Friday, 22 August 2014

Day 11, Short and pretty

You know that you are in the swing of ultras,when you look forward to a day that is "only"49k, but certainly that was my mindset this morning.
A sleep in with lights on at 5:30 and a 7 start talk about luxury.
rather nippy but pleasant, running downhill through the the town. From then gentle uphill, I don't really do running uphill on the first half in multi day races but did run some just to stay around my normal people, we were starting at 420 metres and going to a bit over 800, but no really steep climbs.

First aid station at 13k really only topped water into the handheld of Tailwind mixture and a bit of fruit, I could see Jean-Pierre and Philippe just ahead they always run together and a steady pace usually early on just faster than me, so happy to just follow along, often losing them on the many twists.
Beautiful scenery reminded me of days in the Bavarian part of Deutschlandlauf, cattle, sheep, lakes.
Next aid station at 26k finally took off my gloves, sleeves and buff, picture perfect day.
From then on it was a case of knowing people were around simply because there were crew cars about,I occasionally got glimpses of the two in front but they appeared to be slipping away.
At the next aid station La Faux Mpuntaine we were cheered and called out by microphone, that inspired me a bit although accidentally put limonade instead of water into my Grenadines Sirop, silly mistake.
Just enjoyed the scenery to the last aid station on a massive lake and could see those two a few hundred metres ahead, really doubted I'd catch but there was much more downhill than I thought, to be honest would have been happy just to run in with them but just not a comfortable speed so pulled away, then the interminable vlimb into town and the finish line, admit I did look back a couple of times but breathless crossed the finish line 12th in 5:39. Time to rest tomorrow is much longer.

Day 10 Spitting across Limousin

Woke up with the chest feeling quite congested even yesterday didn't quite feel the cold was gone and a night in a very cold gym didnt help not a good sign.walk to the start and we were off, was glad to see Hiroko next to me moving better she'd had hamstring problems. Moving reasonably but spitting alot and lots of walking as much uphill, was very cool at the start and had Nike jacket for the first tim threw it and gloves off at first aid station, moving with some of yesterday's people so knew I was okay. Was getting warmer so at the next threw off the bugf and sleeves was getting into more like race mode but still hard work with much walking was now between Ya-Fen and Christine, Christine would almost catch me on the ups and I'd get away on the downs. After 40k I lost sight of Ya-Fen and until the 50k aid was worried she'd taken a wrong turn, after that it waz worry about what would happen near the finish line as apparently the Tour of Limousin bike race would close the roads, ultimately was allowed through and with alot of walking in the steep last K got in 14th place in 7:21 just happy the day was done and a hot shower

Day 9, tired and almost alone

Didn't really have a good nights sleep and woke tired for what would be a testing 69km. Early on had really no go in me and just wanted to plod on, thankfully after a while I had Hung-Chang in front of me and that pushed me on a little, finally catching him on a downhill,knew there were two other runners around as I kept seeing their crew, I guess spurred me on. If I'm honest really didn't have any race kick in me today so was a little shockec with a mile or so to go saw the second lady Ya-Fen just in fron only problem most of that last section is uphill so I passed her then walked and then run again so happy to reach the top 13th in 8:14 by memory. Beer, an apricot and Mars bar such a great way to end. Downside k walk to the hall and showers with tepid water and squat toilets in a separate building I was beyond caring just wanted ti lie down

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Day 8 that's better

Woke this morning and thankfully the back was fine,definitely back to the Asics Ds Trainers though, looked a lovely fay and was running nicely.
No idea whether Chattelerault is really a big town but hitting it 26k in was a massive shock to the system like Cbd in peak hour, so happy to get out of there. From then
on started picking up and feeling great as the weather warmed up. 5k to go only a splash'n'dash at the last aid station rather than my usual picnic as the youngest runner 20 year old Angel, already a Spartathlon and finisher here was right behind me. So essentially a 5k sprint he's got plenty of years left to beat me.
Finished in 6:54 dead for the 63k, very happy but of course tomorrow is another day! 4

Day 7 good for a long way then!!!

👋I'd thought long and hard over the night and with my smallest left toe rather sore decided being a short day I didn't have much to risk if I wore the slightly wider Hokas.
Beautiful countryside all vineyards and sunflowers and I was going nicely until the 41k mark at Loudon (swear it must be French for London as wet and miserable as soon as I got there !).
Anyway out of the fields and a steady drizzle on a relatively busy road and at 45k felt my back go, took it very gently onwards thankfully only around another 14k, certainly worrying, and I've had similar issues with the Hokas prior so they are going back in the "desperation box" 6:45 thankfully heaps of time to rest before the mayoral reception and seemingly local delicacy "pork cheeks"

Monday, 18 August 2014

Day 6 Short but fairly sweet

With this day only 53k wasn't really sure how to handle it, made stranger by the fact we had a k walk to the start for the real start and photos at the Chateau I once remember as the old finish line, at least gave me a chance to hear some new tales from Don Winkley.
Then we were off, lovely foggy morning with 3 beautiful bridges crossing the Loire, France's longest river. Then some climbs, many vineyards either side of the road and very pretty.
Once the fog burnt off it was getting warm and probably left it a little late to get my gloves, buff and sleeves off at 39k had suffered a little between aid stations to be honest, needed more fluid. Was now on the chase could see 5 runners in front but a group of 4 ran strong and i couldn't pick up, with a mile to go realised two were crew pacing their runners so I dug that bit deeper as we climbed into the town and round the bend ended up tenth in 5:44, took alot out that final sprint but all good, two smallest toes on left foot a little messy but I'm used to that as foot being smaller they really dont go into toe box, early finish means more time to rest though

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Day 5 gives me confidence

good nights sleep and then one of those awkward distances 71k, we started with the news our race leader had dropped out with a cold (I think) so down to 44 now.
Lovely morning and through off the gloves and buff at 30k, funny enough ran the perfect pace with Hiroko from 10 to 50k, I'd work the downhills and she'd pass me as I walked the ups, got quite warm but my true mongrel came out as I passed a couple of runners, lovely day beautiful scenery, 6th place in 7:46?, getting somewhere but only think the next day or it comes back and bites you

Day 4 more like it

Next day was 67 to Chateaubriant always a nice day and with a public holiday thankfully quieter roads, first 10k on the rail trail/bike path that I'd really grown to dislike for 19k the day before but running in a group made it better.
Nice start but still disheartening when the later start group pass before 30k. Was getting the feel for it by the end and passed quite a few including one of my heroes "Queen pf the Stage Race" Hiroko Okiyama in the last mile, in the end just wanted to be the rain again 11th in 7:46? Creeping up

Day 3 ups and downs

strange day, 75k on day 3 is always intimidating but it usually suits me (was second this stage in 2006). The cold had definitely improved and went out a better pace, all was good for 45k but I forget the mood swings you get (or at least I do) on this sort of race was
was not a happy vamper until 60k when started chasing down the girl in front. Also wanted to neat the rain with dark clouds ahead. Ended up9:06 a faster pace than ptevious days, overall good bar that dark patch

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Day 2 64k

Was feeling match better after a great nights sleep and felt more with it, prepared for cold this time wearing gloves buff, and arm sleeves first 40k actually did a bit of racing but still coughed and spluttering at times. Another day with a mixture of sun and rain and cool. Ran just behind group off 3 for last ten k and again stupidly went up a gear near the end. 7:45? And just in the top 20 I think more content but hard to know what tomorrows long day brings. Now rime for rest.

Day 1 68k

I admit day 1 is never my favourite, late start as we have stuff with the mayor and bit of a reception however I understand we need it but I'd be so happier if we just went out and ran. Had no idea how advanced my cold was but definitely full of phlegm, just hoped I'd get rid of it the further I ran. No highlights bar for finally stupidly sprinting with 6k to go, trying to get rid of the two who had been in front of me for a long times, did that successfully but definitely regretted in the last K, ended up 7:49 just outside top 30 it would do