We woke up at ugly o’clock again to start our Race to Stones adventure. However, on the way, we needed to make an emergency stop at the services… little did we know, this was going to be the theme for the weekend!!
We exited the car with much trepidation, what have we signed up for?! Quickly followed by looks to the others on whom we could pin blame on why we were on this mad adventure, again!!
We suited up and headed to the toilets to relieve some of that pre-race nerves.
At 9am, Wave G was called up and the MC had us moving our limbs to Kings of Leon. We nervously walked closer to the start line and counted down with the other racegoers. 3-2-1 and we’re off!!
What stuck with us was how well manned each pit stop was. The team offered to fill your water up, make your drinks. It was unbelievable how supportive they all were. Such a breath of fresh air. The array of snacks at all the pit stops that were on offer was something we’ve never seen before in all the races we have run.
I recently bought a new pair of Vibram Fivefinger Trek Ascent. This was the first time I would be using them in an actual race. Prior to this, I had only used them when we did the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge which was 2 weeks beforehand. I trusted them though. I knew Fivefingers work for me during the normal OCR season, so this shouldn’t be any different. I was right. At no point did my feet hurt to point they needed taping up. My little toe was a bit sore at the end, but no blisters or anything of the sort. Hoorah!!
I physically felt good. Pablo and I had put a lot of mileage in, so I trusted my ability to run and/or walk as much of it as possible. It was my tummy that was troubling me. Something I never factored in, (as touch wood), it was a rarity that I would get ill. Having a child means there is no time for you to be sick, but this was one of those “rare occasions”.
At each and every pit stop when it came to eating something small, crisps or biscuits, my belly would double over and I had to visit the toilet!! This carried on at every pit stop.
Whilst Tailwind and water seemed to keep me going, I needed something more, but I couldn’t stomach anything.
Running up to the 50km marker and knowing Basecamp was at the top of the hill, we made the decision to not carry on past Basecamp.
Pablo and I had done a lot of running and followed the long runs set out in the Race to Stones training plan. It was such a shame that we couldn’t see it to the end.
Looking back, I know this was the right decision, but I’m left with that feeling of what if. What if I carried on going, would I have been able to finish it? I don’t hold many regrets in my life, this for sure wasn’t one of them.
Any doubt that I have left will be quashed with the next ultra I take on before Worlds Toughest Mudder. I want to head into Worlds knowing I can run the distance I’ve set in my head and feel confident that I did everything I could to get there!!
Yay, it’s 03:00 Saturday morning let’s get up an do awesome stuff and what an awesome event Race to the Stones is. It’s so very well organised, the guys staffing the pit stops were awesome, helping in any way they could and the slices of pineapple, watermelon and sweets were well received and if you needed foot care you’d be in luck. The views, that I saw were picturesque. I say “that I saw” because, after Pit Stop 2, I was just looking at the floor, concentrating on just putting one foot in front of the other. You can see from my face in the picture above, I was not a pretty sight. Hot and thoroughly dehydrated, I’m sure I was taking on adequate fluids both Tailwind and plain water but it sucked. The dose of Montezuma’s revenge I had in the preceding week was probably a contributing factor, either way, it was tough. But well worth a crack if you fancy a really long jog in the beautiful English countryside.
When we left the start line I was nervous about the distance, this being my first 100K. If you’ve read this far I need not say, I still haven’t completed a 100K race. To me, 50K and no injuries other than one blister, 4 months out for WTM 2018 is an ok effort. I have to admit 500m on from where this picture is taken, I was thinking 100K races are not for me. But now my legs are feeling ok again. I’m not planning on letting this distance beat me. I will be back and given the opportunity I would have another go, so RTTS2019 maybe on the cards…
Be good, if you cant be, good be, sensational!
The day started with the usual lack of sleep as due to some logistical challenges we had to overcome, so as usual for us now it seems the alarm went off at 3am and I started to prepare for the day. As I am sure you are all aware from reading this post already for some reason illness was the theme of this entire day, and after two visits to the toilet and forcing down some breakfast/coffee we were en route.
Arriving at the event the heat was already coming in and it was a lovely day to be honest. I visited the toilet again, rejigged the bag loaded it on my back and headed to the start line next thing I knew we were off.
We had a plan in terms of running and speeds etc, etc but in the heat of the moment it didn’t really enter my mind the first 4 miles went down at a fast pace but hell did they hurt me and let me know how this day was going to go. My chest was burning with acid reflux and heartburn and my stomach felt like I had a bag of rocks weighing me down and moving in all sorts of directions not a great start but with the support of the guys, I kept going.
This was pretty much the tone for the whole race for me fighting on and just getting on with it, because of this I don’t think I could truly take in the views or atmosphere as much as a more positive-minded Tom may have. The race, in general, felt slow with all of us fighting illness, the heat, tough terrain as well as at points the course leading into bottlenecks where you could only go single file for a long long time. But upon looking at the split times on the Garmin when we got back we were actually putting up some good numbers, numbers suggesting we would have been well on track to finish in our target time.
With each fantastically run Pit stop came the growing realization that this wasn’t my day and when talk of stopping at 50km began to circulate I was more than happy to make that the new target. I have no doubt in my mind at all that the whole team could have completed the whole race, it wouldn’t have been pretty but we would have gutted it out and got it done but with all the circumstances I think sometimes you have to make the sensible decision and on this occasion that was to stop at the already great achievement of 50km.
Although I don’t think these types of events are me, I do have to say that the event was fantastically run and the staff were at all points AMAZING, I really can’t stress enough how good I thought the pit stop supplies and staff were. We ended the day with another stupidly late car journey with some tired limbs and sore stomachs but as always on to the next one.
I would like to complete the distance in the future or at least do another 50km at a faster pace with no big bag like I had this time but at the moment for me something just isn’t right, I feel in the worse shape I have been in for a long time and I am struggling to get my head in the game, I need to change this and get back into it all and love it again.
As this was only my 4th run since May, the others consisting of Europe’s Toughest Mudder and a double weekend at Tough Mudder London North the weekend before, I didn’t really know what to expect.
All I knew that I caught something nasty and was pretty ill for the entire week before, no food was sitting well and sickness was coming in fast. I’m not sure if it’s because I was ill but I could not sleep the night before due to the nerves and I never struggle sleeping (think at least 10 hours a night if possible).
lack of sleep, lack of training, lack of a functioning body due to an illness meant that my first Ultra wasn’t going to be pretty and it certainly wasn’t from my part. The heat only added to this. Without being a negative Nigel I had a really hard time enjoying this race at times. After hitting around 35k I was dehydrated, in a lot of pain with my stomach and dry retching I knew I wouldn’t be completing the 100k but I didn’t want to leave without completing an Ultra, so 50K was my new target.
I got there in the end, it was long and hard and to be honest I think this race was the turning point for me. Unless I man up and actually train for events, I don’t think I want to do any long distance races for a while. For now at least (apart from WTM in Atlanta in November, of course).
With this been said, I think concurring the 50K with the team was such a memorable experience, the good and the bad, we always make it through together and I couldn’t have done it without them!