Since getting a place into next year`s VLM, which I want to do as my first (26.2 mile) marathon I hadn`t really planned to do another ultra beforehand (& one that was so close to October`s Midnight 30) but I suppose temptation got the better of me. Hopefully I could just top up my `distance work` by doing a few longer runs for this one. In the end I did a 12.5 miles, 19.0 miles & a 17.5 miles training runs along with one 10 mile race. I wouldn`t minded another one or two long runs but time wasn`t really on my side as it happens my mileage for November was 132 so `fairly` happy with that.
(I did glance at Draycote Water 35 before they pulled the plug )
I hadn`t really looked at the small print for this one, as this one started at 8.00am and seeing as Arundel (which has a castle) was about 1hr 20 mins away meant an early start or finding a place to stay. I didn`t sleep that well - race nerves I guess. It wasn`t the alarm clock that woke me up it was the rain battering on the window. Quick shower & a bit of breakfast later I was out the door loading the car with all the running gear I own.
It was chucking it down, actually felt sorry for the runners doing Grim & Luton, hopefully we will be alright being nearer to the coast and all that. Got there, and found the castle with about 50 mins to go, after checking in & a quick look around to see if I knew anyone - nope but then I saw my stalker - gymfreak. which was nice as it`s been a while since I turned up at a race not knowing anyone. After a quick hello I fluffed around a bit..another change of footwear, more vaseline over my feet - I finally decided on my Mudclaws 330`s - a risk but I think I was going to need to extra grip, also going with the belt pack rather than my camelpak. Good news the rain had actually stopped and soon we were in the starting area.
Chatted to gymfreak & soon enough we were off, and with that gymfreak starts going off completely in the wrong way - which was really funny. Out onto the road, round the corner and over the first of many, many, many stiles & into the mud. Correct choice on footwear and within half mile of the start it had started to rain - good choice of smock too.
After clearing the river bank I soon found a nice rhythm, with the rain hitting against my head who needs an ipod Came down a chalkie track and found a new way of passing runners - yep I used my ar$e - slid nicely but at least no damage done. Passed 5 mile in about 52 mins - near enough to plan. Miles till the 2nd checkpoint (10 miles) ticked away nicely - a bit of a break and a chat at this one. Through at approx 53 mins. Shortly after the 13 mile stage the sun had come out. Carried on at a nice steady pace, chatting to runners nearby. One thing I had noticed they all seemed to be chatting about this 45 miler, that 50 miler there, 100`s, mountains marathon, doubles here - I stayed a bit quiet as didn`t really want to tell them that I`d only done one marathon before.
Got to the 3rd stop (15 mile) in about 51 mins & had a bit more of a break - chatted to helly d & ran with streamer stroller (who was in practice for the Grand Union Canal Race - 145 mile - next year). Next stretch took a bit of time as the conditions were really bad. Had to walk across (& up) a field which was just solid thick clay / mud. Chatted to the runner in front who was wearing 12mm XC spikes - he did admit great over the soft ground but painful on the roads.
Checkpoint 4 was up this hill - arrived in about 60 mins, still within the rough plan I had. As I was fluffing around at the checkpoint, one of the marshals (Monster Feet) asked me if I ran Reading Half this year (my Mr. K. Fetch vest giving me away) I said yes, she then asked if I wore a fake bum. The cheek of it, I said yes, she then thanked me for pacing her to a PB. Bizarre conversation 2/3rds the way through an ultra but my ar$e is famous
Up the hill (but great views) at mile 20 & seem to fly down the other side, and `speed` carried on till the next checkpoint. An interesting debate during this fast section & which might be linked - which would be better at mile 22 during an ultra `Bacon Butties or Sausage sarnie?` I opted for sausage but I think I`m being too choosey. Through the next five miles in about 51 mins. Bizarre thing happened here - the garmin didn’t lap correctly I had a double mile.
Found the next (& last) section much harder - unsure if this is `normal`, or the terrain (muddy river banks complete with at least 10 stiles & single gates) & thinking I had more to go than I did - probably a combination of all those. Due to the garmin recording a double mile it did mean I celebrated my 2nd marathon a mile too late - even saved a small packet of jelly babies as a treat...`Ar$e !!!`
Rough calculation I was looking at 5.35 / 5.38 - `AR$E !!!` so wanted a sub 5hrs 30 mins - the terrain did`nt get any easier. Saw the castle which didn`t seem to get any closer, gained on a few runners, round the corner, over another stile & through the finish.
1) - 1m - 11:52(11:52/m) - 125cal
2) - 1m - 10:14(10:14/m) - 128cal
3) - 1m - 10:35(10:35/m) - 126cal
4) - 1m - 9:43(9:43/m) - 134cal
5) - 1m - 9:26(9:26/m) - 132cal
6) - 1m - 10:40(10:40/m) - 126cal
7) - 1m - 10:21(10:21/m) - 130cal
8) - 1m - 11:08(11:08/m) - 125cal
9) - 1m - 9:02(9:02/m) - 130cal
10) - 1m - 12:30(12:30/m) - 126cal
11) - 1m - 9:26(9:26/m) - 130cal
12) - 1m - 10:35(10:35/m) - 127cal
13) - 1m - 10:32(10:32/m) - 126cal
14) - 1m - 10:47(10:47/m) - 121cal
15) - 1m - 9:43(9:43/m) - 130cal
16) - 1m - 16:05(16:05/m) - 125cal
17) - 1m - 9:16(9:16/m) - 133cal
18) - 1m - 9:06(9:06/m) - 131cal
19) - 1m - 12:04(12:04/m) - 122cal
20) - 1m - 12:36(12:36/m) - 114cal
21) - 1m - 21:27(21:27/m) - 98cal
22) - 1m - 12:12(12:12/m) - 115cal
23) - 1m - 9:14(9:14/m) - 131cal
24) - 1m - 9:04(9:04/m) - 130cal
25) - 1m - 11:44(11:44/m) - 130cal
26) - 1m - 11:39(11:39/m) - 125cal
27) - 1m - 11:20(11:20/m) - 119cal
28) - 1m - 10:27(10:27/m) - 128cal
29) - 0.89m - 9:47(10:59/m) - 112cal
Time – 5.22.36 (73th from 170 finishers) - A new PB of approx 1 hour & 27 minutes - Yeah
(I had thought I went through 26.2 miles in approx 4.54 but adjusting back it was approx 4.40)
A quick chat with helly d and saw Gymfreak, Foxy Davy & ogee finish. Got showered & off to the pub to demolish a bowlful of chips watching the sun come down over the Castle*
Next race - Hog`s Back next Sunday (not a race as such but seeing as I`m having a week off running a good reason to put the trainers on again) then a week in Egypt.
Then in the new year I have the Tadworth 10, the Brass Monkey & the London plan and then...........
* If you didn`t know but Arundel has a castle. I did know this but when I told anyone where I was going they carried on telling me this (well known) fact regardless. I ended up saying "Oh really, I didn`t know that"