This time last year, the Country to Capital 45 miler was my first ultra. I really enjoyed it, so went back for another go yon Saturday 16th. It was easier this time in that I had the confidence of knowing I could do the distance, but harder in that the terrain was far muddier, slushier, icier and wetter. The first half, cross country, was beautiful. The second half, along the canal, seemed like good training for the GUCR in May.
- I ran with a friend, so enjoyed lots of chatting along the way, as well as meeting several others that I knew throughout the day. Not a fast time (about 8 hours 43), but it was my friend’s first run at the distance and we both had doubles booked for the next weekend, so thought we’d take it at a gentle pace.
- So, onto the Ultra Race 90 (double). It sounded like a great training opportunity. Endurance for the 10 in 10, plus really good practice for the GUCR as it followed the Grand Union Canal (Northampton to Tring on Saturday, back the other way on Sunday). And it was.
Originally I entered the event as a double, with 40 miles each day. But then problems with the race permits made it 45 each way (though actually most people measured it at more like 47!). The organisation was excellent, very friendly and encouraging. There were 4 checkpoints en route, well stocked with various drinks, gels and food. I decided to adopt the 25mins/5mins run/walk strategy, right form the start. It felt very odd to be walking before I’d even covered 3 miles, but it paid off as I felt strong right throughout the day. Annoyingly I dropped my Garmin somewhere in the mud of the towpath within the last couple of miles (and couldn’t find it the following morning on the way back). I finished day 1 in 8:47:48, in fourth place (female).
The hotel was very posh, an absolute luxury. We got it at better than half price too. I struggled to eat much on Saturday night and for breakfast in the morning, despite the good food. I set off on the early start at 8am on Sunday. I tried to do the same sort of run/walk strategy, but with 15/3 splits, which seemed to work well for the first half. Then I began to feel spacey and nauseous, which I assume was the effect of not eating enough calories (and forgetting to put electrolyte tablets in my water), so I ended up walking a lot of the second half. I kept moving at a fairly quick pace though, making the second day about 50 minutes slower than the first. I came second for day 2.
Having checked the results in detail, it turns out that the women who beat me on each day were only doing the one day, so I think overall I won the 90 mile women’s race! My first ever win. Shiny. (I’m just waiting to get confirmation from the organiser that I’ve got that right, but I’m feeling very chuffed with myself.) Total time: 18:28:48. Unfortunately I wasn’t wearing my VRUK vest (as it would have been completely hidden by the combination of back pack and running number).
- She says she’s not running another race until Feb… which is pretty close now!
We hear from Anna who has been busy as usual …