We got to the race at 7 am to be told that 5 entries had dropped out overnight !! ( I honestly didn't think I was that scary to meet ) & by 730 no one else had turned up, so there it was just me & Amanda, Steve the race organiser from Ultra Running Ltd, Ben my hubby, our brilliant support crew & Matt & Ellie from Summit Fever our race photographers. I have never been in a race where we have had more photographers than runners ( now I know what it feels like to be famous lol).
So off we went. I had really been looking forward to doing this event with Amanda & also to see how we would get on running together, this was going to be a perfect opportunity & ideal pre ocean floor race training.
To all my friends reading this please remember Amanda has only been running for 3 years !! Not years & years like me & before this event her longest race was 35miles, So I was hoping with some of my experience we would make a good team.
Amanda was very nervous which is understandable & It didn't make it any easier when we found out we were the only entrants in the race!!!
So with backpacks on, maps in hand GPS & our iPhones ( which became indispensable as u will see later on in the race ) we headed off down a muddy track.
Stage 1 not too bad at all it was a mixture of trail & road & we didn't have too many issues.
I was feeling good at this point as our map & GPS system were working well & we finished the first stage. It honestly felt like we had our own paparazzi following us, we had flashes everywhere as we came to our first stop.
After refuelling we were off again, off road & into more mud & fields. The race instructions we were given for this stage were useless & it didn't help that the heavens had opened & it had started to rain!!!! it was bitterly cold, we were both getting a little frustrated to say the least !!! Also Amanda had a little issue with her knees which was worrying so early on in the race, I had to reassure her that at the next checkpoint I whould put some Rocktape on them to sort them out.(I really can sound convincing when I need to be)
We were both getting colder & colder & we decided to get Amanda's iPhone out to double check the route as we knew something didn't seem right about the instructions !! Luckily we were proven right & we were about 2miles off course !!! Grrrr I don't think that was the exact word we both said!! I think the air turned blue for a few mins & then we calmed down got back on track & carried on. The next few miles we were both quite quiet (which I know some of u will find hard to believe from me )but we were both so pissed off from going wrong. Me been a big kid I would jump into the puddles every so often to try & lighten the mood & I'm surprised that at one point Amanda didn't want to push me in the river !! Lol or strangle me. Eventually we got to the checkpoint refuelled & strapped up Amanda's knee, off we went again.
Stage 3 was great, we were both so much happier on this stage as the maps & instructions were bang on & we had no problems at all, Amanda ran brilliant on this stage & my magic Rocktape was working, we were both very positive about everything & we were running well together.
We must have ran a lot better than expected as when we got to the checkpoint my hubby Ben, Steve the race organiser, Matt & Ellie the event photographers were no where to be seen & nothing was set up!! Thanks guys ;). luckily they all sprang into action when they saw us & it was really was like having our own personal slaves looking after us ! I'm sure we will never do a race where we were so well looked after.
At this stage it was now starting to get dark & it was time to start thinking about getting our headtorches ready, now this could of been a disaster if I hadn't been prepared ( good job I was a venture scout when I was younger ;) ) Amanda was trying her new raid lite backpack out & somewhere along the course her bag had opened & her Headtorch had fallen out!! ( This was a brand new headtorch which hadnt even been worn yet !!!! doh Gutted, Along with her biscuits !!! Luckily I had won a Headtorch earlier in the year at the Buff lightning run & it was in the car, so luckily we could continue.
This stage I knew was going to be a problem, I honestly think if more runners had of been in this race this stage wouldn't of been as bad as it was. As we may of been able to follow or at least see someone else around us. So this is how our final stage went.
Well where do I start, I am aware that Amanda has a fear of the dark & she won't mind me telling u all this. We were two women on our own in the pitch black no lights to be seen anywhere & I mean anywhere over farmers fields. We were meant to be on a track keeping the river to our right, I could not see a track & there was no god damn river in sight.
So what do u do ?
I don't scare easier but this wasn't nice & what made it worse was because I knew Amanda didn't like the dark I had to put a brave face on & act as if I knew what to do!!!
So once again the iPhone saved the day if Amanda hadn't downloaded the o.s map of the route onto it god knows where we would of ended up. Please remember we are both bitterly cold & have over 40+ miles in our legs at this stage, I'm not feeling too bad but I could see Amanda was getting more anxious as we went on & I was getting very concerned about this. I could see that I needed to calm her down.
The worst thing was all She was concerned about was the fact that it would look bad for me if we didn't finish!! this was the furthest thing from my mind, as the whole idea Of me doing this event with Her was to see how we worked as a team for the ocean floor race In Feb. We then stopped for a min or so while we got ourselves together & got our bearings. Luckily we found our way to our last checkpoint. Where Karl Amanda's hubby was now also waiting to see us, this would be where our race would finish after 47 miles, we both made the decision as it was just too dark & dangerous to carry on. Ok we didn't finish the whole 54 miles & I know Amanda was absolutely gutted about this but I was really impressed at how we got along running together & how when the going got tough we pulled together as a team to sort it out I honestly think if this race had of been started earlier maybe 6 am I feel we would have had no problems getting to that finish line.
One good thing that has come out of this I feel we will make a great team in the desert & we will have a great adventure & a good few laughs along the way & honestly we won't get lost lol.
I must say a massive thank u once again to my hubby Ben for been a great support team on the day & for ferrying us about. Also a massive thank u to Karl Amanda 's Hubby for letting us stay over at there house for 2 nights & showing us some lovely hospitality it was much appreciated.
So that's how our first race prep for the ocean floor race went & I'm looking forward to our next training session in a few weeks on some sand.
I also think this sums us both up !!
Any Idiot can run a marathon .. It takes a special kind of idiot to run a ultra.
Please keep a eye out for some more very important sponsor news in the next day or so !!!