Ben Davies 15

Latest posts by Ben Davies 15

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Expecting to finish

Posted: Yesterday at 19:24

You have to be prepared to take risks in order to fulfil your potential, and fins out where your limits really are.  Once you start entering the harder ultras, it is only a matter of time before you get a DNF, and with the very hardest races, you might make a calculation to try them knowing that the odds are against you. 


Posted: 16/09/2014 at 22:51

Here is some information on a mountaineering website about altitude coughs:

Many people who travel to high altitude complain of cough. It is a dry debilitating cough and its consequences, aside from interfering with climbing and sleeping can be severe. On the 1971 International Himalayan Expedition no less than four members suffered rib fractures because of their cough.

Altitude cough may be due to bronchoconstriction (the narrowing of the airways that commonly occurs in asthma) or infections, but research has shown that the cough can occur without any evidence of infection or airway narrowing.

Cough could be caused by breathing cold dry air on the mountains, but studies of cough in hypobaric chambers that controlled the ambient temperature and humidity suggest that the receptors in the airways that provoke cough are actually more sensitive at altitude.

What might make cough receptors more sensitive? Three possible theories exist. Firstly, inflammation in the airways at high altitude may increase the receptor sensitivity. Secondly, changes in the brain caused by acclimatisation could sensitise the receptors that cause cough or thirdly, there could be a build up of fluid in the lungs. Some scientists think that a small amount fluid leaks out into the air spaces in many people who go to high altitude without actually causing the symptoms and signs of HAPE. Nevertheless, a severe cough and breathlessness could represent high altitude pulmonary oedema and if suspected, urgent descent is necessary. Preventative measures include:

  • Wear a mask which heats and moisturizes the air.
  • Wear a balaclava at night.
  • Wear a mask with a metallic net inserted into a lightweight shell.
  • Avoid over exertion (Not exactly an option for us).
  • Regulate your breathing when necessary (Some European runners chew gum).
  • Drinking plenty of water, especially hot water. This gives added moisture from the steam.
  • Taking plenty of throat lozenges.
  • Wearing a balaclava at night.

If you plan on quickly climbing to a high altitude, ask your doctor about a medication called acetazolamide (Diamox). This drug helps your body get used to higher altitudes more quickly, and reduces minor symptoms. It should be taken the day before you climb, and then for the next 1 to 2 days.


Posted: 16/09/2014 at 21:54

Hope you have a speedy recovery GKD, and well done for taking on that monstrosity. 

I think we are going to have to do a lot more research into altitude related conditions, if we are going to continue with these high altitude races. 


LL50 - AARRGHHHHH, what have I done?!?!

Posted: 15/09/2014 at 21:50

The L50 is a fantastic even, with excellent support

Although it is one of the tougher 50 mile courses in the UK, the cut-offs are generous, and will permit a few mistakes/accidents.  You can even walk a lot of the course if the worst comes to it. 

If you need any advice on training, kit, or race strategy, don’t hesitate to ask us.  There is a lot of accumulated experience here. 


Posted: 15/09/2014 at 20:59

Thanks for the report Heffaroo.

You are right about this race having a sting in the tail.   

I assumed that I had it in the bag at Trient, but then everything started to go A over T!

Have you ever been last in an event?

Posted: 15/09/2014 at 19:03

This year I was the penultimate finisher in UTMB, and it is the race result that I am most proud of, and I am sure it would still be if I had finished last. 

Context is everything. 

Running holidays - would you?

Posted: 13/09/2014 at 19:28

If you do an overseas ultra, you should always takes some time to hang out with the local runners. 

That is an integral part of the experience!

Also, find out which races in that country the local runners rate, and why. 

What is your race entry pattern like?

Posted: 12/09/2014 at 21:53

How far I will travel for a race depends upon the length and profile of the race. 

I won’t bother with a 10k unless it is within a four mile radius of my house.  There are three 10ks, and three 5 milers within that zone, so why bother to look further afield?

I will do a half marathon if it falls with the boundaries of the county, and doesn’t clash with a more important event.  I might just be talked into going out of county for the Great North Run, but a half marathon is basically a county level event for me. 

For a full marathon I am prepared to travel within the country.  There are three marathons that fall within my home county, and they are default races for me.  In order for me to travel far outside the county, a marathon will have to offer me something that I can’t get from those three.

I have had three overseas races, and all of them were ultra’s that tested the absolute limits of my abilities.  For races like that, I will travel to the end of the earth. 


Posted: 11/09/2014 at 23:03

Thanks Richlya

LakeRunner, I am itching to go back and have another go at the Irontrail 201 next year, but perhaps there might be a salutary lesson in the outcome of UTMB.  I will need to up my game, and learn from my mistakes in this race.  Also, after the saline drip thing, I am not sure that my family will be mad keen on me doing another mountain race.  The office girls at work have already given me a sound telling off over the incident! 

Anyway, TDS might well be the best Chamonix based race to prepare for the Irontrail, because I am told that the terrain is similar.  Perhaps we will get an invading part together. 

Running holidays - would you?

Posted: 11/09/2014 at 22:57

I think that many people choose a holiday based on other criteria, then have a look and see what running opportunities have been presented to them!

That can be interesting for sure!

1 to 10 of 2,199

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