Writing this a few hours after I finished I'm still basking in the post ultra, pleasantly tired and aching glow of a good result. So whilst it's still fresh here's a bit of an analysis of my run.
This was only my 2nd 100 miler and while I'll always be immensely proud of finishing the Lakeland100 after the race I felt I'd 'survived' it rather than 'run' it. This was totally different.
I'd set myself a few aims before the race mainly:
- Pace well
- Feed well
- Don't take too long at CPs
Time aims for the race
- Main target sub-24 hours
- Really Good Day Target sub-20 hours
- Not So Good Day Target finish within the cutoff
So how did I get on:
With the exception of the last 5 miles when it felt like the wheels fell off a bit I thought this went quite well. I was still running what felt like a reasonable speed for most of the last quarter which suggests I got it pretty much on track. The gradient on the climbs/descents meant that they were comfortable to walk up at a fast pace and I could run the downhills quite fast without smashing my quads. Although I ran some of the gentle climbs early on by the second quarter I was already walking pretty much anything that felt like a slope but I think this helped me keep my overall pace higher than if I'd tried running them for longer and tiring myself out. Timings for each quarter were:
- 25 miles 3:47
- 50 miles 4:32 (+ 45 mins)
- 75 miles 5:09 (+37 mins)
- 100 miles 6:10 (+ 61 mins)
Part of the reason for the longer last 25 miles was:
Don't Take Too Long At CPs
I was in and out for the majority of the checkpoints up until Saddlescombe Farm at 66.6 miles. I was carrying a zip lock bag and picking stuff up and then moving on - eating it whilst walking until it was gone and then picking the pace up again. This worked well until I started having a few stomach problems which fed into:
I started off trying to get some solid savoury food down but even quite early on this was proving difficult - with it taking me about 3 minutes to chew a savoury egg ball enough to swallow it. I was happy to see a lot of fruit at the checkpoints and must have eaten about a half a water melon during the race. I think most of my calories came from flat Coke which towards the latter stages of the race my stomach took a real dislike to. I didn't really get any energy lows though and even when I was struggling for the last 5 miles this seemed to be more due to a loss of leg strength than any real energy dip. During the latter stages of the race I was spending longer at the CPs trying to get some solids down which had something to do with the longer split for that quarter.
My finishing time of 19:36 was more than I could have hoped for. When I started to fade towards the end I became quite conservative to make sure of the sub-20 hour rather than push for something faster. I don't think this was the wrong choice but maybe psychologically it made me slow down and walk at times when I could have run. On the last road section I was run/walking between lamp posts when I could possibly have run the whole way in. This was one of the main reasons for dropping from 12th at Southease (83 miles) to 20th at the finish with about 5 of these places going in the last 7 miles. It was never really about the places though and to go 24 minutes under a time I didn't think I could do is something I'm really happy with.
Overall this never really dropped - I didn't go to a 'bad place' once which isn't necessarily a good thing. I certainly need to be careful of this going into my next big event as undoubtedly it will happen at some point and forgetting how to deal with the dips is risky. Even when I felt a bit wobbly towards the end it was so close to the finish and I was easily going to go sub-20hrs that it wasn't an issue.
So What Did I Learn?
- I can run a sub-20 hour 100 miler - although I think the variety of the course and the gradients helped a lot with this.
- I still need to work on my nutrition a bit and try to find someway to eat a few more solids.
- I need to be careful about treating this as 'typical' I reckon I'll get a lot more lows in future events.