This was my 2nd 50+ mile event. The 1st one was Gower 50 on Oct 1st 2016. This event claimed to be 53.5 miles (my fenix 3 said 54.3). To say I hit a roller coaster of emotions is a massive understatement! And the ride hasn’t stopped 48 hours later.
If any of you have read my previous posts you know that this year has been a mix of injury recovery and infections. This hasn’t meant I haven’t run, it just means I didn’t have any focus to my running. I still managed to knock out a couple of marathons, a 50k and 41 miler. I thought if I managed those with relative ease, then I should be kinda OK for RTTK. And I was OK.
So why does it feel that it was a big fat failure?
I had the right kit, I felt pretty excited at the start line, I had enough sleep and I had kept an eye on hydration and food the week prior. Even race day temperature wasn’t too bad! Humid but bearable.
I set off at what felt like a comfortable pace, walked (power walked) up the hills, stopped at the pit stops and used the portaloos. The 1st 20 or so miles were pretty fun! The scenery was great!
Then around mile 27 is I started to feel fed up. I have no idea why. It got worse. I felt I was being inhabited by ‘Kevin the teenager’. Full on moody, stubborn ‘ I won’t run any more’ mood had taken over. I was one miserable cow.
Add that with the heart palpitations and the hallucination…..(a dog about to attack me) led to an ‘interesting’ last 35 miles. Now I don’t think I was lacking fuel or hydration as I kept an eye on what was happening with urine loss. I can only put this down to heat. I actually dripped sweat and that’s something I don’t normally do to any extent. Any other suggestions are welcome!
So I carried on, stopping for lots of photos, stopping to look at the views (yes they were incredible) and took full advantage of every pit stop, including sitting down and drinking tea! According to my stats I wasted a good 45 mins on this 😀 But at the time, it felt the right thing to do.
Around mile 35 I decided I was going to pull out of Lakes in a Day, another 50 mile event. By mile 45 I had convinced myself I useless and I should give up long distance. A volunteer at the last pit stop did her best to cheer me up and encourage me, but it was no use. I hated everything.
Until mile 51
Then I suddenly got a new lease of life and I ran……and ran….and ran! I felt good again! Obviously it was because I knew I was nearly done but that sulky teenage mood had been kicked to the ground. I actually felt like my body could have carried on running and crossing that finish line was pretty damn good.
So was the race hard? No. The route was easy (ish), there were a few good hills, the path was clear, the temp was warm but OK and I wasn’t suffering with any aches or pains and not a blister in sight. There was absolutely no reason for my mood. I can’t explain it.
I finished in 12 hours 15 mins, 18/81 in age cat, 50/171 female, 235/581 overall. For my standards that’s pretty damn good! A whole hour faster than Gower 50 and Gower was shorter by 4 miles and had less elevation.
I think I know why I’m not happy.
I really, really hate being tired! I like finishing events feeling fresh. Yes I know that means I haven’t put in the effort but it still doesn’t change the fact I like feeling relatively fresh after an event. I know I shouldn’t expect the same after 50+ miles, but I do. If I could just change this mindset and accept that ultras make you tired, then I’m sure I’d be a lot happier with my result!
I’m still questioning whether Lakes in a Day is a good idea
The Race Review
It costs £119. If you look at the price of other ultras, this seems pretty pricey! I begrudge paying anything over £45 so signing up to this was a leap of faith. Although many have said it is overpriced, I disagree. You get 7 pitstops, fully stocked with individual wrapped goodies, branded foods, full medic tent and portaloos. If anyone has every tried to arrange a race over farm land before, you’ll know what an absolute nightmare it is to arrange, and portaloos?…not a chance of sorting it unless money changes hands. So yes, it costs a lot, but you can see where the money has gone. This event and its support would not be as comprehensive without this price. Add in the discounted race entry for Save the Children, and I’d say the price was justified.
I will add that this is the 1st ultra I’ve done with full medic, loos and array of food etc at every pit stop. No grabbing of snot covered jaffa cakes at this event!
Add to the above to the lack of navigation required….I’d actually recommend this as a 1st ultra. And I’d never thought I’d never recommend anything over £50!
There are other charges to consider such as carpark and coach transfer fees but again, the carpark was on commercial farmland so I think that price was understandable. However, the coach transfer fee was seriously over priced. Thankfully I needed neither.
So yes, it’s a cracking event and yes I’d certainly recommend it even though I was miserable for the majority of the race 😀
I’m a fickle bugger!
An after thought
I don’t think I was that bothered about this event to begin with – I have had a rough few weeks with work and all I wanted to do was disappear. This might explain the extreme moodiness 😀 A few words from Matt (Running Adventures) has given me the kick I needed to change my mindset. Not only has his online coaching provided me with training to complete these ultras with relative ease, but he also gives me a mental kick when needed! For that I thank you.
So now for recovery and start to appreciate my ultra performances are improving. I have also arranged to recce part of Lakes in a Day route. The road is long….and long is good.