Wow, sounds really spectacular, not just the scale of the thing and the route, but the effect it had on you. Really wishing you the best for the recovery period as you did enough to earn that fortune without a doubt!
Back in my earlier running days a few friends on a marathon forum talked me into doing the 2:09 events marathon training week in the Algarve. Could definitely recommend that, not that expensive (sparse or not so sparse hotel/apartment options), the resort was a small and quiet one but setup for active types with gym, track, quiet roads and a variety of trails and beach to run on. That said, though it was out of season the few local bars and restaurants opened up for the hundred or so runners who turned up so easy to enjoy a variety of meals out and the odd 'superboc'! Also got the benefit of morning group runs along clifftop trails and an afternoon more focused training session with experienced coaches (variety of levels of runners). Also had talks in evening or a quiz and suchlike. then a handcap XC race at end of the hol. Do what you want in between all the organised stuff and just run as much as you want - and I found with no work to distract I was inclined to do every run I could.
It was a really good format, but maybe for the purposes of the ultra and trail types it probably wouldn't be what you were looking for. I know they also used to do a few other offerings like a week guided trekking Bhutan before himalayan kingdom marathon, which sounded fun. I've heard of a few off-road types who've setup running holiday offerings abroad, sure they'd be good if you have no family to consider or can get the brownie points to escape.
I couldn't do that now with mortgage and family, but I still make little solo-escapes for a few days away every now and then. Running/walking at a leisurely pace point-to-point between B&B's. I have been away with partner for a hol around TDS in Chamonix and also this year with little-un too for a long weekend around 10peaks: lakes (short). But with family with me I wouldn't consider more than a day away running as I've brought them along so we can share the experience of the area.
I always thought the PTL or TDG sounded like a nice running holiday
Judge is still out on the Salomon X-Tour's, quite different to Inov-8's I'm used to, firmer and more cushioned at forefoot, but seemed pretty useful on initial run out on tarmac and some tame trail.
Inov-8 F-lites are a great little minimal, glove-like, multi-purpose shoe with some grip for off-road and usually deals about. But haven't got the toe bumper of roclites so maybe not good for hiking/running in rocky areas. And I don't think they have the build for long off-road runs. I have a pair for mostly on road and dry-trail use, also good in the more wintery conditions when road shoes slip too much.
Plenty of options given on here, there's no - and excuse the pun - one-size fits all solution.
Great stuff Dill and Ben, you guys really left everyrthing out on the course. A massively dramatic finish Ben real guts to see that through and I can appreciate your eating issues there Dill as well as those demons when your feeling shot and have so far to go. I've had the same problems in UTMB events with food. And I have the unfortunate stat of DNF'ing both and it bugs me, particularly the TDS as I was much better prepared for that after a fail at UTMB.
can anyone tell me why do the CCC/ UTMB/ and now OCC seem to be over subscribed but there always seem to be places on the TDS for those who don't get in to the others? I was contemplating the TDS if unsuccessfull in the CCC ballot next time but is there a reason why it isn't as popular?
Good question. I think there are two main reasons:
- it starts on a Wednesday
- it doesn't neatly fit into a distance bracket
UTMB has a certain prestige and is about 100 miles, CCC is about 100k and shares a good chunk of the UTMB course. TDS is somewhere between the two and as far as I know a large part of it is off the UTMB course. Given its difficulty I don't think you'd look at it as a stepping stone to UTMB in the same way you might with CCC.
That said, with the popularity of the series and ultra running in general, I wouldn't be surprised if next years TDS requires a draw, I think it was pretty close this year.
Good question on TDS and I agree with the answer. As an attempter of both UTMB and TDS, there is nothing that makes the latter an inferior challenge or experience, other than the headline catching distance of UTMB (and CCC). It's also true from my experience of the courses (I got to Arnuva in UTMB (95km) and Col du Joly in TDS (85km) that the TDS isn't a practice, or build-up event for CCC. If you look at the stats it has a not insignificant ~30ft more ascent/descent per mile if I recall. And in my experience of the course also visits some rougher terrain and path (or seemed that way). Also less major (warm) food stops on route and it didn't have a drop bag option until last year. If the UTMB is a brute, then the TDS is a brute only 3/4 the size but with knuckle-dusters and a napoleon complex.
If you can get over the lack of a headline grabbing distance then I'd recommend the TDS as much as the UTMB. It may well be more suited to the mountain goats of the rocky and wet british fells and mountains anyway and one to try if you've done the UTMB and feel you could still train that bit harder to really attack a shorter course. Interestingly if you look here its not just a british thing, but a general trend that the TDS is overlooked by international competitors, with the French taking their largest % of competitors in this over the other events.
As the day cooled into the evening I walked through the town centre, grabbing a milk drink to keep hunger at bay a bit longer and located my B&B for the nights stop. A spacious room was much welcome so I could spread out my kit and lay down awhile whilst I went through my mental list of what I needed to do. It was nice to be finished earlier in the day after 10hrs58 on the go and 44.2m covered.
The rest of the evening consisted of shower, dressing in spare kit and hobbling down the road in the cool evening air to the Wetherspoons I saw on the way through the centre. A pint of cider and double-Mexican burger with chips really hit the spot and I had a bit more time this night to catch up on calls, messages and other normal things.
A good, but different day to the last, mostly flat, more hard surface and as such my feet and leg joints were definitely more stiff and swollen than 24 hours ago. But, undefeated I was able to relax into sleep.