Posted by: Bruce Duncan | November 12, 2010

Playing in the Lake District

So I have been back in the Lakes for just over a week now.  It’s brilliant.  So good to be out of the city and back to where I feel I should be.  London was great fun, and it was perfectly timed for my downtime from training, but now I’m getting back into my training for up coming races I need to be in the Lakes to get motivated.

Typically, as soon as I got back I had a cold and bad throat, so took it pretty easy, but squeezed in a few social runs and some white water kayaking.  I took part in the Open5 at the weekend as well, but took it very easy, it’s not my favorite type of race, not a huge fan of the score format, but was good to be out spinning the legs and chatting to all my friends.  I did then get a loads of messages from friends asking why I had finished so soon, and got such a low score.

New Holland Birthday cake!

This week I have sorted a lot of my kit out too, so much stuff I don’t really use, so trying to work out what to get rid of.  Giving lots to friends and throwing lots away that is just totally trashed but I’d held onto saying that I’d mend it at some point!

I spent a night in the North Lakes, to see my Sis and Nephew on their birthdays.  It was great to see them all, and me and my sis had a great time making a wicked birthday cake for Sebastiaan, he wanted a tractor, so we made him one, it was brilliant, not quite blue enough for the New Holland that he wanted, but pretty good, and he was happy as larry with it.

On Wednesday, in the amazing sunshine I got out in a surfski on Windermere, it was such a stunning day, and great to be outside playing, but I still wasn’t 100% and my legs were cramping a lot, but I was glad I got out and did some exercise.

I finally felt much better yesterday, so went for a brilliant run in the howling wind and rain onto the scar above Kendal, it felt so good to be out running.  It was my standard run for ages earlier in the year, and I’d not been up there for months, so great to be running my usual route again.  I was going pretty well too, pushing myself a bit, but only 5 mins off my usual pace, so not too bad considering I’d not been running really since the Nokia Coast to Coast.

I finished the run, and was rewarded with fresh scones at Sally and Liz’s, including home made jam too.  I then nipped home, changed kit and went back out to the Kendal climbing wall, it was a filthy night outside, so great to play indoors.  I’ve not been climbing for about 2 yrs, so my arms didn’t take long to get pumped, but it was fun while it lasted, and I hope to get back to work on my upper body strength.

Today Sally and myself went for a full on outdoor day, starting with a mountain bike round Kentmere from Stavely, it was really wet on the ground, and I’ve not got my bike winterised, so I was getting a very muddy face and wet too.  It was a great ride though, some good climbs to warm up from the freezy temps, and rewarding fun decents.  I also need to change my tyres though, they are VERY slick and there was a lot of wheel spinning!  Having not really riden since August, conditions have changed somewhat!

Post ride, we jumped in the car to Windermere Canoe and Kayak to pick up my white water boat that Paul Noble had very kindly been fettling for me, I’d bought it 2 years ago and not done anything with it, so it needed some love.  Paul had found some bits and made it a much comfortable boat to paddle.  So after a good chat and a cuppa with Paul and Nic, we headed to Newby Bridge to paddle the Leven.  We drove to Backbarrow first to check out some of the rapids and the get out.  The bridge at Backbarrow was flowing very fast, and Sally thought it was probably a bit much for me, I’ve only done 2 rivers before, so still learning a lot, but I was glad she didn’t want to go for it.

We left my bike at the get out and got set by the Swan Hotel.

Weir at the start of the Leven

There was a small weir first up, but it was ok, then I did some rolling practice, as I’d fluffed this last week.  Feeling more confident we played around a little, and on cue I inspected the bottom of the river!  However this time I composed myself and rolled up first time no problem, this was a huge confidence booster for me.  Carrying on down the river we got out a few times to inspect the weirs and rapids as Sally hadn’t run it before.  I followed her instruction and bombed down a bigger weir (I have bad memories of weirs, having got spun in one in New Zealand 3 yrs ago) so was very happy to be upright and moving down the river after it!

We came to the biggest rapid on the river on the section we paddled, and after a bit of looking Sally chose a great line, we flew down it, through some big waves, avoiding the huge stopper and I was super happy to have paddled something that big with confidence, and a little bit of skill!!

It was over all too soon, but a great wee section of river that I need to go back and play on again.  I cycled back up the road to get the car, still in my drysuit and with buoancy aid still on!  Then packed up the car and back to Sally’s for coffee and scones, a perfect end to a great day.

Its brilliant to be back into my training and feeling good about it.  Tomorrow the plan is to run a section of the Bob Graham, so looking forward to that with Antony.  Lets just hope its not too windy on the tops.


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