Thursday, 20 August 2015

Hardmoors Saltburn

I'm writing this 4 days after the race so my feelings are a mixture of the raw and calmed down. I last ran a "marathon" on February this year. I use the word "marathon" as the Hardmoors events are always a wee bit longer. "Free miles" they call them !

I hurt a lot in that last one, mainly due to a pelvic problem that caused severe pain in my left leg on the descents. I withdrew from similar events in April and May.  My confidence had been severely dented by that pain.

After running well, strong and pain free during July, I decided to run this one. I hadn't trained for it as such, but did put in a 10 mile/20 mile Sat/Sun 2 weeks before as well as my general running. Perhaps I should have picked up the clues that Sunday. The last 8 miles or so hurt. Not pain as such, more a cumulative hurt in my hip area and feet.

I travelled south to Seahouses to meet up with old friends on the Saturday. Having spent an enjoyable evening with them, I bedded down in my van knowing I had set my alarm for 5am. This was my last view that night. Bamburgh Castle.

After a reasonable nights sleep, I awoke to this view and enjoyed it as I breakfasted on the beach at 5.30am on a pork pie, a tin of peaches and some chocolate milk. Please don't judge me! Holy Island and Lindisfarne.

To the race then. It was a lovely warm and sunny day, which doesn't suit everyone but I'll take that over a miserable cold one. There was plenty of water at the checkpoints, so dehydration shouldn't have been a problem.

Initially, the route follows the cliffs. These are mighty cliffs and the views were something to behold. I trotted along feeling good, enjoying the place I was in both physically and mentally, aware that there was a long way to go. I was photographed around this time. A rarely smile, so this probably says a lot about how I was feeling!

Now things began to change. Around 8 miles I was chatting with a man aware how much I was beginning to feel this. He was cruising along quietly (but speaking to him afterwards I found out his pain came too!). By 12 miles I was hurting, aware that I had a long long way to go.

After this I managed to get into a zone I've been in before, where i just tick the miles off and by 17 I was feeling better about this whole thing. However my hips and feet were really starting to shout at me and I began to think all the thoughts I'd thought before about this being too far for me now. I was hurting, I wasn't enjoying it, I was grinding it out.

About this time I found myself running with a man named James, who was happy to chat and help the miles pass. He knew where I live and someone there, so the chat was easy and helpful. James and I ran together to the finish and I'm sure we both appreciated each others company in equal measure.

So despite the hurt, I'd knocked out another "marathon" (28.9 miles). I had a special recovery weapon waiting for me in the van! Yup, Brewdog Punk IPA :-)

So now I've had a few days to let the dust settle so to speak, the question is should I run another? No is the answer. I love running so much and I want to run for as long as I can for the rest of my life. The bottom line is that I did not enjoy that. Its a great course and I'd recommend it to anyone, but it is simply too far for me now.

Dunsrunner hereby announces his retirement from marathons and ultras (but reserves the right to change his mind!)

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