What am I doing - there are no mountains and a field full of fit looking whippet like runners - oh and me hiding in the van from the rain. I have decided to do a 12 hour run round a 6 mile course at Eastnor Castle.
WHY - cos i have done it on my bike for 24 hours solo so how hard can running it be???
The atmosphere on saturday night was great - everyone buzzing and eating lots, I was nervous but decided I needed an early night as had to be up at 4.45am. Despite two different types of sleeping tablet I lay awake for ages reading my book - bugger - I'm gonna be knackered!
Oh well - morning soon turned up and the sky was clear, the wind had gone and the rain was no where to be seen - phew! The ground looked soggy so decided on fell shoes for the slippery mud. Race briefing was quick and to the point - basically have fun.
I talked with a few other runners, the whippets, and thought - just get out there and enjoy - that is what the briefing was all about! Oh and then the start horn went and I raced off fast (for about 5 metres) - well there was a camera!!! Then we got to the first hill, a runnable one, not used to these as try to find big plods usually, like in the Lake Disrict, but was feeling good to jogged up it a bit then made myself walk a steeper bit as had 12 hours of this to go! I loved the muddy section, the shoes worked well, some whippets had chosen quite roady shoes, this looked like hard work, so me and the other less whippet like around me plodded on, chatting and enjoying the dawn breaking, wishing I had taken my camera.
So the first half of the course was uphill with some muddy singletrack and some grassy down hills afterwoods, then onto some field type terrain and another uphill up to a landrover track and a feed station, then some flattish section and into the second half of the course which had some lovely wooded singletrack I remembered from the biking - it fired me up this bit and on each of my laps I always sped up on this bit! Then across some field bits with the start/finish/changeover area in view with the music and the comentator telling everyone all about who was passing theouh, who was in the lead, and what teams runners were swapping on the realay teams etc. It is a good buzz when you hear your name over the tannoy and people cheering you on. This is especially good when you are not being supported by anyone - makes you feel supported! The other thing that keeps me smiling and looking like I am trying to run is a photographer - there was one who seemed to be everywhere - hopefully i was smiling and looking like I knew what i was doing!!!
Lap two - my feet decided they were a little uncomfortable, must be all the runable bits (all of it really!!!) or is it just that I have trail shoe feet! I was holding my own on each lap now, the first one took me an hour, then I was doing a few at just over the hour. Although had to have toilet breaks and really needed to change my shoes at some point. One bloke I ran for a while with (Trevor, that all the marshals seemed to know) was gonna change into his fell shoes, so I stuck with mine for a bit longer, untill end of lap three I could stand them no longer - they were abandoned and the trail shoes donned, a coffee and some chocolate helped in the process. Oh how wonderfull that felt (the change of shoes I mean!) - I could run again - phew I'm not as bad as I thought - even felt vaguely whippet like (well in mind anyay!). Some more good laps ensued and suddenly I had done 6 hours, that went very quickly. I think it was the fact you could just see where you should be at what time, I was enjoying this, you could play catch up and over take quite easily too (suppose others were doing that with me too, but then I had a notice on my back saying "Solo - please pass with care!" - it got alot of comments!). I had done 5 laps in just under 6 hours. I cold potentially get 10 laps in - blimey i sholdn't keep doing the maths on this - the miles added up to far too many!
I had been in 5th place the wole way so far so thought the whippets may be heading for a lapping of me soon, it just made me scared - like I was being chased! I think it kept me going faster, well untill lap 8 when I was just a bit knackered but trying to keep up with Patrick he was a lap ahead and in second place in the mens solo), I put a good time in but decided I couldn't stomach another two laps, My hips hurt and I wanted to be able to walk tomorrow. So decided to walk lap nine as I felt I could not catch the top 4 and hoped the others behind would not catch me, it took a while longer but still got to the finish half hour before the 12 hours, I was really hurting now and felt another lap would hurt too much so stopped. I had finished, I ws exremely happy and I found a man willing to give my very salty sweaty body a massage - excellent.
Whilst having my massage the sreen popped up with our results and I had come fourth and the girl who was third was on the next massage table and had done the same amount of laps as me (9) so i should have done another lap - I would have been on the podium then!!! Oh well - I did much better than I thouht I would and had enjoyed it. I think next time it may be as a pair - seems like you get a good amount of running in but more able to walk afterwoods! Mind you - the massage was the best post race massage I had ever had and I practically jumped off the table, wolfed a bacon and egg butty down and got in the van to drive home.
It was a good event and very well organised and I now have the t-shirt - well mum always asks why I do these things and of course it's for the t-shirt!!! She thinks I'm mad! I am!