I didn’t have the best race day. The race itself, though a touch on the expensive side, was well organised enough, and the route was so well marked that even I couldn’t get lost. There were aid stations about every 10km with water and loos aplenty and helpful crew, though the array of food was basic compared to the range that you’d find at a Centurion event. The weather was wet and humid, but that’s definitely better than overly hot, and the ground was a little puddley in places, but not ridiculously so.
The #rtts100 team were out in force (there were eight of us all told), so there was company at the start and on the way round, and I also played leap frog with a club mate for the first 48km. The route sports some lovely sections though woodland and some stunning views across the countryside, and the single track path though some oil seed rape (which I was dreading from a hayfever point of view), turned out to be a single track path though a poppy field (my goodness those seed heads are vicious!).
I did a fair amount of walking, even on some of the flats, but I didn’t end up death marching to the finish, and my overall time, though not spectacular, was respectable.
All of which should have added up to a fabulous day, but in fact added up to an experience that left me feeling drained and a little bit meh.
But then, on Monday, two things happened. The first was an hour-long telephone call with my coach who pointed out a few little details that I was overlooking. Small points such as the fact that I’d finished, that I’d completed my longest ever successful run and my second longest run ever, and that most of the things that disappointed me were either outside my control or relatively easy to correct. By the end of the call, I’d gained some perspective, a sense of achievement, and perhaps most importantly a list of learning points that I can use to make my next race better.
The second was a trip across town to pick up my car. A trip which involved walking about two and a half miles, running 20 yards for a bus and then walking another half a mile. A trip which would have been unimaginable two days after SDW50 (when my left shin and right foot were massively painful) or two days after TP85 (when my knees wouldn’t bend for love nor money).
And that’s when I started to grin. Yes, I have a little bit of chafing. And yes, I have a little bit of DOMS. But I also have legs which can propel me 100km along a trail in 14 hours and 30 minutes, and then quite happily walk into town less than two days later.
I’m really rather happy with that.