Friday, 30 September 2011

Glenmore 12-Hour Race 2011

I have had many people asking about other race reports, so here are a few I wrote before I had this blog...

Pre-race jitters
The aim was to run the furthest I had ever run. Given that my distance record was 53 miles I wanted 54 miles. The trail laps were four miles each so some basic mathematics means that the aim will be 56 miles. Quite a challenge (for me) to complete 56 miles within 12 hours as my Fling race (53 miles) had taken me over 11 hours to complete. Even worse was that my father had run 100km in the Naseby Water Race in Dunedin the week before in under 12 hours and as proud as I was, I really didn’t want the old man to be a better runner than me. So I quietly fancied 64 miles, which would bring me in with 102km and hold the family distance record. But I’d see how I was feeling.

We drove to Aviemore the night before with the crew; Scott, Nicole and Hilary. The Ravenscraig Guest House was plush and breakfast superb. I've since upped my porridge-making race instructions to include seeds and berries! At the Glenmore field I gave fabulous instructions while the crew set up the tents. There was a medical study being done and I get weighed and some other fancy stuff gets done to me. I attempt a dribble for the saliva test but fail. It’s pre-race and I’m dehydrated. I know a few faces but not many. I see Mimi Anderson who I know a little about but don’t know. Should I ask for her picture? I sneak a casual one of her instead. 

Most runners are doing the 24-hour race so for the first few laps I don’t know if I should be running faster than them or not. There’s a water point two miles (halfway) around the lap but I don’t bother to consume anything. I take nothing on me. When I started lap two I said to myself ‘well done, one lap down’ and repeated that to myself until I crossed the line after my second lap. I plodded along uneventfully, delighted when the lap-counter no longer had to ask for my name and just knew who I was. A nice wee race community. The crew have made some wicked signs and hung up the New Zealand flag on the tent. It’s a party.

Nicole has to run across the field and meet me at the bottom of the hill to give me my supplies at the end of each lap. When she gets to the bottom of the hill she’s shattered and tells me to just leave the stuff at the top of the hill for her to collect because she can’t keep up with me! To give her some credit; she was in wellies. To give me some credit; I was still well faster than her! It still makes for a great laugh in the pub :) Which is where my crew later went…

Scott had tickets to a football match. Scotland were playing the Czech Republic for the European qualifiers in Glasgow. He took a bit of jiff from his mates for coming to support me and missing the match. The night before we came to an agreement; he would get to disappear to watch the match at a pub in Aviemore during the race. Unfortunately this meant that the whole crew had to go to the pub and I was left to be self-sufficient for a few laps. They leave a bag of supplies hanging on the tent by the track so I don’t have to rummage in the tent. I’m a numpty and don’t see the bright orange Sainsbury’s bag waving about so I rummage in the tent throwing food everywhere. Clean up that crew! I can’t even remember if I found what I wanted. I pretty much only ate fudge.

Upon their return Scott offers to run a lap with me. I feel like I’m dipping a bit and am glad of the offer. He runs in his hiking boots and informs me that he has consumed two pints and a pie.

Scott: Do you want to know what position you are in?
Me: NO
Scott: You’re in third
Me: I said NO

Forgive him, he’d been drinking. And Scotland lost. Ouch.

After about six hours (I’m guessing here) I saw Jamie Aarons ahead. This worried me as Jamie is a much better runner than I am. I like to run conservatively and feel good at the finish. I feared this would not be the case if I was anywhere near Jamie halfway through a race! Turns out that she was injured (but still as positive as ever) so I was ok to keep going as I was. We plodded along within distance of each other for a number of laps. While we are walking up a hill chatting we are informed by her partner that this was a running race, not a walking race! I didn’t feel that any aspect of Glenmore was a race at all!

I’ve told my crew numerous times that I might walk the next lap but never do. I'm ecstatic at the wee walking/running rules I’ve created for myself. I love a good rule. I lap a few people and am eager to chat. There’s Karen Donoghue and Fiona Rennie; two legends but I’ve not been in the ultra-community long enough to know this. I meet Dr. Andrew Murray halfway around the lap ensuring runners have their head torches on. I also don’t know what a legend he is as he is so humble. I am so na├»ve. Scott runs another lap with me later on (third to last lap).

Keith has rocked up and becomes my buddy runner for the final two laps. We turn our head torches off for a bit to take a look at the stars. I later found out he worked this romance on Carrie as well! I come in at 11 hours 50 minutes having run 68 miles. As that’s under 12 hours I’m allowed to run another lap. Should I? Well, it beats sitting in the tent in the cold so we set out for the final lap. For the first time I stop at the halfway water station. My legs turn to jelly and I have to keep going. I miss some walking points in the dark and run up more hills than I have in previous laps. I thought I did a superb sprint finish although it went unnoticed. Hilary fell to sleep with boredom but Nicole and Scott have lived through the midgie invasion and are there to hand me my New Zealand flag. I’ve come in first overall and run 72 miles in 12 hours and 38 minutes.
Keith and I at the finish
I sit by Karen’s warm fire drinking milky tea. I don’t like normal tea but this is fantastic. I start putting layers on but don’t know to take off my sweaty running gear. Scott and I try to sleep in the tent but it’s the Scottish Highlands at the start of September and the temperature has dropped below zero. We head back to the race tent to drink tea and chat to the runners who are still completing the 24-hour race. There’s a couple of boys who spend more time chatting the tent than they do on the trails! Pauline Walker gives me her hot water bottle to keep me warm. I repay her by cheering her on a few weeks later at the Commonwealth 24-hour Championships.

Carrie and I after her finish
Dr. Andy lets me sleep in the back of his warm van. I should have bragged about this on Facebook afterwards. Mimi stops during her run to congratulate me on my win. Her husband is really funny and took great delight in making fun of my accent. I drink a cider for breakfast. By this time I have consumed the following in the last 24 hours:
1 ½ gels
½ packet of crisps
2 bananas
5 pieces of fudge
1 litre of water (overestimation)
2 litres of lucozade
2 cups of tea (post-race)

I made up for this lack of food the next day by consuming two slices of pizza, four croissants and two cups of coffee by mid-morning. Afterwards I comment to people that it’s the friendliest run I’ve participated it. The next morning I’m showing off in the flat by wearing my medal at the breakfast table. I’m still wearing it when I leave the flat for work.

I have split estimates and it appears that I have not just run further than my father but I ran through the 100km faster than he ran his race too… It’s not official but I think he’ll let me claim it :) 

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