So 3 weeks after 145 miles of canal at Grand Union Canal Race, it’s time to get back to the 2nd in the Centurion Grandslam races with the South Downs Way 100
Thoughts going into the race
My body is a bit wrecked: my lungs are coughing up masses of phlegm just trying to walk up stairs at work; my legs and glutes and lower back feel really tight; My feet haven’t really recovered from trench foot at TP100 and took a battering of toenails and infected nail beds at GUCR; I’ve been getting fainty spells on occasions and generally feel really tired. So all in all I’m definitely race ready and raring to go 🙂 .
Realising the dodgy state of my body, feet and low energy levels I concluded that I need to take this one easy and best strategy is to spend the first 20-30 miles gently running the flats and downs, walking the ups and makin sure I’m ahead of cut offs enough to then just walk the rest. Mission is to finish (maybe in 27 hours ish) rather than pushing anything else. I deliberately stayed off social media pre race and decided not to share live tracking links etc or pride would get in way and I may try to go faster than is wise for lungs.
It’s a beautiful route which many say is their favourite Centurion 100 miler. I agree it’s beautiful but in all honesty my lungs are not fans of hills at moment and I craved a flat course. That said with rolling hills, herdies galore and amazing views across the downs, there’s not much you can fault with the course.
As always the cp volunteers are absolute awesome. They keep you doing when you’re down, offer food and drink and a smile and joke at each station. It’s tempting to linger at each one just to spend time hanging with the these cool folk but knowing that’s not the way to get my buckle, I moved through each one as quick as I could.
Race in a nutshell
I ballsed it up but still finished. My calf seized up just around half way as I pulled it badly having forgotten my compressport calf guards. I also forgot to upload the gpx file to my Garmin mapping device, got very tired, kept trying to lie down for little kips but kind concerned other runners kept waking me up and insisting I carry on so I deliberately went off course for a little lie down. I then couldn’t kip but couldn’t find my way back onto the course and took a 8 mile detour as well as spending lots of time just walking around a certain field trying to find my way out of it… When daylight came and I was back on course, my blisters got very bad as did my asthma and I crawled my way to the finish in over 26 1/2 hours. So still plenty of leeway before cut off but hardly a performance to be pleased with. That said a finish is a finish. I also really missed having Stu there and wasted a lot of time on phone texting him so vowed to see if he could come with me to the NDW100 instead.