Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Sensible With the Silly Stuff & Flitch 100k

Only one resolution this year.. To be sensible with the silly stuff.

I spent a lot of last year like a small kid with unlimited in-app purchases.. Booked too many races, ran too many silly distances and fell down too many hills. The result was £622 spent on races, trains and accommodation that I didn't use due to injury.

So 2015 is going to be calm, measured and. Ooh. Someone needs a teammate for Hope24 the week after TP100. Done deal. Booked !

(Resolution still intact as I entered at 5pm on 31-Dec)

So on to the first race report of 2015:-
 Flitch 100k

Flitch at night
Lindley at Challenge Running very kindly set up this race specifically to qualify for Spartathlon. The entry criteria have tightened up for 2015 and initial interest was good as several people who have run it in previous years don't now have a qualifier.

The idea was to run 10 x 10k out & back sections of the Flitch Way, a fast, flat path on an old railway line out of Braintree. Having done 11:20 as part of a 24h track event, I knew I could shave at least an hour off that to get the 10:30 qualifier, plus I was looking forward to running with some of the better known ultra ladies and gents out there.

At 6:30 am I wandered out of the pub/hotel, across the frozen station car-park and over to a gazebo that was to be the main checkpoint for the day. I said hi to Lindley, his OH Maxine and two other runners, James Harrison and Ian Thomas. Apparently the scourge of winter flu had wiped out the rest of the field and it was up to us few to knock out a qualifier.

We got going at 7am and the three of us ran together with myself and Ian talking up a storm about previous races, people we knew and the general tolox you chat about when yer getting on with sticking the miles in. Time always passes quickly with a good conversation and before I knew it we'd met the guy at the turnaround (sorry, forgot yer name) and set off back. The first 10k ticked off in 53 minutes. Quicker than I had planned but feeling good so no major worries as I was aiming for sub-10 so knew I had to get some faster miles in up front.

Flitch in the day
Wanting to turn & burn quickly I just grabbed a Snickers, shoved it in a glove to warm it up and headed back up the path. The other guys were a little slower getting back out so I had a couple of hundred meters lead, but it was early days and this was all about the pace.

Coming back in for the second leg and munching the now gooey Snicker-gel, I must have subconsciously been trying to stay ahead as the second 10k was down to 46 minutes. Silly pace. I made a note to slow it down from there on out and had an uneventful 3rd section in 52 mins. All good so far.

By this time I'd stopped noticing the landmarks and was in auto-pilot. Plodding along, turning every 5k and ticking off the miles. Gooey Snickers and 500ml of electrolyte at the CP. Turn & repeat. Turn & repeat. By this time Ian had passed me and had a half-mile lead. He looked to be going strong and a couple of times warned me about ice forming on the bridges from freezing fog. Not a problem as I was applying Hill Rule and walking them anyway.

At 40k I noticed that I hadn't passed James, and Lindley later said he'd dropped out.
So then there were two.

I hit the marathon in 3:43 and 50k in 4:26, but suffered a little in the middle dropping to 70 and 67 mins for the next 2 sections. James was having problems staying warm at this stage as the temperature had dropped to -2 and due to stomach issues he wasn't taking on much food. It was cold enough to make the coke freeze over. I was fine as I'd put on an extra 17lbs of padding since T184.

As a break from watching dog walkers "exercise" their dogs, Maxine ran with me for the 8th leg and we chatted about all things running. Again the company made the hour pass in minutes. When we got back at the 80km mark Ian was just about to leave the CP so we ran together for a short section, but he was obviously suffering while I was on an upward swing so he let me go ahead.

'T Rayne Station

The last 20k was pretty uneventful and I put in two 58 minute legs to give a final time of 9:44 - A lot faster than I'd expected and one that will give me a qualifier for 2016 when the 100k time drops to 10 hours for men (Can of worms. Not opening that one).

Many, many thanks to Lindley, Maxine and Turnaround Point Bloke for standing in subzero temperatures just to see two blokes grab a coffee and snacks every hour. You guys are why I'm so priviledged to be part of this nutcase world.

So now I have a qualifier for Spartathlon. We shall see what the ballot brings..

(And I stuck mesself in for UTMB too since I had the points. Bugger. That's my resolution broken)

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