Sunday, 18 July 2010

Race Report

...or when runners crash and burn! The day started at 3.30 am as I dragged myself from my bed to dress in comfortable clothes ready for the 90 minute drive to the Chislet, Kent, England. Packing my race box full of goodies, my picnic table and kit bag into the back of the car I drove off.


As I got onto the A2 road the sun was rising whose colours reminded me of a Monet painting, glorious pinks and creams which heralded a very hot, still day to come. The rest of the journey was uneventful apart from the SatNav telling me I had arrived at my destination, which comprised a massive 10 acre field of onions but then 100 yards further I was to see runners milling around and preparing for the challenges ahead. Parking up in the nearby field I carried my race box and kit to prime position (remind me to put it in the shade next time as hot Coca Cola is not nice!), checked in, got dressed and met up with old friends.

The organisation was faultless, almo
st military in its precision as we were briefed at the start and sent on our way at 6.00am.

The Course

The route is a 6.55 mile circuit made up of tarmac roads, cinder track, concrete path and rutted mud paths, challenging in the least. Being in the East part of Kent, there the land is flat but with shallow undulations that sap the energy from your legs and stress the ankles. At 6.00 am the temperature was 11 Centigrade but by 10.00 am it was 24 Centigrade, a ridiculous rise and so quickly as well.

The Race

I started off great, I felt strong, everything was moving nicely and the shadows were long and it was
easy to find respite from the heat, from my earlier post you can see that I managed a 55 minute first post and so decided to rest up, take drink on board and walk for 5 minutes to get back on my plan.

I continued on again feeling good on the second lap and again the whole circuit was a little more controlled and I was able to complete it in 64 minutes but my restart was delayed by a desperate need to go to the toilet making my lap 1:15:00 split.

I had put together 300 calorie "Lap bags" a small resealable bag that had carb gels and raisins in them to ensure I ate correctly, this technique seemed to work well but my biggest problem was fluid intake, the heat was now really beginning to turn up and drink stations were 1.5 miles apart serving just water, I was carrying a 500 ml bottle of Nuun mix but even drinking I soon noticed that my urine was very dark (was this the outcome of my stomach upset?).

On my return to the start of lap 3, I took on more calories, drank a large amount of Nuun to replace the fluids and continued on, the heat just outside my comfort zone but I began to realise my thighs were beginning to ache so began to walk in sections which is my normal technique. Reaching 18 miles I stumbled on an outcrop of stones and this proved to be my race downfall as I felt a twinge in my left thigh and buttock but continued on.

I soldiered on, the heat rising, the miles adding up and was disappointed to see my speed dwindle to reach the halfway point at 4:26 hours and was ready to throw in the towel when I was met by Matt, a running club pal whose presence proved a positive influence on my attitude when we chatted and he "took the race out of my head" which gave enough to continue on but into this lap my left leg was really hurting and it was no longer enjoyable and then found I was hitting the second wall which I managed to fight out reaching 32.75 miles in 6:04 hours.

After a short break I started lap 6 but by the time I got 100 metres down the road I knew my race was over as the energy just seemed to been sapped from my legs and the heat was outside my comfort zone, so I turned back and put my number in happy with my distance and time.

Not the happiest race report but an ultradistance result nonetheless which I am happy with...just remind me not to run multi-lap races again, they are too easy to pull out of!!

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