Sunday, 16 May 2010

Marlborough Challenge

My first ultra running race of 32 miles across the Marlborough downs. 9am start so had to leave exeter just after 6am.
The race began well and i was running at a comfortable pace through the 1st and 2nd(6 miles) checkpoints in 2nd place with the leader just in front. By the 3rd checkpoint(9miles) we had been running together, however two other runners had now joined us. We ran in the 4 for the next 10 miles and at a fairly brisk pace at times on the flats, but slowed when going through gates and over styles. Each of us had our turn at the front, but these longer races have completely different race tactics and pacing to the shorter ones i am used to. You could be 400m or more ahead and that gap can easily be closed, runners seem to be stronger at different stages of the race.
I felt confortable with the pace around 20miles and took my turn at the front trying to get away. Suddenly, around mile 22 i had nothing left. it happened in seconds and i dropped my speed considerable as the others pulled away. I was out of energy with 10 miles stil to go. i had never expereinced anything like this as i had only ever raced other 21 miles. I ended up having to walk in parts (which is the first time in a race. I had reached 22 miles in about 2hrs 50, it then took me 1 hour 40 to over the next 10 miles as opposed to just over an hour. This meant i finished a dissapointing 10th.
However this was my first ultra and i can learn lots from this. Basically at 22 miles i hit the wall, meaning that i was out of energy/fuel. This happened because i didn't consume enough food and drink thoughout the race. The body can only store 2000kcal of energy. enough to run about 20 miles. any extra miles requires about 100kcal per mile. this meant that a should have consumed roughly 1500-2000 calories during the race, i probably had less than 500 which is why i 'blow up'. Ill put this down to inexpereicne and the fact that i was confident i could maintain the running pace, but in reality i had never raced over 21miles. In a 21 mile race it is unlikely that i would hit the wall before. Next race i will make changes to this and see if my performance is different.

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