For people who haven't run in this great event it is a 24hour offroad race held at Catton Park , which is brilliantly organised & everyone is so friendly.
This year was my 4th year competing in it & the first year I ran in a pair with my dad which was brilliant, but since then I have ran solo the last few years & I have done quite well in it with a 2nd place in 2011 & 1st place solo lady last year so I did feel a little bit of pressure on me this year but as I'm competitive it's always good to have some pre race nervous energy .other friends may call it me been hyper active but no it's pre race nerves lol .
We arrived at Catton park on the Friday afternoon & luckily for me & my dad my running buddy Nivette had saved us only the best solo camping pitch ever , right next to the finish & perfect for popping back to see my support crew if I needed to. So a massive Thank u to Nivette for doing that it was much appreciated .
Friday evening was a lovely chilled out night & it was great to socialise & chat with fellow runners & I got to see my brilliant mates Heather & Harry who had come along to support me & my dad.
I still can't believe you tried to get me to have a cider with you the night before a race Heather ( I'm a very serious athlete & my body is a temple & all that )
It was also cool to meet up with Henry from www.Buffwear.co.uk Buff / SueMe www.sueme.com who sponsor my kit too & there was a lovely relaxed atmosphere around the camp.
As always at this race I had to have a couple of sports massages as I swear by them & they keep my legs in tip top shape , I did make a rather basic mistake on the Friday night massage though as I had forgot to put my running shorts on so my SueMe trunks were on view for one & all to see ( good bit of advertising Henry )
After a little chill back at the camper & a artistic play with some bubbles (these were a gift from a fellow nutter solo runner Louise )
This photo was produced & then we decided to call it a night as we had a long day ahead of us.
I do sometimes wonder why I go to bed early on the eve of a race as I didn't sleep well at all & was wide awake at 5 am.
I wasn't the only one awake early as my dad was too & so was my support crew mate Heather, so porridge & a Nutella sandwich later I was ready to run.
The race started at 12 lunchtime but it was announced at around 11 that there had been a severe weather warning for this evening c/w thunder & lightning ( great news ) something to look forward to !!!
So 12 o'clock came & the race started , it was actually a very warm/muggy day & rather bright so my trusted Bloc sunglasses www.bloceyewar.com were put on & I was hoping that it would cool down for us later on in the race.
The course & ground under foot was rock hard & I set off at a nice steady pace with my trusty iPod on as I always do for the 1st couple of hours , I find this just relaxes me & gets my head into the zone for running for 24 hours !!
This years route had loads of motivational signs around the course where were a brilliant idea & I also think the new idea of us solo runners having a number on our back was a great idea & the support from fellow runners when they knew you was running solo was amazing.
When running in ultra races I am known to chat to other runners & before anyone says am I not taking the race serious !! I am . But there is nowhere where it says you can't enjoy yourself & by chatting it motivates you to keep going & the time goes quicker .
I found this out on lap 5 when I caught up with my running friend Kim Freeman & subsequently I ended up running the whole lap with her , it was one of my most enjoyable laps of the whole race & we just chatted away, even if I was told to carry on & I hope I'm not holding you back . Kim you wasn't & it was great to run a lap with you & it really spurred me on.
I haven't mentioned yet how I'm getting on in the ladies race??
This was because I honestly didn't know & I had told Ben not to tell me until a good 20 hours into the race as anything could happen before. I did however here a one point the announcer mention I was in the top 3 but I choose to ignore it & just keep plugging away.
The lovely paths were now just mud or mini streams & my road shoes were just not up to the job now & it was time for a shoe change to my Salomon speed cross gore tex off roaders & time to put on my amazing Hope www.hopetech.com head torch & off I went back out on another lap.
The rain was just not subsiding & Ben had heard that it was going to continue with heavy rain all through the night!!!
So we decided the only thing to do was to keep pushing on as the toughest runners would keep going & this could be the point where the race could be won or lost !!
At the end of this lap I was soaked & I was starting to shake do we decided the best thing to do was to have a complete change of my Buff kit & to get a hot drink to try & warm me up.
We also decided at this stage that I needed to keep warm & dry as possible so we searched through my Buff's and decided that the Hoodie Buff would be perfect.
I can honestly say I'm sure this Buff is what saved me from hyperthermia & that's not me been dramatic there were a few cases of it & my mate Lou was quite poorly in the night with I found out later .
Back to the race , the rain was still hammering down & it was evident on this lap that lots of runners were obviously resting as there was hardly anyone on the course ( not as daft as me )
When I came round to the end of this lap Ben my hubby made the decision for me to stop & have a 40 min power nap.
So quick change & jump into my sleeping bag to warm.
I didn't find out till after I had finished that Ben had forgot to let Heather that I was having a rest & she was still standing in the rain waiting for me to around the course to shout words of encouragement ( yes not sarcasm ) I'm thinking better communication between my support for the next one lol.
But it was appreciated anyway .
The rain actually stopped at 4.30 am exactly I checked my watch & it was such a welcome relief.
Ok the course was wet, muddy & horrible but at least I was now dry. It was also great to see some spectators around the course as it had been a very few lonely quiet hours running in the rain through the night.
The next few laps for me were now very steady & it was a effort to actually stay upright & I've never seen so many people fall over & also in the back of my mind I was concerned that I may get injured from a fall and that would be a nightmare as I have the transalpine race 4 weeks after the tr24.
I was getting a bit concerned as my left ankle was starting to hurt & I was starting to feel dizzy ( food needed)
When I came in Ben informed me not to stop as I was in 2nd place & the 3rd place lady wasn't too far behind , so a quick handful of Pringles & I was back out on the course.
My laps were now getting slower & this was down to the leg sapping mud , but I knew I just had to keep going to keep in 2nd place.
My aim for this year was to run more than 112 miles but that literally went out of the window with the terrible conditions & in the end I was pleased to get 2nd place . Funnily enough I was beaten by Kirsty Reade who I beat last year , so lets hope we can have a 2014 showdown .
Well done also to my dad who battled on after not been well in the night & thanks for all your support when I saw you on the course Buffdaddy.
As always I have to thank my amazing hubby Ben for helping & supporting me with all my crazy running adventures & for also staying awake for the whole 24hours to look after me.
All my support team were amazing & a special thank you to Harry & Heather for not moaning once & staying to the end to support me & my dad it was really appreciate by us both & thank you for setting up a special drink station just for my dad on the course .
If you have been reading my blog previous you would know that Henry from Buff is a rather dab hand at making fruit animals & as a special prize for coming 2nd I got the octopus banana below, now how many sponsors do you know that do such cool things lol.
And my prize from the race
Since this race I have had a enforced rest for 10 days after going to hospital with my ankle as it was so sore & swollen, but luckily nothing was broken & rest would do it good.
I'm also the worlds worst person to rest but it had to be done & I'm lucky to say I'm now back to full fitness.
So now I'm concentrating on one of the biggest races of my life as I've been very lucky to be asked to run in the 260k transalpine race in the alps by Buff & I'm very honoured to have been asked & accepted this straight away as opportunities like this do not come along very often.
I will be running this with my running friend Nivette & I think we are going to have a mighty adventure & mainly enjoy the whole experience.
I must really thank Sarah @ www.buffwear.co.uk for all the kit , help & support & for giving me & Nivette the chance to run in this epic race for Team Buff Uk it is really appreciated & we hope to run well & spread some Bufflyness across Germany , Austria,Switzerland & Italy.
Bring it on !!
Hopefully I will get some super pictures from this race & a report will follow.