Wednesday, 26 January 2011

ULTRArace 45mile race report

Not entirely sure where to begin with this but unlike the last race report this is largely positive! Saturday Morning I woke up still feeling the effects of the bug I picked up during the week. Hadn't been ill for over a year and sods law is I pick one up a few days before a race! Despite this, I was fairly chilled out about the day ahead and my only stressful decision was shoe choice! I went with Kinvaras, it may be a road shoe but it has great wet mud grip and I decided today is the day I test my feet with a long minimalist shoe run (I will wade into the minimalist shoe debate another day but essentially i'm neither for or against- do what works for you!). Back to the race, the race was just a way of kick starting my year and mainly being used for training purposes, so the race plan? Cruise out the blocks (metaphorically speaking), take it east to halfway point whilst enjoying some good views and fellow outdoor enthusiasts company. The Outcome? Perfect!
Race started 8am sharp after a 7am sign up. Apart from the cough, I felt good from the get go. Quickly attempted to settle into a 9:30 per mile pace. I was looking for an overall race pace of 9:36 so coming out a little quicker is necessary due to potential stops etc. Pace felt extremely comfortable all the way to the first checkpoint at 9miles. After a quick mental evaluation I decided I would attempt to hold this pace for the entire race. I noticed a lot of people had been going out hard, probably being dragged along by the epic pace of a former Swedish record holder and a former German record holder. It was certainly evident that this was not training for a lot of people and fast times were on the agenda. I decided to stay patient, run my own race and let them go.
Cough started to ease which helped to keep me relaxed and pace still had not waned. Biggest issue here was to stop myslef from getting carried away and speed up, I knew if I kept this pace I would slowly start to reel people in. Mile 22 represented my longest run since the 60mile CCER in October. My training had been geared towards speedwork through the winter so my body was not fully trained for a 45mile run! Due to this I kept on top of my fluid and calorie intake, this ensured I put my body in the best position to perform. It was approx the half way point at which I started to catch A LOT of front runners. My pace was still bang on but clearly the early fast pace was telling for others. This was almost an enigma moment for me- usually I like to start hard and try to hold on but everytime someone passes you late in a race it can be quite demoralising, this time round I found that every time I passed someone I would get a mini boost and more so the deeper into the race we got.
31-45 miles:
Holding the pace started to get tougher but as previously mentioned I was mentally prepared for this. In the days leading up to the race I used some imagery tactics (both during and after training runs) of how my body needs to be moving in order to run well (sounds very yoga I know!). I kept reminding myself that my footsteps should be light and quick, arms should be swinging smoothly and straight and my trunk should be kept high. It sounds quirky but practising these mantras certainly made it second nature on the day and undoubtedly aided my performance. Over the last 8km I reeled in and passed no less than 17 people (including a guy racing in Vibrams!). My final 5km split (25:11) was the fastest split of my whole race. A GOOD DAY!
In hindsight if I was racing then you could say that I paced my race terribly as I had so much in the tank at the finish line but training this was and im glad I ran it like I did. I will definitely be using all I have learned about pacing through out my races this year. My schedule is still in pencil (im a poet and I know it) but there will be at least 2 epic journeys. Im in Grand Union canal 145mile race in May should I choose to accept but Im also looking at a hefty performance over a 24hour time trail. I want to smash the 100mile mark but the one im looking at is May also so I cant do both. I'd also love to re-peak my training for a 100miler in the north downs come August- This race is organised by a fellow London Ultra Runner who has a great running CV including a Badwater finish! Finally I need to get my final 3qualifying points for Ultra Trail Du Mont Blanc entry in 2012. This race is THE 100mile race to be at. Best competition, best scenery and best atmosphere in the world. If I can find a solid 50mile race to gain these points then I want to combine that with a 8 hour performance target. 8 hours for 50 miles over rugged hills will do me nicely!
Anyway, for now friends, thanks for reading and keep hitting the site! Gear reviews start with a Socks rant in two weeks time :-)


  1. Hey mate! Sounds like a good race was put together. Like the idea of the sock rant, im presuming the ones i sent you will avoid the rant and my shown in a positive light (he says smiling broadly) Will see you at London Ultra i hope?

  2. Where you looking for the 3utmb points? Might have to find a 100miler for that no? Good effort on the race, that thorkal guy is a beast. Bit pissed that I ran ahead of you for 44miles only to see you finish ahead of me. it wont happen again :-)