Wednesday 30 October 2013

Ultima Frontera 166km Spain

I fancied another 100 miler this year and after a brilliant experience at Ultima Frontera 2 years ago I decided to go back! The organisation was spot on and really smooth. A flight to Malaga on Friday morning, hand luggage only so no dramas there, €3 bus from the airport to Malaga bus terminal, bumped into Fredlina - a fellow competitor who I'd not yet met, we had a stroll around the city for a couple of hours before taking the bus to Loja (€6 and it's about 1 hour away?) and meeting a couple more of runners on the same bus.

A mile or two from the bus stop to the race HQ, a large sports hall facility where we got registered and collected race packs and set up 'camp' there were a number of rooms to stay in so 3 of us shared. Showers, bathrooms, a restaurant and the start/ finish line all within 30 seconds of your bed! Now that's ideal!

Quite a chilled out evening with some food and sorting out kit bags (I'd not really taken anything that I wouldn't need so didn't have much to sort) and we were ready for the 9.15 start the Saturday morning.

It was quite a dull start but still felt warm (at least to us UK folk) the field spread out quite quickly as we weaved our way along the trails into the hills. The course marking was perfect, you'd struggle to miss a turning or go off course here. Although I'd done the event two years ago it was substantially different and involved more climbing, some added distance and it felt quite a lot warmer. I'd have chosen to wear road shoes on the course for definite although I only had some which were new that week and didn't fancy risking breaking them in over 100 miles, so I used my trusty Mizuno trail shoes. The ground was incredibly hard and my feet knew about it by the end, road shoes would have been spot on, poor organisation not having a pair a bit sooner.

As the day progressed around 2pm I felt myself getting hotter and hotter and felt like my stomach was holding the water I was putting down, I slowed the pace a little in an attempt to rectify this and had to repeat the process later, perhaps the body wasn't used to processing as much water since recently I've not really been running in any hot weather? The guys from Abu Dhabi and Spanish seemed to enjoy the weather a little more.

 Day time vs Night time, Montefiro 48km and 128km

As darkness fell I moved on at a steady pace and found myself in 'just get to the end as comfortably as possible' mode. It was great to share the adventure with so many enthusiastic people, including all the support team who were absolutely brilliant. Thanks Paul and the team for putting on another great event!

Rolled up in 3rd eventually for a nice trophy.

 The course map and info, I actually never even got this out of my pack as the markers were spot on and very frequent!

Arriving at the finish line at some obscure time of night, substituting one night sleep for a night of running has become quite a regular occurrence recently it seems! The next big race looks to be a bit colder than this, longer too!

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