D33 race report.
No, I don’t want another f**king energy sweet! It was the 2011 D33, my youngest brothers’ first ultra and only my second. Badly paced, we both made the newbie error of running out too fast and blowing up on the way back. With eight miles to go spirits were low, to keep us going all I had was a packet of energy sweets. Every ten minutes or so I would hand out one of the sweets, rationed to see us through to the finish. It was during one of the sweetie offerings my brother blurted the now ridiculed sentence above. Five years later I didn't expect to make the same mistake again.
Saturday 12th March, time for my first ultra of the year. The weather wasn't too bad although rain was forecast later on. I wore a teeshirt with breathable jacket and opted for a waist bottle belt. I packed a cheese sandwich, crisps, boiled eggs and double decker in a half way drop bag and put a Mrs Tillys fudge in my pocket. First mistake of the day, I thought the fudge bar would see me through to half way.
I met and chatted before the race with Gary, an ex work colleague. At kick off, Gary joined the crowd farther forward than me. I joined about half way which turned out to be my second mistake of the day.
We were sent on our way, once the field thinned out I checked my watch for pace. 9.20 minute miles, the pace was way too quick. I didn't train enough for this. Another mistake, I did not slow down.
All was okay though, I chatted to some familiar runners including Fiona and Neil.
|Photo by Fiona Rennie|
Checkpoint 1 came and went. I didn't stop, preferring to push on nibbling on the fudge bar.
This will go down as the year of the squashed frogs, there were a good few on the road and I wondered if they had been flatted by runners or vehicles.
The run out was steady, then time to applaud the returning runners, starting with the elite who were flying. Cheered through Crathes and restored railway, this was where I began to feel the lack of training, chickens were about to come home to roost.
I began to feel numb but still ran stubbornly on at the same pace, willing for the half way turn around. I arrived at the checkpoint and obtained my drop bag, this was going to be the magic potion that would allow me to continue at the same pace, so I thought.
It was time to visit the freebee table. Result, there was a couple of bottles of coke. I gulped back a cup, binned the cheese sandwiches, greedily scoffed a packet of crisps as fast as possible, peeled and ate one of the two eggs and walked out of the checkpoint. I peeled the second egg and proceeded to run and eat it at the same time. This wasn't fun, try it some time. The dry egg slowly tried to choke me as I fought for breath with the effort of running. I had to stop and gulp water before trying to continue.
It wasn't happening, I couldn't get back into rhythm. I checked my watch, 11 minute miles, that’s all I could muster. My target of under 5 hours 30 minutes went out the window. It was a sneaky target that wormed it’s way into my head anyway.
It was time for damage limitation. I tried to concentrate and keep a steady pace but it got slower and slower. By Drumoak I was doing 12 minute miles, I needed to take a breather and began to walk. As runners passed me by, I began to realise what was wrong. I hit the wall.
All I could do was continue and wait till the half time food supplied energy. Needless to say, it never arrived. The following miles were a “run” walk to the next checkpoint. I felt tired and just wanted to lie down and sleep, as if this was the last section of the WHW race. Eventually I arrived at checkpoint 3, time for another visit to the freebee table. I downed a lucozade sport and chatted to Hamish before shuffling on, only eight miles to go.
By Peterculter I resigned myself to walking in before there was a familiar voice behind. Norrie just happened to be having an off day as well so we hooked up and run / walked all the way to Garthdee.
The finish line beckoned so we managed to run the last couple of miles, Norrie slightly quicker than me. I was relieved to make it back to the Duthie Park and over the finish line to collect my sixth D33 medal.
So what went wrong? Lack of training, pace, fuelling and mind set. I should know better.
I’d like to thank George, Karen and the marshals for organising yet another amazing D33 ultra, Aberdeens premier running event.
Tues 10, Sat 33. Weekly total 43 miles.