Wednesday, 10 April 2013

D33 Ultra

For the 4th consecutive year this was the 'opening' race of another 'Ultra' year. It made me wonder at what point do I consider myself as an Ultra Runner and cast off the label of Fun Runner. I run ultras for 'fun' so I guess I should compromise and tag myself a 'Fun Ultra Runner'. today I was one of just 12 D33 'ever presents' who started/finished in a field of around 260 (ish). If memory serves me right, the previous 3 years were run in relative warmth and sunshine. It was a bit different this year. Rain, wind, cold and mud was the order of the day. Since the turn of the year I hadn't set the heather on fire in terms of long training runs, up until the D33 my longest run had been in January with the 30 mile WHWR Training Run. Before and since that I had done a couple of around and just over 20 miles, but most have been in the high teens on my local trails. Although the cumulative mileage wasn't spectacular I was reasonably happy with how most gone. I won't bore you with race prep. The only issue I had was having to work until 8.30pm the night before, getting up in the early hours after only 3 hours sleep and then driving 3 and a bit hours to Aberdeen on Saturday morning. That's also including my 'detour' on the Aviemore bound A9 after taking the wrong road out of Perth. I tried and failed to rejuvinate myself with 2 MacDonalds coffee's outside Forfar and only really succeeded in filling my bladder to bursting point, resulting in an emergency stop to find a road side tree. Shortly after that I was passed by the Giblin bus, no doubt with Josephine and Dennis singing 'the wheels on the bus go round and round' to pacify Paul in the back. A quick flash from their hazzards and they were gone. Wonder how many speed cameras caught them as they were close to warp speed as the drove on. Strangely I arrived before them, weird.
Anyway......It was just going 7.30am when I arrived at a newly redeveloped Dutie Park. It was Cold and Cloudy. But the cheery welcome from George, Karen, John and co. made up for that. After getting my race number I wandered back up the hill to the Winter Gardens to use the toilet before the bog roll would inevitably run out. I apologise to the poor sod who used it after me. I began meeting my fellow loons, some who I hadn't seen for several months. To summarise, there had been illnesses, injuries, divorces and births. So as time passed I wandered back to my car to get organised and changed to run. I decided to ditch my long sleaved base layer and stick with t-shirt with arm warmers and a gilet, packing a windbreaking shell in my pack. I wore gloves right up until the finishing straight and only took them off to save looking like a right wuss. You'll notice the lack of photos. I carried my camera but didn't take any during the run as it was too cold to keep stopping to fanny around with it!
George did his race brief and after a few hello's we were off. I started at the back and gradually over the next few miles worked my way forward. My 'plan' had been to target a 5hr 30min finish. Things were going great and the first few miles were around 9 and a half min mile pace. However, soon I caught up with a group including Victoria Shanks, Iain Shanks, Dave Morrow and Ian Minty. I chatted with Dave for a bit and the Ian. The miles passed by and without realising it Ian and myself pulled away and were doing miles at sub 9 min pace, including as fast as 8.15 pace. I knew this was too fast with such a long distance to cover, but my brain was over ruled by my legs which were feeling good. So I kept the pace consistant more or less to the halfway point. I didn't stop at CP1, just paused to scream out my race number at John who had a throng of other runners all doing the same. About 1.5 miles from the halfway CP the leaders began passing on their return leg. I tried to say hello to as many as I could, if I missed you sorry!! I had 'let' Ian stretch out near to Crathie and he passed me on his return leg on the muddy rutty 200 metre section approaching the CP at halfway. I had a quick drink and a mouthful of Laurie's juicy flapjack.  I walked and ate out of the CP. When I reached Crathie again I felt the waves of fatigue suddenly hit me. For the next few miles I could hardly keep my eyes open and a number of runners flew past. Even the rain and cold wind couldn't snap me out of it. Plus because I wan't moving that quick the cold was making my leg muscles seize up. But I bashed on. I knew I wasn't on for a PB and hopefully I could avoid a PW. I walked a hill with Ada on the approach to the next CP, where I had water Irn Bru and cake.. I seemed to wake up a bit here and although not pretty I seemed to move better. I adopted a run/walk approach for the rest of the day. I got to the road crossing with 6 miles to go and got a warm hug from Auntie Sandra. Got a sweetie and was just about to grab more when I was 'man handled' away and pushed on my way!! The last 6 miles is the worst on this route as it's so straight with the end seeming ly never to come. Surprisingly I passed a couple of runners (probably not even in the race!!) on this last bit. I kept looking at my watch and got a fright when it suddenly appeared to be approaching 6 hours. My first reaction was 'Shit' and then i slowed to a walk. 'Bugger', I really didn'y want to be over 6 hours. So I started to run again, passed another couple and then got to the the two bridges and I knew it was just up ahead. Looked at my watch again, 'Oh crap', it was fast approaching 6 hours. 'Keep going you muppet'. Every few seconds I looked at my time. I was cold and knackered but pushed as I got back to Duthie. Saw the wee crowd, heard the cheer and threw all I had left into beating 6 hours. Saw Uncle George and crossed the line in 5.59.13
Found it tough today and was 25 minutes slower than last year. But a finish IS a finish. Another great unique medal by Annette and beer and cake at the finish. No sooner was I sooking on my beer then came the cry 'hide the booze, it's the Polis coming'. After stuffing my gob hole full of as much cake as it could hold I headed back to my car to change. Ladt year I stayed in Stonehaven and went to the 'aftermath' party. I planned the same this year. Drove down in Stonehaven, didn't stop, drove out the otherside and down the road. I just wanted my own bed tonight. I stopped at MacDonalds for a large meal with extra onion rings, lard and chips. Then a McFlurry and a second coffee. I deserved it!!
Not my best D33 but I guess im just out of Race day pacing. Well done to all my fellow runners who started and to those who finished. Thanks to George for another Epic day, he always looks calm and in control. And top marks to his team of happy and enthusiastic marshalls and volunteers for standing out on a crappy weather wise day. Johnny Fling had his work cut for him today at the CP's recording runners as they arrived shouting out numbers. And I probably wouldn't have just sneaked under 6 hours if it wasn't for Sandra pulling me away from the box of sweets and giving me my marching orders. Too many others to thank but you were all stars. So hopefully, all going well, I'll be back for my 5th next year
(Photos below were taken by Victoria Shanks, Unfortunately my 2010 medal was eaten!)
So thats the first one out the way. Next is the Anglo Celtic Plate Self Transcendance 50K............

1 comment:

  1. lol@manhandled, just looking out for oyu, didnt want you staying there for hours ;)