Monday, 19 September 2011

A tricky ravine, hills, some horned cows & a 40 mile meander...

I had been a bit nervous/ apprehensive/ disorganised about the weekend just gone, the weekend that was yesterday and the day before. I’ve don’t a lot of double marathons before and indeed, I have completed multiple ultras/ a combinations of ultras and marathons on consecutive days.

This weekend I had High Peak 40 on Saturday and a marathon on Sunday. I did High Peak 40 last year, so I knew to expect hills, cows, a ravine near the end that takes you by surprise and makes me nervy thinking about it. It’s just a bit of a pain to descend on tired legs and I tend to always take the option of easing myself down it on my a far from graceful manner.

Mostly I was nervous of the cows. Last year there was a whole host of energetic bullocks in the field approaching the ravine and that’s all I could think about...fortunately they were not in this field this year and the last 4 miles were actually quite pleasant. Also, unlike last year, it was still daylight, since I had made better progress and was ultimately over 2 hours faster. Therefore, navigation was so much easier and I didn’t end up in a boggy field trying to navigate my way out of it. It was clear where I must go, I could follow the signs and arrows perfectly and I made it back to the school and finishing point without getting lost. This is not to say that there weren’t obstacles along the length of the course.

This year, it seems there was a diversion of sorts. Not that I know where or when this diversion was or noticed it much. It did add on just over a mile to the route, however. So, the mileage covered on Saturday was just over 41.5 miles or so. There were also cows along some of the route. For those who don’t know, I am a runner who is ridiculously cautious of cows. It is such a silly thing to be afraid of and often slows me down...either that or I speed up to sprint past them and get out of a field as soon as humanly possible, but yep...I am afraid of cows.

With about 7 miles left to go, there was a whole host of horned cows long a certain narrow grassy pathway. There were more than 30 of them. There were far too many to simply barge past. I’m sure we could have if we were brave, but I certainly wasn’t risking it. So, stuck behind all these cows and with a dry stone wall topped with barbed wire to the right of us, I kept my eyes open to look out for a section of wall that was free of the barbed wire and I found a section. So, me and this lady scaled a wall and bypassed the cows. We then had to find a way to get back onto the pathway. Fortunately, we discovered a bit of wall with a few rocks missing underneath the barbed wire and were able to limbo underneath the wire.

I cut my leg a little, but we successfully got past the cows and that is all that matters :) I was quite pleased with myself for that little diversion and it’s quite a funny memory to have. I ran a lot on Saturday and was happy with my progress. I even think I could have been far faster if only I had prepared enough for the event. I think I failed to take in enough food on the days leading up to the run and was really lacking in sleep.

I haven’t been sleeping very well lately and I awoke on Saturday morning at 3.30am and got up. I didn’t need to get up until about 4.30, as Derbyshire isn’t such a long way away from me. I just could not sleep. My lack of nutritional preparation/ intake was very apparent in the last few miles of the event when I felt really sickly and my stomach was frantically gurgling away. I wanted to run, but I couldn’t run and all of a sudden I felt quite weak. I recovered enough to run a bit at the end, but whilst driving myself the 1 ½ hours back home afterwards, I felt really very sick. I had to keep breathing in an exaggerated way in order to stop myself from being sick. It felt like travel sickness, but it was definitely a lack of food. As soon as I stopped at a service station and refuelled – albeit on junk/fast food – I immediately felt better and the sickly feeling went away.

Ultimately, I had a really good day on Saturday. Last year I finished in about 12.30ish and this year I finished in about 10.26ish :) This was my 93rd marathon/ including ultra’s event....Yesterday was my be continued....

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