GRIM REAPER ULTRA MARATHON 2013

Date: 2nd – 3rd August
Location: Grimsthorpe Castle Estate  Lincolnshire
Distance: 100 miles
Terrain: 50% tarmac, 15% Grass trail, 35% limestone trail
Navigation: marked course
Weather: Sunny 31deg
Time Limit: 26hrs

I have done this race before and was really looking forward to competing in it again.
The run up to this event was quite eventful, about  7 days before the race I when to the Serpentine Lido to do a swim session and then a light run session, I finished the swim and was getting changed ready for my run and I noticed the bottom on my running shoes were falling apart.(Inov8 X-Talon 1212)..I thought that’s weird as I have only done about 250 miles in them since I got them in late April..(shoes should last about 500 miles).
I rang the company I got them from straight away and they said to send them back…
So…I have no running shoes for a race in 7 days time….GREAT

(Rule….always have a least two pairs of running shoes).

So the hunt began for a new pair (6 days before race)…I remember meeting a girl calling Sharon at UTPD (Ultra Tour Of The Peak District) saying that she worked in a shop called “Runners Needs” in Canary Wharf…so one day after work I headed there…She sorted me out with a nice pair of Addidas Adizero XT..really comfortable…and quite minimal too.THANKS SHARON

So one pair got one pair to go, Another evening after work (5 days before race) I head to another Runners Needs in search for a second pair of shoes…but this time with more cushioning, I headed to one near liverpool street as they had a pair of shoes that I was keen to try..I tried them on and they were really nice..and comfortable, so I got them…once I got home I thought I would have a little run in them when I get to work In the corridors ..they felt rather strange on the bridge of my foot and began to ache..so I thought I better get refund and look for another pair..
So refund sorted the next day and I headed to another shop, in the city Called “London City Runner”. a rather small shop hiding in the financial district. I got there and was severed by the owner who was really helpful and suggested a pair of Mizuno trail shoes (can’t remember what type)..they felt really nice a comfortable..so I got them…did the same thing as before..when running in the corridors…and guess what….the same problem….so back I went the next day…and switched them for a pair of Inov8 Roclite 295..this was a safe bet as the last pair of shoes I had were Inov8 and I though I wasn’t going to get time to break them in so I better go for a make that I had used before…..

SO SHOES SORTED

So as My last race before this was only 20 day ago..I was taking it easy on the run up to this race with only a few training sessions…I chose to only do two of them because the last race took a lot out of me..the sessions I did were 1 X 10 mile run broken up into 2 x 5 miles and one 3 mile easy run.

A few days before heading up to Lincolnshire I went through my race kit and my nutrition…there’s a lot to things to think about with regards to clothing and food…what to take what not to take..the issue with the way I travel is that I can’t always take exactly what I want.. because I travel by train…so my bag does weigh rather a lot, so I try and get there early the day before the race…as to rest as much as possible.

With my bags sorted and packed checked and double checked I get the bus to Kings Cross Station and get the train to Peterbourgh as that is the nearest station to the Castle…When I arrive there I head to the bus station to get a bus to Bourne which is about 6 miles away from the castle…then head to Sainsburys to buy some water in 500ml bottles, some bananas and some cereal for race morning breakfast…So with all that done I rang for a taxi as no buses go to Grimsthorpe.
Got to the B&B The Black Horse Inn which is only about 100 meters for the entrance to the castle grounds.
The Black horse was owned by new people whom my booking had been passed on too..you see I booked the room in September last year as I wanted to be as close to the castle as possible and this was the only B&B within 6 miles of it.
So after checking in I went to my room and started to sort my things out into piles (shorts, vests, socks, nutrition, plasters etc, shoes)
I also started to make my bagels for the race (blueberry bagels with vegan cream cheese, Vegemite, peanut butter and turmeric) yummy. I put them in the B&B’s main kitchen fridge which was nice of them..and would collect them in the morning..arranged all my nutrition and started to make up mini drop bags for each lap..( a mini sandwich bag filled which 2 Cliff gels chocolate flavor , 1 Zipvit caffeine gel Blackberry or cherry cola (only in 5 of them), 1 banana, 1 coconut and banana smoothie.
I also had arrange 18 X 500ml bottle’s of still water ready for flavored hydration tablets to be added too in the morning.
So with all that done I took a shower and then headed down to have my dinner which had been pre cooked in advance by the chef..the reason for this is that the B&B were not actually open until Friday but because I had had booked way in advance with old owners it was ok..
So I heated up my dinner and sat in the bar and chatted to Liam the son of the new owner…A really nice guy from Crieff in Scotland..
After that I headed to my room for an early night..

So race morning and as per usual I couldn’t sleep..I woke up at 1:30am and managed to get back to sleep and then again at 5am…but couldn’t get back to sleep that time..So up I get and started to sort out my fluids by putting hydration tablet in my drinks bottles all in order to be as quick as possible when I go to fill up my water bottle on each lap…
With that all sorted I head down to have my breakfast on Granola, bananas and honey with blueberries…..POWER FOOD !!!!!! after that I collect my bagels from the fridge and head back upstairs to pack my things ready to head to the castle ground…

With my heavy rucksack and 2 big bags of nutrition I headed to the castle entrance and within 5 mins I’m there…which is just as well as the bags were really heavy..
I was meet by Jane Benson and former fellow competitor of the event and she very kindly offered to take some of my bags..to the camping area….THANKS JANE..

The camping area is just in front of the castle itself.
I made my way over to the registration marquee and said hi to Keith who was organising the event, got My race number and dibber (I’ll explain later) and made my way to an area just behind the marquee and also close to the turn around point which will help cut time off during the race.
I put up my tent and arranged all of my nutrition and clothing ready for what weather may come our way…You never know with the british weather..
So with all the done I did my final preparation and taped up my right foot as it sometimes cause some pain on the ball of my foot during races..

My kit for the race was 1 pair of Inov8 Roclite 295, pair of race socks, 2XU compression shorts, Bloc sunglasses and a basic race vest with of course the bustinyourballs.org logo on it, Ultimate direction SJ ultra vest with 2 X 500ml bottles.

At 8:30 we had a race briefing where the dibing timing system was explained. I had used this timing system in the Ultra Tour Of The Peak District so I knew it well…It’s simple, you were given a plastic key and there were 4 points on the course where you had to touch your key to a hole and listen for a beep as soon as you heard it you carried on, the points were out on the course itself about 5 miles in i think and about 8 miles in and the other two were just as you approached the marquee and the other was as you left  it..(you had to go around the marquee to reach it) so this is why my tent was where it was as it was just 5 meters away from the turnaround.

At 9:25 we all head to the start with was just in front of the castle and heading towards the lake..and at 9:30 we were off…
I started at a good steady pace which was about 9-10 min/miles and kept this going throughout the first few laps, I planned to run all of the uphill sections on the first 3 laps to see how it went, my aim was to complete the first 50 miles within 9hrs by setting a min/mile pace of no slower that 10 min/miles I was going at a good pace and happy with it, at the end of each lap i would go into my tent and refill my water bottles (you see why I bought 500ml water bottle as they are the exact amount that fitted into my race bottles) and I grabbed a mini drop bag and was off.
The weather was amazing…!!! it was so hot with some wind…and when you felt it it was SO nice, the temp must have been around 32-33 deg.
During the first 4 laps I had no problems what so ever, on the 5th lap my right foot started to cause some trouble, I’ve been having so issues with the ball of the foot on that side for a while but only during really long runs of over 40 – 50 miles.
So my time on the 5th lap wasn’t that great so I completed the first 50 miles in 09:21:30 which was a bit off what I was hoping for.
Things started to go a bit slower  after mile 50 cause my foot was being a pain..I though it was time to change my socks..which I was told not to do by my coach unless they are really bugging you, which in this case I thinks was OK.
I decided to see the first aiders at the end of lap 6 and decide to change my socks
as the pain was pretty bad now, the first aiders were two very lovely laddies called Gill and Helen from the Red Cross and they got my foot sorted THANK YOU LADDIES.
So off I go on the slightly better right foot but with a bit of time to make up..
During the race there was only 1 water station and that was at the main marquee which was tough as the weather was so hot…I decided by lap 4 to take an extra bottle with me and fill up on the course so as not to dehydrate.
Food intake for the race was going ok and I was using the full contents of each drop bag apart from the bagel as they were really hard to chew and quite dry.
So I decided at the start of  lap 7 where my foot was really hurting me and I was having to power walk and run some, I decided to take a big 2 litre bottle of water and bagel and try really hard to eat them…It worked and within a mile of the 7th loop the water and the bagels were gone.
This was good news as I was really worried about my hydration after the Peak District race.
The last 3 laps were shared by power walking and running as not to irritate my foot to much.
The hydration was going really well and I managed to run for the majority of the last 2 laps but not fast at a pace…the only issue apart from my foot is that I was starting to nod off and fall asleep, this had never happened to me before as last year I was doing 15 hour work days and then running 10 miles home but this year I’m working less hours per day so my sleep depravation is not as good. So I had my first coffee in almost  3 years at mile 70 and it was a strong one too !!
The night section was a lot better than last year as I had a really good head torch this time (Petzl MYO RXP) it was really bright and I had no problems at all during that stage..
As the last lap approach I was still feeling good and the foot was behaving itself, so the last lap is always a good thing….during that lap…I thought about the whole race and what I had learnt I was overall really happy with the way I had preformed especially that my last big race (my hardest ever)was not that long ago..
So the finish line approached and I was very happy to see it, Keith was the first person to congratulate me and said “Bloody well done mate, you definitely saw off last years demons didn’t you ?”…..YES I BLOODY DID
As I sat down to talk to the some other competitors in the main marquee I was told my Rita a fellow competitor that I had come 3rd in the 100 miles…..OH MY GOD..I could not believe it..I was so happy. I thought what would have happened if my foot was fine and didn’t play up…Well

I must say I really love this event..It’s really well organised  and full of really good spirited people

But you wait until next year Mr Grim Reaper…I will be back..and this time I’m going for sub 20hrs…

As you may or may not know I do these events to raise awareness for this website and funds for CTRT, If you would like to donated to them please follow this LINK and all the details are there

Below you will fined my lap times

1st   01:32:46 01:32:46
2nd  01:39:43  03:13:09
3rd  01:44:18  04:59:00
4th  02:03:48  07:06:54
5th  02:08:38  09:21:30
6th  02:07:49  11:33:34
7th  02:52:51  14:38:38
8th  02:33:01  17:36:15
9th  02:29:05  20:09:01
10th  02:22:50  22:33:20

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