Monday, 1 October 2012

Round and Round we go.

The Glenmore 24 hour Trail Race was an event I had been looking forward to just as much as the WHWR this year. I had never taken part in a race that involved running the same route over and over and over and over again, continuously for 24 hours. I had set myself an ambitious target of 100 miles and I had been confident of achieving this. I was on a high from having achieved so many event PB's so far this year. I felt indestructible, and probably a bit too cocky going into this event. Oh how things came crashing down!
When I entered I hadn't asked my parents to support as I felt after the WHWR one long day and night out was enough in one year for them. But they willingly volunteered and I was very grateful for this. They headed up to Aviemore on Friday to set up the 'Knoxy' base camp at the Hayfield for the event. I drove up on Saturday morning. I went for coffee and supplies in Aviemore and met Lorna and John coming out of Tesco looking a little worse for wear. It seems there had been a little bit of drinking on the Friday night at tent city.
I arrived at the Hayfield for 9.30am, which was full of every size of tent you can imagine and various campervans parked around the site.
I spent the next couple of hours organising my kit and meeting up with those I knew. I walked a wee bit of the route, round to the Lochside path to get a feel for the terrain I would be pounding for the next 24 hours.
Mike and Bill gave their race brief and then I had a few minutes for final prep. Thankfully the rain stayed away as it looked like it might threaten during parts of the event.

We gathered at the start, the clock was set and we were off. I didn't have a strategy in mind, but wanted to take it 'easy' for the first few hours.
(Photo taken from G24 Facebook Page)
Along with the 24 hour race, there was a 12 hour option which started at the same time. I ran the first 4 mile lap far too fast, getting into a faster than planned pace as I was running alongside a few people doing the 12 hour option and got 'swept up' as we ran along. When I got to the field at the end of it I knew I wouldn't last long at this pace so thought best slow down. However my first three laps were:
1. 36.29 (4 miles)
2. 37.34 (8 miles)
3. 37.34 (12 miles)
Too fast!
From then on my lap times got slower and slower and slower. After the third lap I had my first pit stop. After 12 miles I was feeling good and was on target to break 100 miles if I acted more sensible. I knew that I would have to control my pace more in order to last the 'distance', so of I could run laps at around 50 or so minutes with breaks every third lap (12 miles) I should have no problems. Laps 4 (42.52) and 5 (51.57) went well and I still felt comfortable. However on 6 (58.05) and 7 (59.45) I began to have problems with cramp. I kept telling myself that it's too early for this!! Laps 8 (1.01.48) and 9 (1.06.44) were even slower and I had to walk a few times and stretch out to try and shake off the cramp. I was getting very tired too, more from lack of sleep on friday than race fatigue, which was frustrating. At the end of lap 9 I had a few more minutes at the tent than previous stops and thought that longer breaks might help. Lap 10 (1.26.28) was 20 minutes longer than the previous and after an even longer break at the end of 10 I knew I was having serious problems.
I had covered just 40 miles in just under 9 hours on what is a fairly easy course, with the exception of the long drag of the hill after halfway. With a very long break I set off on number 11(2.40.35) and it was miserable. I walked most of it and had cramp for most of it. On the desent off the hill it suddenly became dark and I hadn't taken my headtorch at the start of the lap, so that didn't help me any either. I didn't feel I could eat much either which wasn't helping. I had toyed with the idea of chucking it after 44 miles in 11 hours 39 minutes. There were a few runers out of the event now, some in worse shape than me. So I decided that maybe getting some sleep and time off my feet might help.
I thought maybe 3 or 4 hours sleep and rest might help and hopefully I'll get my appetite back enough to get some proper food in me too. It turned out to be over 9 hours before I ran again!! I slept in my car and was out cold for around 8 hours, with the occassional trip to the bog. When I stopped after lap 11 I saw the 12 hour race finish and thought that I should probably have done that one. But I didn't plan on being this knackered this early on. So after some decent kip and a bacon sandwich and 2 cups of tea I was ready to do a few more hours running. I managed three more full laps which were all just either side of 50 minutes. If only I had got up off my arse earlier!! During the final few hours I was feeling pretty fresh and a bit guilty as I passed a few of those who had been running the full 24 hours and even managed to lap a few of them. After my last full lap I squeezed in 13 of the Hayfield laps too. So I fell short, way short, of my target of 100 miles. I only managed 62.62 miles by the end. Even though I had problems I really enjoyed this event and will be signing up for next year.
(Photo from G24 Facebook Page)
Although at the moment i'm not sure which of the 12 or 24 hour options I'll go for. With this having been a short course there was always someone to encourage you on, and I got plenty of that thoughout the day, night and day. It was great that all the 12 hour race runners had stayed to cheer the 24 guys on. Maybe the free beer had helped!! Well done to everyone who ran in both the 12 and 24 hour events. Well done to Ada for controlling the lap board and for all her abusive encouragement! At least us runners could go off and have a 'wee' rest.

 (2 Photos above from G24 Facebook Page)
Congratulations to all those who managed to get 100 or more miles during the 24 hour event, that was an amazing achievement. Well done to Mike and Bill for organising a truely unique weekend of running and were on hand to encourage us on. Thanks to all their marshalls at the hayfield and the halfway drinks station and to the girls who cooked the BBQ at the end.
Thanks to my parents again for being on hand to feed and water me and for being the voice of reason when the wheels were coming off, and for taking photos as I was too busy running or sleeping!!
My abiding memory of this event will be on my last big lap when I approached the halfway drinks station, which had been abandoned at this point, to find Ray McCurdy sitting with his feet up on the table with his cap pulled down over his eyes!! I don't know if I woke him up or if he was just have a 'moment'!! There were so many great moments during this event to outweigh the negative ones I had, so thanks everyone. There was great support from all the others running and their crews. Well done all!
All that excitement was a little too much for my dad!!

No comments:

Post a Comment