Date: 2nd May 2015
Location Thames Path
Navigation: Fully marked course by organisers and Thames path signs
Distance: 100 miles
Time Limit: 28hrs
Well this was the second time I have competed in this event, I did it year see race report here
I was not best pleased with my performance last year and so I wanted to come back to prove to myself that I could do a lot better.
To me this was my first big race of the year, I have competed In two others but this is the first 100 miler so it is a “A race” for sure.
The preparation Since my last event has been good, just tapering and getting my head strong and into the zone for this race.
The Thames Path is a race that a lot of people under estimate I think, it is pretty much a flat course but there are a few parts beyond 50 miles that can catch you out, also the surface is all very dependent on the weather which can make it hard to run on, with some of the paths very narrow where you have to concentrate fully and not drift off and being a flat-ish course you have to think about your walking breaks where as on a hilly course you tent to walk the uphills, a lot of people tend to go off too fast & this then catches them up later on.
Well as the race started in Richmond I just had to get a train the morning of the race which is perfect, so I arrived with plenty of time to spare and was greeted by Gemma “WR women’s 50km treadmill” Carter and we chatted for a bit and then she was given the evil eye by Nici Griffin to get back to her volunteering role, “sorry Nici & and sorry Gemma if I got you in trouble. ha ha.
So with mandatory kit check done, the waiver signed and the number handed over it was time to do my last bits of prep and just chill and chat to the other runners that I knew through Facebook and other races.
My coach Mimi Anderson was also competing in this race and this was the first time where we would be running in the same event, it is all very marvelous, making this race even more special.
So with the race briefing done by the Wonderfull race director James Elson.
IT WAS TIME
10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 and we’re off
My rule of thumb in these races is to not go off too fast and take the first 20 miles nice and easy, so I set my watch to show only the min/miles as not to go too quick in the beginning and then pay hard for it later on, my aim was to keep to around 9 m/m for the first section (25miles) and then take it from there, however in the first 10 or so miles I had to go to the loo (number 1) about 8 or 9 times which is odd as this has never happened in a race, after 10 miles I was feeling ok and good until around 26 miles where I was sick and then up until mile 34 I was sick another 4 times.
Some people say that you feel better after your sick but unfortunately that’s was not the case for me, so after mile 34 things seemed to have settled down a bit so that allowed me to get some good miles in and thinking that I just needed to get to Henley which is just past the half way point and is where my races normally get better and I become stronger, this is why I have been working really hard to improve my speed work over the winter, so that the first half of the race goes well , as you see in all my races last year the first half didn’t go too well at all, so I was hoping with all the winter miles both halves would work together and I would have the perfect race…mmm this was not it..
So I managed to get to Henley where I met quite a few runners I knew, I only spent 5-8 mins there and I was out, there are certain parts of the course where you can have drop bags containing what ever you think you may need at that point of the race, they are at mile 52 and at mile 75, I chose not to have any and carried everything with me including some food, the reason for this was my next 2 races are unsupported and you have to carry quite a bit of weight and I thought it would be more sensible to trial this in a race situation rather than in a training one, as the time you carry the weight on your back is crucial,my pack weighed about 4kg, that’s about 3kg more than I have raced with before.
About 4 or so miles after I left Henley, I phoned a very good friend of mine Dede Nazareth, this ended up being the perfect person to call and worked as great mid race motivation, after our wonderful chat I was ready to face the night demons head on!!
At this time I noticed my Mum had been texting me since mile 26 letting me know how I was doing.
This was a real surprise as I normally have my phone off during races due to all the messages I receive draining the battery,but this was a rare occasion and the first time during any race I have called anyone.
So I was in the zone and this was about 8pm, this part of the race is hard for many runners I have spoken to before as you can get quite lonely out there on your own, I personally love it, apart from the light of your head torch it’s completely dark but in the distance behind and In front of you there are flickers of other head torches, it’s really quite a cool and exciting part of the race, my stomach seemed to be ok, although I was trying really hard to burp and was feeling gassy like you do when you drink fizzy drinks or lots of water, but nothing happened..ahhhhh, this went on…for…well you will find out soon enough. HA HA
So with my tummy playing tricks and me knowing that this was my strongest section of the race, it was going to be a fun 2nd half..that’s for sure.
The weather started off really nice and overcast with a nice gentle wind and pretty much stayed like this until the night section when the rain started to fall, this always makes it more fun and you really see what people are made of when the weather turns sour, some people can’t stand it and quit, others relish the challenge and use it to their advantage, I am so in the latter, I LOVE CHALLENGES.
So as it turned dark I was still pretty warm, I was happy with my pace and my mind was in a good place, there was nothing that was going to stop me getting that sub 24hr buckle.
My nutrition for this race for pretty simple, I carried a few bits of food with me like a number of gels, coconut bars and homemade burritos that I kept in my race pack and when I got to the aid stations I used a sandwich bag to take a few extra things.
I tend to eat and drink little and often which has worked really well in most of my other races.
After mile 70 I couldn’t eat or drink anything however hard I tried and when I tried to run my stomach wasn’t helping at all, I just felt like I was going to be sick all the way to the finish, So with this happening I knew I was going to have to pretty much power walk the last 35 miles, “35 miles ?” I hear you say, your at mile 70 ?, Well you see I went off course twice earlier on and when I did I didn’t remember that part from last year so I turned back, some others were ahead and also going in the wrong direction and I hallowed to let them know…(all those times I watched Crocodile Dundee have paid off). So having run an additional 5 miles I was still ok for a good time I think, I have been doing a lot of power walking in training, you do get some funny looks though but this is were is pays off and you can actually move faster than some people are running.
In lasts year race It all fell apart in the last 50 miles and the last 2 or so were just crazy,
From last years race report.
Got to checkpoint at 95 miles and was feeling so so dizzy and could not speak properly and the tip of my tongue was tingling by this point I just drenched myself in water to cool off, I ended up walking the last 5 miles so so slowly and had to sit down a few times as I was so lightheaded, A lady that was running on the path just past the 95 mile checkpoint saw me sitting down and started chatting to me asking if I was ok and she said that there was only about 2 1/2 miles left until the finish, I was so out of it by this point and seeing stars…Not a good thing, she started walking with me and asking if I was OK for fluid, Took my drink bottle and ran ahead to the lock and brought me back some more water…How nice is that, She said that she was in awe and today my have inspired her to compete in an ultramarathon one day .
I want to say a big thank you to her,Thank you Emma Carter and to Matt as well for walking some of the way with me too.
So before the race we had made a deal that I would let Emma know when I was around 8 miles or so from the finish, she would then come and meet me at roughly the same point where she found me last year and we would run the last section together.
So I texted her at around 88 miles and got to around 3 miles or so from the finish and saw her running towards me…YIIIPPPPEEEE it was so nice to see her again and I was pleased to be in a lot better state than I was last year, So we chatted for the last section and then she let me run down the finishing shoot alone…THANK YOU AGAIN EMMA X
WOW WOW WOW what a race and a very challenging one too
I really want to thank all of the volunteers that give up their time to ensure that the event ran smoothy…YOU GUYS/GIRLS ROCK…and of course the wonderful and very cheeky Nici Giffin and her amazing hugs
Distance covered taking into account the wrong turns: 105.5 miles
Last years time: 26:22:35
This years time: 22:20:37
Last years placing: 125
This years placing: 49
This year runners started: 265
This year runners finished: 182
This year runners dropped: 82
Very help with the result considering the issues during the race plus I have been beat my previous 100 miler PB by just over 13 minutes.
Please don’t forget that the reason why i compete in these event is for a number of reasons.
- To raise awareness for testicular cancer
- To raise awareness for it’s early detection
- To inspire all cancer patients that there is light at the end of the tunnel
- To inspire people to get into sport and to start to be more active
TOO SEE ALL THE OTHER RACES I HAVE COMPETED IN CLICK HERE