Sunday, 1 June 2014

London to Brighton - my first ultra race.

I tried my best, but didn't manage to complete the 63 miles. I've been spending the last week thinking about how I'm going to record this blog. Every way, i felt it looked like I was making excuses. There are absolutely no excuses. I wasn't good enough on the day to complete the challenge, plain and simple. What I've written below are, I feel,contributing factors to me not finishing. And I want to record them for my benefit and if anyone else benefits from it,brilliant

Ten days prior, I twisted my lower back. This stopped me from running for 7 days. I did get a treatment from the smart clinic, which I think helped.
Whilst travelling to London, it suddenly dawned, that we were going to the capital on Bank holiday Friday, not the best journey, I have to say. Lowestoft to Richmond = 5 hours.
Before going to our Premier inn, I decided that I would register, instead of in the morning. This was a good decision as it gave me extra time in bed.
Once in the hotel, we decided to eat in the hotel restaurant, which wasn't great, but hey it was calories. Race kit prepped and ready for the morning, it was time to retire.

I woke at midnight, with a temperature and a blocked nose. I thought at that stage , that it would maybe be a wise decision to not go ahead with the run. Then I thought about all of the training that I'd done and the quality time with Paula and family that I'd forsaken for my training of this event. My plan was to go stage by stage. Is it better not to start or not to finish? Debate at your leisure.........
Did I sleep till 5am?????? I'm not sure..

Decision made... Light Breakfast done. Time to go..

I don't mind running in rain, however I'm not a big fan of starting in rain. And the weather certainly had it in for the participants. But that wasn't going to stop a pre run Zumba warm up.

Just told I can go at 6.20 instead of 6.40

6.10am Zumba

Time to start..........

6.19am at the start

6.20am.. Time for the off

100+ runners set off on the 63 mile course. Stage 1 was made up of riverside paths and urban paths and roads. Started steady at 10 - 10.5 minute pace. Breathing felt comfortable despite having a head full of snot. I was hoping not to overheat in the bin bag that I had chosen to use, in an attempt to stay dry in the torrential rain that was coming down in Richmond and surrounding areas.

Stage 1

Made the mid stage point, no problem, felt relaxed. Picked up some food. Rain was still coming down hard. I had my eyes on 2 guys in front, going at a similar pace to me. I chose to keep following them. Big mistake. It occurred to me after about 10 minutes that I hadn't seen a pink navigational arrow for a while. At that point the 2 guys stopped and started looking at their map. They too had followed another runner instead of following the arrows. We put our heads together and worked out a route back. This cost us an extra 3 km........

Unplanned re route

Back on course at 20km, the route starting to get more rural.

Stage 1 finish

The sun came out at the stage finish, so I had a sock change and I got rid of my bin bag protection. It never ceases to amaze me, how just having a fresh pair of socks on , can feel so good. Stage 1 to the mid point was more rural and more hilly. And a massive amount of hip flexor and glute stretching stiles.

I think the following videos sum up the stage perfectly.........

Stage 2

Still stage 2

Stage 2 rain return

Stage 2 stiles revenge

More stage 2

Last bit of stage 2

The halfway point couldn't come soon enough. I needed treatment and there were therapists that gave me a good treatment and got me going again. There was hot food, would have been rude not too. I had a blood blister that needed sorting and another sock change. This was quite a lengthy stop, but one that i needed to do. About 30 minutes and I was back on my way. Stage 2 to 3 was a good mixture of road and rural. I was told by the therapists that I could get another treatment at stage 3 finish. So sticking to the plan of stage by stage... Off I set.

The sun is shining

Over half way

Got me tunes in

Stage 3 midway

I love running but it can certainly be a lonely experience. You pass people, and people pass you and you exchange brief comments or hellos and then it's back into your world. There are massive changes in your thinking patterns, so times really high and sometimes really low.

I didn't stop long in the midway stop. Time was getting on and I became very conscious of Paula and Ryan having to hang around waiting for me at the stage finishes. So I had a quick cup of coffee and half a dozen Jaffa cakes and I was heading for another treatment.

Show me the way to go home

Stage 3 end

I was 200m from stage end, I turned a corner and there was Paula and Ryan cheering me in. I scanned in and headed straight for the therapist area. I felt confident, that I'd have a treatment , some food, last sock change. And be on my way for a slow last 12 miles. I got on the massage couch, I had my hip flexors done, the therapist asked me to turn over, so that they could do my glutes and lower back. All of a sudden I had a really sharp pain in my lower back. It made me feel sick, I had to sit down. The pain went off and I went to get some food down my neck. Before changing my socks, the pain came back again. I knew my day was finished.

The cross country sections were just full of mud and my Hokas didn't deal with it too well. My legs were going in all directions, like Bambi on ice.

This is what my Hokas looked like at the end..

It's not a great feeling, not to finish. It's something I've never felt before and will be anxious for it never to happen to me again.

I know that I made the right decision 100% to stop! but this set in motion a series of " what if " questions.

I have taken stock of the day.. And this is what I've taken away from my "52 mile training run"

. My foot taping was good
. My cross country training was insufficient
. My hydration was good
. My Hokas weren't good enough to grip in the muddy conditions
. My nutrition was good. Food at stage stops and gels every hour
. Not bringing painkillers to take was an over sight.
. Never follow other runners blindly

No comments:

Post a Comment