step above knee height. Slow going when uphill is your ‘thing’.

They’re pretty big things when you’re looking at being competitive in a long trail race in the Lakes. Disclaimer: I’m NOT saying I’d have breezed the win or anything like that (though it should only have ever been a two horse race….okay, that was arrogant). Tim was running well and looked strong for sure, but I’d like to think I’d have given him more of a scrap had I been more on the ball. Next year.

The Scafell Skyrace is, without doubt, the hardest race I’ve ever done. Yup. Harder than the previous hardest, the Arrochar Alps race up in Scotland. Mega credit to Charlie and his guys for their efforts (I’ll do another post on his races to go with this). It’s fully brutal.

I started off well. Comfortable on the ups to Green Gable and Windy Gap. Beautiful, fast running round under Napes Needle and on up to Scafell via the Corridor Route. The wheels came off rather dramatically at the summit. I dibbed, turned, caught my foot and spanked in massively on the rocks by the summit cairn landing really heavily on my hip and lower back (yeah, it was a full on somersault). On landing I immediately cramped up and literally couldn’t move. Winded, I got up and started running again but it was obvious straight away that the day was done. Going downhill was really tricky as my legs just gave up. Every muscle in them seized up intermittently over the course of the next 3.5hrs. Going uphill was even worse, I just couldn’t lift my leg up enough due to the swelling in my hip. Boo hoo right?!

I’m pleased that I managed to hang on to 2nd as far as Silver Howe….just 10k short of Ambleside but then I got passed in very quick succession. The pure frustration was almost overwhelming. I just couldn’t get my body to work and none of the food or drink that I was putting in was having any effect at all. Nightmare.

Lessons learnt:

  1. You’re asking a lot of yourself if you think you can just rock up to a race of this calibre off the back of zero training for the better part of a month/no specific training for 3 months; respect the course.
  2. Change jobs (see lesson 1).
  3. Test out your nutrition strategy properly pre-race. I’ve used the system I used yesterday before so it should have been fine but don’t rest on your laurels.
  4. Buy a better memory. The exact same thing happened to me in 2015 before doing the LSU….with the exact same result.

So yeah, pretty shitty. I’m gonna be going back next year for a proper effort at it. I’ve got a coach now….check out the link on the right. He knows his stuff for sure and I’m super keen to get some good results to repay his faith in me. Watch this space, but maybe start watching it from, like, January or something.

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