Up at 0530… which was actually 0430 because…clocks. After arriving and registering, I bumped in to my friend Mark and met some new people as well! It was so lovely to meet and chat to some people at the start and talk about how we were feeling for the day. I always find lovely new friends are to be made at these events!
The 50 mile red bib people were off promptly and soon it was is the 50k yellow bibs on our way and I was feeling pretty nervous.
The format was to do 4 laps of the forest.
I started at the back, as I always do, ready to run my own race. And I started well – perhaps I went to quickly thinking back on it, but at the time I felt very good. I was enjoying being in the forest, the mud was drier than my recce, I was having a lovely time!
Lap 1 I was happy with. It was foggy and cool, lush conditions and I was going relatively quickly for me. I was making up time on the harder sections and the boggy patches had dried out significantly since I had last been.
The aid station half way was also super friendly full of cheers and people making sure you had enough food and water. Superstars. I left this aid station feeling great.
The forest was looking so beautiful in the fog and it was a really nice first lap.
I ended lap 1 feeling strong, if a little behind my “A” schedule – but only by 10 mins or so. For some reason my head had already started to calculate cut offs for the 4th lap and was starting to nag at me even though I was doing really well by my own standards.
I visited my bag to get supplies and was so excited to start my next lap. I was having a great time.
About 5km in to lap 2 I started to get a niggle in my glute. Through the lap it got more sore – and I could feel my leg getting tight where I was compensating… and it didn’t get any better as time went on.
By the end of the lap I was feeling pretty down – I pretty much was sure there wasn’t 25km available in my legs…
I sat down and Big Bear kindly brought me a drink! After some food I thought I’d give lap 3 a go.
I started, and didn’t get very far before I realised I couldn’t run at all, and a marshal doing sign checks kept me company and talked to me walking with me all the way. My gait deteriorated and I decided to head back to the HQ. After sitting down in a chair a bird pooped on me. It was a sign!
I was disappointed, but I know it was the right decision. This time I didn’t manage the 50km and was DNF, but I will be back to give it another try. There are things I can do better next time, learning from this adventure and come back stronger.
My gear was fine, fuelling was fine (more earlier to be ideal) and the conditions were perfect (not something I can control but worth mentioning).
Things to work on would be… more strength training. I only started doing more intense workouts relatively close to the race (in February) I think perhaps being stronger would have helped – I have had this glute injury before but it has not been a bother through training at all even with runs longer than I achieved today. A bit of bad luck as well perhaps.
And also, getting out my own head. I’m really quick to think it’s going horribly, when in fact it is not!
Salcey forest wins this round, but I will be back! Stronger!
I had a wonderful day, and I am very thankful for the support of the Big Bear Events team on the day, they were fabulous. I couldn’t fault anything about the race at all and would recommend it to anyone looking for an ultra!