A weekend of running, rain and pain!

This weekend saw me doing something I never thought I’d do voluntarily; trail running.  Not only trail running but enjoying it!  If you’d told me three years ago that I’d be taking part, let alone suggesting such a thing, I’d have laughed at you.  Then gone to McDonalds for a cheeseburger.  Actually, I could just eat a cheeseburger.  That was a bad choice of words. 

Anyway, Friday evening saw me and Rosie driving up to the Lake District to meet up with Sarah, who was heading down from Scotland.  We arrived in the Lakes at 11pm in thick fog and heavy rain.  It gave us an idea of what to expect for the weekend… and the weather didn’t disappoint! No sarcasm, I love being outside in the rain.

Me, Rosie and Sarah – hats and ear warmers abound!

By the way, if you’re heading to the Lake District, check out the Youth Hostel at Ambleside; it was lovely, and ridiculously good value for money.  It’s in walking distance of the pubs, sat right on the lake and aside from extremely small toilets (no joke, I got my leg stuck trying to get out of the door) amazing value for money!  Check it out.

Rosie buried in the corner of our small but very nice room. 3 girls + 1 activity weekend = lots and lots of bags!

Saturday we decided to kick off with a trail run since the weather meant a trip up Scafell Pike wouldn’t be much fun.  I piled on a few layers and my (pristine) trail running shoes and we set off round the other side of the Lake Windermere to a spot below Wray Castle, where we parked up and set off on the trail.

Looking back down the trail – seriously beautiful!

It wasn’t long before we headed into a forest and ran on the most beautiful trail, winding up through the trees and past various small lakes.  The trail eventually crested the hill and we had a stunning long downhill on a very squelchy track.  It was one of those runs where you feel amazing and as though you could run forever, it was just stunning. 

Rosie bombing down the hillside.  This was one of my favourite parts of the run

We clocked somewhere around seven miles and all of us were raving about the trail.  We decided to celebrate by heading into Ambleside for hot chocolate.  More specifically, white hot chocolate with marshmallows and whipped cream, and topped with chocolate stars. Mmm…

A sweaty mess after the run. I did try a selfie but I was looking particularly rough up close. Rosie took this one while I struck a pose!

It turned out that we all enjoyed the run so much we decided to run again on Sunday!  This time we headed out straight from the hostel, straight up the huge (huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge) hill behind the hostel.  The first part was through the woods (ankle deep leaves hiding a multitide of roots, rocks and bunny holes) and after a few miles we popped out on a lane heading through a very pretty hamlet. No time to enjoy it though, cos we turned off and heading up a track up an even bigger hill!!  By this time I was cooked and had stripped off down to a sleeveless top.  Not surprisingly, I was getting some funny looks from the walkers we passed, who were properly bundled up against the wind and rain!  The trail up was another stunner, it was very desolate as we headed up the hill and we were soon in the clouds.  The wind and rain picked up massively as we hit the top, so we didn’t hang around and legged it down the other side towards the hostel as quickly as we could.  This is where we found that Rosie is a mountain goat in human form – she can sprint down the most rocky trails like you wouldn’t believe! 

Clearly early on in the run, I’m not glowing bright red yet!

The run clocked up another six or seven miles, we were soaked through and plastered in mud by the time we got back to the hostel. I’d found this run a lot tougher than the day before; we climbed a lot higher and I was hurting more (perhaps the chelsea bun I’d had for breakfast wasn’t the best fuel) but once again, an amazing day.

Towards the top of the hill, getting pretty bleak!

Back at the hostel trying to get changed was difficult!  The aches and pains had set in and I was so cold that my arms weren’t working properly.  Getting dry and into clothes was far tougher than you’d think!  A cup of tea went down very nicely. 

The drive home started out in terrifying fashion, with torrential rain, downed trees and flooded roads. However, by the time we got to Lancashire the sun came out and we drove back to the Midlands enjoying the most stunning sunset – the first time we’d seen the sun all weekend!

I really am surprised with how much I enjoyed a weekend of running, especially running just for the fun of it rather than as part of a training plan. In fact, I’m looking forward to lots more trail running; I think I’ve fallen in love.

All in all, a bloody brilliant weekend.  Thanks girls!

P.S My trail running shoes are no longer pristine.  In the slightest. 

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