The Chequered Flag!

Posted on: 02 Mar 2020

Oulton Park 20 Mile Race Report

The last time I lapped Oulton Park race circuit I was driving a Jaguar I-Pace at speeds well in excess of 100 mph. Yesterday I returned to cover the distance on foot and was MUCH slower. Additionally, the hills on the circuit that had posed no problems for the car were power sapping for a mere mortal. 

My friend and I awoke at stupid o’clock and went into race prep mode; following our own breakfast & hydration routines to the letter. We set off and arrived at Oulton Park early and on arrival the weather was tantalising close to perfection; about 6 degrees and beautiful sunshine but the wind, the wind was gusting to storm force and didn’t subside. Once registered we warmed up but it was clear this would be no walk in the park.

From early on I knew I was in trouble, the combination of strong wind and steep hills was something for which I wasn’t prepared. Keep in mind that the course was laps of the race circuit (7.5 laps to be exact) so there was never going to be a time that the hills (or wind) weren’t present. An invisible hand trying to push you backwards at (seemingly) every turn.

I managed about 4/5 miles of the 20 mile distance at jogging pace before I had to adopt a walk/run tactic. Initially, this was to walk up the hills and jog the rest. However, as time went on I got more and more drained and the walk intervals lengthened. I was in bang last place and considered pulling out at both 10k and half marathon distances convincing myself that I could still blag a medal if I stuck to recognised milestones.

Unfortunately (or fortunately?) the laps of circuit never quite married up perfectly with a milestone which meant I always had to start a new lap to reach my adjusted goals. Long story short, by the time I was heading for half marathon distance I was only 2 laps away from my initial 20 mile goal. It was time to focus, dig deep and push for the finish. 

It was tough, really tough, but I found it in me (with the help of my music playlist) to eventually take last place and claim my medal for the full 20 mile distance.

What’s more, my pace didn’t end up too far adrift from my norm and with a little extra work I can still be on schedule for a sub 6 hour marathon in London next month.

If you’d like to support me in my lunacy (and support Muscular Dystrophy UK in the process) please clicky the linky:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/andrew-smullen

Until next time, keep on running!

Love and hugs and stuff,
Andy

@tubbyrunster (Instagram)

#londonmarathon #vlm2020 #marathontraining #tubbyrunster #teamorange #musculardystrophyuk #virginlondonmarathon

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