I saw this `New Forest Running Festival` ages ago & my way of thinking was that if someone was kindly enough to put on an event on my birthday then I thought it would be a bit rude if I didn`t enter….plus it will be all good training for the Run24 in June. A brief background about this `Running Festival` - On Saturday there were 5M, 10Km, 10M & 21Km races where the 5M & 21Km were Ladies only events and on the Sunday there was a 21Km, 20M & the event I entered the 50Km so loads of running being done on the same trials & tracks. The 50Km would be a 3 lap run, basically the same 3 laps but on the first lap we had a slight detour before joining up with the main lap. The course was 90% off-road with a couple of inclines along the way.
My race started at 9.00am so it either meant an early start or booked up something….I went for the latter & stayed in a nice pub in Burley :-) Despite getting to the race venue early I was all over the place in terms of getting ready, T-30 we had a race briefing which like most ultras briefing turned into a comedy sketch show which put us as ease. Due to Saturday`s rain the trails were very muddy & the start moved etc. After that time simply disappeared - I was still fluffing around with 5 mins to go. Luckily the start was just metres away & soon we assembled at the start.
As I said this would be training run for Run24 (since when did a 31 mile run become a `training run` ???) - my strategy was for a 1st attempt at a run / walk strategy - basically run 5 miles & walking 1 mile. Concerns were that I might get cold during the walk mile so I thought it would be a good idea to wear an extra vest (underneath my gilet jacket & over my T-shirt & compression top)…….so I learnt my first lesson very soon - carry it not wear it !!. Luckily the gilet jacket had a long pocket round the back so that`s where the vest went along with the gloves & hat. After a couple of miles my pace had settled down to more manageable pace (around 10 min /mile) even managed to run through the muddy section (miles 3 to 6 inc). As it happened the last mile in this section was the `walk` mile, which also happened to be the most baron mile - the wind was bitterly cold & so sharp.. This did allow me to finally sort some of my gear out, have a gel & a chance to tweet my progress.
Like the Moonlight Challenge I had planned to listen to an audio book - the book this time was `Life without Limits by Nick Vujicic and even though I read his book last Summer I was really looking forward to listening to it - it is an incredible book - plus you get to listen to him sing in the audio version :-) This is something I plan to use in the Run24. Anyway after the walk mile & unsure if linked but the remaining miles in the lap were to me the best part of the course. During mile 7 & despite the 30 minute head start the 1st of the 20 milers came zooming past. Soon enough I came to the finish of lap one, which meant my walk mile was soon upon me and lucky enough I was going faster enough for me not to be lapped twice :-) (Lap one / 11 miles in 1 hr 55 mins).
I have to say I thought the all of the marshals were amazing with their encouraging support & smiling faces - they deserved medals not us - they must have been so wrapped up.
Again the second lap was much the same but knowing what was coming made it easier. Now because I was rushed & didn`t sort my kit out beforehand I hadn`t swopped over to my running earplugs ….and my normal ones broke :-( But this made the remaining one & half laps or so every peaceful & it was peaceful which was great - `My time` as a call it. I guess around mile 17 / 18 the leader of the 50Km came sprinting past me - amazing running. Just a bit further up along a tracked section - I`m sure I heard a `pop` from my left foot, shortly followed by a wet feeling & then a stinging feeling - yeap a couple of blisters had formed & popped. The feeling of one more lap to go was just about enough to put that out of my mind. (Lap two / Mile 22 in 3 hrs 55 mins).
During this last lap I decided not to stick so firmly to my `walk mile` & use the terrain more – unsure if I should have use this on the second lap!! I was getting tired & the feet were sore but generally I was feeling ok, I thanked the marshals as I went through their stations for the last time. Soon enough the marathon distance came up (26.2M in 4 hrs 54 mins 39 secs), then my favourite section then the last walk break going up the gate & then the nice downhill finish. As I came around the last corner I hadn`t expected the welcoming party of 30 or so Cows in the way so after a bit of negotiation & carefully manovering I managed to get through them & finish off the race.
Nice touch getting a wooden medal - another great event on a good course. Well worth doing it & what a great way to spend a birthday.
31.3 miles in 5hrs 53 mins 20 secs.
31.3 miles in 5hrs 53 mins 20 secs.
After cooling down & `jumped` into the shower - I had `forgotten` about my battered & blistered feet & hot water….again another lesson learnt which I guess what`s it was all about so mission accomplished..
Garmin Connect -
9:02, 9:44, 10:17, 10:04, 10:54, 16:26,
10:08, 9:45, 10:03, 9:32, 9:36, 15:16,
9:37, 10:34, 10:15, 10:18, 9:53, 17:11,
14:34, 9:32, 13:12, 11:50, 10:38, 10:20,
11:54, 11:29, 13:25, 11:22, 10:57, 10:08,
12:09, 2:59 (0.30M @9:57)
Results - RESULT LINK
Next up – This Sunday it`s the Fleet Half Marathon. No point in racing this one so it`s time for some fun but also time to remember life........