So yesterday I made the long journey up the hill to Bath Uni to run the Bath Running Festival trail marathon. After last weekends long run which resulted in me being thoroughly dehydrated and generally down in the dumps, I made the last minute decision to find a race that I could use as a catered long run. It just so happened to be the Bath running festival at the University run by local triathlete Tom Room (Relish Running). Although pretty hilly (1100ms asc) I decided as long as I treated the race as a good training run where I could practice fuelling without having to run with a pack it would be ideal. In the week leading up to it I had put in a good session on tues (5 x 5 mins hard (3min easy rec) 10 miles tempo) and friday I had done a less successful 3 x 5 mins hard followed to by 1 hour as hard as I could manage………..this turned out to be not hard at all……..to put it politely, I was shagged! Clearly the combination of lack of sleep due to the heat and accumulated training fatigue was taking its toll. Saturday was one easy jog before work with the hound and an early night (still spent most of the night tossing and turning…..).
Yesterdays race was one of four…….5k, 10k, half marathon and the full marathon. All started at different intervals and followed the same route in some way or another. The marathon was actually two loops of the half marathon with the last sting in the tail up north road which is basically 2 miles up a horrible hill. My race started at 10.15am and by this time it was pretty hot so I was pleased I had made the decision to use the race instead of a solo run in the heat. However within 1 mile into the race I realised I had taken a wrong turn and was heading down the hill onto the main road into Bath…..doh….I had done it again. I dont think I have finished a trail race to date without going wrong at some point (note to self; invest in a navigation course…..or just pay more attention?). Also not only had I taken the wrong path, but I had taken the rest of the field with me, so as I ran back up the hill to find the right route I was shouting to all the others who had followed me……….slightly chaotic (after the race I found out most of the half marathon runners had also got lost so I felt slightly less stupid). I felt pretty annoyed with myself but at least it wasnt an important race so I just got on with trying to catch the 5 guys who had taken the right path and got at least 6 mins on me. I settled into what felt a comfortable pace and tried to work up the hills and run fluidly on the downs. Because of the dry weather the trails were in pretty good condition so I ran in my Asics DS racers which worked a treat. In terms of pace I wanted to run to feel with my mind on my Ultravassen (90k) race pace and therefore fuel accordingly so I took on gels at 75mins and 2hrs 15 and had water and electrolytes at every aid station. Compared to my last run in the Alps where I got my fuelling completly wrong, I felt really good all day yesterday and at the finish.
It took nearly 12 miles until I started reeling in the guys and so I ended up running the last lap solo which was a little lonely apart form the odd dog walker giving me a nod. The last 2 miles was a stinker up the steep hill and into the finish. I dont think anyone noticed me come over the finish line as the marathon winner as there were still some half marathon and 10k runners coming in, so I grabbed a coke and headed to the showers.
Stats: 27.2 miles in 3.36 mins – 1100ms asc/desc
So I rounded the week off with a solid 110 miles and a sausage and egg sarnie! oh ye and a pint of refreshing ale…….