High Peaks 40 Mile Challenge – 20 September 2014
SUPERVET LADIES – 3RD PLACE – x hours and x minutes!!
Oh, all right, we all know how I wangled that one. Hyatt tortoise pace does NOT ‘win’ podium places unless … unless I’m merely beating everyone who didn’t enter PAHAHAHA Whatever! It’s there in writing. I’ll take it. I mean, when would I EVER get a placement otherwise? (Actually, I did beat one other lady haha)
Who cares? I finished – eventually – but not without drama. The course was every bit as beautiful as I remembered – perhaps even more beautiful, because this time – after a few ultras – I remembered to look up and breathe in the views! This, of course, was not always possible. There were lengthy patches of technical trail which required a lot of close attention – boulders, shale, gravel, steps and plenty of real inclines and fabulous downhills to get one’s teeth into (or preferably not, depending how you look at it!). That, however, is what I LOVE about trails – wild, unpredictable, varied and totally gorgeous.
With beauty comes challenge, though – and the best laid plans don’t always pan out over 40 miles! Over 40 miles even the tiniest glitches can mess with your head and I let a few inner voices do far too much talking this time. *Sigh* The little things. Five minutes before race start my Garmin strap broke. That’s ok. New plan. I would run the race without a watch – this would probably make me a lot more relaxed too and I was looking forward to that. I would merely tick off the 11 checkpoints – which made Checkpoint 7 very important indeed, because then I could count down. Marvellous – except that at Checkpoint 7 two things happened. First, I realised that I’d made a stupid mistake: there were TWELVE checkpoints, not 11. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I was not where I wanted to be! Then, to compound that, I figured I was roughly 30 miles in – and that was just fine. Didn’t matter really, since I didn’t have a GPS to tell me differently – until the lovely man at the water station piped up ‘Well done – that’s your marathon done!’ GRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!! Pfffffft! Only four miles off, but when the facts contradict what you’ve already decided are the truths weird things go on. Meltdown time haha. I waited till I was on a lonely stretch (actually, when you run as slowly as me it’s always lonely lol) … and sat down to wallow in self-pity for ten minutes. I didn’t make ten minutes. PING went my phone – and as if by true magic these totally incredible words came through:
There may come a day when you can’t continue, but today is NOT that day. Shake it off, take one step at a time and you CAN do it. ‘Inhale the positivity, exhale the negativity’ [private joke taken from Croc Dundee] I believe in you, you just need to believe in yourself.
More effective than dangling a chocolate brownie in front of me. And how timely!!! The lovely Caitriona hits the nail on the head once again – and somehow at just the right moment. Thank you, Caitriona.
After that it was a matter of one foot in front of the other and a lot of reminding myself that there was no real reason to walk other than that my body wanted to. Running was still more than possible (I’d hate to tell you how many times that particular battle played out!!). I had a ‘time’ that I was going to be happy with. Unfortunately, that was not to be this year. At the top of Deep Dale I ran after a runner just ahead of me who I knew had gone horribly wrong – and at a very dangerous place. I felt obliged to chase him and bring him back to the ‘drop’ down into Deep Dale which, scarily, is not actually visible from the top unless you know where to go (or risk your life finding out)! The chase cost me a good 20 minutes. That’s not a lot in the grand scheme of things – but added to the extra hour due to a STUPIDLY missed arrow and an off-course alternative mini-race of 4 miles (!!) I well and truly blew every chance of coming in within any kind of respectable time at all.
Still, another finish line crossed and feeling very proud of it. Most peeved indeed that there was not even a teensy little medal or goody bag at the finish line, however. Absolutely nothing to show for lots of hours of hard work. Oh well.
The good news?
I didn’t hit a wall: Tailwind Nutrition – thank you! Fuelled me for the entire race. Didn’t hit the wall until 20 minutes past the finish line (then it hit ME! Big time).