Ultra Report

Posted on: 17 Jun 2016

Things are a bit quite on here at the moment guess its that busy time of year with holidays and family stuff taking up so much time and I’m guilty cant believe its taken me nearly 2 weeks since my last post and my ultra.

Where to start on the ultra report, at the beginning seems the logical point I guess. Up at 06:30 to clear blue skies. A quick bit of breakfast before getting out the door with my son to help him with his paper round, all the supplements that come with Saturdays papers make it impossible for him to carry them so Dad acts as a pack horse, no change there. Even at that time of the day it was evident it was going to be a warm one. Papers complete I was picked up just after 07:30 then it was off to pick up the others, there were 5 us of us hoping to run together, Ian, Bev, Myself and the obligatory 2 Dave’s ( foot Dave and gas Dave so called due to there professions and not any strange running peculiarities. We arrived at Princetown, to find the race had taken over the whole village and as with these smaller runs that are organised by running clubs, and not by businesses try to cash in, to a great atmosphere and everything being geared to the runner it was clearly evident that this was an extremely well organised event. By now the nerves were kicking in big time, had I done enough training ( not as much as I should of), would the ribs be ok, how hot was it going to be, did I have enough food and drinks and the most concerning thing could I keep going for 6 hours.

Before we knew it we were on the start line and following a quick safety brief we were off. Fortunately now the blue skies had some welcome cloud developing that stayed with us through out the day. We made sure we started off nice and steady as the first 13 miles were, aside from one climb all down hill. The water stations were located every 3-4 miles and whilst they only supplied water and basic food stuffs there was a option to leave your own supplies at appropriate marked number boxes at race H.Q. which were then shipped to the relevant feed station. Another great touch was they had marshals on radios just before each feed station radioing through your runner number so as the people manning the food stations could have all your own personal supplies ready to hand to you as soon as you arrived. The first walking break came at about 6.5 miles at Badgers Halt whilst not the longest of our climbs it was certainly one of the steepest but we all know what steep hills mean, fantastic views that make the effort all worth while. Then we were heading off the moors and down to the small market town of Ashburton and the 13 mile point. We hit this point in exactly 2 hours all was good with the world and I was surprised to how quickly the time was going.

From Ashburton we headed up to Buckland in the moor, at just over 2 miles this was the longest single climb of the day at about 2 miles. It was one of those climbs that feels to steep to run and not steep enough to walk so you end up doing both and not really sure which one is the most productive. Then it was onto Widdicombe just before we arrived there was a particularly section that so steep I couldn’t even run down let alone Barber down so had to settle for a shuffle down. By now we were 20 miles in and things were starting to ache knees, hips, ribs and a nice little blister once again. However by now gas Dave was beginning to struggle he was in his own zone and despite our protests he was adamant that we pushed on and let him do his own thing. Now we were pushing on towards Postbridge we went through the marathon point in 4:26. We had now come further than any of us had been before. Ian gave us a look he was looking strong and decided to push on. By now things were pretty tough conversation was down to the odd shout of inspiration from one us followed by a grunt as a reply to the other two. The last 6 miles were always going to be tough and they didn’t disappoint it undulations all the way the downhill’s were run but hurt and I think we were all looking forward to the uphill’s just so we could walk gain. I felt particular sick at around mile 29 I think it was a down to a bit of over dosing on the PowerAde. It’s these tough tough times when team real buzz kicks in I was thinking of those who have been through this and of course much worse and for much longer and those who got bigger challenges ahead. Time to man up stop and get the job done. Then there it was the last climb into the village a look to Bev a look to foot Dave were we running this last bit come what may it wasn’t fast and it wasn’t Kenyan pace but we did it and all crossed the line together.

I was completely done at the end and couldn’t sit down quick enough totally spent and felt pretty spaced out. Definitely one of those never again moment’s. Fortunately there were plenty of people there to make sure I was looked after and once I managed to get some food and water inside me I felt a whole lot better. And how they looked after us there was a team of ladies who were constantly going amongst the runners with enough food and drinks to supply an army, looking after the runners once again. Needless to say I don’t think that evening’s fish and chips and couple of beers had ever tasted so good aah the simple things.

Aside from falling a sleep on the trampoline for 2 hours on Sunday I managed to do absolutely nothing all day. By Wednesday the legs weren’t aching but still had the week off from running. However first run back last Tuesday and managed to tweak the calf jus t at the end of a 6 mile plod. Tried it out again last night and its still complaining so it’s back to the bench for me for a week or two.

The all important stats for the run/walk 32.5 miles in 5.35 3700 ft of ascent burning off 4400ish calories. Ian finished in 5.28 and gas Dave in 5.50 and many lessons learnt apparently we spent nearly 20 minutes at the feeding stations. Would I do it again? Who knows? Quite possibly. But it certainly helps put into perspective what others have achieved those who've gone further and higher and those who've done it day after day, total admiration. To all those heading for Hawkesbury you’ll have a wonderful time the welcome and hospitality are out of this world, The running and scenery won’t disappoint either I’m only sorry that I’m not going to be there. Enjoy.

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