6 Hour Trail Race Completed!
Well that was the muddest and most hillest race I have ever done!
In a strange way I enjoyed every bit of it, even when it poured down, I think it made it more exciting.
The night before the race I was feeling very anxious as I had never done anything like this before, yes I had completed a couple of Ironmans a few years ago but this was just running for 6 hours.
I was worried I had not trained enough as I had only been running twice a week.
I also needed to think about nutrition, if you get this wrong it could really effect your performance. I had my handy Salomon hydration/back pack so I could fit 2 x 500ml bottles and energy bars and gels in. I knew after a few hours I would have to top up my water so I had 2 other bottles prepared.
I woke up at 7am and had my coffee and breakfast. For breakfast I had a very simple peanut butter and banana bagel. I love peanut butter and banana, I could eat it everyday.
I choose this for breakfast as sometimes with porridge I can feel really bloated and full which then makes me feel really sleepy.
Most mornings I have poached eggs with something, but for a race morning I find eggs don't always sit very well.
Once the car was packed with spare running kit, after race kit, food, drink and myself, I was ready to head to Westbury. This took me about an hour, I then had to find a place to park as you couldn't park at the leisure centre.
Walking from my car to the race HQ took 10 minutes to walk, I had to carry my ruck sack and plastic box with food, water etc. it was so heavy, my arms felt like they were going to fall off. This then didn't help me mentally as I then started to panic about being tired for the race, for all the people that know me, I am not always the best before a race anyway.
Once I got over that little panic I sat inside the race HQ marque and just chilled before the start, but yet again once others started to appear I begin to panic about what everyone looked like, I could hear them talking about other ultra races they had completed. Why do I always do this!?!
All 3 races 10km, 6hour and 12hour all started at 11am, there was a thorough briefing which was good to listen too.
The race started and I found myself at the front with 2 guys, I think I might have set off too quick, however I kept checking my heart rate make sure I kept it low. That didn't last long as there were 3 hills each lap.
Each lap was 5.3 miles with 800ft of climbing, I found that there was going to be no chance I was sticking to zone 2.
First lap I thought I would try and keep my feet as dry as possible, yet again that wasn't going to happen, within 2 mins we had to run through a massive puddle. Once we got to the first hill everyone started walking. It was so steep!!! So steep and muddy that I couldn't even get up it, I kept slipping back down, this then explained why most people had trekking poles. I eventually found trees were quite handy to pull myself up with, I then began to think what have I let myself in for.
I then got to the 2nd hill was mainly looked more clay like underfoot, this made it super slippy running down. I lost the 2 guys when running down this as they flew down and I looked like Bambi on ice. Once you had run down the 2nd hill you had to turn around and run straight back up, this I found I could walk pretty quickly up and then managed to catch the guys again.
Between the 2nd and 3rd hill there was a flat bit of track which wasn't too muddy, I liked this bit as I could pick up my pace a little. I finally got to the 3rd hill, again we ran down it and then back up it. The course was like a M shape.
After the first lap you head back to towards the HQ marque and then you could stop to re fuel or carry onto the next lap. After lap 2 I had got to grips with the decents as a very nice chap advised me to run down the muddy bits rather than the bits that had white clay, I was a lot more confident about running downhill which made me relax a little more into the race.
Going into lap 3 I began to feel that I had something in my shoe, I realised that my socks were so wet and because they had 2 layers the outside layer had bunch together under my toe, how annoying! I thought about leaving it but then decided to stop after my 3rd lap to change my socks. I had completed over 15miles at this point so when I stopped it wasn't easy to start running again. I think it took only a few minutes to swap my socks which was good as I didn't know how far behind the 2nd lady was.
4th took me a while to find my legs again, but finally was back running strong, I felt good which surprised me.
Although it was pouring with rain I was loving the mud and the friendly people that were always cheering you on. I couldn't imagine how hard it would be to organise a race like this.
During the 5th lap I began to feel my legs getting heavier and heavier, I looked at the time and realised once the 5th lap was done I would only have time for one more lap. Although it was 6 hours, it was only full laps that counted. At this point I was beginning to get slightly emotional, it was getting dark and I was getting tired, I had no idea how people were doing the 12 hour, they must have been crazy!
As I ran into the finish on the 6th lap Trevor had managed to come and cheer me on, he had been at work all day so really appreciated him coming all that way to just watch me finish. I was so happy to finish, I ran straight to the showers and got some dry clothes on. Once I had changed I was told I had won not only the women's race but overall. I had ran a lap more than the guy who came in first, I was beginning to think I had caught the ultra running bug.
I defintatly think I will race more but not at this moment in time, I want to get some speed in my legs for triathlon season. I could see if I focused on ultras you would soon loose your speed when running longer distances, I might be completely wrong but don't want to risk it, not just yet anyway.....
Final result = 32 miles with nearly 6000ft of climbing in 5hours 32mins.
So that was how my first race of the season went, many more to go!!!