Saxon Shore Gothic Challenge
Marathon/Ultra #4 of the year complete
13th February 2017
Well... today I managed to achieve something that I didn’t believe was possible for me, especially considering I had completed my first marathon event only 13 and a half months ago.
Following on from yesterday, today was another challenge event at the Cyclopark in Gravesend. Runners had 6 hours to complete as many 3.7 mile laps as they wished. My intention was to get round and see what I could do after running just shy of 32 miles yesterday. Ideally I wanted to complete 8 laps which would measure out at 30 miles. I also wanted to get to the marathon point in under 4 hours.
My legs seemed to have recovered well after yesterday’s exploits and from the beginning I felt rather comfortable. I set my pace similar to that of the previous day’s run. After two miles, I became engaged in conversation with another guy, which found me focusing too much on the pain I was experiencing in my glutes and this I thought was likely to become an issue. Once I found myself running alone again, I managed to zone out and stuck my music back on. Ashley was never too far behind me and this helped me push myself a little harder, where perhaps I may not have originally done so.
I completed the marathon distance in around 3hrs 45mins, which was just 2mins slower than yesterday. At this point I felt shattered, both physically and mentally and the thought of another lap was upsetting. I gobbled some peanuts, jelly babies, jaffa cakes and any other sugary products that were available at the aid station and headed out for another lap with a grimace on my face and the intention of walking... a lot.
However, halfway into this lap, I felt full of energy and was able to push hard again; walking most of the steep sections and maintaining a good rhythm on the downhill sections. For some reason during this last lap , I decided that it would be a good idea to do an additional one, taking my total to 9 and achieving a double 50km distance. I was able to complete this additional lap feeling relaxed and having opportunity to chat away to some of the amazing friendly runners out on the course.
I ended up completing 34 miles in 5hrs 8mins and felt a little emotional. Thank you to all the helpers out on the course and at the aid stations, the runners, who as usual encouraged one another and Traviss and Rachel for putting on another amazing event. Thank you Traviss for your kind words at the end and of course, Natalie for your encouragement, cheering me on, the cuddles and the hot chocolate once I had finished.