First time out for me at a LDWA event - as billed on their website ....`A challenge walk (run) of circa 30 miles (or 20 miles) on Surrey footpaths and bridle-ways with minimal support in weather conditions which may beadverse, so only strong walkers (runners) should take part" – and like their instructions short & sweet but so spot on.
So maybe the best preparation was not to tread on a kerb and slip off apavement in the week before the event and to be totally honest the Achilles Tendon on that side has been stiff for a while but why do you always `do`the same side when doing silly things??? - thought it `might` be ok but always a struggle - going slowly would be a bonus.
Myself & Alan got to the (free) car park without any problems and sawwalkers & runners buzzing around - the start for runners was any time from08:30 - 09:30 - after a bit of fluffing around we starting at 08:58.
Armed with our Camelpak type of rucksacks & route instructions (20M & 30M plus copies) we were off - 1st mile was not really a problem, as bit fastfor the 1st part but Alan did point out that it was to warm up, then found a natural pace. Just as we clicked over the mile (not that any mile markers or routes were marked out) we found the path flooded by the river so aftera quick diversion (up & over the road) and back on course. Walkers and runners everywhere so it was a bit easy to follow someone in front but I wanted to get used to the instructions and more importantly the abbreviations for example & for those who don`t know.....
"03.1M - 176529 - Cross RD, thru car park and along TK. In 50Y, FL thru KG (next to wide gate). Keep ahd ascending fairly steeply for 750Y (at fork either TK will do). The latter part & most of the ascent is on a wide grassy ridge. When this levels out, BR to keep to the R edge of the shortgrass (near to brambles / hawthorn etc immed on your R). This will channel you onto a TK with brambles etc both side. In 120Y ahd thru KG (by widegate). In 1/2M, FL & 30Y later, at X-TK, TL. In 300Y ignore 2 TKs on your Lto cont with fence partly dilapidated) on your L."
(For those who have run the Munro or the Picnic before that `ascending fairly steeply` part is where you run down pass the bemused cows to a turning point & run back up, again past the bemused cows - who were still there, looking bemused by it all )
Running wise - Ankle wise ok still warming up. Instructions wise - we had aslight wobble at 4.5M but back on track. Scenery wise - just simply fantastic, there is nothing better than being out in the middle of now here enjoying the countryside and out running. Said hello to the odd golfers, or anglers or horse riders but mostly we were there along maybe seeing a glimpse of a runner or walker in front - maybe once in a while passing one or two.
Into this series of muddy fields section - I could not my shoes for all the mud. After another wobble just after 9M we found the 10M checkpoint......................
At the checkpoint – cold drinks, jelly babies & biscuits – there was two sign posts 20M & 30M I decided that 20M would be enough and changed map & instructions over. Briefly chatted to Sandra, Ian and her dog (who was looking very, very clean). Also said hello to Hellyd – who laughed at me when I said I doing the 20M and off we went.
I was doing the `map` reading for the next part – which was fun – reading out the instructions, working out the abbreviations & trying to keep upright. I guess about 12.5M we were back on the `full` course as we seemed to be getting `overtaken` by runners. Just after 15M we went up into this wooded section where I did wonder if anyone ran up, finally cleared that section & a very steep grassy section but the bonus was as you broke over the brow of the hill you could see the next checkpoint. Where they did great cups of tea and it would have been rude to only have one cup.
Finally got going and along the road and down (yes down) in a wooded section and past one of the nicest YHA hostels I`ve ever seen. Then came the part where I had been looking forward to - I mean looking forward for miles ....The instructions said simply
"TL along RD for 6Y then TR thru gate"
Yes 6 yards of road Wasn`t too pleased with what followed it -a massive steep hill (but from there is was downhill).
As we neared the end there were runners everywhere - some we past, some we ran with & some sprinted past us - which was all quite odd as it wasn`t like near the year of a race where you bust a gut & move heaven & earth to beat the runner in front. Back around the corner and into the car park where you check in.
Back to the car to freshen up and eat before setting off home.
So a fantastic day - thanks to all the volunteers at LDWA. Who knowns I might be back next year to run the last 1/3rd :-/
Splits - 12:45, 9:38, 13:54, 16:52, 15:49, 11:04, 11:30, 12:29, 13:37, 25:36, 19:35, 16:50, 13:27, 15:13, 15:56, 25:25, 11:04, 14:49, 11:19, 11:38, 9:18 (0.9M @ 10:20)
(so only +0.9M extra) - 20.9 M in 05:07:48 - just a bit of my 20M PB then :-/
Next up - My 5 days rest (looking back my last 5 day break was the end of October / beginning of November), then a couple of easy weeks (Stubbington 10Km was always going to be easy run) & build up my fitness and miles for the back end of February and March.