Wednesday, August 24, 2011

UltraRace Peaks, 21st August 2011, 40 miles

Alarm set for 4.30 am so woke at 2.30am!! 2 thick bits of toast with honey, and PB & jam - yum. Left at 5.30 and arrived at Fitness First in Derby nicely in time without any wrong turns (see later).

Registration was at Derby followed by bus trip to Cromford - all very smoothly done and according to time schedule. A good chance to meet some new people. Had a good chat on the bus - helped ease my nerves. Several uses of the public conveniences at Cromford. Long time since I've been at Matlock Rugby Club. At 7 we started - I got myself a little in no man's land - 100m behind the leading group of 10ish but 100m ahead of everyone else but I gradually got up with the group up the first hill , running well in my HR range. Feeling very strong.

The first half essentially went from Cromford, up Middleton Top, along High Trail eventually joining Tissington Trail. This part was lovely - very picturesque. Long drag up Middleton Top but otherwise flatish with a few undulations. No real navigation required (see later). Mainly hard packed trails with a short field section and even shorter road section. Tissington Trail was long and straight. 3rd at CP1, 2nd at CP2 and feeling really good - eating, drinking well and HR in zone. 

Note to self - should I really have ignored my planned walk:run strategy?
Aid stations x3 were every 10 miles - plentiful water, 9 bars (became addicted to these - yum!), Soreen & winegums. Perhaps something salty/savoury might have been nice. 3rd also had energy drink.

After checkpoint 2 it was down into Ashbourne and here the fun started. Direction markers were by way of painted arrows on the road, small arrows sprayed on lamp posts, small stickers on lamp posts and red & white stripey tape. I was on my own through Ashbourne and had to stop at virtually every junction to ensure I went the right way - I found the markers very hard to spot at times. I think some had also been removed overnight. Then through some fields again with difficulty.Had really lost my rhythm now and hip flexors really started to hurt. Road section through Osmaston, to Shirley (a village!) with 3 others who had joined me.

The group of 4 of us then completely missed a turning and did 1-2 miles extra before CP3. Lost a few places.

Nasty ie painful long undulating road section next. Long Lane - it certainly was! Running in 5th/6th place now - legs hurting a lot, hanging out for the uphills to walk up. I do wonder how much stronger I would have been through this stage if I stuck with my pre-race run:walk strategy - didn't ever feel I was pushing it, but legs might have coped better.

Along with another runner, missed another turning adding another 2-3miles which really was soul destroying. Swore I'd never run more than a half marathon again. 

Finally, back on route, through fields to Mackworth and I seemed to regain some running rhythm as I passed my home until the age of 18 in Mackworth Village. Then through Markeaton Park, through Derby to finish. We had been given a map of the final 2 miles which I religiously held in my hand - wouldn't want to go wrong!! 

Coke, water, medal and LS shirt at finish - Rory & Jen very approachable. Shower at Fitness First was great - having to go upstairs was interesting! Started planning my next ultra!

I can only blame myself for navigational "issues" as most got it right. However, I do feel turns could have been more clearly marked and also with more warning prior to the turn - running for me is a fairly introspective experience so I need something in my face!! Lesson learnt - if in doubt, check map - which I did have in my bag! However, I now know I can do 45 miles!!

I wouldn't hesitate to do this race again - picturesque route and generally well organised - and I have unfinished business.

Well chuffed to now be an official "Ultra Marathon runner" 

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