Why does no one ever explain the lows that come after the highs? After the high of spending a weekend with your new running family, the high of seeing your friends and family on your epic challenge, the high of finishing something you have given your heart and soul towards, made sacrifices for, and constantly thought about for the past 9 months. Nobody explains the come down and the feeling left once the hype and excitement begins to fade.
In July 19 members of the yellow army stood on the start line of the Lakeland 50 mile race. To us it was more a challenge than a race. Testing both physical and mental strength. 18 members all completed the 50 miles. The 19th member had a car crash on the way to the race, and to us she is an inspiration for standing with us on the start line and still getting to mile 20 before sensibly doing the right thing and going to the hospital to get her injuries from the crash checked out.
This weekend I start the official training to my own personal challenge and the next chapter in my ultra running journey. The Lakeland 100. As I take on this challenge I think back to last year, the memories, the funny moments and the people who will continue to inspire me on my own challenge after seeing them take on their challenge and succeed in crossing the 50 mile finish line.
I would like to share some of the many magic moments as a very proud coach, and as the team set off to start their own individual challenges I hope they also remember the magic moments and take a part of my yellow army with them.
The magic moments:
Skiddaw and the bog of all bogs!
The winter epics have to be the training events I think everyone enjoyed the most, who wouldn't want to play in snow all day, in wind chill of minus 25 degrees and 55mph winds!?
We had some of the funniest falls, lots of falling into bogs, we nearly lost Stu in a bog up to his waist as he has made to stay until we had the perfect photo!
Linking arms to tackle through the wind together oh and also summiting Skiddaw Mountain together. Celebrating with a hot mulled wine or chocolate in the pub in front of the fire together sharing our tales of the day.
Hebden: I love this event, its event I hold close to my heart and provides great memories being one of the first events I did when I started my running journey. This year we took more of the yellow army members. 3 groups formed as we set off myself with 4 members, Daddy dave lead another group with 4 members and followed by Marie, Cathy and Angela. My group were in full race mode, not even stopping for a toilet stop and in and out of checkpoints with no faffing! I did get a snowball down my neck for that though!
Race conditions snow!
All members got back safe, as it was a long distance walking association event we got great hot meal at the finish, cup of tea and also the best mulled wine you have ever tasted.
And Daddy Dave headed out to meet our last runners in, and the last in the event. Marie's bottom was covered in mud where I think she had mud slid, she has a reputation for her epic falls! Another massive achievement completed for everyone.
Anglezarke Amble: In February we took on what was our furthest to date event held by the long distance walking association. Worrying about the tight first cut off a group of 10 yellow army members set off with the walkers. Leaving a small group of us behind to attack the weather and terrain like a warrior and not get timed out at mile 7! We reached the cut off checkpoint with only minutes to spare, Daddy Dave pushing us along the whole time, one member falling on the ice. The weather conditions were horrendous, ice underfoot, followed by freezing bogs, wind, rain, fog, hail and snow with no let up for the whole 26 miles. Even our chatty Sarah had moments of quiet! We managed to bump into our members at various points on the way round and despite the weather and conditions everyone had their head down and showed real determination to just keep moving.
I also hold very special the look of proud achievement on both members graham and Maries face as they finished and the proudness on Daddy Dave face having being out the longest of the yellow army members but not giving in and even enjoying their challenge.
Jean's melt down Mountain!
This is probably one of my favourite stories. Jean is 49 and is deaf in both ears so struggles with her balance and co ordination, but that doesn't let anything stop her!
This one day on an epic adventure, Jean still being new to the world of fell running, epic adventures and daddy Dave and his rules of eating. We are trained to eat every hour, not being elite athletes its important for us to think about fuelling appropriately for our speed and exercise. Lets say this is something Jean has learnt the hard way! After having a paddy at the bottom of the climb Daddy Dave giving her a fews turn words and making her drink a sports drink and she flew up the hill.
Climb conquered. The sheer grit and determination this lady shows when she puts her mind to something is incredible. Jean was unable to start the 50 miler last year, however she is on top form this year and her mind set is amazing and such a positive role model for any women in their over 40s.
A classic event, with an amazing field of runners and walkers, the hobble is another walk or run event, 32 miles in total. The group were told about how hard an event it was and were warned they may not finish. We all started together with a mix of emotions. The front of our yellow army pack were lead with our great epic adventure helped David aka fatty! While I stuck close to another member Leonie, with Daddy Dave closely behind with a group. 2 members had to pull out before the stoodly pike climb. Myself and Leonie got chatting to another runner and went the wrong way, as we climbed up a hill back on ourselves who should come round the corner but Daddy Dave a co. Leonie was most looking forward to the hot dogs but gutted when we were to slow and they had all gone! Things only got worse for Leonie and running in trainer socks is not recommended for these events. Weather is still wet and cold, lots of bogs and mud and even snow still on the round. After attempting to apply a plaster to her heel and only for it to fall off 5 steps forward Leonie grit her teeth and continued up the climb. I dropped back with Leonie, suffering with my plantar fasciitis badly at this point, we made our way down this long trail round, only the sound of our sticks hitting the ground, which is actually a reassuring sound at times. every once in a while i would as " are you ok?" response "yes are you?" followed by a "yes" and inside we both wanted to shout nope I'm not! but Leonie showed no sign of weakness. we managed to catch Daddy Dave up for the last section and on this new long training path we saw people in the distance, we thought we were the last people! Dad turned to Leonie and explained they were like zombies after us! Lets say we managed to catch up on some ground and time we finished the race, again one of the last ones in over 9 hours but what an achievement and a great day with lots of magic moments!
Click magic moments link below to see our adventure
Throughout the journey and on the event weekend their has been so many memories and every member has taught me something that I'm sure i will take with me, and I hope they take with them.
We have a brand new Lakeland 50 team, and as coaches we are always learning and striving to make the yellow army experience a memorable one with great achievements. The team are 2 months into there training and still new faces wanting to join them. keep up to date with their journey through our social media sites or even join in on an adventure with us, contact through our website www.kayleighsfitnessrunclub.com