Friday, October 28, 2011

Caesar's Camp, 10th October 2011, 50 Miles

What a mad race!

I was entered in the 100 miles race - facing 10 laps of the reportedly extremely tough 10 mile course. However, mentally I wasn't really there for a 100 - I'd had a bad cold (almost man flu!) the week before, my groin had been playing up, and I'd been feeling really lethargic which may have been due to a long taper. I also had to to drop Jenny at Newark train station on the way down - she was off to Minneapolis for the week.

Anyway, I made good time and accompanied by loud music arrived well in time for the noon start. I was met by a large flat sandy expanse - very picturesque. Lots of tents already up. Got talking to some guys from the Isle of Wight who appeared to be eating a 5 course dinner - chicken drumsticks, bagels etc. I had a Powerbar, some nuts and a Rice Krispie caramel bar (yum) - I'm a carb burner!

Henk, the "interesting" Dutch race director informed us that "Registration is open, dickheads" which set the tone for the day! I attached my number 172, attended the highly entertaining brief and then Henk started us with the immortal words, "Right, f*ck off dickheads!"

Well.....the course was flat for at least a couple of minutes, then it was, to put it mildly, undulating for the next 4 miles. Some really steep climbs and even steeper descents on a mixture of sand, loose rocks and path. The steepest bits would be virtually unrunnable even on fresh non-ultrarunning legs - so walking was necessary right from lap 1. Then some pleasant woodland trails to CP1, and jaffa cakes and sweeties! Some more undulating trails, some lovely single track running before a final nasty climb at about 9 miles. Then down(ish) to the start.

My plan was to do the first lap or 2 at around 1:45 so I took the first lap nice and easy and did 1:34!! Calves were really stiff which I think was a side effect of 2 weeks running in my first pair of Inov8's (Roclite 315) - I had decided to start in my Brooks ASR trail shoes which are so comfortable and were fine for this. Nevertheless, was tempted to pack it in after 1 lap as calves were so tight - needless to say, the sight of the start/finish was a lift so off I went on lap 2. Knew I was going way too fast to have any chance at the 100 so made a real effort to go slower and completed lap 2 in 1:36! This lap felt a lot more comfortable and was beginning to get into the race.

Laps 3 and 4 followed the same pattern - toughing out the first few miles then enjoying the middle sections on well-marked trails. Lap 3 in 1:44 and lap 4 in 1:52. Made a risky decision at the beginning of lap 4 to not get my head-torch - the last 15 minutes were "interesting"!

At 40 miles I knew I didn't have 100 in me so made a policy decision to do the 50 and avoid the DNF, safe in the knowledge of a very nice 50 miler. Pfaffed around getting my night kit/head-torch and off I went again. Definitely walked a little more on this lap - think I did 2:12 including a prolonged pitstop at the beginning.

So finished with 50, just under 9 hours and pleased with the effort and also with making a sensible decision. In reality probably not quite got the base yet for doing a 100 miler but I've never been one to not take on a challenge!

Some great positives - kept going at a decent pace for 50 and although I had the to-be-expected few little downers, there was no major melt-down or wall-hitting. Hydration and nutrition was spot on - take home message has to be to take on food regularly - I became addicted to Jaffa Cakes in this race.

Recovery is slow - it's Friday and I may attempt a run today. Not as fatigued as I was after the High Peak 40event but legs just feel "bruised". On great thing is that I have no focal areas of muscle pain/injury - it's totally symmetrical and generalised, rather than my traditional trouble spots.

Would I do this again? Oh yes, its brilliant madness

Am I mad? Probably.......definitely....just ask Jenny!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tapering for Caesar's Camp

Getting ready for Caesar's Camp next Saturday (Oct 22nd). Great hard hill session last Wednesday to finish proper training. Now on a taper which started with much shorter weekend runs (15 and 10 miles) - was out at 03.45 on Saturday morning to practice a headtorch run and also to be back in time for the rugby (World Cup quarter finals). Feeling very strong - weight sessions (via Rory) definitely paying benefits. Niggly injuries seem to be getting better - sore ankle from High Peaks and sore groin.

Think I'll start in Roclite 315's with my very comfy Brooks trail shoes on standby.

Getting excited but rather wary of the unknown territory I'll be entering - we shall see!

Got a really heavy cold (almost man-flu!) - professional hazard.

Loving this ultra-business - it's like a big new adventure!