Last Week: 51.2 miles; 8700 feet; 11:20:54
John Fleetwood’s day out gave us a second consecutive Saturday “all nighter” – not Wigan Pier or a Soul Night at King George’s Hall in Blackburn when we want a late night out! The rest of this week was a bit of a struggle and while I might normally have heaped on the COR (carry on regardless) I need to be reasonably rested for Saturday and Ed Swift’s “Joss”. I think the mileage on top of a second Saturday night, particularly with insufficient food and drink, just caught up with me. First time all winter this has happened so I decided 50 miles would be enough and I would settle for the climbing done at the weekend. My right achilles has been bothering me since the Fellsman and Saturday didn’t help it but it recovering. I need to select shoes with particular care and hope it is right by the 13th. all week it has been tight in the morning until stretched. By Thursday morning I felt good again and enjoyed the early morning miles.
Ed has an 18 hour allowance and a 17 hour schedule heavily weighted towards the last section so that he could arrive at the start of the last leg with the scheduled time plus two hours ‘in hand’. Even Ed thinks this is unlikely but it does mean losing time during the previous legs shouldn’t be a problem. Creating a good schedule is an art in itself, it needs to take account of the terrain, climbing, exhaustion and have an “allowance'” for bad weather and other contingencies. You also want it to be “your friend” rather than “your enemy” – you want to to provide reassurance and encouragement that progress is not too fast but fast enough and you don’t want it to be nagging you about lost minutes every time you reach another summit. These “lost minutes” are corrosive, eating into resolve and enthusiasm and it takes a strong mind to dismiss the effects. Often, to avoid this additional stress, the contender isn’t told whether he or she is behind or ahead. Personally, not knowing is worse but not everyone is the same. Ed really has two schedules only one of which is published, the other is in head and as long as we get to the start of the last leg one hour down he’ll be happy, I think. One to two hours down won’t be bad, not quite as good obviously, but not bad. Two hours down and it could be a very big ask. Part of the problem with this challenge is that the early going is very runnable and there is a danger of starting too fast and blowing up so, at the start, you need a schedule to hold you back then you need it to encourage you through the middle and final to provide reassurance on the rough rocky terrain of the last leg.
I hope, when we get back from Scotland next weekend we will have a photo to match the one below of Ed’s brother John in 2008 on the final summit with plenty of time left to descend to the finish at Greendale Bridge.