Monday, 11 October 2010

50miles 11:35, 100miles DNF

DNF D.I.D. N.O.T. F.I.N.I.S.H sums up my whole weekend really.

My problematic back put the line under my pursuit of 100 miles (this time anyway). I was distraught as the rest of my body felt great although I shouldn't use my back as an excuse. 90% of ultrarunning performance comes from your training and I did not get to the start line healthy enough to complete this race. I was injured from the get go, I believed I could nurse my back through the race by taking it easy on the hills and for 40 odd miles this worked! In the first ten miles I felt good, I started eating early to make sure I was well fuelled for the hard miles later. Between 15-25 miles I started to feel a little crappy (something I later learned happened to a lot of people) but I knew I had trained well and I just had to hang in their until I felt better again. I got through marathon point way quicker than I had planned and I managed it with my muscles feeling pretty damn good, this was enough boost to blast me out of my bad patch. I cruised through too 45 miles until my back really attacked. Pain turned into a burning sensation by mile 50 and for the next 10 miles I had pain in every step and my hips locked up twice on a steep accent and decent. At mile 60 I reluctantly called it quits. I perhaps think I could have struggled on too 70 0r 80 miles but my long term safety had to be the primary concern. Despite the DNF I will definitely use the experience as a learning curve which I have summarised below

Things I learned:
1. It's impossible to run fast in the dark when you have to spot roots, rocks and animals on a singletrack path through a forest
2. I was stronger than most on hills but slower than most on harsh terrain. Therefore, I need to find tougher training terrains
3. I must remember to vaseline my balls....I was bad
4. Need to practice more downhills. Single biggest factor in sapping the energy and strength from your legs

1. Felt great for almost 50miles on the toughest terrain, most hilled course I have ever run on
2. Stomach was strong. You need to eat to run long and my stomach handled it
3. 24hrs post run and my body feels better then it has after my other ultras. Recovery status is a great indication to overall fitness.
4. Was under 5hrs through marathon point, meaning I have maintained some speed! 5hrs on that course is good in itself but adding that I was holding back to save energy makes it even better.

Next? Not sure yet but I need to race more within my training programme. Luton marathon or Downs ultra (30miles) are in December but realistically Im looking at Jan or Feb for a race. Typical recovery would be 2 weeks of next to zero running followed by another two weeks of light running so we'll see how that goes first!


  1. Richard, sorry to hear things didn't go to plan. I didn't have a great time of it myself. Rest assured it was a very tough course and 30 hours is a pretty tight cut off actually. Henk mentioned at the end that there were an extremely high number of drops so wait till the results are out and you should take pride in having made it to 50 miles in good time. On another day you would have made it. Unfortunately (for me anyway) the last 3rd of a 100 seem to be pretty much mental only as your body has always found some new way of breaking down. The death march is always a nightmare and doesnt have to be inevitable.

    I did run into your mum at the start finish of one of the laps, Im not sure if she'd have mentioned it too you. You were in good shape at that point and it was dark so a real shame that things went awry shortly after.

    Best of luck for the next race. Persevere with it, its undoubtedly worth all of the energy you'll throw at it.

    All the best


  2. Rich....

    Sorry to hear you were unable to finish the race due to back problems, we know that once your back (and body) has healed you will be great in your next event!!

    Regardless, we are very proud of what you achieved, you trained very hard and it is more than most of would be able to do in a lifetime!! ;0) You'll be pleased to know i can now run for 20 mins without gasping for air!! lol

    Keep us up to date on information for your next race.

    Relax and take care

    Jods and Tim x

  3. thanks jods and time. hope everything is going well for you guys! next one is jan!