5th out of 102 finishers
The theme for today was JR Tolkein and there were a few had turned out in fancy dress (not as many as normal). This included a Frodo who did his last lap in bare feet (over gravel and everything). Well over 100 took part. I suspect a lot were there only because the medal was super awesome.
I had really pushed myself on two quite hilly courses the previous 2 weekends (both sub 4) and I totally underestimated how shredded my legs were. Right from the get go I was struggling and after 2 laps I knew this was going to be a long day as I was already under pressure. Given I was attempting 3 marathons and an ultra this week I decided early that I was not going to put myself under any more pressure than I needed. This was going to be the Ultra attempt which didn't need anything special in terms of pace.
I ran lap 1 with Lee who commented that it already was a lot warmer than predicted and he headed off after lap 1 to change. It was very humid and there was a lot of sweating going on. I knew every inch of this route and there were lots of flashbacks to the 100 miler. In particular I thought that if I had felt this knackered so early on in the 100 miler I would not have finished. Fortunately for me everyone else seemed to be struggling today too. The first surprise was Tracey who normally is as solid as a rock in 3:45ish bowed out early. She cajoled herself by saying she wasn't chasing numbers and didn't have it today. I joked to her I would try for an ultra (that was a mistake).
Half came and went in 2:17, well down on previous runs but it was now hot and humid and concrete. I started to walk a bit more than usual and my lap times went up and up. At 17.5 miles Enda came past. He told me earlier he was pacing 5hrs but that he would probably go ultra today. He probably was close enough to 5hrs in the end but didn't go out again. I had started to take on a lot of water at the aid station. I missed the fudge and fruit and usual selection of cakes today and in general the aid station wasn't up to its normal extraordinary variety. I think is more a reflection as to how spoiled I am than anything lacking but as usual the encouragement every time I passed it was super. I'm sure the bakers and fudge makers will be back again soon.
Lap 5 and 6 were not enjoyable at all with a mixture of heat, humidity, walking and a little slow running. Garry and Philip also seemed to be struggling bad today and surprisingly were not catching me. As I came up to the marathon finish in 5hrs odd I was 50/50 about stopping but seeing Enda flaked out on the grass made me decide to go on. I had noticed about 4 or 5 others that had gone ultra and I had plenty of time so off I went on lap 8. Surprisingly I felt a little better on this lap and managed to run most of it (I giggled at Frodo who had taken off his shoes for his 7th lap and was gingerly making his way over the gravel). As I came to the end I was super surprised to see Gary go out on his lap 8. I felt that was brave. I finished and actually felt OK. I picked up my fantastic JR Tolkein themed medal and goodie bag and a lovely chat to skinny Gemma and Maryanne who is coming up to her 100th soon. Over all I had a rubbish run but that was the last few weeks catching up on me. Well done to Traviss and Rachel and the volunteers who make for such a good atmosphere.
Strava stats for today