MORE MUD and now a stream! I couldn’t believe it, less than 20 minutes in to a long days running and the lower half of me looked like I’d jumped into a lake of chocolate… if only it was chocolate, ummm chocolate!
So, the day had finally come to compete in my first Ultra Marathon. And when I say ‘compete’ I mean more like ‘survive’ the 46 miles, mostly through very wet muddy fields. But it was a nice day for it, and Bristol was looking pretty in the sunshine.
The first 20 or so miles ticked by quite happily, with only one small map reading error to contend with. I was feeling good, and after cruising past the marathon point I realised that my running partner perhaps wasn’t in quite such good shape as me. With still a few miles left to run before the next check point, he was out of water and finding the going hard, and we were as far away from the start point as we could possibly be. As our pace slowed, and our target times vanished, mentally and physically the challenge changed for me to just getting us both around the course and back home safely.
Over the next few hours we made it through the final few check points, making sure we both took plenty of fluids and energy bars, and we plodded on to the end. And boy, was it a plod. As I dropped my pace below what was comfortable to keep me warm and moving easily, I started to stiffen up and tire more, and I was happy to see the finish.
Overall it was a great day, but it just didn’t quite go to plan. It had been great to spend the day with a running buddy doing what we both loved. The event itself was fantastic, and the spirit of everybody running was amazing – I’d not really encountered anything quite like it before. And I’m honestly looking forward to doing it again next year, even if my friends tell me ‘it’s probably not been one of my best ideas’.