Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Brugg 12 hour race

After my DNF at around 50 mile at Berlin 100 due to a hip flexor issue which came out of nowhere I needed another race.  I felt that the safest option was a timed event as technically you can’t DNF and if you stop early you don’t have to get rescued/find your way back on public transport feeling miserable.

Since Berlin the hip has been fine but I still have a bit of hamstring tendonopathy which has been going on since July .  I am able to run steadily but not do anything fast so although I have been able to get in reasonably decent miles I have not been able to do any speed/tempo/hill work as these all aggregate the hamstring.

Running had been up and down.  Some days I felt good but others sluggish which I think was from continually plodding.  The hamstring has been improving but still not enough to be happy with anything fast.  I entered the race feeling confident I could go the distance provided the hip flexor didn’t have a tantrum again.  I was less worried about the hamstring as that is more or less OK when running at ultra pace.

The event is a 24/12/6 hour.  The 24 hour started at noon; the 12 hour at midnight. I arrived around 6pm; had a look around to identify the toilets, check out the food, make up my drinks and then try (unsuccesfully) to sleep.

A midnight start is difficult as I am normally in bed by then.  When I got up at 11pm I really didn’t fancy starting a run, I just wanted to stay ‘in bed’.  About half an hour before I started drinking a caffeine drink which must have worked as by the time we started I wasn’t raring to go!  I didn’t have especially big ideas in terms of distance.  In April I had done 117km on the track.  I knew I wasn’t in such good shape due to lack of speed and I didn’t have anyone crewing which helps save a lot of time faffing with food and drink as well as keeping you on track.  I thought that 105-110km was fairly realistic but I was more interested in having a solid run and being reasonably strong at the end as well as coming through it with no injuries.

tables provided to put your own food/drinks
As always the first few laps were a bit too fast but I soon settled into a more suitable pace where I wasn’t dawdling but was hopefully not working too hard either. Each lap was 938.2m which made calculations interesting so I had a simple plan of laps per hour which had a bit of a fade.  From experience I know that Garmin’s measure quite a bit long on short laps/tracks so I couldn’t rely on it for distance.  The set up I went for was a small lap counter on my finger so I could count my own laps and Garmin so I could keep an eye on my mile splits and rough distance.   The race was chip timed.  Just after you went over the chip mat the results were projected onto the side of a white gazebo.  The last 10 people to go over the mat were displayed.  You could see last lap time; distance; number of laps and position ( which I think was age group position).

I hadn’t really decided on a run walk strategy other than there would be one!  I was feeling good and running well from the off so decided to do approx 1hour run then a few minutes walk.  11 laps took around an hour, the food was the other side so I did 11.5 laps before my first walk and bottle of OTE. For this race I was experimenting by taking on more calories from fluids as I have struggled during night runs with solid food.

lap counter
In terms of the race, I thought I was 3rd lady.  A lady had passed me a few laps in and another who had been running on my shoulder got ahead when I had my walk.  A few laps after I started running again i caught up with the lady who had been on my shoulder,  she looked to have slowed down a lot.  I passed her then she came with me staying on my shoulder.  Each time we were coming up to the chip mat she would go past me so she was ahead going over the mat then she let me get ahead and would run right behind me again.   I was getting fed up with these shenanigans; I had tried to talk to her but there were language barriers! I decided to play a game to see I feel she really was trying to get over that mat first so I picked the pace up quite significantly just before the mat - she came with me so I knew she was on a mission to get over that mat first.

11 laps later I have another walk and a powerbar.  Stalker lady slows down until I catch her up then she starts her games again.  This continued until just after 3 hours when she slowed down significantly and I started lapping her regularly.   I was managing to hold a fairly consistent pace a little ahead of schedule but not too far ahead that I should be worrying! I had decided that I would do 11 laps run for 4 hours then drop to 10 laps for the next 4 then 8 laps.   For each walk break I was grabbing a bottle of drink and sometimes food.  On the half hour I was grabbing a cup of coke and walking for about 10seconds to drink it.

At 4 hours I was feeling good still and holding the pace reasonably well.  I stopped to put some ‘novisport’ on my quads.  The grease and the rubbing made the lap counter come off my finger.  I had already been stopped longer than I would have liked as I had a gel which I couldn’t get open and had to use wet wipes to clean my hands so didn’t want to mess around getting it back on again ( there wasn’t also not too much need as the screen was giving me the lap info.  I needed the toilet but it wasn’t despirate so decided to hold on - managed to hold until my next walk - ask I was still feeling good I persuaded myself to stick to 11 laps run few minutes walk until 6 hours! Pace was now slowing as a little but was still nothing drastic.

After around 6 hours I was told I was 1st lady and 1st overall.  This was a big boost but also made me realise I couldn’t relax if I wanted to keep this position.  The lady who was ahead must have been in the relay.  I was feeling suspiciously good for 6 hours compared to some recent runs but as I was slowing dropped to 10 laps before a walk.  On my next walk break I was eating a powerbar when all of a sudden I had to go! This happened at my last 12 hour race - no warning!
The lady in second place was running a consistent pace without walking. I was a lap ahead but when
I had my walk she would pass.  It would take about 5 laps for me to catch her then I wound gain a bit have a walk and she would pass again.  I looked at her splits after; I don’t think thinknshe even went to the Toilets!!

After around 7 hours it was finally getting lift.  Although the course was lit there was one bit with a bump which I nearly tripped on a few times.  I hadn’t been been able to see my watch on the walking bit in the dark; now it was light I could see it and see that I hadn’t been walking that long on previous walk breaks - I walked until the corner - so now I could see the watch I walked a bit longer to make it nearer 5 minutes.

Stopped again for some more ‘novisport’ for my quads which were now starting to feel a bit tired.  Once I got past the 50 mile mark I was really happy as I had no issues with my hip flexor or hamstring and had  got beyond the distance I managed in Berlin feeling significantly better.  I was still holding a pace of comfortably under 10mm and feeling not too bad considering the distance covered.

100km flag
I think it was the last couple of hours where things got noticeably harder.  The laps were no linger being projected as it wasn’t too light so I had no idea of the laps. I knew that at 100km we got a flag to carry so was willing that moment to come.  I got the flag at around 10.30.  The only issue was that I didn’t know where on the lap 100km was so assumed it was at the end of the lap as the worse case scenario.  I then planned to count laps (I should have picked up the lap counter ) but soon lost count.  I knew that if I stuck to around 10mm with a walk then I should get 110km.

Wendy had been keeping me up to date with my lead - I just had one lap so couldn’t afford to slack off.  I was ahead of 2nd by a lap and a bit then with an hour to go she went past me whilst I was running.  Previously she had only passed whilst I had been walking.  She had obviously started to pick up the pace for the final hour and throw everything at it.  I did not need this!! I was hoping to just plod it out for the last hour knowing that baring a calf cramp or similar I would hit 110km.
I realised that I could not afford to have my walk break which was due at about 11.10 so instead grabbed a drink and walked for about 20s.  She gained about 50m whist I walked so I Just tried to keep that’s gap the same not allowing it to grow but also not pushing the pace as I didn’t want her to go any faster.  I could have gone a bit faster if i really had to but my calf felt like it might go into spasm so I didn’t need want to do more than I needed.  Every couple of laps I would grab a cup an drink walk for a few seconds drinking.  She was doing the same but walking less so she was gaining a tiny bit each time.  I knew she was hurting though as she was just randomly throwing her cups rather than putting them in the bin like everyone else.

The end
With a about half an hour to go where she was probably about 100m ahead on the lap (but I was still one lap up) I was trying to work out what pace she would need to run a treadmill to catch me up if I stuck to around 10mm.  Unfortunately my brain couldn’t work it out as I was too tired but it kept me I occupied for a few minutes trying! With 15 minutes to go she was gaining a little but not much.  I thought that unless she pulled out a sprint then I was safe but I couldn’t relax.  I just kept myself eye on her to make sure she’s didn’t suddenly put her foot down! It was only with about 5 minutes to go that I felt I was safe! I knew I had done more than my target so felt no real need to throw absolutely everything at it for the last lap.  I should have done though as it would have been nice to make another compete lap! I finished about 10m short of another lap it didn’t really matter as I had surpassed what I had set out to do!

Final result 1st lady 1st overall 114.927km which I was over the moon with.  The race was really well organised,  I would def recommend it although if like me you only speak English don’t expect much conversation with other runners!

Shoes and socks
Skechers go run ride 6
Hilly twin skin - no blisters

Food and drink
OTE vanilla
Tailwind berry
High5 4:1 berry
Aminogo berry burst
Genesis pre workout (also took during)
Vanilla soya milk with added electrolyte
4x gels
2x 9bars
2x powerbar coconut
Lots of bits of banana

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