Sunday, 21 July 2013

2 hot weekends! 2 super races! & fun & friendships.

Firstly I must apologise for not writing my blog earlier, I seem to be getting a bit behind with everything due to training  & racing & literally not having a second to spare, but I'm back on it & it could be a long one so if u struggle sleeping this may be the perfect to send you to the land of nod.

The first race I'm going to blog about is the 12 hour Conti lightning run, & I was really looking forward to this weekend not only for the race , but for meeting up with my great ultra running friends who are all seem to be turning into mine & my dads extended family which is lovely & we all look out for each other & as we were first on site we had the job of saving our buddies some camping area , It was also lovely that my mate Chris Crabtree had also agreed to lend us his Hope van to get changed in as our campervan was off the road, a lovely gesture.

We were quite excited to see what the new venue @ Catton Park was going to be like, so me my dad & buffy (my dog) decided to walk around the course & I'm glad we did it was very much a leg dredging long grass off road course ,I was liking the look of it & was thinking that it would play to my strengths, the only part I wasn't so keen on was the bit by the farmers fields due to me getting hay fever.

Race Day.
As usual I was up at the crack of dawn well when I say dawn it was 3.30 am and nobody else was about, I couldn't sleep so I decided the best thing to do was to get up & sort some porridge for me & my dad & let Ben get some sleep.
I like been prepared & ready not sure if its pre race nerves or just excitement of wanting to get the race started.

check my serious race face. was the start time and as usual I needed the toilet about 5.55am so a mad dash to the loos and back to the start line.
After winning the ladies race last year I did feel a bit of pressure on me to run well, but I tried to put this to the back of my mind & to just concentrate on my own race,  and as I always say anything can happen in an ultra race & nothing is ever guaranteed I had a lap/distance goal & my plan was to do that & if that got me on the podium I would be chuffed.
This year I knew Sally Fawcett was running solo & I knew she was going to be my biggest rival as she is an  awesome runner & this was shown from the start as she started so quick!!!!!! at this point I knew it was going to be a long day in the Sun, please note this isn't me been negative its just she was damn quick & later in the day I found out she went through the marathon distance in sub 3.30 hours off road in a 12 hour race !!!
Back to the race I didn't panic & just carried on with my usual race pace in the hope that she would blow up later in the race.
As the race developed it was becoming obvious that Sally wasn't slowing down & I was in 2nd place trying my best to claw something back but it was just getting me no closer to her at all,
The heat of the race was also starting to take its toll on a few solo runners & Im really thankful to my hubby & support crew for making sure I took on enough fuel & water & even quite enjoyed having a whole bottle of icy water tipped over me thanks Julie Tonks!!!!
I think it was about lap 7 that I started to feel a bit sick , a mixture of too much sun & not enough shade, I just kept going & when I got to my support crew I was told that the 3rd lady was catching me ! thanks for that guys,
Lap 8 I was sick on the course & it was probably my slowest lap but there was no way I was going to let me been sick stop me!!
I was finally caught on lap 10 by the 3rd lady and she was running awesome I did actually wonder if I was standing still when she flew past & now panic was starting to set in blooming hell I hope I'm not going to get caught & lose out on a podium place !! when I finished lap 10 I still had a good half an hour left till 12 hours so if needed I could get another lap in , Deep down I was hoping I hadn't got to do another lap & Ben been a good hubby & seeing me not looking my best went and checked how far behind the next female was , luckily for me I was safe in 3rd place. 
So i finished with 10 laps in 3rd place , 

My dad had an awesome race & he completed 8 laps well done Buff daddy (new nickname) thanks Charlie Sharpe for that one.
It was also great to see my mate Nivette & Matt in the pairs event finish in 3rd place in the mixed pairs category awesome guys & lets hope we can all do well in the Tr24 next week end.

I have to mention here all the great support I got at the race from Henry from Buff & I could see how jealous the other winners were not to get a Buff dolphin Banana , no pressure but I hope you have some more fruit animals ready for the TR24.

About 6 weeks ago I got asked if I would like to do this race with my mate Nivette as her friend she was running with was now unable to do it, So me been a  slightly ultra mad said yes straight away & then I realised it was only 2 weeks after the 12 hour conti lightning run & 2 weeks before the TR24 hour race gulp!! But hey us ultra runners are tough right some would say slightly mad but I'm sticking with tough!!

So the race weekend was upon us & I was lucky enough to be invited to stay at Nivettes house the night before so we could get an early start on the Saturday morning.
To be fair it was a miracle that I actually got to the start line as when I arrived at their house I tripped over their door matt & went flying through the door , what a way to make an entrance very embarrassing I had to put this in the blog as I'm never going to live it down.
I needed a Pimms to calm down!!! 

I must admit I was quite nervous about this race as I normally have my hubby as support , but due to work he was unable to make it, so it was down to Richard (Nivettes hubby) to be our support & to keep a close eye on us at checkpoints with the hot weather been reported.
We got to the race at about 6.30 am & the race started at, so we had plenty of time to sort out our numbers (mine was 118 brilliant I can see endless jokes about that lol) que for toilets etc etc. & joke about i'm sure its a nervous thing for us both as we were both on top form very early or we had too much coffee & it's a wonder we weren't chucked out of the line of people when Nivette all very innocently asked me how to use her new Camelback & my answer was bite & suck then she added do I then swallow you can see how our day was heading , you really had to be there to appreciate how funny this was & the chap behind us looked mortified.

Back to the race it was looking like it was going to be a gorgeous hot day & there wasn't a cloud in the sky, to be fair I had been told a countless number of times that today was going to be the hottest day of the year, to my reply to them was come on i've run in the Ocean floor race in the desert it can't be any hotter than that can it!!!!!

So off we started & if I say so myself we both looked great in our Buff tops & Buff uv caps & now matching backpacks, We got into a good pace looking back maybe a little to quick but hey we were trying to take advantage of the cooler temperature.
The route was lovely all off road along lovely paths up rolling hills & through the most amazing rapeseed field i've ever seen.

The first few checkpoints came around really quite quick & it was great to see friendly faces spring into action when you came in whether it be with some water , some food or just to spray you down with water , which I enjoyed more as the day got hotter.
Richard did an amazing job finding us at every checkpoint & i was so pleased that he did as I was starting to get sick of drinking water or energy drinks & I had some coca cola which tasted amazing.
It was great running with Nivette & strangely enough this was the first time I had done a race with her & it was her furthest distance race, so I was hoping my ultra experience would help & I knew we were similar pace, we got on great with general chit chat & stupid comments yep who would of thought it stupid comments from us two. Just because you are in a competitive race it doesn't mean that you cant enjoy yourselves.
For a good mile or so we were studying the males bums in front of us & it was their own fault for passing us earlier in the race and commenting on ours lol.

We got to 50k in about 6 hrs 30 & we were ok, this checkpoint was the best yet with homemade vegi bean soup & cobs & cakes, the soup really hit the spot & spurred us both on.
50k to 60k was really tough for us both & it literally felt like we were running in a furnace & there was very little shade at all, there were lots of runners feeling bad too & the medical staff were top class with looking after them and administrating i.v drips, luckily for us we were keeping an eye on each other & we made sure we both drank enough to counter act the sweat & salt we were losing in the heat.
between 60 & 70k we were slowing down & we were both looking forward to seeing the 70k checkpoint & did I mention it was the hottest day of the year!!! its funny that even the littlest of gestures can lift a person's spirit as we came through the checkpoint a lady who was waiting for her husband commented that we were the 2 fittest ladies she had ever seen, ok she may not of meant it but it really made us smile & we became known on the course as the 2 Buff ladies.
Talking of Buff ladies at this checkpoint we were entertained by a rather lovely Buff looking chap who stripped off & showed us his 6 pack lol we had to take a moment to compose ourselves.
We had a good 20 min break here at this checkpoint & it was really needed.
Between 70 & 90k the two of us were very quiet & we just got on with the job at hand & I think it was here where I came up with the slogan "lets get this Sh*T done & that became our slogan to get us to the next & last checkpoint at 90k.
The last checkpoint was a welcome sight we were both knackered & I felt sick & it really didn't help that a chap sitting opposite us threw his guts up twice & was shaking uncontrollably at that I had to retreat to a quiet area away from everyone as him throwing up was making me worse, after about 5 mins we got sorted and made our way on the last 10k in the pitch black with our headtorches on.
The course was marked now by glow sticks & we saw the very occasional headtorch flicker in front so we knew we were on the right tracks.
I'm sure the last couple of miles went on forever & we could hear the finishing announcer & music in the distance.
The last bit of the course was horrible as it really screwed with your head, as we knew we were close to finishing but we were sent down a road to run through the stones ( which we couldnt see due to it been pitch black) to be told to run around a field & retrace our tracks back down the road we had just run up.
If i remember correctly we were both very lady like here and we both swore.
I also wasn't paying as much attention as Nivette as I though we were told we had 800 metres left to run only to be corrected with it been 1800metres doh!!!


When we eventually got the finish line in sight I honestly thought Nivette was going to leg it & beat me in lol, but no we started together, ran around together & finished together & I thouroughly enjoyed the whole experience.

Nivette you ran brilliant & ok we both thought that we would run it quicker , but that was before the punishing heat & we came joint 8th not bad for your first 100k ultra , I really enjoyed running around with you & I hope me stopping for the very occasional stone in my shoe lol & my frequent toilet stops kept you entertained.Lets hope there are many more ultra adventures in the future & thank you for letting me be part of your ultra experience & I hope some of my tips will be useful in the future.

Also a massive thank you as always to  for sending me some kit for Nivette when you found out we were running together.

Last but not least Richard ( nivettes hubby) you were a star all day looking after us both & how you managed to drive home after having no sleep for 24hours was beyond me.

Would I do this race again ??? Yes I would.