First things first, it’s so true that you just cannot race a 50 miler without training for it, no matter how much you tell yourself prior to the event. Roll back to the beginning of January when I damaged my knee during the Spine Race – I told myself, I’ll be fit and ready for the SDW50, roll back to 9 weeks ago while sitting in my hospital bed after my knee op – yep I’ll be ready for the SDW50, roll back 3 weeks ago when my Physio told me still no running – don’t worry I’ll be ready for race day and then while standing on the start line – I’M READY!!!!! – I went off at a good pace and paid the price between miles 26 and 33 – not surprising really!!!!
I’ve blogged about my injury in January and also how I’ve coped with it and what I’ve done in rehab so I will not bore the pants off of everyone again – If you missed the blogs take a look at my website link
I must admit, I was told by a few people to pull out – it was a pretty severe knee injury so do a 10K instead had been muted, but it had been my goal to be on the start and that was that and to be honest I really needed it.
Normally I’d have been recceing the route and pouring over route profile and Goggle Earth but my mind was more pre-occupied with rehab and the last 2 weeks flew by as I tried to put in some runs after getting the go ahead from the Physio. There was a hell of a lot of concentration on this as I just couldn’t get my running gait right and it was really pissing me off, not to mention the fact that it was taking me ages to run trail routes that I would normally be flying along.
Anyway back to the race, It was good to see so many faces at the start and apparently I was like a puppy being released from the lead for the first time as the starter went off!!! - all was going well, I flew into CP1 with a high and a bye to Drew, onto CP2 where as I entered Nicci popped out of the tent with a How’s the knee Paul? With me, ah, it’s ok while grabbing some water top ups and then back out as swiftly as possible onto CP3 (Housedean Farm 26.6 mile point).
Things were going great, I had a good running form going and then I hit the steep descent into CP3 where the knee started to play up and who bombs pass me but Stu Mills (my only thought was bugger that – sorry Stu) and I tried to increase my pace downhill but the knee was saying back off so I had to.
Into CP3 and I was bang on my target pace – we’d (TrainAsONE & myself) had put together a pacing plan, which was bang on up to CP3.
Out of CP3 and onto CP4 is where the wheels came off, my fuelling was again spot on as usual (only use TORQ gels, bars and carb drinks) and I had the energy but my legs and especially my knee were saying “idiot 50 miles is way F**king too far – my calves and quads were just sore plain and simple.
I reached CP4 where Stu was just about to head off back to the finish area by car (he’d planned to only race 33 miles as part of his training plan), my legs were tired and Stu shouted out, “You done, want a lift back to the finish?” for a split second I thought that’s a great idea, but I’m a stubborn git and I politely shouted back – No thanks.
Now, I normally don’t hang around CPs, it’s normally in & out as swiftly as possible, but CP4 was so inviting I decided to stay for 10 minutes to sort my legs out. I sat there talking and quaffing copious amounts of watermelon and I could have quite happily stayed there but my brain kicked in and told me to get my arse back out and try and catch up.
I moved out and took the long climb out of CP4, towards the end of the climb my head was starting to go down and my pace was slowing up again, when Paul Ali and Sam Robson came along, conversations started and before I knew it I was getting back into a descent pace running with these two. It’s weird, the spectrum of discussions while running was mind boggling – ranging from running statics to projectile vomiting and how buffs are so good in an emergency when your stomach decides to empty out during a race – Thanks Sam ;)
Anyway, the stages between CP5 and 6 flew by and before I knew it I was heading up the last hill out of Jevington where at the top was the friendly face of Drew again. The usual Hi’s were had and then Drew decided to inform me that Paul’s split time from the top of the hill to the finish was 18 minutes!!!! – NICE, I shot him a look and then a smile and said “well I won’t be doing that!”
The run down into Eastbourne was pretty uneventful and I have to admit I was soooo happy to reach the stadium. As I ran around the track a smile of satisfaction beamed out of me, - not for the time but for finishing the race, it was something that needed to be done on so many levels, especially the mental aspect after what had happened at the Spine.
Well that was my first Centurion event and I have to say that it’s a well oiled machine with a great support team out on the field and in the CPs. Right, time for some stats;
In the below spread sheet, I've shown the original pacing strategy that we put together prior to the race. This shows the positions / distances of the CPs as stated on the web site, the ascent per stage and an average pace that I was looking at from CP to CP. I've then plotted the actual distances between CPs as logged by me and my actual average pace. Up to CP3 I'm pretty much bang on and then it goes off the rails form CP3 - CP4 and then I manage to start to pull it back a bit
With regard to fuelling, the strategy is shown to the right hand side of the data and this was pretty well spot and is all based on the TORQ FUELLING SYSTEM
I went through;
13 gels (mixture of Raspberry Ripple & Rhubarb & Custard with the last 3 gels being Banoffee with the added kick of Guarana to pick me up.
3 bars - sundried banana
4.75lts of water mixed with Torq Energy Drink powder - good thing about these are that they contain 5 electrolytes in each mix.