Thursday, 27 October 2011

"Please, Sir, I want some more".......

Picture the scene.........."Please, Sir, I want some more" - said Mr. K.

The Race Director - Henk - is a likeable chap who is well known in the Ultra circles & known for his outspoken, unsympathetic manner & use of swear words; but he turned very pale. He gazed in stupified astonishment on the small rebel for some seconds, and then clung for support to the copper. The assistants were paralysed with wonder; the boys with fear.

"What, are you some kind of f***ing d**head ?? " said the Race Director at length, in a loud voice

"Please, Sir," replied Mr. K, "I want some more."

(OK some poetic license has been applied to the above)

Yes it was time to go back to the scene - yes the Caesar`s Camp Midnight 30. I ran this event in 2009 and back then it was my first Ultra (well really my 1st Marathon too) and after missing out last year it was time to go back for some more. The above `profile` picture was taken shortly after I finished in 2009.

On the morning of the race I decide to help out at the local parkrun (Frimley Lodge) - As I Marshalling I get to watch the runners go past & I am always amazed by their determination - whether they are going at 5.00/m or 11.00/m - they all want to finish - someone comes 1st & someone comes last. I did miss the running part & more importantly the coffee & chat at the Canal Cafe.

Shortly afterwards I head off to help Henk out but they are practically set up - apart from the tent that thinks it`s a hot air balloon !!!. It was good to say hello to a couple of folks I knew. I helped out at the gate & wander down later for the latter part of the race briefing. As well as profits of the event being handed out to Charity there was also two awards being handed out - I did miss this part so sorry if the titles of the awards are wrong - One for the "Hurry the f*ck up, you are taking your f*cking time award" to a guy who has finished last each time and the "Donkey award" to a runner who has attempted the 100 miler for 5 years running but still never finished. Well I did warn you. And with a "3, 2, 1 - F*ck off you lot" Henk sent the 100 & 50 milers away.

The course from the website has been described as "a 10 mile loop, there are no road crossings and the running surface is on fire-trail, access tracks and single track. At night we use light-sticks in strategic places. This is a tough loop!! We have measured the altitude rise and drop multiple times. Due to a landslide at one part causing an uphill diversion we now have the final course measured at 1,520 ft per lap, making the 100 miles 15,200 ft in climb (30 Miles = 4,560ft & 50 Miles = 7,600ft). There will be two checkpoints, one at the start and one at 5.6 miles"

Shortly afterwards I made my excuses and left - slept like a log till early evening. Like any race it is key to get there early and despite this event being 10 mins away from home I went back at around 10.00 pm. I saw some of the 50M & 100M come in - I checked who had pulled out :-( I saw Big Pete which was great - he was looking good. I did fluff around with what to wear - in the end I went for Brooks GTS 11`s, full length Skins, arm warmers, long sleeved Helly Hanson top, club vest, gloves & my JW Ultra hat. I did go with a gel belt but didn`t bother with a drink belt.

My race plan was to try to improve on 2009 results - I was 5th then with a time of 6:50:49. Ok I thought I may not improve on the time but position wise it would be nice - I was only 23 mins away from 1st place. One area where I lost a lot of time was at the end of each lap. Slick changeover was the word this year.

At around 10 to Midnight we got a race briefing from Henk - another cracking delivery :-) There was 9 of us in the 30M race (I did see 2 more had joined us later on). At the start I noted 7 runners (plus a dog) raced off at the start. I didn`t chase them - I had all night :-) Unlike the training for 2009 where I had spent time over Caesar`s Camp (7 x 10M approx) this year I had not stepped a foot over there - soon enough I found out why that wasn`t the best training plan ever.

Never try new things in race HILLS.

Even from the first hill my plan was to walk up the up slopes. 1st bleep of the Garmin - excellent 29 to go :-) As I looked over Aldershot & Farnborough from the Viewpoint I could see the street lights in the background. In the foreground I could see head torches bobbing around beneath me. The skies were clear - we were lucky with the weather.

The course was well marked but I made sure I remembered the course. I chatted to other runners when I went past. As the miles ticked past I got onto the relative flat part on the far side of the course, then it was felt downhill to the checkpoint at 5.6M or so. I sadly saw Pete there who was being talked out of pulling out - stomach issues :-( I was hoping to run with Pete later on - always next year Pete.

I didn`t hang around too long and off I went. During the next bit I came along the two runners dressed as Centurions complete with sandals, yes sandals :-O (They did 70M like that). Soon enough it was back up the Viewpoint and the run back home - I guess breaking the route up into sections help. A quick run down the last hill & bleep with the bar-code scanner & that was the 1st lap done - a shade of 2 hrs. I popped to the car to take a drink & a quick twitter update (why I don`t know - who else would be up at that time of night???) & off I went for round 2.

Despite running Amsterdam the week before I thought my legs were surprising good - this 30M race did to me had an odd feeling like a bit of a `fun run` when you compared it to the other runners on the course - these guys had already done 50 or 60 miles - top respect to them. It does become easier when you think "only doing the 30", "only one lap to go" It would be different if I was running 3 laps by myself on a Tuesday morning - this running lark is I guess a mindset thing. I had collected my ipod but didn`t feel the need to use it - it was actually nice to run on your own listening to the nocturnal activity. As I came through the start / finish area for the second time I noted the time - even though I wasn`t racing I did think it might be slower than 2009 - I wonder how many 30 milers I had past..........

As I started my 3rd & final lap I was aware of a fast runner behind - I think he was a 100M runner - it was. He caught me up as I came down the slope of the Viewpoint (he was flying down - I guess he was a fell runner). I caught him on the flat but then he flew down the next hill. Again I caught up with him on the next flat / rise. We chatted together for the next mile or so. Nice bloke (Robin (or Robert) Britton) - I think he ran the Great Union (145M) in 31 hours or so :-O I left him at the back of the course. At the checkpoint there were two guys there - one nearly asleep & the other had 5 miles to go - same as me but as it turned out he (John Poole) had started his 50 mile race late as he had run Beachy Head in the morning and then drove over (!!!) - that is some double. Again really nice chap and as we chatted on this home run stretch we talked about different races - he had done so much including coming in 4th at the Thames Ring 250 mile `race` in an incredible time of 79 hrs 58 mins - I left him with about a one & half miles to go, and soon enough came to the final hill and down into the race HQ. I thanked Henk for putting on another fantastic event.

Despite being out there for 7 hrs & 19 mins & up all night I felt quite good - OK my quads were shot but generally OK. I guess it feels different when the sun breaks through the night sky & you could enjoy a bit of food & drink. It was nice to get & reply to text & FB messages. I had a quick chat with Pete whilst eating `breakfast` - Rice pudding & 2 packets of Randoms (healthy I know). I went over to Henk again & thanked him & made my way home.

So my 15th Marathon (8th Ultra) done but to me it`s not a Marathon or ultra numbers game as I do too many races & have fun at other distances - it`s all about the running game.

Caesars Camp Website

Distance   2009 Results    2011 Results
10M          02:05:36          02:04:29
20M          02:17:52          02:25:50
30m           02:27:21          02:49:03
Position     5th (from 14)   6th (from 11) - Doh I best go back next year then...

My race report from 2009 (Fetch Everyone)

Split Summary
1) - 1m - 11:29(11:29/m) - 122cal
2) - 1m - 12:54(12:54/m) - 114cal
3) - 1m - 11:48(11:48/m) - 124cal
4) - 1m - 11:34(11:34/m) - 122cal
5) - 1m - 10:15(10:15/m) - 134cal
6) - 1m - 14:33(14:33/m) - 127cal
7) - 1m - 12:15(12:15/m) - 121cal
8) - 1m - 11:42(11:42/m) - 122cal
9) - 1m - 13:27(13:27/m) - 117cal
10) - 1m - 10:46(10:46/m) - 126cal

11) - 1m - 16:59(16:59/m) - 114cal
12) - 1m - 13:49(13:49/m) - 119cal
13) - 1m - 13:20(13:20/m) - 113cal
14) - 1m - 13:50(13:50/m) - 114cal
15) - 1m - 10:51(10:51/m) - 131cal
16) - 1m - 14:41(14:41/m) - 116cal
17) - 1m - 13:01(13:01/m) - 115cal
18) - 1m - 14:29(14:29/m) - 110cal
19) - 1m - 14:15(14:15/m) - 115cal
20) - 1m - 15:00(15:00/m) - 109cal

21) - 1m - 20:19(20:19/m) - 113cal
22) - 1m - 17:11(17:11/m) - 102cal
23) - 1m - 16:30(16:30/m) - 108cal
24) - 1m - 17:00(17:00/m) - 107cal
25) - 1m - 12:09(12:09/m) - 125cal
26) - 1m - 13:40(13:40/m) - 122cal
27) - 1m - 16:53(16:53/m) - 113cal
28) - 1m - 18:00(18:00/m) - 100cal
29) - 1m - 18:00(18:00/m) - 94cal
30) - 1m - 16:54(16:54/m) - 103cal
31) - 1m - 11:48(11:48/m) - 121cal
32) - 0.01m - 7(14:43/m) - 2cal

31.7M in 07:19:30

The day`s plan - after a long shower - was to pop down the running club & then make my way to to Fleet for the 10Km race watch the 10Km. Again all so impressive to watch from the two 32 mins guys to the 1 hr & 10 mins runners.

Next up - a bit of rest really with the Poppy Day Enigma Marathon (11th Nov) being next on the list.

Other news - After thinking long & hard I have decided that I need to spend more time on the track so I`ve (hopefully) entered the Andover Marathon - 105 laps & 195 mtrs - on the 17th December. Don`t worry I shall keep out of the inside lane :-)

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