Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Rudolph's Romp

This week I did my 8 mile run back from work on Wednesday, but suffered some ITB pain on my right leg. This has been coming on for a few weeks, but is still not yet acute. Just the time to catch it. I booked an impromptu sports massage. I am fortunate that there is a physio as well as separate sports masseur that visit my work a couple of times a week, and the sports masseur had a spare slot the following day. I woke up 30 mins late, which I took to be a signal from my body, so I could only do a 5 mile route into work and not the planned 8 mile route. This was probably for the best as my ITB had a unexpected break. The sports masseur turned out to be pretty good, and focussed on the two areas I highlighted. My right ITB and my left calf. These are my two problem areas as I increase my mileage to around 50 miles or more a week. He gave me a few exercises as well. That evening I did my usual gym session with no problems.

On Saturday I got up at 5:45am and drove to Brantingham, near Hull. It was a fine sunny December day, perfect conditions. I got there at 8am, half an hour before the Rudolph’s Romp event was due to start. I hadn’t anticipated how many people would be taking part (over 400). I ended up being directed to park over a mile from the event centre at the far end of a road, where everyone was parked in a line, bumper to bumper. It was only as I got near the building I remembered I had forgotten my camera, so have miserably failed in my photo blogging in this post. Sorry.

Registration took a while; queuing for about 15 minutes, as they good enough to accept even those who just turned up on the day (I pre-registered), but as a result this held things up a little and the race started 15 minutes late. I think they said they will have to restrict entries next year, such is the popularity of the event now. I have no idea how many runners made up that 400, but I suspect well over half. I couldn’t really hear what the starter was saying, he needs a bigger megaphone! I had a bit of an upset stomach I noted before the race, but hoped it would go away. I also could have made a better shoe choice than my fell shoes. I have no idea why I picked them up in the morning. I guess it was early and I was tired. My knees suffered on some extended road and track sections, as there is no cushioning to speak of on the shoes. Still, I don’t think it affected my pace a great deal, just made my knees sore.

The route begins with a flat first mile, and then a couple of hills before mile 4. There are 10 checkpoints in total on the course, which is a lot more than most events. Two of them were self-clip CP’s, and the rest were a mixture of manned clip and refreshment/water stops, which were all staffed by friendly and helpful people, all giving their time to the event which raises funds for an air ambulance and mountain rescue team. They emailed after the event to say over £2000 was raised, which is a great achievement. The route from 4 to 11 miles was more or less flat; some on minor roads, and some on footpath and forestry tracks. Around mile 8 I started to feel a little unwell; my stomach. I knew I needed the toilet and it wasn’t going to be pleasant! I tried to ignore it, even more so because all of the CP’s were outdoors, so no actual toilets to be had. After the CP at mile 11, the next 5 miles of the course is steadily uphill. I felt a little better during this section, and continued to run it all. As I got to the top of the hill around mile 16 or 17, I started to feel unwell again, to the extent that I walked a couple of hundred yards as I went downhill! You know you are not right when you have to walk downhill! This was just the last couple of hundred yards before a checkpoint. I didn’t stop at any of the CP’s all day, just clipped in and left. I was fuelling myself on food and drink that I carried. I had opted to carry my 32l rucksack, the one that I will be using in the Atacama Crossing, but only carried about 3kg of weight. So I had some baby rice as food and some electrolyte, as well as waterproofs and the other recommended kit.

I took a couple of biscuits from the CP, and walked out for 2 minutes whilst I ate them. I started running again but a little slower, feeling pretty rough now. I seemed to keep overtaking the same group of people who definitely knew the course better than me. In fact I wasn’t navigating as such, I was just following various people in front who were reading from the route description. I could always keep one or two people in sigh to follow, which was useful. There was another climb after that CP and then what would have been a welcome descent through a forest. My stomach was killing me by now at around mile 19, and so I had no option but to head a ways off the course, duck behind a bush and attend to it. It wasn’t pleasant, I won’t go into details! 5 mins later and I rejoined the course, sucked down a lot of juice and ate the rest of my food. Would you believe it, half a mile later I felt fine. So, I had been putting going to the toilet off for 19 miles and suffering as a result, when I should have just bitten the bullet and gone early, and completed the course quicker. Still, you live and learn. The last few miles I completed much quicker. I wasn’t tired and followed a couple of people into the finish striding out nicely in the last mile or so, winding up towards the finish. There was food and drink at the end, but I had to get home as soon as possible to took the long walk back to the car (felt longer on the way back of course), and drove the 2 hours home.

The route was a fraction over 24 miles, with around 2400ft of ascent. I completed it in 4hrs 38 mins, which is 5.1 mph. I was happy with that time, but aware that if I had felt OK from the start I would have done quite a bit better. Still, it was a useful run, some quality miles running with my pack, albeit much lighter than the one I will carry in the desert in March. The event was very enjoyable, and well organised, as are pretty much all LDWA events I have taken part in.
This is now my recovery week, for more reasons than one, which I will tell you about in the next post!

Have a good week!

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