Posted: 10/09/2014 at 09:52
Thank you everyone so much for your lovely comments - My improving times and this course PB is largely thanks to all the advice and wonderful support I get from you lot!
Big G - I think that is a really positive outcome from your first run. I would have thought it unlikely that it would be completely pain free after so I personally would try another similar run and if more pain after - stop - if same or less, keep going. (Just my opinion mind you - I know absolutely nothing about Achilles injuries)
S32 - Well done on getting through that GNR - The more I read about big events, the more I realise I don't want to do them..
Emmy - Lol at you with Boyska's bib on!!
SK - That made me smile to think of you missing your tube stop too!
Shades - That injury sounds like it's on its way out - thank goodness for THAT.
Right, will try and rattle out a quick report - apologies in advance for any rambling.
The "Trail de la Braconne" takes place in a large forest not too far from where I live. It is organised between a running club and an army unit as much of the route goes through land owned by the army and used for their training. There are three courses; a 12k trail, a 20k trail and a 32k which involves the 20k plus the 12k loop afterwards. Last year I had not been prepared for the challenging nature of the course. I don't know about you but when something is described as "undulating" then in my book it doesn't really involve ropes... (In hindsight I may have made a small error in translation *cough*)
Anyway - I absolutely loved doing this race last year, finishing in 3.34, dead on my feet but with a great sense of achievement. This year I was planning to shave a bit off that time - hoping for around 3:15/3:20 if everything went to plan. I was aiming for splits of around 6.05/10 per km but this was going to be hard to stick to as the trail was extremely variable.
I ate my two cereal bars in the car on the way (I really find it difficult to eat before a race - I never do in training even for long runs - so cereal bars seem to work for me), arriving in enough time to pick up my number and do a couple of half hearted stretches. Atmosphere was great, with around 500 entrants including a group of Nordic walkers who would be leaving after the runners for a short circuit. I don't get Nordic walking. I can understand using poles if you are crossing the Arctic or something - but a stroll through a forest..? I was feeling great and managed to set of in the first part of the group as opposed to near the back where I usually find myself.
The first couple of km went by quite easily - I was under my target split time but figured this would slow down later with the steeper parts of the course. Sure enough, Jocelyne (My nemesis) skippetty skipped past me at km 3. I was torn between wanting to follow her but not wanting to burn out too soon. I compromised by trying to keep her in my sights whilst staying just under my goal time. This carried on for around 10k - the terrain was undulating, short and steep in parts but I was coping fine. I stopped at the feed stations each time to knock back a cup of coke and a piece of melon. I fuelled this way throughout the race and it was perfect. Around the half way point I realised I was gaining on Jocelyne.. I was wracked with indecision... should I take her?? Could I keep this speed up after?? In the end I though "Sod it" - and went for it. In my head I was absolutely determined to keep my lead and thus now had to hang on to my pace.
The second half of the course was tough. In our part of the world we have "Gouffres" (Great big holes in the ground for no apparent reason) and the trail took us right down into these and up the other side, pulling yourself on ropes. For the descent down I really found a differen