Well my chance for an event blog. With the rapidly approaching Gore-Tex Transalpine It was time to move from just training and put my mind and body under some pressure so I could look at what is working well and what not so well. As for event choice I will be honest I had never heard of On The Whistle until my other half mentioned she was doing one of their Ultra races, So I dived online and sure enough this would be perfect, Off Road, as far as you want in 12hrs overnight. So I broke the news to Lily who refused to believe me until I sent her my entry confirmation.
I don’t think Lily was expecting the organisation that then followed, (welcome to endurance coaching) Gazebo, table, chairs, all nutrition sorted, change of clothes, headlamps all charged and so on.
On arrival at the event the organisers were super friendly and just wanted to know more about E3C, and it was great to have the opportunity to talk to an endurance event company about how we work to help athletes achieve their best, and likewise, having never heard of ‘On the whistle’ events it was good to hear about their company and the events they host. Meanwhile Lily was fielding the questions about the furry husky friend!
Race start all lined up, lead out MTB rider for first lap to make sure no one got lost on the just under 5 mile lap. I was super relieved once we got going and the pace was right where I wanted it to be. 2012 was my last Ultra of 32 miles, so 5 years down the line and with working to my daily run training and under 15 miles for longest run to date this was going to highlight any issues.
I sat on the shoulders of the two lead runners for the first lap which had opened out a good gap on the rest of the field, these guys new each other and were chatting all the way, it’s nice to just listen sometimes. Now as we came through the pits I had enough fuel for another lap easily and so just got my stamp and carried on, now just by myself. It was a beautiful evening and so motivation was high to be out running somewhere new (Havant). The course was laid out such that the last 1.5 miles was the same as the start 1.5 miles and you saw all the other runners, and man these guys and girls were loving it. I always, no matter how broken I am, will smile and congratulate all other participants and so to be greeted with people high 5ing and people amazed to see how far out front you are is just brill.
So 2nd, 3rd and 4th laps all flew by with a nice comfortable pace, I had seen the two guys whose shoulders I was sat on on each lap and was almost a lap up, I made a point of being happy chatty but they were not so?
I had now set a goal of getting under 4hrs for full marathon, which for off road I would be chuffed with. At around mile 24 I was having a few ankle issues (thought this would happen) which caused me to shorten my stride and this in turn put pressure on my hips, this said 3.55 for marathon and finished on 6 laps having learned all I needed and with a marathon time I was pleased with.
What did I learn? I needed more cushioning in my trail shoes, more massage and stretching for my legs to ease my joints. Nutrition was spot on (Thanks to Torq Fuel) energy levels stayed high to the finish. Gore Apparel was the best, socks kept feet blister free, top super breathable and 2 in 1 shorts super comfy.
USE Exposure head light worked a treat.
Core strength was solid, no slouching good posture. Most importantly was my mind! Anyone who knows me back from racing round the world at Ironman will know that this was an area I really needed to work on, my mind stayed focused right up to up crossing the line and then after to evaluate my race.
Being at the sharp end was great fun again and being part of such a fun event with so many lovely runners was awesome. Made even better by being first event with Lily, she went and ran a PB distance which was great and we then both suffered and hobbled around the day after.
I would like to add that a lovely surprise visit from Ops Director, Lynn, in the night was unexpected and so nice. She had also been drumming up support from E3C athletes on social media for my event, which again was so unexpected and all your messages and comments were so welcome. I hope I did my athletes proud and I hope to battle through transalpine in September knowing you are all supporting me.