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.
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|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Hilly twin skin - no blisters
Food and drink
High5 4:1 berry
Aminogo berry burst
Genesis pre workout (also took during)
Vanilla soya milk with added electrolyte
2x powerbar coconut
Lots of bits of banana