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Sunday, 17 July 2011

Fairlands Valley 50km. Back to Ultra racing....a race report

UB is back. Not really with a bang, but the boy returns to Ultra Racing. I did FW Marathon last year and is my slowest marathon to date. Whichever crazy fool writes the directions uses the most random points of reference that have an out of date quality to them. Having knocked out a B2B 2 weeks previous, I had a fairly sedentary week, owing to the 12 days without a day off and so much going on at work.

Having said that, I got to the start line with heavy legs. The first 2 miles through Stevenage must rate as the worst new town planning nightmare known to humankind. I pity the people that see that every day. Then open fairly flat and occasionally rolling countryside more than makes up for the cack that is new-town-ville.

The rain held of to a mild drizzle for the first 5 miles and CP1 was upon us quickly. It wasn't particularly chatty in the middle of the pack. I ran the race with Johnny Mac last year and we talked gibberish last time round. This time, I focused on me, my self talk dragging me up from heaviness and into a clip that would see me enjoy the first round of bread pudding. having not trained on the famed coconut water for 9 months, I found it particularly hard to stomach and the bitterness sent my iron stomach into convulsions. Happy to trot along for the first 10 miles, I passed CP2 and on to CP3. The CPs were very close together on the front 16 miles and 9 miles apart on the back of the course......very weird. Feeling more lively from CP2+ and now on cordial OJ, I had a bit of a punt at going faster. Catching up and running with a chap who had run the Houseman 100 a few weeks ago, we had a good quality LDWA conversation and chatted about the Jubilee 100 next year. Irritatingly, we got caught up with a group of guys who were running relying on one for map work. They tagged along and followed through CP4 at 16.6 and then to an issue.......There was a discrepancy in the instructions and a fair few went wrong. The more eagle-eyed spotted the WM point that I think the organisers did not spot and made a turn. about 15 mins of conflab, compasses out and 1.4 miles off track, we returned to see the rest of the field coming at us..... pants.

Quickly removing myself from this group I made a pace towards CP5, filled both bottles and a quick face-full of wonderful bread pudding and off again. Which idiot made us run though the middle of a field that was rutted and 6 ft high in oilseed rape? No one could run! I went wrong twice more and then increased pace to catch up. I bumped into Helen who was fresh of the GUCR as second lady overall and SDW100 run. We had a good old catch up as I hadn't seen her since the Ridgeway. after about 4 miles, on I went. The instructions were increasingly annoying me....more like LDWA events but on acid "on veering left across the field with a dead tree in the distance, take the second nettle patch to the left. If there are no nettles, look for a house in the distance!!" bonkers!!

Last 15 km was enjoyable, passing 50 or so running in various states of wellbeing. The rain was driving at this point and this made the running through the open farmland slippy in the clay and filled every groove with claggy mud, reducing the peleton to a slide/walk. Thank goodess for the sight of the metalled track!

A nice run into the finish, but with slightly over 7km over the 50k, a slow 5.40 finish. Would have been good to go under 5 but I can't complain, sat here with a cider and with legs feeling utterly fine. I am hoping recovery will be fine for the Dowland next sunday. Welcome home! It has been a long time coming but it is good to be back

1 comment:

  1. Well done Rob. Must be great to have your first ultra under your belt since your injury. Really looking forward to running with you at some stage.