Saturday, August 02, 2014

Day 03: Race to the Stones 2014

The big race!

Today we jump back to the events of Saturday July 19th 2014 as Marcus and Agata attempt to run the

Race to the Stones 2014

We have been planning this for a while and as per most of our holidays we always aim to put in a race at the beginning, then spend the remainder of our time relaxing, well, relatively speaking.

The important objectives are

  • Complete the race well
  • Don't injure ourselves as you have lots of walking, and exploring todo on the remainder of our holiday!

Arrival Chinnor
We boarded a coach at 05.00 at Avebury and as expected it arrived to the race start about 06.30.  We did not sleep so much because we were so excited!

Weather Forecast
We had studied the weather forecast for the full week previous.  Disaster.  On the pre and post race days it would be nudging 25 degrees plus C and dry.  But on race day torrential rain.

Consequences?  We took a heavier (150 gram) waterproof jacket with integrated hood.  So when it rains you don't get water streaming down your neck.  And, we prepared to run in the rain for over 12 hours!

The race started a few minutes late, but hey, we have some time!

Initially Agata and Marcus ran together but before the first refreshment stop (10Km) Marcus went off.  Already it was damp and raining just slightly, overall though a lot drier than we expected.

As usual there were hoards of people in front of us since it was a one time, non staged start, making overtaking difficult.

Quite early one we ran thru a poppy field.  It was rather beautiful but this visual was offset by the muddy ground that kept attaching itself to our running shoes.

After the first field Marcus looked down and he had gained a few centimeres of height as his shoes now carried a heavy muddy slipper.  Like most runners, you have to keep stopping to remove this deadweight!

Marcus's reports >>>

I did not stop before 31Km since I had plenty of onboard fluids and food.   I did notice that my speed was /too fast/ certainly above 12Km/h in some places as shown via Mr tom-tom watch.  Must keep to speed!

By KM38 I had lightened the rucksack as much as possible.  I jettisoned by Sunglasses, my soaking wet gloves and gave my Buff to a spectator.  Although the majority weight is still of course the 1 litre of carbo drink that I am carrying!  Feeling good and strong, weather still NOT torrentially raining just drizzling.

The halfway point!  Still very happy, and I slowed the pace down.  Had some nice chats with fellow runners since I keep meeting the same people at stops.  Had a nice cup of hot tea, wonderfully refreshing.   Full pasta meals were available but I ate a Powerbar and headed on.

There was torrential rain!   I had to put my rain jacket on.  As you can see torrents of muddy water streaming down inclines.  My feet were already wet due to mild rain and puddles.  They are now saturated!  The Xlab shoes seem to let water in but not out.  Grrr.

Doh! I ran out of liquids getting to 70Km stop. My bladder was mostly full of coke and I was using it to gargle with rather than drink because it was so sweet.  I gargled so much I ran out!  So when I saw some runners in the distance I sprinted to catch them and then begged a few sips of water.  They obliged.

All seemed to be well until at about KM80 I had a terrible pain in my ride side ribs.  As per many grumpy blog posts I was runover in April and sustained damaged right ribs.  They do not seem to be healing meaning that I can't breathe deeply.

Anyway, at KM80 even with my newly adopted (since April) shallow breathing: intense pain!  I convinced medical crew at stop to give me an Ibuprofen and also some hot cream that I sloshed on.  

There was no hot tea at this stop because the power was broken.  Double calamity.

On the plus side 11Km to go.  On the negative side, pain in right ribs has returned with a vengeance.   Obtained  a Ibuprofen and a paracetamol from medics.  This combined with some liberal hot rub allowed me to continue.
Marcus and Jim Hardy  (from Lincoln)

After the 89Km stop I  teamed up with another Injured guy and we walked for about 3Km until he met up with his wife who was spectating and stopped for a pause, so I continued alone.  Time to start running and .... Good news ... No pain.

I continued running and was overtaken on the last downhill about 4km from the finish by 

a woman who I really tried to catch.  But no!  She provided a good inspiration though.

The finish is to the stones artifiacts and then looping back the way you came to the finish line hill, then downhill sprint.

It was so exhilarating to cross the finish line which I did with big smiles all around.

I was pretty sure Agata would be not far behind.

Post Race Dramatics

So after the race, a small calamity!  I got my medal, chatted to some people who finished at the same time. All seemed well.

Then I noticed a food tent and went to get a /wonderful hot tea/.  I sat down whilst waiting for it, and on attempting to get up felt a little unsteady.

That was all that was necessary to summon up a medical man, followed by a race organiser.  The told me to lie down with my legs in the air.  Hmmm.

I did this but on attempting to get up I was violently sick.  It was brilliant  (weight loss for fat old me!) but rather embarrassing and meant that I was bundled off for a small interrogation in medical centre ... a small barn with two chairs.

A small Spanish Inquisition interrogation later I was chatting away and they let me leave.  Actually, they were very professional and I'm so grateful for their caring attitude.

The Day in Summary
Marcus and Agata overall had just a fantastic time!  We both put in good performances relative to our abilities.

The weather was a lot better than expected  (only about 2 hours heavy rain!)

We saw some beautiful English countryside

Marcus had time to shoot videos and talk and chat to many other competitors.  The medical staff took good care of me with my end race pains and wobble!

We finished in a good state to enjoy the rest of our Cornwall motorhome adventure.

Thanks to the organisers (Threshold Sports and especially Cassie) for making it so easy and the great food facilities at Avebury finish.

Saturday Statistics

Fluids and Food
Marcus ate only food he carried which was 3 Gels, 2 Powerbars and 1 SIS Energy Bar
He also used 150 grams of USN pro carbohydrate powder
He drank 2 litres water (with the USN) and 750ml full fat coke and 5 cups of very hot tea!

Race to the Stones website

Day Links
Day01: Destination England
Day02: Arrival Avebury
Day03: Race to the Stones