Dachs - sounds like you'll fly at Wokingham. I'll be behind you trying to put a dent into 77.55. Need some serious speedwork in the next few weeks though if that's going to happen.
ES - yes, it used to be the main topic of conversation on here. And by the power of internet shopping, the following has arrived less than 12 hours after ordering online (why people still go to the shops is a mystery).
The instruction manual is more complicated than one of CW's training plans. Will leave it in more experienced hands!
CW - yeah possibly only 43, which is long enough I guess. I'm always sick during ultras. Stomach just can't process food or liquid when I'm pushing hard in the latter stages. Never a problem on training runs, even ones when Im out all day for up to 12 hours, but in 90% of races. Don't really think of it as a big deal; just an occupational hazard. Used to be the same in marathons, but less so these days as I can run up to three hours with minimal or no food/liquid.
About two miles later, just before the 3rd CP, I heard footsteps behind, and Chris caught me explaining how he’d taken a wrong turn across the golf course. We hit the CP which was perhaps 1k short of marathon distance in 3h04 (20 mins ahead of last year). Out the CP, and Chris put his foot down and I couldn’t keep up. Within 4-5 miles he was out of sight and I was convinced he’d win. Just at the canal turn which marks 13 miles to the finish, more footsteps and Woodford Green comes storming past looking fresh as a daisy. Turns out he got lost a couple of times. Decided that he’d possibly reel in the guy ahead and nick the victory. Here I hit a rough patch. Towpath was really muddy and first Jon, then Ollie came past me in quick succession, but running really well and disappearing off round the next corner and out of sight. So that current order of Chris, Woodford, Jon, Ollie turned out to finish 4th, 2nd, 3rd, 1st in the end so must have been quite fun to watch. Ollie had put in a hell of a last 13 miles as he finished in 5h07 a minute ahead of Woodford, so he must have been six minute miling for the last half marathon, to finish 1h15 quicker than last year!
I was struggling a bit up to CP 4, then the next 10k to CP5. Was still running, but fully expecting the next person to catch me. Had to stop and puke for a minute, but pretty sure it was nothing that stretch of canal hadn’t seen before judging by the amount of beer cans I’d seen. After the last CP, and a final puke after which I felt much better it was only 6 miles to the finish, and I could see Chris about 3-4 mins ahead, so decided to man up and catch him. Put the foot down and was back to about 7.30 m/m pace, and caught him with about two miles to go. Only it wasn’t him; just some bloke out for a run! Oh well, it had helped me get back on track. Eventually the finish line came and turns out I was a good 15 mins back on the 4th place anyway, but final time was 5h31. 55 mins quicker than last year, and an average pace of about 7.22 per mile average over 45 all terrain miles.
Will need to work on the speed endurance if I’m to get into the podium places in future, but picked up 1st V40 trophy and had a few very enjoyable pints (first booze of the year). Back to the roads now and try and bring those half and marathon times down before I’m too old. Great race; highly recommended.
Padams - I seem to remember you got lost a bit though, whereas I knew exactly where I was going having run the course three times last year. Brief report here:-
So, it was the second time running the Country to Capital 45 miler having finished in a pretty bang average 26th last year in 6h26. For some ultra training I went and ran the course again on my own in the summer, then did the same the week after Christmas 3 weeks ago, so the navigation wasn't an issue. We set off, and everyone sprinted down Wendover high street to get to the narrow gate and avoid the bottleneck (something of a race tradition, though I just jogged down there in about 30th position). Within about 1k, there was a guy disappearing off the front in a Woodford Green top (33m 10k, 2.34 marathon as I found out later), and a few others ahead. I was running with a guy in red (Ollie) who had finished just ahead of me last year and he said he was aiming for under six hours this year which sounded good to me.
We hit the first climb through the woods and I picked off a couple of guys who were already walking up it. Within a couple of minutes I caught up with two lads and found out that we were in the lead as Woodford had gone in a different direction to the correct route. One of them was a guy (Chris) I’d run the first 20 miles with together last time, and the other (Jon) was doing his first ultra. Was snowing pretty hard by now, enough that we were leaving footprints and sliding on the flat bits, but the frozen ground meant the mud wasn’t too bad. Three of us clipped along nicely at about 7-7.30 min/mile pace which felt pretty easy (this is a best guess, as I don’t wear any watch or GPS device), and hit the first CP after 55 mins with Ollie just a few yards behind. After that, the three of us were back off together over the fields and hills until I needed to stop in the trees for a call of nature. I came out a minute or so later just ahead of Ollie but the other two had disappeared. For the next 50 mins I was pushing hard to catch them, but they weren’t slowing down and I could just about see them in the distance. Finally I caught them just as we were heading into CP2 at 17 miles which I reached in 2h02, 10 mins quicker than last year.
Chris left just as I arrived, and pushed ahead by about 100m but Jon was out of the CP after me. Ollie wasn’t there yet. So I pushed on in second place trying to catch Chris but he was pulling away. Wasn’t quite so easy now, and I was working harder to maintain the pace. Eventually turned off the last of the muddy trails to see Chris only 10 secs ahead, but couldn’t pull him in over the next couple of miles to Denham. As we got into the village I saw him up ahead go straight on, whereas I knew the route I wanted was a right turn. Wasn’t sure if he was getting lost or by mistake going a shorter route as it was more in the direction of the canal we were aiming for, so just assumed he’d get there before me. A mile later and I hit the canal and asked a dog walker how far ahead the other runner was, but he said I was the first to come through. Sh*t, I was in the sole lead but there were still 20 miles to go. Can’t deny my mind did stray ahead to the finish line, but I knew there was loads to do.