The weather really hit us after we'd crested the col.....and I can't say that the next section was especially enjoyable. The ground was very rough and chossy underfoot, and the wind was driving huge painful raindrops into our eyes, faces and bare legs (earlier I'd been glad I opted to wear shorts....now I wasn't so sure). I started to wonder why on earth I hadn't stuck with the 25k trail run plan.....
Luckily there was only one moment when I came close to tears on the way down......and that may actually have had more relation to my lack of gymnastic ability. Wet rocks are rather slippery, even more so when covered in moss, yet when my feet skidded in opposite directions, I don't think they'd remembered the fact that I've never been able to do the splits.....owwwwww!!!
Still, all too soon we were down in the waterlogged valley below and heading towards the next checkpoint at Cockley Beck. Although relatively runnable (in a fashion) this section was rather long, undulating and "splashy". We were starting to flag a bit and so finished off all the food and drink we were carrying (this was actually the only water I took in all day apart from what was at the checkpoints, due to the weather conditions).
It was a long slog up to the col between Grey Friar and Swirl How and I definitely felt my tired legs slowing down. However, it appeared that others were feeling it more, as we again overtook a couple of pairs on the ascent. Once reaching the ridge (well, it appeared to flatten out ,but that was all I could really make out in the cloud) there were a couple of miles to run out to Coniston Old Man and back). We got to see a few of the faster male pairs returning as we neared the "Top" and as a total surprise, my friend Beth and her boyfriend appeared out of the clag to give me a hug!
It became quite a battle to the finish after that....we managed to run away from them to a certain extent as we headed down the road, but then they passed us as we had to cut across rougher, wetter ground towards Blea Tarn. Neil was urging me to keep pushing as "it's not over yet" but although I desperately didn't want to let him down, I could give no more than I was.
All in all, it was a great day out - I'm glad we did it (and that Neil put up with me and my tired legs) and I learnt a lot......though I'm amazed that I still managed to get up at 4:30 am to go and cheer on my friends at the 6am start of their 50k on Sunday!