Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Hopes for the future

Things have been pretty crazy since the turn of the New Year, but I finally have time to actually type up some things ............ which is nice.

Reading other blogs some sort of assessment of the year gone seems appropriate and setting some targets for the new one that is here also seems like a pretty good shout.

The year gone...
Well the highlight has to be walking the Ulster Way, 600 miles over 35 days, with more than half of them walked solo. Having company was a great change to being on my own, but the time spent alone was also time to be savoured. Anybody that hasn't had the chance to spend a continuous amount of time on their own, walking or otherwise, doesn't seem to get how being on your own for so long isn't boring or could even be enjoyable, but it was certainly both. Solo walking makes for a very simple existence; with no need to please anyone else or make compromises on route choice or where and how long to stop or even how far to walk, and as such is very satisfying. I don't think I found myself on the walk but it certainly gave me thinking space and helped put some things into perspective.

My first Mountain Marathon and hitting the 4 highest peaks in Ireland also make it quite high in the highlights of the year. I think the 4 peaks was a bit of a one off but I wouldn't say no to another mountain marathon; its like orienteering on steroids with a camp in the middle, and that's a good thing! Pushing yourself as hard as you can makes for a sense of achievement that's hard to beat, even when you are filthy, sore and tired as a result. It's funny how there's nearly always more gas in the tank if you want something enough, mind over matter and all.

I had a couple of nice overnighters in the Mournes, one of which was spent with the guys from NI Wild which was a nice change of pace from the usual solo ventures. Its good to finally see a NI specific forum out there and that it is actually steadily growing!

The year to come...
Setting out a list of things I want to achieve could be dangerous, I might actually stick to them and achieve something! Clearly more outdoor adventures than last year would be nice, however finding a clean month to spend in a tent might pose problems. I think I'll have to settle with more frequent and shorter duration.

Its easy to get blinkered and return to the same spots again and again, and a bit more exploration of the Mournes will be scheduled in, however I'm hoping to get to a couple other Mountain ranges this year. A couple days around Carrantoohil, Mweelrea and Lughnaquillia will hopefully make it into the calender at some stage, and maybe somewhere on the mainland.

I'll probably regret writing this later, but a marathon of some description will be ran this year, if nothing else writing this will force me into training and stop avoiding it. I think the Belfast Marathon at the start of May followed by the Mourne Way Marathon in the middle of June will be the choices, hopefully my legs will carry me the 26 miles of both.

A return to Mourne Mountain Marathon is a no brainer really, and an entry to one or two on the mainland might also have to be made if my knees can take the punishment, too many choices for punishment!

Taking some inspiration from Ray Jardine's 24 hour trips and Kate's seemingly endless number of overnight bivouacs, I think a couple of simple overnighters might be necesary. A couple of nights shacked up overlooking Belfast from Redburn Forest or Cave Hill sounds like a good plan, as does a few along the Coastline, there is no reason not to.

Hopefully in between trying to be a marathon runner and a mounatain marathon runner I'll have time to run a few more orienteering courses than last year, maybe some of the NI mountain running races and get to a couple of the NI Wild meets.

I made passing comments about getting to walk Lands End to John O'Groats this year, however I'm pretty certain I won't have the 2 months (at the very least) to walk it. 3 months seems like the norm and I don't know if I would want to do it any less, looking back at the Ulster Way a journey of this length is definitely something to savour and not rush. If I was to have the time to go walking for a month, I thing the South West Coastal Path has quite a good chance of seeing me on it.

Realistically if I achieve half of the above I'll be happy, but the main effort will lie with entering running and hopefully finishing the marathons. The SWCP is a long shot but something I would love to have the time to do.

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3 comment(s) so far, add your thoughts -->>here<<--:

sbrt said...

Plenty to look forward to.

If you do get over to England for a Mountain Marathon the Saunders http://www.slmm.org.uk/index.htmis worth a look.

2 days playing in the Lake district and beer at the overnight camp.

All the best

Stuart Brown said...

If you can, I would encourage you to see more of the country, the Mournes are awesome, I love them and for me they are still 'home' but the Twelve Bens and Maumturks in Connemara for example are just sublime and probably the closest we come in this country to wilderness and as for the wild camping potential....

Keith said...

Hey Steve. Beer at the overnight campsite looks like a winner; take the lightweight option and just have a liquid dinner :) However racing the next day might be an effort. Cheers for the link, I'll certainly give it some thought.

Hey Stuart, a bit more exploration of the island is exactly what I'd like to do. One of the worst parts of doing the 4 peaks was not having the time to enjoy the mountains and explore, just up and down. With any luck I'll get a couple days around each of them this year.