Monday, 30 June 2014

Endure24 !! Mud mud & more mud!!!

Well what an eventful , but still a very enjoyable weekend at the endure 24 hour race, who would think this place would turn into a mud bath so quickly !!!!!! Lol 

We arrived at Reading train station late on Friday afternoon & luckily for us we found the correct train to aldermaston where the race was taking place & we got picked up by my awesome support crew Heather & Harry & took to wasing park where our area had been saved in the solo field by my fellow Team Buff uk team mate Tony Wallbank .
We were rather pleased that it wasn't raining so we could get our tents & support gazebos up in the dry & this was done in no time at all . 
So who was running in our little Team Buff uk area ( all solo I will add ) 
Me aka Ultrabuffgirl
My Dad aka Buff Daddy
Kath of my best buddies from up north who had travelled from Durham.
Tony Wallbank aka runbuffboyrun

We had support from my best buddy from down south Heather & Tony's wife Nat , so that was our motley crew & thank god for support that's all I'm going to say this early in my blog !!
Early night for me & dreams of running many miles in circles the next day . 
Race Day 
I woke up early & was very excited with the prospect of meeting up with some more of my ultra running family & the camaraderie & support is the best you will ever find in any sport in my humble opinion. 
At this time it was still dry but rain was forecast & so was thunder for the 12 o'clock race start !!!! 
It was here I got got to chat to the main man Gil Cramer aka Coach G & Nike performance coach 

Then I got asked if I would like to be involved in a ultra running project been filmed by his support crew .
Basically a informal chat about our love of ultra running , food & why we do it , to be honest I was a bit nervous doing this as I am actually quite shy but luckily for me Tony from Team Buff uk was going to be in it too so I didn't feel so bad in the end and Gil said I did good so that's ok with me . I can't wait to see the finished film .
Next was sorting all my Buff® kit and making sure my support knew what & where everything was for the next 24 hours of running.
The Start & the race
The race is 5mile loop with a mixture of road / tracks for the first 1k before you head into some trees where the race becomes completey off -road .
The course is lovely and testing and challenging enough for the best 24 hour racers out there. 
Back to the race.
As we were making our way over to the start line is was becoming clear that this race was going to be a wet and cold one , as the heavens opened and the rumbling of thunder could be heard in the distance ,
We were all about 10 mins late starting and this added to the build up !!!
At 12.10 we were off !! nice and steady I kept telling myself & I got into a lovely relaxed pace . The first lap was a bit crowded but that soon sorted itself out & underfoot was getting very muddy !! This race was going to be a tough one & survival was the key feature !!! 
My aim for this race was to obviously do well 100 miles + was my target but with a few tough months prior to the race my aim was to feel fit & well for the Buff epic 100k in Spain my main race of the year & to stay injury free.
I also knew I needed this race to prove how strong I can be under pressure and I feel I have grown confidence wise and with every lap I was doing , I felt better and better even in the torrential downpours !!! and when the course turned into a mud path .I pushed on knowing that I was strong enough & able to.
The support I got from spectators was awesome and the Team Buff® uk kit really makes you stand out so thank you to everyone that gave  me a shout , I'm sure I made some of you laugh at the transition area as every lap I had something in my hand or in my mouth as I passed by eating .
One of my favourite parts of 24 hour races is the night section and normally I'm really looked forward to it but this year I couldn't believe how cold it was & this mixed with the mud , which was getting worse it was going to be hard.
As now the whole of the course was just a mud bath if any of my friends reading this did Tr24 think 5 times worse then last years race and then you will understand the tough conditions.

One thing to remember in ultra races is no matter how prepared you are u can never underestimate the cold & the weather & a lot of runners were struggling with this throughout the night.
Kath was doing awesome until hyperthermia struck her and we were all very concerned on how quickly she went poorly , thank god for my awesome support crew & my dad who stopped his race to help and try and get her warm before the first aid took over , I was told to get out of the way and carry on running as that was what Kath would of wanted me to do all very worrying !!!! 
I think this was a massive message to me on how you need to make sure you keep warm and the next lap around Heather my support had a complete change of clothes ready for me and I even ran 3 laps in my primoloft down jacket & Hoodie Buff to keep warm. 
Kath was now safe at hospital been looked after and on a drip !!!! 
What a night !!!
I couldn't wait to see sun rise and daylight again and to now see the better routes through the mud lol !!!
I was actually feeling quite strong after some decent food & my chia charge drink was doing an awesome job of keeping me going .
I had a 20min power nap through the night and was now running on autopilot .
Looking at my watch I could see that 20 laps was still possible and I continued to keep trudging through the mud !!!!
Lap 16 (80miles) was a deciding lap for me I suddenly felt a shooting pain at the front of my left shin and to be honest thought nothing of it just an ache I thought , when I got to my support it was really hurting ??? So what do I do I still have 5hours + of running time left and I'm in 3rd solo women's place !!! 
My heart was telling me to carry on and my competitive nature also but I knew I had to think about my big 100k race in Spain in August , so I decided to go out on one more lap and see If it eased off at all. 
The answer to this was no and every step of the 5 mile course hurt :-( 
Gutted was an understatement I got to the end of my 17th lap and said to Heather  that's it I'm done (85miles) with still 4 + hours of running time left to do. 
The first thing we did was take my calf guard off to look at my shin and this is what we found underneath a painful lump which u can't see very well from this picture but it came up like an egg , so at this point I hobbled over to the first aid who have me some Ice and told me to keep it raised and if it's no better pop to a & e the following day.
So that was my race over 85miles run in some of the worst conditions I have ever run in , I came 4th solo female in the end and will return next year and hopefully get in the top 3. 
Kit used 
A massive thank you to Team Buff® Uk for supporting me and supplying me with my awesome kit for my 2014 ultra running season & I'm chuffed you did .
Every bit of kit was used and I'm hoping the mud will come out.
Below is my top 3 Buffs worn by me at the event.

The Anton uv Headband which apart from anything makes you look cool it does a great job of keeping my hair out of my eyes & it's perfect to wear under a head torch too & was very popular in this race . 

There normally would be a picture of me here but for some reason no shots were taken of me in my Anton headband so Run buff boy run Tony will have to do .

The next Buff which is also one of my all time favourites is the Hello Kity original Buff this was warn numerous ways in the race as a Buff to keep the rain running down my neck , as a hat & as a wristband to wipe rain & sweat from my face , it's classed as a kids buff but it's the same size as a ladies buff so it fits nice and snug .
Once again I wore one of the best Buff's around & my dad also wore one of these and he can't go on enough how it kept him warm & dry .
Step forward the Hood Buff !!
If you don't know what one is I suggest you try one on ASAP these are amazing in bad weather conditions.
This particular Buff combines Gore windstopper material with a double layer of soft stretchy polyester microfiber fabric .I think it's an awesome product and it keeps you nice and toasty warm.

The only other bit of kit which I wore apart from Buff was the Omm Kamleika jacket II this was purchased very last minute (as in the day before the race)after hearing the weather forecast & my zip had broke on my other waterproof jacket.
I must thank for there excellent service & all the help online making sure it was the right size for me. 
I ran in my trusted salomon xr mission off-road shoes & these did a brilliant job of keeping my feet warm & not sliding me about too much .

I think I finally got my nutrition bang on in this 24 hour race thanks to Heather making sure I eat on every lap . 
I had salt & vinegar Pringles which are my all time ultra race favourite food . 
But this time I also tried almond butter and Nutella wraps which worked perfectly & these were easy to grab and run with. 
I also had my original power cookies which didn't let me down & these will always be seen with me at my races , thanks Al & Liz for trusting in me to help promote these brilliant cookies that actually work !!!

I'm also becoming a massive fan of chia !! And particular the Chia charge drinks 
These you will either love or hate in my opinion I love them but the texture does take a while to get used to , but I've found they do work. 
Check out for further details.

So there you have it endure24 in a blog with my kit and food etc etc I hope you find this useful. 

All I have left to say is I can't thank my family and Heather my support for looking after me at the race and supporting me with my ultra running.
Ultra running to me is a way of life and I can't see a time when I won't be doing it and enjoying it.

Roll on the next Epic adventure in Spain in August I can't wait .