What a race! 3 months of intense hill training, long runs and early nights culminated last weekend in me lining up at the start of the Jurassic coast challenge in Dorset. Billed as "The Mother of all hilly runs" it certainly lived up that rep. Within the first 3 miles of the first day we had climbed the highest peak in Dorset, and it didnt let up over the next 3 days..
I went out well on day one, and got a 4 hour 40 finish for my efforts.. I was surprised to see I had finished in 15th place which immediately put a bit of weight on my shoulders for the next day...
I found that the next day I hadnt replaced the calories burnt from the previous days efforts which meant I had little in the tank when the going got tough in the latter stages, the first 20 miles being a nice jaunt around the island of Portland, then some road running through Weymouth and then boom! 3 devastating hills at the end over Durdle Door and finishing at Lulworth Cove. The picture below sums up how I was feeling about the hills!
I managed to get a 5 hour 37 finish at the end of this day and came in 39th place overall.
Day 3 was all about "getting through it" this was by far the hardest day with some brutal climbs and equally brutal descents which played havoc with my poor quads! I got to half way and started to flag really badly, I wandered like a lost soul for a few miles until I bumped into a generous lady who gave me some mega amazing Ibuprofen which cure all my ills! It was then onto the last checkpoint and the last climb of the day:
After this we thought it was going to be plain sailing however the organisers had a nice little surprise for us.. There was a nice stretch of beach for us to negotiate before the finish and it involved negotiating a nudist colony and just being able to see the finish in the distance. I made it to the finish line in 7 hours and clocked a distance of 28.3 miles for the day. Overall the total distance run over the 3 days was 82 miles and we climbed approx 10,000 ft of elevation gain according to my Garmin. I hated and loved this race in equal measure... It was well organised by VOTWO and everything went smoothly.
Lots of lesson learnt for a multi day stage race: More strength conditioning needed, more comfortable trail shoes for longer distance needed, better equipment needed! and more endurance runs to be able to sustain the multi day effort.. I came in 31st place overall which I was so pleased with in the end, although it did become about just enjoying it on the last day. I met some great people, some inspirational people and hopefully made some good friends from the race..
One weeks rest now and then straight back into training for the St Malo marathon on May 13th! :)