Friday, 25 October 2013

Caesars Camp – The Final One.

Those three dreaded words you never want to see – The Final One – yep the last ever Caesars Camp Endurance Run.  

This event has been instrumental in my liking of long running;

2009 – Midnight 30 – 06:50:24 – Race Report – HERE - 1st ever Marathon & Ultra

2011 – Midnight 30 – 07:19:30 – Race Report – HERE

2012 – 50 Mile race – 13:55:46 – Race Report – HERE 
So come this year I had to enter – I`m not going to lie I was tempted to enter the `100` seeing as it was the last one but the bigger itch won in the end. Even thou last year`s race was a huge step up for me, I was disappointed with the time – I knew deep down I could so much better….. 
So come race day & like most Saturday mornings I was down Frimley Lodge parkrun…..not to run but help out marshalling (those fast boys & girls are just nuts !!!) . Afterwards I nipped back home for a late (& 2nd) breakfast, then chucked a few more bits & bobs in the car & off I went to Caesars Camp….it`s a short trip (3.7M door to gate…not that I`ve ever run that before :-/ ). I got there & was glad the expected parking / HQ problems with the Film crew has been smoothed out (Henk later said that they were most accommodating). I parked up & wandered over to the race HQ to sign in. I saw a few familiar faces & said hello.
My race plan – my preparation for this, had if honest been a bit on the low side, missed a couple of longer runs & only done 3 long runs since June (Salisbury Marathon, JW Ultra & Bournemouth Marathon). I knew from last year that the race conditions would play a large part & the lucky the conditions were so much better. I did have this `A` goal of finishing before the Midnight 30 race started (about 2 hrs 24 mins a lap).  As you fluffed around before the `kick-off` I got chatting to a couple of very experienced runners – it was quite odd to me how these guys were referring to 50 Miles as `doing just 50 miles`  Even thou I felt really confident in myself this was still going to be my 4th longest run ever on not the easiest of courses.
We assembled for the race briefly – which is one of highlights of the event. I looked around and the field of runners & volunteers was just to me staggering with a huge range of long distance / endurance experience on show – but no-one was `up-themselves` - I do love events like that. Anyway after the briefing we had about 2 or 3 minutes – I went back to the car & after a bit more fluffing around I nearly missed the start – opps. It just started to rain - I didn`t bother with a jacket, just a t-shirt, shorts & my trusted arms-warmers & buff hanging off my race belt & my very old Mizuno Wave Harriers WT on – over 700 miles in them. I wore these in my 2009 race - see photo above. I didn`t gained too many places as I was adjusting various bits & bobs and the first few miles we were faily bunched up - which was actually great as the race banter was just brilliant. I caught up with Jerry & Allan – not because I was any faster but only because they, let`s just say `wanted to have a look at an alternative route` - Sorry guys.  To be fair they were not the only ones who missed a turn – I guess I saw it happen 4 or 5 times in the first laps & I too was guilty of it in my 2009 race.
The route is I think well thought out & there are much better descriptions of the course in the many blogs out there but there were so runnable sections, some scrambling places, some places where it easier to slide down on your ar$e than run down & real hard slog it out places.  What I did notice that I was walking at the same time / places as these experienced runners.  As we ran I did notice I was moving quite nicely & soon I was heading to the Race HQ – I guess that local course knowledge made it easier – I ran down the final hill & received a bit of abuse from Henk as I entered the checking-in area.
1st lap – 1:58pm (1hrs 58mins) approx.           
Mile Splits -11:20, 12:23, 10:59, 11:04, 9:40, 11:54, 13:08, 12:08, 12:32, 10:39 
Like previous years I went to the car to have something to eat (malt load) & drink – water, flat coke & lucozade & change of top. I didn`t want to hang around in these `pit-stops` & was soon off again.
The first few miles of the 2nd lap was funny as I was overtaking runners who overtook me at my lap stop. Again I was moving quite nicely & one thing that had changed during this 2nd lap was my thoughts – instead of the first lap thoughts of the past….. what was going on this time last year & the rough months that followed that to happier, stronger, more positive thoughts of what I`ve done since & my achievements this year. I did have more of spring in my step than the lap before. I felt more relaxed..
I think it was in this lap someone said as we were running together  “Why am I doing this??” – I said “Shouldn`t be - Glad I am doing this” and I was. I think we all glad we were there, where else would you want to be on a Saturday than running in the last Caesars Camp race. It reminded me of something I saw recently - `Do what makes you happy`
2nd lap – 4:11pm (2hrs 13mins) approx.

Mile Splits – 20:07, 13:13, 12:34, 11:40, 10:04, 12:45, 14:56, 11:40, 14:48, 11:18.

Again I stopped at the car (after getting zapped) – again a bit to eat (Muller Rice) & something to drink & just a change of top – I wasn`t getting cold so I didn`t bother changing from the shorts but did remember to apply more Body Glide. My feet were ok. I knew it was going to get a bit dark during the end of next lap – I didn`t take my head torch as I wanted to push myself getting around this 3rd lap - it would give me a big boost doing 3 `daylight` laps. I struggled in the first few miles of lap 3 mainly as I ate too much rice !!! We did had the `pleasure` of Henk running towards shouting “Come on run you d*ckheads” Once that indigestion had gone it was a lot easier & I was glad I had food down me. I didn`t quite make it round before it was dark – let’s just say the last 3/4th of a mile was interesting…. 
3rd lap – 6:38pm (2hrs 27mins) approx.
Mile Splits – 21:41, 13:50, 14:19, 13:40, 10:22, 13:44, 14:33, 15:13, 12:39, 12:20

(Jon not being able to count - thanks to Pete for the photo) 
I grabbed the trusted Lenser H7 head torch & rear light, again just a change of top & out into my first dark lap. I had a few stumbles & found some tree stumps on this lap but I was pushing the pace – I knew that I had support turning up back at Race HQ – which was just fantastic – you couldn`t hang around – you may all night but they won`t.  To me the second to last lap is so nice knowing you have to do it only once more. I did fly down that last hill……
4th lap – 9:27pm (2hrs 49mins) approx.
Mile Splits – 23:14, 15:18, 13:14, 15:30, 12:04, 13:00, 17:48, 14:11, 13:25, 14:21,
I was greeted to a mass of folks - Jon, Deena, Rebecca, Peter & the Frimley Lodge parkrun Crew – Karen, Louise, Richard, James, Duncan, Andy & Dave (I hope I got them all there) – I couldn`t believe it so many turned up – I was glad I was having a good race. I felt good but also bad that I couldn`t hang around & chat. I nipped to the car, changed my top, had something to eat & drink & grabbed my spare torch (rather than fluff around with new batteries) & said hello & good byes & off I went – gutted I wanted to chat but I couldn`t as I had to this lap in less than 2 hrs 30mins …. Ok back to the 15 minute milling to get back in time. I had just missed out on a PB at the JW Ultra – missed it by 6 mins & dropped 10 mins in the last 3 miles – I did not want for that to happen again & finish the race at 12:06am.

One really good thing was that my Garmin was exactly 1 mile ahead when I left for the last lap – I guess I hadn`t parked my car that close again. From the previous laps I knew the 1st two miles I was going to be slightly behind on time – but knew I could make the time up in the `runnable sections`  - I was Garmin watching a lot. I was still feeling great. I saw Karen, Andy & Dave at the `half-way hut` – again which was a huge boost. After what seemed only a few seconds I said my farewells to them & thanked Dick & his crew for being there & for each year I had run & reminded him that he was the first person who congratulated me when I ran my first ever marathon back during the 2009 race – I did say his race was a little too much for me (Grand Union Canal Race – 145 miles) but hoped to see him soon.
The last time around the lake & thank goodness the last time up the `incline` at around 6.5 / 7.5 (never enjoyed that section too much), over the cattle grid then up & running again, over that last style & down the narrow track. The cows had moved on ! As the miles ticked off - I seemed to get faster & faster.. I hadn`t really seen too many runners, I past a couple who looked to be doing ok..I was into the last mile now..I ran up that small final slope & down to race HQ, over the grass corner & ran towards the finish. I raised my hands in salute – I couldn`t believe it…I had done it & felt really strong.

My time was 11hrs 51 mins 55 secs
J and I had enough time to catch Henk`s race briefing for the Midnight 30 boys & girls before they were off. I wished Nikki well on her race. 
5th lap – 11:51pm (2hrs 24mins) approx.
Mile Splits - 21:11, 16:08, 16:22, 14:24, 13:34, 11:40, 17:16, 15:46, 13:07, 14:49, 11:32, 2:25 (0.22@ 11:02)
(These are rough lap times as I managed to clock up 1.22M over the race)
I stood around chatting to Karen, Andy, Dave & Richard for a bit but then got quite cold & headed off to the car to throw warm clothes on. They came over which was great. After they had gone & I went back to the race HQ & thanked everyone who was around & off I went.
What a brilliant event these Caesars Camp Endurance Runs have been & cannot thank Henk enough for his hard work over the years.

Pleased that this performance was good as it finishes off my long runs now for the year –  5 Marathons & 5 Ultras. Scores on the Doors = 29 (15 + 14).
Next up – some fun…ok, some much shorter fun.       Some Cross Country fun to be precise - earlier in the year I joined (as a 2nd claim) – Windle Valley - another local club but they run the Thames Valley Cross Country League & the 1st race starts on the 8th November so hopefully I`ll be fully recovered & raring to go for that J but to get back into practice it`s the Halloween 5 & Loseley 10Km next week.
My longest run now till the end of the year will be Gut Buster 10 on the 29th Dec – yes I have ditched my Gosport half place.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

What no splat the rat – Mortimer 10Km.

A quick catch up…a week after the JW Ultra I find myself heading towards a local 10Km & if someone says "It`s a village fete 10Km" then I think this is the closest you will ever get to an event that fits that bill - The Mortimer 10Km - it has bouncy castle, stalls from local charities - didn`t see `a splat the rat` stall though L 3Km kids race, great 10Km course, enter on the day, loads of room from parking etc - it`s brilliant. Myself & Dennis get there early, grab a coffee & watch the kids race goes off, I go for a mile or so warm up & then catch up with folks from the Basingstoke parkrun who are out in good number.

The race plan - well was a bit difficult to predict as I didn`t really know what my legs would do so soon after the previous week`s 30M - maybe 47 mins. My only previous run here was in 2008 (I know) & I managed one of my first sub 50 mins times - 49:34. The course hadn`t changed - fairly flat for 7Km then a climb & then the finish & the weather was good.. It was good to see other Cove Joggers - Lin & Brian pop over to race this one too.

Soon it was time to assemble at the start, I moved towards the front. The start is about 400 mtrs on the field then out onto the road for a small loop - the grass start makes it like we are in the Grand National horse race - no fallers thank goodness. We do a loop, about a mile going past the many spectators, which is great for the support. First mile - 6.59/m - ok that`s PB pace - opps. The second mile inc a small hill - which I seem to overtake loads of folks - 7:13/m - pleased. I get a bit caught up in a group of runners in the 3rd mile & kind of relax into their pace rather than mine - 7:21 /m - what a rookie !!.

I go through the 5Km in 22:15 or so.

The next mile includes the downhill section & inc running past the spectators (more showboating) - 6:55/m Around 4.25 miles there is the first incline, then flattens out then up again - 7:36/m which wasn`t bad as I seemed to be a `bus driver` - take turns guys !!!` This incline lasts till about 5.5M, then flattens out - I chase the guys who get off the bus & go running past !!!  We head towards the spectators - heads up, knees up, lean forward - 7:26/m & then head into the field for the last little bit & under the gantry.

I stop the garmin at 44:51 - all pretty good, the legs did well. I do have to say it helped that I knew quite a few runners who were either kept ahead of me (thanks Daryl) or I chased down during the race.

I stood cheering on the finishing runners with Marie, I saw some good battles being played out inc Lin & Brian with Lin claiming that one. We waited for Dennis who was bang on time. Afterwards we grabbed another coffee (no cakes thou Richard !!) & watched the prize giving. 

Great Event.

Bit of a plug but Lisa gave me a few huge cheers around the course - Lisa Wilkinson Sports Therapy