Monday 12 March 2012

Grantham Ultra 2x29 milers March 10th + 11th

Nice early start on Saturday morning leaving home just before 6am and cruising down to Cotgrave near Nottingham

Just after passing a sign 'Leicestershire, the heart of rural England'

Basically... Day 1 run from Cotgrave (just outside Nottingham) to Grantham following mostly canal path, then day 2, repeat the same course in the opposite direction! It's pretty flat and was fairly good ground to run a good pace, part of the canal was grassy track which was a tad slippy but nothing the road shoes couldn't handle.

Jen, awaiting victims!

Day 1 start was quite steady with about a group of 5 staying together for nearly the first 10k I moved on ahead just before the first checkpoint and didn't see anybody until the end (apart from Gaynor Prior out for a leisurely jog down the Grantham Canal!)  It would have been pretty difficult to go wrong on this course, there was plenty of those awkward gates (designed to deter cyclists?) to weave through and interrupt your rhythm, one of which a cyclist coming towards me tried to hurry through as he had seen my race number and managed to get tangled up good style. I hopped over the fence and he was very apologetic.

That thorn went through my shoe into my foot and dropped me!
All was going well I hit marathon distance about 12seconds off what I expected (@ 3.09 and 48 sec)  apart from a minor incident with a thorn, going through my shoe into my foot it felt like I had been stung by a Jelly fish! Pulled it out and got back up and it was a little sore for a moment although I soon forgot about it. Ran on and passed a section of the Viking Way (got a long race along that in April, just shy of 150miles) before a hotel came into view, here it was about 1km to the finish and I felt pretty good having not run at a pace that was too extreme. in 3.32 and some seconds.

Trophy for 1st on day 1
After that I promptly downed about 1l of water and some of Claire Trinders flapjack, now world famous in Grantham. Thanks Claire! Washed it down with 2 pints of milk and a lemonade and more flapjack. Vale my friend from Italy was 1st lady today who unfortunately couldn't stay for both days, only her 2nd ultra, very impressive 4hours 14 min if I remember correct?

After that we moved on for a quick feed involving Wetherspoons finest gammon steak. After that headed to my accomodation (about 4km from the race start/finish) which was nice and clean and just what I needed. The bathroom was a bit on the small side (I couldn't stretch my arms in any direction, what I imagine a caged hen to feel like) but it was perfect and did the job (I basically drank tea and slept) the shower bathroom combo was about 1m square or the size of a large fridge, all nice and clean and I would stay there again.

Day 2 the legs felt ok I had a little bit of breakfast and a 9 bar before heading out the door onto the start line. I walked the first km while I drank a pint of milk and then jogged slowly on to the start line, arriving just in time about 8.45. The weather was warm already and the sun was beaming!
Grantham Church day 2 am

Day 2, scenery very much like day 1 only seen from the other direction! I planned to run a little slower today as it felt surprisingly warm and I haven't really got used to running in any kind of heat yet this year (compared to say Autumn when you have spent all Summer running in 'warmer' temperatures) so took it steady and took on more water than I normally would which left me feeling strong towards the end. I rolled in 3hours 48mins and took home a trophy for 3rd on day 2. It was very warm at the finish there and I bet it came as a shock to some of the runners out for a little longer. I saw the paper today, it reported 18 degrees recorded in Nottinghamshire yesterday! Ideal for those Marathon des Sables (MDS) training ;)

The trophies/medals from the weekend.

Rory took a heap of photos too  I have a couple more on my phone from the actual race, I'll pop them up soon! Between finishing day 1 and running day 2 I had approx  6 litres of tea/water/juice and the milk!

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