I'd forgotten how severe the hills on the beautiful Jurassic Coastline were to be honest.. This was the third time I have raced on this section of coast and as soon as I was stood at the base of the first climb, which incidentally was right at the start, the pain, lactic acid build up and "what am I doing here" - ness came flooding back from the previous races!
|The Course Elevation Profile|
Endurancelife always organise a good race, and the Ultra was well organised, I think 130 people started the race and by the looks of the results only 46 made the aggressive final checkpoint cutoff time of which I believe was 6 hours 15 mins. When you take into account the amount of climbing involved for the day (around 6000ft) to make the cutoff is no mean feat. The conditions were also super muddy with more than a few people spending quality time on their behinds and one guy I met even cutting his hand on barbed wire when falling..
|The Hills Are Alive...|
I was lucky in that I didnt actually fall, but as I was traipsing through the mud I was silently cursing the organisers, it was treacherous in parts with slippy sections right next to sheer cliff drops!! I also took a bit of a wrong turn in the first 10 or so miles which lost me a few places in the overall rankings but in a way was a good thing, I ended up running alone for a good 10 miles or so and stopped worrying about pace, position and all that, plugged my Ipod in and enjoyed the run! I think if anyone could have seen me running along singing along to Tina Turners "The Best" or air boxing to "The Eye of The Tiger" they might have questioned my sanity, although I guess not many sane people run 35 miles in those conditions for fun in the first place? Discuss.
|Phil and Lee|
It was a hard day, but it was sunny and the scenery as always was beautiful, it was great to go over with my friends Phil Taylor, Lee De St Croix and Peter Wright, the banter we had was amazing and we all did well. I was lucky enough to meet a few people who are taking part in the MDS next year, Joey,
Mark and Fred so this was definitely an added bonus for the day.
So.. I placed 11th overall in the end finishing the course in 6 hours 46, I was so pleased with this, and shows a real improvement as a result of my training over this year. The biggest thing for me was being able to climb some of these mountains/hills and then being able to run at the top, this meant I was sustaining a good overall pace during the race and didnt really start to feel tired in the legs until the last 6 miles or so, where you came back to the start line and have to go out and do another 6 mile loop of the initial course. This was tough psychologically as getting to the start/finish and keeping going is very counter intuitive! Once I had gone through I kept telling myself 6 miles to go, 6 miles to go and listened to my cheesy chart iPod playlist and soaked it up..
As far as things to take away from the day? I would say that cheesy chart music works better than thrash metal to keep the spirits high during those difficult times (particularly Katy Perry's Firework...!!), Hammer Perpetuem is an amazing energy source for long races (kept me going and supplied with energy for the duration), leg strength training definitely paid off for those hills, Salomon Exo calf guards were invaluable to keep the legs feeling fresh, and really strong Ibuprofen makes everything ok when all else fails.. :) Onwards and upwards now to 2013, maybe one more Ultra marathon before the MDS just to keep ticking over...
Another high point this week was that I reached my £5000 target for Jersey Hospice Care. I am raising money for this amazing local charity as a dear friend of mine Natalie Moss spent time there this year before she sadly passed away and they were amazing to her and her family. I am running the MDS in memory of her as her grace and poise under such awful circumstances and her strength was amazing and so inspiring. I am humbled by the support of everyone who has donated either by attending the various events I and my good friends have organised or through my justgiving page, thanks so so much and I hope to raise more before I go to Morocco in April for this great cause.
So whats next? More training now in the lead up to christmas, interspersed with my works xmas do this Friday and various other social events, so a slight reduction in mileage I think for the next few weeks, then back into it at full pelt in January to get me to the Desert. Its just under 4 months til we fly to Morocco and face the biggest challenge I have ever faced. I found the James Cracknell documentary about the MDS on Youtube the other day, well worth a look to see what the race is about, click here