29 weeks, 67 miles and my 2nd ultra event in 8 days
I had signed up for last week’s Cakeathon in a small window where this week’s event The Brain Tumour Charity Ultra was likely to be cancelled. This was due to only 11 of us having signed up before Christmas. Despite knowing I could not race 40 miles after last week’s effort, knowing it was relatively flat for the first half and that the cutoff was 10 hours meant I was always confident I would finish it.
I had done 4 laps of 5.4 miles earlier in the week and managed a reasonable nights sleep in a tent before the race start at 9am yesterday. I’m not great at falling asleep at the best of times so was content to have managed 6 hours of sleep. The 40 miles was virtually entirely on cycle paths. I was happy for the first hour to listen to podcasts I had missed earlier in the week. I switched to music after this and was actively trying to hold back my pace considering I was still less than half way.
My plan to have an energy drink at 20 miles then refill the bottle at future check points seemed like a good idea before the start but I felt it was noticeably warmer before I reached this point. I had some Indian snacks that my wife had cooked for me to take as well as some vegan sweets and a few pretzel sticks. This gave me some energy for the steady climb coming up.
I found I could hold a slightly slower pace up to the next checkpoint at around 24 miles. There wasn’t much elevation but it felt like you were always going uphill or along flat road. I refilled my bottle and continued on towards the 30 mile checkpoint.
The woman who would finish as first lady was constantly about 20-30m ahead of me and although she appeared to be working slightly harder than in the first half, she held the same pace ridiculously well. I was pleased to keep that distance and not let her go further ahead up to when we reached 30 miles.
I struggled going back to the start for 5-6 miles and had obviously put too much into holding pace with the first lady. It was the closest I have come to walking in an ultra for ages and was very relieved to reach the 36 mile checkpoint having barely kept a running gait.
Knowing it was only 4 downhill miles left was a bit of a boost. I was able to speed up very slightly and finish in 6 hours and 47 minutes. I had a sit down in the shade for a while and got a shower before spending the rest of the afternoon/evening watching European rugby quarter finals in the club the event was based.
I finished the week today with 5.4 miles at 4pm. This is my friend Tom’s last weekend of running before he runs the Manchester marathon. The shorts I had worn yesterday must have rubbed against my hamstrings so it was quite uncomfortable getting into the route but I was happy to get round and maintain the 70 miles per week average for March.
My highlight of this month has definitely been seeing the Captain Marvel movie with my wife Helen. I have read the digital versions of the comic it is based on several times and really enjoyed seeing it translated into a film. I reread the first Kelly Sue De-Connick issue this week and particularly enjoyed this dialogue from the last few pages of this